Big news was the trades that didn't happen

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:32 PM ET

PHOENIX - Well, Trade Dudline 2010 will go down more for the deals that didnt get done than the ones that did.

What passed for news Wednesday was the Toronto Maple Leafs, unable to find a deal among the teams approved by defenceman Tomas Kaberle and his no-movement clause, didnt trade him.

It became news that Dan Hamuis was staying put in Nashville... and Ray Whitney in Carolina and Sheldon Souray and his hand infection - doesnt that just sum up the Edmonton Oilers lost season? - wouldnt be headed out of Alberta. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun is still a Florida Panther.

The Chicago Blackhawks didnt make a deal for a goalie and neither did the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins move for a scorer never materialized.

The Detroit Red Wings, who used to own this day, did nothing. Neither did the Philadelphia Flyers, another team that used to spend money at the deadline like Obama on health care.

Oh, there were deals, 30 of them, a record, just none anybody will remember unless the first anybody can remember between the Oilers and the Calgary Flames counts.

When the most tension of the day is that moment when it looked like TSN analysts Pierre McGuire and Darren Pang might throw down, you know its a trade deadline that will be remembered like last Tuesdays breakfast.

We had to expect as much, of course. Contributing to our post-Olympic depression is the fact the trade of Ilya Kovalchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers to the New Jersey Devils before the Olympic break guaranteed the most interesting name was off the market. The pre-emptory strikes by Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray (Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton) and Torontos Brian Burke (Dion Phaneuf; trading Alex Ponikarovsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night) seriously thinned the excitement inventory.

But there were deals.

The two teams that helped themselves the most Wednesday heading into the final six weeks of the season are the Phoenix Coyotes and the Capitals.

The Coyotes are an interesting case given they are still owned by the NHL. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the QMI Agency in Vancouver during the Olympics GM Don Maloney would have the green light if things made sense and I guess they did. He contributed seven deals, the best getting Wojtek Wolski from the Colorado Avalanche for Peter Mueller, who had asked for a trade. With Scottie Upshall out for the season with a knee injury, they needed another scorer and got one in Wolski. He was available because the Avalanche figured hes in for a big payday and has arbitration rights.

With the 29th-ranked power play, the Coyotes also added defencemen Derek Morris and Mathieu Schneider (remember, Schneider did a pretty good job in this situation with the Canadiens last year). Forwards Lee Stempniak, Petteri Nokelainen and Alexandre Picard give them some depth.

Theyve actually taken on more (salary) than theyve off-loaded, Daly told QMI Agency in an email Wednesday. Theyve acted within their budget.

Maloney saved on player costs by keeping the roster down - 21 or 22 players most of the season - enough to make these trades.

I got up at 5:30 (Wednesday) morning thinking Id get shut out, said Maloney. In our opinion, we added five NHLers and gave up one. We think were a better team that can make the playoffs and do some damage.

The Caps added some grit in Scott Walker and complementary scoring in Eric Belanger and defenceman Joe Corvo has the skill to fit in with that bunch on the power play.

They could have really made a splash by upgrading their goaltending, but...

This was the deadline where excitement was the player to be named later.


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