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NHL Trade Deadline: Buyers’ Market, But No Great Big Spenders

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers takes the ice for warm-ups prior to making his Rangers debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. St. Louis was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan and two draft packs earlier Wednesday ahead of the NHL's trade deadline.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers takes the ice for warm-ups prior to making his Rangers debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. St. Louis was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan and two draft packs earlier Wednesday ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline.

Martin St. Louis got his wish. Ryan Kesler did not. And Thomas Vanek will be learning a new language this spring if he doesn’t already speak French.

Those were the three biggest storylines coming out of the NHL’s annual Trade Deadline Day on Wednesday.

Larry Fisher
Larry Fisher

St. Louis had asked for a trade out of Tampa Bay after being snubbed by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman in the initial selection process for Canada’s Olympic team. The reigning Art Ross winner as league scoring champion from last year’s lockout-shortened season was later added to Canada’s roster when Tampa teammate Steven Stamkos was ruled out in his attempted recovery from a broken leg. Despite the fact that Canada went on to win gold, St. Louis never forgave Yzerman and still wanted out. His preferred destination was the New York Rangers and he had a no-movement clause to make such demands.

Early Wednesday morning, with the very first trade of deadline day, Yzerman made that a reality by bidding farewell to St. Louis in a swap of captains that returned Rangers leader Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2014 second-round draft pick to Tampa Bay. If the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference final this year, that 2014 pick is upgraded to a first-rounder.

Meanwhile, Kesler is staying put in Vancouver — at least for now. The powerful two-way centre was the biggest fish on the market after it was reported last week that Kesler had also asked to be traded. He vehemently denied those revelations at practice the following day, but the Canucks were very much shopping him or at least entertaining offers over the last seven days if not longer.

In the end, despite Pittsburgh’s best efforts and what the Penguins considered a “substantial offer”, Vancouver decided to keep Kesler. Who made that decision is now a matter of debate, with some speculation that Vancouver ownership blocked a blockbuster orchestrated by Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and Penguins counterpart Ray Shero. Another report had Kesler refusing to waive his no-trade clause on Tuesday, nixing a different deal to the Rangers.

Ultimately, Roberto Luongo was right when the now former (yes, former) Canucks goaltender said something to the effect of: “Whether he wants to go or he wants to stay, he’s not going anywhere. We all know how this ends.”

It’s true, everybody is familiar with these festering situations in Vancouver, and the finger-pointing has probably already commenced. Thing is, unlike Luongo, Kesler’s contract doesn’t suck — it’s actually quite the bargain — and he’s leading all NHL forwards in ice-time per game, so Gillis has no real excuse for not making the most of this opportunity. It will be very interesting to see how this one plays out — whether Kesler can help the Canucks make the playoffs and possibly smooth things over, or whether it will get worse before it gets better with an ugly ending full of hard feelings.

Then, there’s Vanek, who did get dealt but not until after the deadline — well past the 11th hour, anyway. File this one under better late than never for all parties — Vanek, his former team, the New York Islanders who had paid a ransom to pry him out of Buffalo earlier this season, and, most importantly, his new team. That being, Les Habitants — or the Montreal Canadiens for all the non-francophone, non-bilinguals out there, possibly including Vanek himself.

The well travelled Austrian winger, who came to Alberta as a teenager to develop his hockey skills and also spent time at the University of Minnesota en route to Buffalo and then Long Island, is now going to call Quebec home.

The Canadiens came out of left field for most tracking the Vanek sweepstakes, with the sniper’s destination fully expected to be California — any of the three teams within that state would have been less surprising than Montreal. And it’s not like the asking price was overly steep — essentially a quality prospect, with the Islanders taking back Sebastien Collberg from the Canadiens. Providing Montreal makes the playoffs, the teams will also then swap draft picks this June, with the Islanders getting a second for a fifth. That’s peanuts for a two-time 40-goal scorer, even if he comes with an expensive contract and is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Overall, there were 20 trades completed on deadline day involving 25 teams, 38 players and 23 draft picks. That followed 10 trades on the eve of the deadline involving 13 teams, 19 players and 10 draft picks. All total, including the week leading up to the deadline, which featured arguably the biggest deal of all with Ryan Miller moving from Buffalo to St. Louis, there were 34 trades involving 28 teams, 68 players and 36 draft picks — not to mention nearly $100 million in salaries.

Only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets sat on their hands over the last seven days, seemingly content with their current rosters. Every other team made at least a minor tweak here or there — be it as sellers or buyers, or as tweeners, of which there are plenty with the standings as close as they are this season.

Goaltenders were the hottest commodity, with Miller and Luongo the biggest names among the dozen on the move — well, technically it was only 11 as Jaroslav Halak moved twice, first to Buffalo for Miller and then on to Washington at the deadline.

It was definitely a buyers’ market, yet some of the top contenders were merely window shopping and wound up standing pat for the most part — Chicago, Boston, Anaheim, San Jose and Pittsburgh specifically.

The rentals were valued much lower than usual — perhaps the lowest in history. From Vanek to Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson to Ales Hemsky, none of them could fetch a first-rounder for their former teams. Mike Cammalleri and Ray Whitney, among others, didn’t even end up with new addresses.

That had to be surprising and more so disappointing to the sellers, when much lesser talents have brought much greater returns in recent years. Paul Gaustad went for a first-rounder just two deadlines ago, and going further back, Ryan Smyth netted Edmonton a first-rounder (15th overall) and two then-hyped prospects in Robert Nilsson and Ryan O’Marra at the 2007 deadline.

Nowadays, the aforementioned Hemsky could only land the Oilers a fifth-rounder this year and third-rounder next year. My, how the times have changed.

Past that, this year’s deadline was rather predictable with no real stunners or head-scratchers to speak of. Luongo’s trade back to Florida the previous day was the biggest shocker, but only because it finally happened after such a long time coming — 22 months to be exact. Kesler won’t likely have to wait that long for his ticket out of Vancouver, but time will tell on that front.

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As I did during the Olympics, I live tweeted Wednesday’s trade deadline and, for those interested, here is that mash-up of thoughts courtesy my Twitter feed (LarryFisher_KDC):

Feb. 28

1:15 p.m. = I’m a bit surprised we haven’t seen more #NHL trades immediately after the Olympic break, but it’s all about timing and, of course, money!

1:17 p.m. = It may seem like pinching pennies but with salary cap as tight as it is for teams this year, they have to wait til next Wednesday’s deadline.

1:18 p.m. = With every passing day and every game played, the player’s contract and cap hit goes down on pro-rated scale and they become more affordable.

1:19 p.m. = So especially for the pending UFA rental types, it makes sense for the buyers to wait until the last minute before signing off on deals.

1:20 p.m. = I’m sure there are plenty of handshake agreements behind the scenes already, and some players likely even know where they are moving to.

1:21 p.m. = But for fans, and even NHL “insiders”, the next five days or so will be a waiting game. Once the floodgates open though, it should be wild!

1:25 p.m. = I did a pre-deadline blog a few days ago and most my predictions/guesses seem to be gaining traction with insiders: Trade Deadline Targets.

March 1

5:20 a.m. = Brace for a busy #NHL trade deadline with 25+ deals and 60+ players moving. Here are my predictions.

March 2

12:19 p.m. = @EdmontonOilers damned if they do, damned if they don’t at #NHL trade deadline, according to @OdlawDeraj: Oilers at Deadline.

1:35 p.m. = Retweet Boring Sean Monahan ‏@boringmonahan: “The NHL trade deadline is next Wednesday. If a team wants to make a trade on Thursday they won’t be able to because it’s past the deadline.”

March 3

3:30 a.m. = Guest blogger @JesseGill3 looks back on last year’s #NHL trade deadline and analyzes the winners and losers: 2013 Deadline.

3:32 a.m. = Guest blogger @JesseGill3 also delivered a blast from the past by revisiting the 1980 #NHL trade deadline: 1980 Deadline.

March 4

11:07 a.m. = Wow, #NHL trade winds starting to blow today. Out with Ilya Bryzgalov (to Wild for 4th), in with Viktor Fasth (from Ducks) for Oilers.

11:08 a.m. = Retweet: Rob Tychkowski ‏@Sun_Tychkowski: “Oilers start season with Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera. Finish it with Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth. Big check mark for MacTavish.”

11:13 a.m. = Fasth has 1 year left on his contract so safe to assume the Oilers start next season with a Fasth-Scrivens platoon as 1a/1b. That order TBD.

11:15 a.m. = Still awaiting word on what the Ducks got in return for Fasth, but regardless one must tip the hat to Craig MacTavish for improving goalies!

11:17 a.m. = Looks like the Oilers gave up 2 picks for Fasth — a 5th this year and 3rd next year — so again I reiterate that this is solid work by MacT.

11:18 a.m. = That said, neither Fasth nor Scrivens is a “proven” starter — both have potential to be, but time will tell if either actually can be.

11:24 a.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Enjoy McDavid with that tandem!! Haha” — “time will tell, I’m not getting ahead of myself but I also don’t think this tandem is 2nd coming of Ty Conklin-Jussi Markkanen.”

11:29 a.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Fasth has 30 games of NHL experience, is 31 years old and has severe groin issues. And 2.9 mil. Better hope Scrivens works!” — “meh, Fasth only has 1 year left on his contract. I’m cautiously optimistic this platoon could work. … Plus only $5.2 million for both on short-term deals, so still cheaper than your team’s backup #Luongo … I think Oilers are very high on Laurent Brossoit and believe he could be backup/1b type in 2 years if Fasth doesn’t pan out. … that said I do personally wish they would have acquired a legit proven No. 1 starter for next season (Miller/Hiller/Halak//Ward).”

11:35 a.m. = Retweet @colinpriestner: “Obviously Oilers have upgraded from beginning of the year in net, but 88 combined total NHL games played for a “1a, 1b” duo scares me.”

12:20 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Idiotic move imo. Why spend 5.2mil on two backups when theres a lot of good starters available as UFAs. MacT is out of it.” — “Time will tell…for now, let’s turn our attention to the man, the myth, the legend Mike Gillis and see what he gets for Kesler! … Canucks could be one of the more interesting teams over the next 24 hours (deadline technically less than 24 hours away). … I still think my Nucks-Flyers prediction of Kesler+Edler for Couturier+B Schenn+Meszaros/L Schenn could come to fruition!”

2:33 p.m. = Back on the computer and I see there’s been a trade involving some guy named Roberto Luongo…wonder if he’s happy with the move? #obviously

2:35 p.m. = Very interesting deal nevertheless…Vancouver sends Luongo and prospect Steve Anthony to Florida for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias.

2:36 p.m. = On one hand, Canucks rid themselves of Luongo’s contract. On other hand, their goaltending is suddenly worse/more suspect than the Oilers!

2:37 p.m. = The Canucks might not be done and I doubt they are, but as of this second, I’d gladly take Fasth-Scrivens over Lack-Markstrom going forward!

2:38 p.m. = I predicted this would be a busy trade deadline for goaltenders, but Luongo wasn’t really on my radar. Thought he was “stuck” in Vancouver.

2:40 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Lack has been way better than luongo this year so far and we traded an immovable asset for two actual assets. Incredible.” — “that’s one way of looking at it, but you have two goaltenders even less proven than Edmonton and Matthias isn’t a big scorer. … to me, you just traded an Olympic-calibre goaltender in the prime of his career for a struggling prospect goalie and 3rd liner.”

2:59 p.m. = I wonder if Luongo and Thomas will pump each other’s tires now? … You know, as potential teammates if Thomas isn’t moved by deadline.

3:03 p.m. = Which Western Canadian team has best goalies? Flames with Ramo-Berra-Ortio; Oilers with Scrivens-Fasth; Canucks with Lack-Markstrom-Eriksson.

3:09 p.m. = Oilers tandem combines for 88 career games played; Flames trio has 82 and Canucks trio has 69. All have “potential” so time will tell!

3:24 p.m. = CORRECTION: Flames goalies have 93 career starts, Oilers 78 and Canucks 59. Still good debate which of 6 becomes the best. per @JasonGregor

5:10 p.m. = Retweet James Mirtle ‏@mirtle: “Here are the cap penalties from Roberto Luongo’s contract for the Canucks if he retires early. Could be really ugly (See the Evidence)

5:15 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “we traded a 35 year old goalie with eight years left on his contract. Shocking anyone gave us anything besides an anchor” — “true, but see my last retweet from Mirtle…this is still going to cost/haunt Vancouver for years to come! #notoffthebooks”

6:09 p.m. = What are the chances Eddie Lack turns up the SUCK starting tonight? Or suffers career-ending injury? #Canucks #karma

6:49 p.m. = In reply to: Randy MacMillan ‏@randymac83 “Oiler goalie controversy not over yet…maybe #camward” — “Oh…where you hearing that? I was envisioning Ward-Scrivens hometown tandem all along but figured that ship sailed with Fasth? … I can’t see Oilers getting as much for Fasth as what they gave up or see them risk losing him for nothing on waivers. #alldone” — ‏@randymac83 “only hoping man..only hoping” — “I can’t see it anymore. Here’s hoping Fasth pans out and Scrivens keeps this up because I was in favour of buying low on Ward!”

7:03 p.m. = Am I the only #Oilers enthusiast that is nervous about Hemsky tonight? Seeing him take that penalty hit from Ceci was scary. #tradewatch

7:07 p.m. = On second thought, maybe just maybe, Hemsky is increasing his trade value by playing and he’ll make it out of tonight healthy! #hereshoping

7:08 p.m. = Retweet Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec: “That was vintage Hemsky. He’s made that move dozens of times in EDM. Still has the wheels — ask Chris Phillips.”

7:54 p.m. = Holy Ales! If this is his last Oilers game, it’s been a dandy! And Edmonton will certainly miss him, class act and fun to watch!

7:57 p.m. = PS: Sit Hemsky for the rest of this one, send him to the room, no need risking injury in hopes of a hat trick. He’s worth a 1st right now jk

8:08 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Kesler for Hemsky e5” — “maybe if Gillis throws in Edler..my sources are saying Hemsky for Weber and a 2nd right now. Or possibly straight up for Crosby!”

March 5

12:06 a.m. = With the #NHL trade deadline now just 12 hours away, here’s where we stand: 13 trades involving 15 teams, 27 players and 13 draft picks.

12:07 a.m. = That’s starting with Miller to St. Louis. On the eve of the deadline we saw 10 trades involving 13 teams, 19 players and 10 draft picks. Here are my thoughts on the deals so far.

12:13 a.m. = Ryan Miller is 2-0 already with the Blues, beating playoff contenders Phoenix and Tampa Bay, and Steve Ott is fitting in just fine there too.

12:14 a.m. = Time will tell on that deal once Buffalo’s return is finalized, but living in the here and now, St. Louis did very well. #muchclosertoCup

12:18 a.m. = No real comments on the 3 minor-leaguer swaps of Winchester(Min)-Connelly(Chi), Mancari(Fla)-Selleck(StL), Mullen(Ott)-Costello(Van).

12:21 a.m. = Florida getting last year’s AHL scoring champ Brandon Pirri from Chicago for 2 picks (3rd in 2014, 5th in 2016) could be a steal. #camecheap

12:25 a.m. = The Pirri deal really reminds me of when Chicago plucked Patrick Sharp from Philadephia for Matt Ellison and a 3rd-round pick in 2006.

12:28 a.m. = Montreal getting D Mike Weaver from Florida for a 5th round pick seems like a smart depth move. Could be under-rated pickup and came cheap.

12:34 a.m. = Washington dealing for Dustin Penner took me by surprise. Only cost a 4th (to Anaheim), so low-risk and could be high-reward. #couldbe

12:39 a.m. = Edmonton got a 4th from Minnesota for Ilya Bryzgalov. Nice return for a guy who couldn’t even get contract prior to season. #signingpaidoff

12:40 a.m. = From Minnesota perspective, Bryzgalov is nice insurance policy/partner for rookie Darcy Kuemper. Bryz has playoff experience and came cheap! … or at least cheaper than what the other goalies rumoured to be available likely would have cost — that being Halak+Brodeur+Thomas, etc.

12:43 a.m. = I already covered the bases on Edmonton acquiring Viktor Fasth from Anaheim for 2 picks, but I’m lukewarm to moderately warm on that move.

12:44 a.m. = Oilers didn’t need to make that move right now. Could’ve waited until off-season and weighed all options, with assumption Fasth still avail.

12:45 a.m. = Might have jumped the gun and are now going with 2 inexperienced tenders as tandem rather than signing proven starter via free agency.

12:46 a.m. = This was a good off-season to land a true No. 1 goalie as UFA: Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, Jaroslav Halak, Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, etc.

12:47 a.m. = Cam Ward as another option with local (Sherwood Park) boy rumoured to be available via trade from Carolina. Those are all more “sure thing”.

12:50 a.m. = But they also all would cost a LOT more in terms of salary. Scrivens-Fasth only $5.2 mil combined cap hit and $5.7 salary. #bargainshopping

12:52 a.m. = Moving on, Anaheim (conditionally) flipped the 4th it got for Penner to Dallas for D Stephane Robidas. He’s been hurt but nice depth guy.

12:53 a.m. = Ducks also cleared a good chunk of salary by dealing Penner and Fasth, which allows them to take a run at Penner upgrade — perhaps Vanek.

12:56 a.m. = Anaheim also rumoured to be in on Kesler, Moulson, Gaborik, Cammalleri, Hemsky, among others. Ducks aren’t done. #plentytochoosefrom #buyers

12:59 a.m. = Philadelphia dealt a couple decent picks (3rd this year, 2nd next year) to the Islanders for D Andrew MacDonald. #deepgetdeeperonD

1:00 a.m. = That hashtag says it all, I felt Flyers were in good shape on back end with Luke Schenn and Meszaros both being healthy scratches at times.

1:02 a.m. = But by bringing in MacDonald, arguably a slight upgrade on those 2 and better option for 2nd PP, have to think at least 1 D leaving Philly.

1:03 a.m. = Meszaros is pending UFA rumoured on block, same dealio as MacDonald, so chances are Meszaros is sent packing to recoup one of those picks.

1:05 a.m. = That or Flyers have something bigger — MUCH bigger — brewing with multiple pieces moving, which wouldn’t shock me either. #tradewindsblowing

1:06 a.m. = Then there was the big one from Tuesday, with Vancouver sending Luongo back to Florida for Shawn Matthias and Jacob Markstrom. #finally

1:07 a.m. = Canucks fans seem split on that trade and the return — some love it, others hate it — and I’m on the fence. #byebyeBobbyLuo

1:09 a.m. = On one hand, Canucks ridded themselves of Luongo’s contract and drama, but Panthers definitely got the best (current) player in the deal.

1:10 a.m. = Worth noting, Markstrom was just named AHL goaltender of the month so he’s rebounding from rough start to season and has high potential.

1:11 a.m. = Matthias is a centre with size who likely needed change of scenery as well. Both are former 1st-round picks that are underachieving so far.

1:12 a.m. = The real strange thing is that in a matter of 7 months the Canucks got rid of Schneider and Luongo and are now left with Eddie Lack as No. 1.

1:14 a.m. = “Time will tell” applies to all trades, but especially this Luongo one. If Lack-Markstrom tandem pans out, Canucks can still be winners too.

1:16 a.m. = Chicago came out of left field to land D David Rundblad (and prospect D Mathieu Brisebois) from Phoenix for a 2nd this year. #anotherbuylow

1:17 a.m. = Rundblad was VERY hyped when he crossed the pond, drawing comparisons to Erik Karlsson, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations so far.

1:18 a.m. = Yet, for some reason, I wouldn’t bet against Rundblad finding a role with Blackhawks and developing into solid contributor sooner than later.

1:19 a.m. = Washington granted Martin Erat his trade request, sending him and John Mitchell to Phoenix for Chris Brown, Rostislav Klesla and a 2015 4th.

1:21 a.m. = I half expected the Coyotes to go bigger and try to land Vanek, but Erat seems like the typical Phoenix move that will pay decent dividends.

1:22 a.m. = Erat and Mitchell definitely make the Coyotes deeper up front, while Klesla had been related to minors this season and Brown is still AHLer.

1:24 a.m. = That said, I think it’s a fair trade and all 4 players could benefit/prosper with their new teams. Especially Erat, who should be motivated.

1:26 a.m. = For those wondering, my trade predictions aren’t exactly coming to fruition (yet) but I did predict 28 total trades and we’re halfway there!

1:29 a.m. = Player-wise, from the 24 trades I predicted: Miller, Ott, Rundblad, Pirri, Fasth, Bryzgalov, MacDonald, Erat and Weaver have all been dealt.

1:32 a.m. = So I correctly predicted 9 of the players moved so far, but only Miller went to team I proposed. MacDonald, Weaver went for similar value to different teams.

1:35 a.m. = I’ve also lost Brad Boyes (re-signed in Florida), David Jones (hurt 3+ weeks) and Anton Belov (hurt 2+ weeks) from my list. #notlookinggood

1:36 a.m. = A lot of my other “big” ones also seem doubtful. Halak not going to Minnesota now with Bryzgalov there. Vanek doubtful to Phoenix …

1:38 a.m. = Callahan sounding closer and closer to re-signing with Rangers, and my Cam Ward for Evander Kane swap has been shot down over and over.

1:40 a.m. = Past that, my list looks quite bleak — definitely not holding breath for Tyler Myers to Calgary or Sam Gagner to Chicago.

1:42 a.m. = That doesn’t leave much, but my top trade still possible: Nucks send Kesler+Edler to Flyers for B Schenn, Couturier and Meszaros/L Schenn.

1:45 a.m. = Maybe this one: Buffalo trades Ehrhoff and Moulson to San Jose for Matt Nieto, Daniil Tarasov, 2014 1st-rounder and 2015 3rd-rounder.

1:46 a.m. = Or this one has potential still: Buffalo trades Chris Stewart to Ottawa for Colin Greening and Matt Puempel. #soundsrealistic

1:47 a.m. = My proposed deal fell apart but I could still see Hemsky and Nick Schultz to Washington, maybe for Dmitry Orlov and a 2nd? #seemsfairenough

1:48 a.m. = If Legwand moves I still think Detroit is a front-runner and I suggested Riley Sheahan and 2nd as return. Wings fans hated it! #overpayment?

1:50 a.m. = I also had Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri to Pittsburgh for Simon Despres and 2014 1st. Dallas’ Ray Whitney to L.A. for Linden Vey and 2014 3rd.

1:51 a.m. = Then 2 more minor ones involving Calgary — Lee Stempniak to Montreal for Dalton Thrower; Chris Butler to Colorado for 2014 3rd-rounder.

1:52 a.m. = And I no longer like my initial proposal, but I could see Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth or Ryan Jones ending up in Toronto for a late/conditional pick.

1:53 a.m. = The “seller” GMs have voiced concerns that “rentals” are being “undervalued” and I likely “overvalued” them in my list so that backfired.

1:54 a.m. = But, hey, we still have 10 hours to go until the deadline and it’s going to be a wild morning with lots more activity in my opinion.

1:55 a.m. = We could totally see some more surprises, maybe even more Luongo-esque blockbusters. Should be a fun day! #holddownthecouchifyoucan

1:56 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@gregorhinterer “you think, that vanek will go to phoenix? not anaheim?” — “that was my original prediction but Phoenix cheaped/chickened out with Erat. Vanek is going to California, not sure on team.” — ‏@gregorhinterer “i hope it will be the ducks…great team: getzla, perry, hiller. runf for the cup.” — “They have cap space now, so Ducks will be getting somebody in the morning — Vanek/Kesler/Moulson/Gaborik/Cammalleri/Hemsky/Stafford”

1:57 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@gregorhinterer “this sounds good (Kesler to Philadelphia deal)” — “it’s funny, half Nucks fans love it and half hate it. Similar split reaction from Flyers fans. Tells me it must be fair!” — ‏@gregorhinterer “in my opinion: for kesler/edler – bring L. schenn/meszaro to vancouver. everybody will be happy.” — “be careful with the use of “everybody” because my feedback suggests a LOT of fans would “riot” over that kind of trade!”

1:59 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “Buffalo would keep Stewart before moving him for that package.” — “Makes sense and Bobby Mac says Ottawa-Buffalo talks have cooled on Stewart, so thinking that type of package already rejected.”

2:01 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “it was a risk for Chi. They develop 2nd rounders well. Obviously have faith in Rundblad.” — “I agree. Apparently Rundblad was 17th overall, one pick after Nick Leddy so they were probably debating between the 2 back then. … Chicago isn’t quite as good as Detroit when it comes to “rich get richer” but I think Stan Bowman and his henchmen are competent.”

2:03 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “Washington lightened themselves of gritless finesse players. Maybe Stewart fits best there. They need a Callahan type.” — “possibly, but can’t really see it with J Ward, Chimera, Brouwer, Laich, Fehr and your boy Tom Wilson, plus Penner now. #whoknows”

2:04 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “I think the return on Cammalleri will surprise most (low).” — “I think you might be right…same with Hemsky. I put those two very close with Moulson but seems like most teams prefer Moulson.”

2:05 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “Sheahan is big part of Wings future. Legwand probably stays. He’s rumored to go every year.” — “Also true, but Legwand is UFA this time around so that changes things. If no extension tomorrow, then anything is possible. … I didn’t realize the Wings (and their fans) were so high on Sheahan. Sounds like he’s a keeper there, even over other young guns.”

9:46 a.m. = Slept in, feeling shame, but ready to get this party started! #whatdidImiss? #ohboy #blockbuster

9:47 a.m. = Callahan wouldn’t meet Glenn Sather’s contract demands and that results in Rangers and Lightning swapping captains. St. Louis gets his wish!

9:50 a.m. = That deal was Ryan Callahan, NYR’s 2015 1st-rounder and a conditional 2nd rounder to Tampa for Martin St. Louis. Big shakeup for both teams.

9:53 a.m. = That’s a fair trade, Lightning got good value for St. Louis, who is a better offensive player than Callahan and has a year left on contract.

9:55 a.m. = For this year, as long as St. Louis fits in well with new linemates and Vigneault’s coaching system, it should be short-term win for NYR!

9:56 a.m. = Oilers didn’t wait until last minute to deal Ales Hemsky, getting a 3rd in 2015 and 5th in 2014 from Ottawa for pending UFA forward.

9:58 a.m. = My guess is the Senators were boarding a plane out of Edmonton and it was now or never for Hemsky to join them on the flight.

10:00 a.m. = Hemsky scored twice in a 3-2 win over Ottawa last night, so Bryan Murray and Paul MacLean had first-hand look at player they were getting.

10:00 a.m. = That said, if I’m MacT and that’s the best the Sens are offering, I tear up Hemsky’s plane ticket and tell him to catch a different flight!

10:01 a.m. = My bad, Ottawa is just down the QE2 in Calgary tonight…somebody flag down a cab for Hemsky! #hedeservesalimo #trooper

10:02 a.m. = Hemsky should have been worth more, but rentals have been going cheap so far. I think somebody would have blinked and gave a 2nd for him.

10:02 a.m. = MacT has never been the patient type — for better or worse — and he did get the picks back that he traded for Fasth but opposite years.

10:03 a.m. = Poor Hemsky tho, I don’t see Ottawa winning the Cup (or possibly even making playoffs) this year, so not the trade he was hoping for!

10:04 a.m. = And I thought MacT would do the guy a favour after all those losing years in Edmonton and trade him to a legit contender like Pittsburgh.

10:06 a.m. = Hemsky should be a nice fit on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, but is he enough to put the Sens over the top? Definitely not.

10:07 a.m. = You can probably call that a win for Otttawa as long as Hemsky stays healthy and relatively productive in nation’s capital. #mixedemotions

10:10 a.m. = In an intriguing trade, L.A. acquired D Brayden McNabb and 2 picks (both 2nds) from Buffalo for F Hudson Fasching and D Nicolas Deslauriers.

10:18 a.m. = Deslauriers and McNabb are the same age (23), Deslauriers is having the better AHL season statistically, but McNabb arguably better prospect.

10:20 a.m. = Hudson Fasching was really hyped when younger, now 18 and having good freshman year at University of Minnesota. Sabres had picks to spare!

10:21 a.m. = That’s a fair trade, but will be a fun one to follow going forward. Won’t be able to declare a winner for a few years!

10:22 a.m. = Montreal acquires G Devan Dubnyk from Nashville for future considerations. Dubnyk is an insurance policy with Carey Price currently hurt.

10:24 a.m. = Dubnyk will take some of the workload off Peter Budaj as an experienced NHLer, but I personally think Dustin Tokarski is every bit as good.

10:25 a.m. = Not sure what happened to Dubnyk this year, his game hit rock bottom and he’s pending UFA. He won’t likely be in Montreal for long either.

10:27 a.m. = Another big fish has just recently moved with Marian Gaborik landing in Los Angeles. No word on return for Columbus as of yet.

10:28 a.m. = Almost caught up here now…Gaborik should be good fit among LA’s top 9 forwards, likely to play alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams!

10:30 a.m. = Columbus gets Matt Frattin and 2 draft picks for Gaborik. Decent return, I’m fan of Frattin but never fit in LA, was part of J Bernier deal.

10:32 a.m. = Hearing Hemsky will in fact make Sens debut tonight in Calgary. No rest for the wicked! Will be weird not having Hemsky in future Battle of Alberta!

10:33 a.m. = With an hour and a half to go before deadline, tons of speculation out there. Kesler and Vanek are still the biggest names that we know of!

10:34 a.m. = Of course several trades will trickle in after the deadline as they always do, but I fully expect business to pick up real soon now.

10:36 a.m. = Gaborik garnered a 2nd and 3rd (plus Frattin) so does that bring Vanek asking price down or drive it up? They are somewhat similar players.

10:39 a.m. = I’d personally prefer Vanek and pay more for him because Gaborik is injury prone. But rentals going cheaper than in past and than expected.

10:39 a.m. = Matt Moulson and Mike Cammalleri are two other rentals that are almost guaranteed to go somewhere and no shortage of buyers still shopping.

10:42 a.m. = Retweet ‏@JasonGregor: “Sam Gagner is now the only player on the #Oilers who was on the team at the end of the 2009/2010 season. Complete overhaul in 4 years.”

10:49 a.m. = In reply to: Landon Carriere ‏@agentfortyfour “great return (for Hemsky)” — “great return would have been 1st rounder and a prospect like other rentals have brought in years past. It’s a sell-low year! … rentals usually bring more. Remember pending UFA Ryan Smyth brought Edmonton a 1st+Nilsson+O’Marra! That package didn’t turn out to be much, pick was 15th overall (Alex Plante), but boy did it look good on paper at the time!”

10:50 a.m. = Pittsburgh just acquired Marcel Goc from Florida for picks (3rd and 5th) — yes, same value as Hemsky. #drawyourownconclusions

10:52 a.m. = Apparently Dubnyk has already been demoted to Hamilton (AHL) so Tokarski will get extended look with the Canadiens.

10:53 a.m. = Also lost in the shuffle today, Cory Conacher was claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Sabres from the Ottawa Senators. Little guy with skill.

10:54 a.m. = Back to Goc, he’s not nearly the offensive talent as Hemsky but could fit a different need for Pens, especially if they deal B Sutter today.

10:55 a.m. = Lots of talk that Pens are still hard after Kesler with B Sutter likely going to Vancouver. Philadelphia reportedly pulled out on Kesler.

10:56 a.m. = One report had Flyers offering Vincent Lecavalier and a 1st in 2015 for Kesler to which the Canucks (wisely) said “no thanks.”

10:57 a.m. = In reply to: Landon Carriere ‏@agentfortyfour “(Conacher claimed by Sabres) could be a steal” — “he’s upgrade on Omark, I’ll give him that, but don’t see Conacher repeating rookie season or becoming next Marty St. Louis!”

10:58 a.m. = Essentially an hour to go and still lots of so-called buyers sitting on their hands with no moves to mention. Expect that to change soon!

10:58 a.m. = New Jersey Devils are buyers! Well, they just “bought” pending UFA Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina. Return TBD.

10:59 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@DNefarious “(Tuomo Ruutu) not pending UFA Fish. Get your facts straight!” — “my bad and nice catch on your part…Tuomo Ruutu is NOT a pending UFA, he has 2 years left at $4.75 million cap hit. #notarental”

11:01 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@EricStansfield “Well here’s hoping the final hour and 11 minutes will bring some excitement (after sleeping in)” — “it typically does…I’m fully expecting 10-15 more moves, including Vanek and possibly Kesler #staytuned”

11:04 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “I wonder if it was the asking price or the NTC (keeping Kesler in Vancouver).” — “I’d think asking price but then again Kesler might be being picky…reportedly wouldn’t waive to Rangers last night, nixed deal!”

11:08 a.m. = Ruutu deal to Devils netted the Hurricanes centre Andrei Loktionov and a conditional 3rd rounder. To me, Ruutu is a keeper, but to each their own! #salarydump

11:23 a.m. = Tim Thomas to Dallas #DanEllisProblems

11:25 a.m. = Couple quick ones there: Tim Thomas to Dallas and Nick Schultz to Columbus, both for TBD pick(s). 2 fringe playoff teams buying #interesting

11:26 a.m. = Thomas and Luongo didn’t make sense together in Florida, and Thomas is upgrade over Ellis in case Lehtonen gets hurt in Dallas. Makes sense! #noneedtoplaynice

11:27 a.m. = I can’t imagine Dallas gave up more than a 7th or futures for Thomas given he’s a rental backup and Stars are outside playoff picture!

11:28 a.m. = Sounds like Nick Schultz returned a 3rd rounder for Edmonton, with the way rentals are going, that’s good value today!

11:32 a.m. = CORRECTION: Nick Schultz only netted a 5th not a 3rd…that sounds more like today’s market value #whysolow? #nogreatbigspenders

11:35 a.m. = I thought we’d see more “hockey deals” today or more Luongo-esque surprises. There’s still time, but it’s been pretty meh/bleh so far today!

11:37 a.m. = With all the talk of Boston wanting/needing a veteran defenceman, surprised the Bruins didn’t beat Columbus offer for Nick Schultz. #goodfit

11:38 a.m. = In reply to: Lauren Pullen @Lauren_Global’s Retweet: @BobMcKenzieeTSN “Ehrhoff and 2nd to Vancouver for Kesler” — “fake account #holdthepresses #notevenclose … Happens to the best of us!”

11:40 a.m. = Thomas to Dallas for Dan Ellis, who will become Roberto Luongo’s backup in Florida…not a #DanEllisProblem after all #welcometomiami #sunny

11:41 a.m. = 20 mins to go…any chance we still see 10+ trades? So many big names and rentals still in play, something has got to give #clockticking

11:46 a.m. = Retweet Ryan MacLeod ‏@RyanMacouver  “#BREAKING – Fake twitter account convinces all of Vancouver that Kesler has been traded.”

11:50 a.m. = Ahh, reason Bruins didn’t bite on Nick Schultz? They just got their man, Andrej Meszaros, from Philadelphia for a 3rd rounder.

11:51 a.m. = Meszaros is younger, more mobile and more offensive than Schultz. Should be a good fit for him in Boston.

11:52 a.m. = Flyers were able to get back one of the picks they gave Islanders for Andrew MacDonald yesterday, now got him for a 2nd+weak prospect.

11:55 a.m. = Is potential Kesler trade holding up Vanek, Moulson, Cammalleri etc deals? Have to think same buyers in on all of the above. #timerunningout

12:00 p.m. = Ding, ding, ding…trade deadline has officially passed. Unofficially, expect a dozen deals over next 2 hours. Well, not that many but some!

12:01 p.m. = Did Garth Snow’s antique fax machine break down or something? He absolutely had to deal Vanek for something/anything… #Ihearcrickets

12:02 p.m. = Retweet Jason Brough ‏@JasonPHT “Snow’s gonna trade Vanek for Uncle Rico’s time machine, isn’t he.”

12:03 p.m. = Canucks have made their move…wait for it…Raphael Diaz to New York Rangers for a 5th rounder. #notKesler #notyet

12:06 p.m. = Still sounds like Kesler to Pittsburgh is a possibility post-deadline. Gillis likes to leave stuff until last minute and Shero usually gets his man.

12:08 p.m. = Canucks maybe moved Diaz knowing they were getting a defenceman (Despres/Dumoulin) back from Penguins… #maybejustmaybe #graspingforstraws

12:09 p.m. = Aside from hearing Philadelphia bowed out of Kesler sweepstakes, I didn’t hear too many other teams seriously in running besides Pittsburgh.

12:10 p.m. = Sources say Sabres trade Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to Wild for picks and Torrey Mitchell. Better be some good picks. #poorsellers

12:12 p.m. = Sounding like Kesler is STAYING in Vancouver. Asking price was too high right now. #Luongowasright #freeKesler

12:14 p.m. = TSN now reporting Vanek is TRADED but nobody knows where he’s heading yet. Strangely Bobby Mac and Dreger haven’t broke much/anything today.

12:16 p.m. = Colorado acquires goaltender Reto Berra (pending UFA) from Calgary for TBD return. Not sure where he fits with Avs behind Varlamov-Giguere. … later informed Giguere is injured, out indefinitely.

12:16 p.m. = There will be late trades announced by the sounds of it, now hearing Detroit has landed David Legwand from Nashville, again return TBD.

12:18 p.m. = For the record, I predicted Legwand to Detroit…might have been my ONLY correct prediction out of 24 trades #betterlatethannever

12:21 p.m. = REPORT: Vancouver ownership might have nixed plans for trade that would have sent Kesler to Pens for “substantial offer” per @RobRossi_Trib

12:22 p.m. = Wowzers, that’s out of left field…Vanek to Montreal of all places! #offmyradar Now, we wait for return packages for Vanek and Legwand.

12:23 p.m. = Vanek will be a good fit in Montreal, should bolster Habs offence but I didn’t see that one coming at all. Not the usual buyers today.

12:24 p.m. = Vanek or not, I don’t see Montreal even making East final. Maybe that’s just me, but unless Price stands on his head, Habs in over heads.

12:26 p.m. = Return is believed to be a 2014 2nd rounder and prospect. Talk about buying low today. Steal of a deal for Montreal regardless of prospect.

12:31 p.m. = The prospect is supposedly Sebastien Collberg, he could be future stud, maybe even second-coming of Vanek BUT that’s definitely worth risk.

12:33 p.m. = If this is it, I can brag that I correctly predicted a total of 28 trade deadline (week) deals. Or is it 29 now? #closeenough #smallvictory

12:38 p.m. = Per @GMillerTSN, Red Wings gave up Patrick Eaves, a TBD prospect and a 3rd rounder to Predators for David Legwand.

12:39 p.m. = Here’s a late breaking one, Jaroslav Halak to Washington for TBD return. Nice pickup or insurance policy for Braden Holtby.

12:40 p.m. = Halak supplanted Carey Price in 2010, could he do the same to Braden Holtby in 2014? Does this make Halak the Caps starter/platoon/backup?

12:44 p.m. = Goalie Michal Neuvirth is heading back to Buffalo in the deal that sent Jaroslav Halak to Washington. Might be pick(s) included too.

12:45 p.m. = That goalie swap also makes sense for both teams considering where they are at in the present. Buffalo did decent at the deadline.

12:45 p.m. = Retweet Dan Murphy ‏@sportsnetmurph “I hope Ryan Kesler begins his media scrum today with…”My contract sucks”.”

12:49 p.m. = Sounding more and more like Mike Gillis is a puppet/yes-man/figurehead in Vancouver, with ownership calling most/all the shots for Canucks!

12:52 p.m. = I wonder what the Canucks roster would look like right now if Paul Holmgren was at helm with free reign on deadline day #forbetterorworse

12:53 p.m. = Retweet Dominic Abassi ‏@domplaybyplay “I don’t know what’s more confusing….Mike Gillis’ trading strategy or his neck-beard-goatee #Canucks #NHLTradeDeadline”

12:53 p.m. = Retweet ‏@coreylandsberg “Gillis making no new fans in Vancouver. Holding his crusty presser on a golf course after not making his team better today or ever.”

1:35 p.m. = Few more late updates on deals…Nashville gets C Calle Jarnkrok as prospect included in David Legwand deal. That’s a quality pick up.

1:36 p.m. = Predators got Filip Forsberg from Washington at last year’s deadline and now Calle Jarnkrok from Detroit this year, well played by them.

1:38 p.m. = The Halak-Neuvirth swap was expanded as Washington flipped D Rostislav Klesla to Buffalo for a 2014 3rd rounder. Looks real good for Caps.

1:39 p.m. = In a minor-league prospect swap, Anaheim acquired RW Andre Petersson from Ottawa for D Alex Grant. Both have potential to become NHLers.

1:40 p.m. = And last but not least, Pittsburgh acquired RW Lee Stempniak from Calgary for a 3rd rounder. Calgary also got 2nd rounder for Berra. #notbad

1:41 p.m. = Poor Pittsburgh if Stempniak is their consolation prize for Kesler but anything is better than nothing under the circumstances. #allshewrote

1:43 p.m. = FYI, the conditional 2nd in 2014 that went to Tampa Bay from the Rangers for Marty St. Louis turns into a 1st if Rangers make East final.

1:46 p.m. = There were also a couple trade-deadline acquisitions from within. The first is fact Steven Stamkos returns for Lightning on Thursday.

1:48 p.m. = The second has top forward prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov potentially joining the Washington Capitals real soon from the KHL. Could jump right in.

1:52 p.m. = In reply to: @shawn_w_smith “Going to be a long few years for Buffalo.” — “maybe, but they have great assets and awesome prospects coming up. If they do it right, they could be Cup contenders for sure”

1:53 p.m. = In reply to: Earl the Pearl ‏@WestmountWailer “well, (Halak’s) better than Holtby for sure. But I bet they go the “hot hand” approach until they find out for sure.” — “that’s kind of a slap in the face to Holtby…he was great in last year’s playoffs and even got audition for Olympic team. #healthycompetition”

3:05 p.m. = The draft picks in Vanek deal become official if Montreal makes playoffs — 2014 2nd to Islanders, 5th back to Canadiens. If not, no picks.

3:09 p.m. = Late trades just finalized: Tampa Bay sends C Dana Tyrell and D Matt Taormina to Columbus for LW Jonathan Marchessault and LW Dalton Smith.

3:13 p.m. = Potentially last and potentially least, Los Angeles acquires RW James Livingston from San Jose for conditional 2016 7th-rounder. #whocares

Trade Tracker

February 28

1) Minnesota acquires LW Brad Winchester from Chicago for D Brian Connelly.

2) St. Louis acquires G Ryan Miller and C Steve Ott from Buffalo for G Jaroslav Halak, RW Chris Stewart, LW William Carrier and a 2015 1st-round draft pick. Conditional picks are involved from both sides, presumably dependent on how far the Blues go in this year’s playoffs and whether Miller re-signs in St. Louis as an unrestricted free agent this off-season.

March 2

3) Florida acquires RW Mark Mancari from St. Louis for LW Eric Selleck.

4) Florida acquires C Brandon Pirri from Chicago for a 2014 3rd-round pick and a 2016 5th-round pick.

March 4

5) Montreal acquires D Mike Weaver from Florida for a 2015 5th-round pick.

6) Washington acquires LW Dustin Penner from Anaheim for a 2014 4th-round pick.

7) Minnesota acquires G Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton for a 2014 4th-round pick.

8) Edmonton acquires G Viktor Fasth from Anaheim for a 2014 5th-round pick and a 2015 3rd-round pick.

9) Anaheim acquires D Stephane Robidas from Dallas for a conditional 2014 4th-round pick.

10) Ottawa acquires D Patrick Mullen from Vancouver for LW Jeff Costello.

11) Philadelphia acquires D Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders for C Matt Mangene, a 2014 3rd-round pick and 2015 2nd-round pick.

12) Florida acquires G Roberto Luongo and LW Steven Anthony from Vancouver for G Jacob Markstrom and C Shawn Matthias.

13) Chicago acquires D David Rundblad and D Mathieu Brisebois from Phoenix for a 2014 2nd-round pick.

14) Phoenix acquires RW Martin Erat and C John Mitchell from Washington for RW Chris Brown, D Rostislav Klesla and a 2015 4th-round pick.

March 5

15) New York Rangers acquire RW Martin St. Louis from Tampa Bay for RW Ryan Callahan, a 2015 1st-round pick and a conditional 2014 2nd-round pick.

16) Ottawa acquires RW Ales Hemsky from Edmonton for a 2015 3rd-round pick and 2014 5th-round pick.

17) Los Angeles acquires D Brayden McNabb, RW Jonathan Parker, a 2014 2nd-round pick and 2015 2nd-round pick from Buffalo for RW Hudson Fasching and D Nicolas Deslauriers.

18) Montreal acquires G Devan Dubnyk from Nashville for future considerations.

19) Los Angeles acquires RW Marian Gaborik from Columbus for RW Matt Frattin, a 2nd-round pick and conditional 3rd-round pick.

20) Pittsburgh acquires C Marcel Goc from Florida for a 2015 3rd-round pick and 2014 5th-round pick.

21) New Jersey acquires C Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina for C Andrei Loktionov and a conditional 2017 3rd-round pick.

22) Dallas acquires G Tim Thomas from Florida for G Dan Ellis.

23) Columbus acquires D Nick Schultz from Edmonton for a 2014 5th-round pick.

24) Boston acquires D Andrej Meszaros from Philadelphia for a 3rd-round pick.

25) New York Rangers acquire D Raphael Diaz from Vancouver for a 5th-round pick.

26) Colorao acquires G Reto Berra from Calgary for a 2014 2nd-round draft pick.

27) Detroit acquires C David Legwand from Nashville for RW Patrick Eaves, C Calle Jarnkrok and a 3rd-round pick.

28) Montreal acquires LW Thomas Vanek and a conditional 2014 5th-round pick from New York Islanders for RW Sebastien Collberg and a conditional 2014 2nd-round pick.

29) Minnesota acquires LW Matt Moulson and C Cody McCormick from Buffalo for C Torrey Mitchell, a 2014 2nd-round pick and 2016 2nd-round pick.

30) Washington acquires G Jaroslav Halak and a 2014 3rd-round pick from Buffalo for G Michal Neuvirth and D Rostislav Klesla.

31) Anaheim acquires RW Andre Petersson from Ottawa for D Alex Grant.

32) Pittsburgh acquires RW Lee Stempniak from Calgary for a 3rd-round pick.

33) Columbus acquires C Dana Tyrell and D Matt Taormina from Tampa Bay for LW Jonathan Marchessault and LW Dalton Smith.

34) Los Angeles acquires RW James Livingston from San Jose for conditional 2016 7th-round pick.

Larry Fisher is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, B.C. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.

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