- D Yandle to NYR
The Skinny: The deadlines blockbuster deal saw the offensively-gifted blue-liner, Keith Yandle, dealt to the Eastern Conference Champion NY Rangers for a promising prospect in Anthony Duclair, alongside valuable picks, a first and second rounder. Yandle solidifies New York’s defense as the best in the East.
Takeaway: If defense wins championships, and Rick Nash can prove he’s worth a damn in postseason action, the New York Rangers look good to hoist Lord Stanley.
The Skinny: You can’t replace Patrick Kane. The Hawks have won two cups in the past five seasons, so they’d be foolish not to try, right? The veteran center man, Vermette; who plays a two-way game, wins face-offs, and has some solid playoff experience–could fit in well with a team that will undoubtedly lift his offensive production.
Takeaway: No one can replace Patrick Kane.
- D Wisniewski traded to Ducks
The Skinny: The Blue Jackets moved the offensive-minded defensemen along with his big contract to the Ducks. Often injured and frequently suspect to defensive shortcomings, the power play specialist is heading to Anaheim for the second time in his professional career.
Takeaway: Anaheim, the hottest NHL team, is poised to take a run at Lord Stanley’s Cup. If the “Wiz Kid” can produce to his abilities the Ducks appear deadly.
The Skinny: Depth at the center position combined with outstanding goaltending are postseason-success prerequisites. The Islanders added both as spotty, yet potentially long term injuries to Grabovski and stud goal -scoring winger Kyle Okposo needed filling.
Takeaway: NY Islander starting goaltender Jaro Halak will break the Islanders record of most wins in a season, previously held by legend Billy Smith during the Islander glory days in the 80’s. He will need some rest as the Islander plan on winning a few playoff rounds…welcome aboard to a more-than-capable backup in Michael Neuvirth.
The Skinny: In his 15th NHL season, spanning four teams, the quick and crafty skater with hands has consistently put up solid numbers. Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “I’ve been watching Erik play now for the last probably 12, 13 years and this might have been one of his best years he’s had. He’s been a big part of our team.”
Takeaway: The Detroit cup-window is closing with the “core four,” aging stars manning the fort. In return the wings uncharacteristically surrendered two Swedish draft prospects. It seems a new “core four” of late-round draft picks is the future of Detroit.
- LW Glencross dealt east to Washington
The Skinny: The gritty winger has been averaging nearly 35 points a season in his seven year tenure with the Flames. The 31-year-old’s ice time has waned to under 15 minutes per game over the most recent ten. Due for a change of scenery the Washington Capitals valued him highly exchanging two picks, a 2015 second and third rounder.
Takeaway: The addition will be worth a watch on a veteran, character-rooted Eastern contender.
- RW Stewart Finally Traded
The Skinny: Amid trade speculation, the power-forward was one of the last deals made prior to the deadline. His physical presence and offensive production are playoff-quality traits the rebuilding Sabers needed to trim for draft picks.
Takeaway: Minnesota’s additions of Stewart and Jordan Leopold, a depth defenseman, will hopefully stamp the Wild as a playoff team, as scary California clubs are right on their tail to squeeze into the playoffs.
- RW Connolly and C Talbot to Beantown
The Skinny: Injuries and miscalculated trades have crippled a Bruins team that has been to the cup finals twice in the most recent five years, winning it all in 2011. The Bruins are hoping they can find a hidden gem in Connolly, the sixth overall pick in 2010, eager for a fresh start.
Takeaway: It’s not the smash-hit trade Boston fans expected by any stretch. Bottom six center men Talbot, a proven winner, may not have the ability to energize an old locker room 60 plus games into the season.
- Florida adds Hall of Famer RW Jaromir Jagr
The Skinny: Young NHL players love Jagr, he won two Stanley Cups before many of them were born. Incredible work ethic, on-ice execution, leadership and elite level hockey IQ are just some of the things Jagr brings to a young and promising Florida team.
Takeaway: The Panthers have plenty of picks and are two points shy of obtaining a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. If Florida can squeak in, the sole experience of playoff-hockey will do wonders for their young talent under Jagr’s tutelage.
- LA adds D Andrej Sekera
The Skinny: The Kings and Hawks are hungry to achieve dynasty status under their current rosters, seeking a third cup in a span of under six years. Sekera brings experience, mobility and strength to a defensive corps steered by defensive prodigy Drew Doughty.
Takeaway: The Kings are three points outside a playoff spot with 20 games remaining. If the defending champs can get in, all bets are off; they’re contenders, even favorites.