Read Ryan Dadoun's analysis of the Western Conference here.
The NHL trade deadline came and went on February 27th without very much in the way of movement. In the past, we have grown accustomed to a plethora of deals for rental-type players, but with several teams in the playoff hunt there weren't as many sellers and plenty of buyers with assets that they were reluctant to move. In the case of some potential deals, the price was said to be too high to accommodate. Still, a few organizations were able to accomplish what they wanted leading up to the deadline over this past month and we will examine how they did:
Added: Brian Rolston, Mike Mottau, Greg Zanon
Lost: Steven Kampfer, Yannick Riendeau, Marc Cantin
The Boston Bruins are believed to be favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference during the post-season, so tweaks to bring in some depth were expected. Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon supply aid on the back end and one of them could draw into the lineup right away if Johnny Boychuk misses time with what might be a concussion. Brian Rolston provides a veteran presence up front that the team is probably hoping will help fill the void left by Mark Recchi's retirement.
Added: Cody Hodgson, Alexander Sulzer, Predators' 2012 first round pick
Lost: Zack Kassian, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Paul Gaustad, Sabres' 2012 fourth round pick
Buffalo made a surprising splash on deadline day when they acquired Cody Hodgson, along with defenseman Alexander Sulzer, from Vancouver for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Hodgson is going from a team with a lot of depth at center to one where he will likely be counted on heavily in a top-six role. Hodgson had been making his mark, as a rookie, prior to this move and joining the Sabres represents a great opportunity for him to take the next step forward. Buffalo also managed to land a first-rounder for depth pivot Paul Gaustad by including their fourth-round choice and while they will miss his grit and faceoff work, the return was definitely worth it.
The Hurricanes didn't unload any of their players during the month of February because they were busy taking their prime trade targets off the market. Tuomo Ruutu was locked up just ahead of trade deadline time and Tim Gleason received his extension in January. Carolina is also working hard to re-sign stay-at-home rearguard Bryan Allen. It is surprising that pending unrestricted free agent Jaroslav Spacek didn't end up with a new team though. The ability to retain important players does factor into their grade, but the lack of improvement on a roster currently in the bottom part of the league hurts their overall evaluation.
Added: Wojtek Wolski, Jerred Smithson
Lost: Mike Vernace, Panthers' 2013 third round pick, Panthers' 2012 sixth round pick
The Panthers added a scorer in Wojtek Wolski, who scored in his debut with the club last weekend, and a grinder in Jerred Smithson, who is effective in the faceoff circle, to assist them in their playoff push down the stretch. Florida added to their team, without giving anybody up on their active roster, and they chose to stand pat on deadline day after making their moves the week before.
Added: Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, Predators' 2012 second round pick, Predators' 2013 second round pick, Canadiens' 2013 fifth round pick (conditional), Brad Staubitz
Lost: Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn
The Canadiens and Predators pulled off a pair of deals in February. They got their conditional fifth-round selection back in the Kostitsyn trade after it was included in the Hal Gill deal. Montreal also brought in minor-league prospect Blake Geoffrion. Shipping out underachiever Andrei Kostitsyn was expected, but the Canadiens had other players on their team that were rumored to be up for grabs that stayed put. Pending UFAs Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen were talked about going into the deadline, but none of them were moved. The Canadiens also picked up tough guy Brad Staubitz from Minnesota off re-entry waivers. It wasn't a terrible showing for Habs, but the Eastern Conference cellar dweller probably would've benefited from more selling.
New Jersey Devils
Add: Marek Zidlicky
Lost: Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux, Devils' 2012 second round pick, Devils' 2013 third round pick (conditional)
The Devils were rumored to be in the running for Minnesota's Marek Zidlicky a week before they pulled the trigger to acquire him. The disgruntled defenseman was unhappy with how he was being handled by the Wild, so they facilitated the move after scratching him a few times from the lineup. New Jersey put together a large package of players and picks to land Zidlicky, but they didn't trade much from their active roster and they landed the best player in the deal. He should help their power play for the remainder of the year.
New York Islanders
Added: Yannick Riendeau, Marc Cantin
Lost: Brian Rolston, Mike Mottau
The Islanders weren't projected to do much of anything on deadline day despite the trade rumors circulating goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. General Manager Garth Snow has said that he wants to re-sign Nabokov and the 36-year-old keeper is open to staying on Long Island. Al Montoya was the puck-stopper reported to be in play, but nothing materialized on that front. New York wasn't idle on February 27th though, as they sent spare defenseman Mike Mottau and veteran winger Brian Rolston to Boston for a pair of minor-leaguers.