'Dead' giveaway

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:51 PM ET

On a day that began slowly and closed with a flurry of deals, the Florida Panthers decided to keep Jay Bouwmeester.

While Phoenix C Olli Jokinen (Calgary) and D Derek Morris (New York Rangers) were both moved at yesterday's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline, the Panthers couldn't ignore the fact that they're in a playoff hunt.

Panthers GM Jacques Martin couldn't satisfy the criteria he had established.

Looking for two players, a prospect and a draft pick, NHL sources say Martin resisted offers from the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks at the deadline. Instead, the Panthers will make a concerted effort to try and sign Bouwmeester before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Martin had two attractive offers to consider:

The Canucks were willing to give up LW Mason Raymond and a No. 1 draft pick. The belief is Florida wanted either D Kevin Bieksa or D Alex Edler included and GM Mike Gillis wasn't willing to make the move. That's where the discussions ended for Vancouver.

The Flyers wanted to move either RW Joffrey Lupul or RW Scottie Upshall (who landed in Phoenix) along with prospect James vanRiemsdyk and a No. 1 pick to the Panthers. It's believed Florida wanted LW Scott Hartnell as part of the trade.

There is risk involved for the Panthers. A first-round playoff fall doesn't constitute playoff success.

"They just couldn't do it," said an NHL executive. "It didn't make sense on a lot of fronts: They're on the verge of making the playoffs (for the first time since 2000), they've got good chemistry and he's the centrepiece of that blueline. Who knows? They might be able to convince him to stay.

"They were only willing to make a deal if it was going to improve them immediately. A lot of the trades that were being offered probably didn't fit their needs. I'm sure they would have done it if it made sense."

As usual, there was more talk than action. In the first seven hours, there were only eight deals. A flurry of activity at the end saved the day with there were 23 trades with 49 players gone, but the new reality of trying to make big trades hit league executives hard.

Many deals have to be dollar-for-dollar. That's why defenceman Chris Pronger and his $6.25-million salary are still with the Anaheim Ducks today. Teams couldn't take on that kind of money.

It's almost like the deadline isn't so much about what happens, it's about what doesn't happen. The Montreal Canadiens were supposed to be a big player at this deadline. They were in on the Jokinen sweepstakes and GM Bob Gainey took a pass at the end.

That's because the Habs couldn't afford to spend any cash. They were going to be forced to put centre Robert Lang on long-term injury to clear up money and Gainey wasn't going to take that kind of gamble.

Really, the best team in Canada right now might be the Calgary Flames because they out-wrestled the Habs for Jokinen and picked up defenceman Jordan Leopold from Colorado. GM Darryl Sutter showed he's not afraid to make big moves to help his club win the title.

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NHL DEADLINE TRADES

- Atlanta traded D Anssi Salmela to New Jersey for D Niclas Havelid and F Myles Stoesz.

- Phoenix traded C Olli Jokinen and a third-round draft pick to Calgary for C Matthew Lombardi, C/LW Brandon Prust, and a conditional first-round draft pick.

- Tampa Bay traded RW Mark Recchi to Boston for D Matt Lashoff, F Martins Karsums, and a second-round draft pick.

- Columbus traded G Pascal Leclaire and a second-round draft pick to Ottawa for C Antoine Vermette.

- N.Y. Islanders traded RW Bill Guerin to Pittsburgh for a conditional draft pick.

- Boston traded C Petteri Nokelainen to Anaheim for D Steve Montador.

- Phoenix traded G Mikael Tellqvist to Buffalo for a fourth-round draft pick.

- Pittsburgh traded defenceman D Danny Richmond to St. Louis for D Andy Wozniewski.

- Colorado traded D Jordan Leopold to Calgary for D Lawrence Nycholat, F Ryan Wilson, and a second-round draft pick.

- Phoenix traded LW Daniel Carcillo to Philadelphia for LW Scottie Upshall and a second-round draft pick.

- Toronto traded C Nik Antropov to N.Y. Rangers for a second-round and a conditional draft pick.

- Phoenix traded D Dmitri Kalinin, RW Petr Prucha and LW Nigel Dawes to N.Y. Rangers for D Derek Morris.

- Toronto traded C Dominic Moore to Buffalo for a second-round selection.

- Atlanta traded C Erik Christensen to Anaheim for F Eric O'Dell.

- Tampa Bay traded D Steve Eminger to Florida for D Noah Welch and a third-round selection.

- Calgary traded G Kevin Lalande to Columbus for a fourth-round pick.

- San Jose traded D Kyle McLaren to Philadelphia for a sixth-round selection.

- Atlanta traded C Samuel Pahlsson to Chicago for D James Wisniewski and future considerations.

- Anaheim traded LW Travis Moen and D Kent Huskins to San Jose for F Nick Bonino, G Timo Pielmeier and a conditional draft pick.

- Los Angeles traded C Patrick O'Sullivan and Calgary's second-round selection to Carolina for RW Justin Williams.

- Edmonton traded RW Erik Cole and a fifth-round draft pick to

Carolina for C Patrick O'Sullivan and a second-round selection.

- Buffalo traded RW Ales Kotalik to Edmonton for a second-round draft pick.

- Toronto traded D Richard Petiot to Tampa Bay for G Olaf Kolzig, D Jamie Heward, D Andy Rogers and a fourth-round pick.

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TOP FIVE DEALS

Phoenix C Olli Jokinen and a third-round pick to Calgary for C Matthew Lombardi, prospect RW Brandon Prust and 2009 first-round pick: The Flames have long coveted Jokinen. He is well respected by coach Mike Keenan and GM Darryl Sutter. Jokinen will flourish under Keenan.

Phoenix D Derek Morris to the New York Rangers for LW Nigel Dawes, D Dmitri Kalinin and C Petr Prucha: The Coyotes had to get rid of money, but they were able to get some warm bodies in return. Morris is going to help the Rangers in the post-season.

Ottawa RW Antoine Vermette to Columbus for G Pascal Leclaire and a second-round pick in the 2009 draft: Leclaire has been out with ankle surgery, but he has a chance to return to form. The speedy Vermette has always wanted a bigger role. He could get it with Rick Nash.9

Edmonton LW Erik Cole to Carolina for RW Justin Williams and a second-round pick: Okay, this ended up being a four-team deal with the Kings and Sabres. The bottom line is the Hurricanes were desperate to get Cole back. First, Jim Rutherford brings back coach Paul Maurice. Now this.

Colorado D Jordan Leopold to Calgary for D Ryan Wilson, D Lawrence Nycholat and a second-round pick: The Flames got a skilled blueliner who's going to help move the puck to the forwards. The Avs didn't want to hang onto an upcoming unrestricted free agent.

WINNERS

New York Rangers: They picked up C Nik Antropov (Toronto) and D Derek Morris. They got bigger up front and stronger on the blue line.

Calgary Flames: They finally have a No. 1 centre, Olli Jokinen, to play with Jarome Iginla. Picking up D Jordan Leopold is a bonus.

Ottawa Senators: They're rolling the dice on G Pascal Leclaire, but once he gets healthy, he should answer their goaltending issues.

LOSERS

Vancouver Canucks: GM Mike Gillis was all talk and no action. He did nothing to help his team. He'll tell everyone he's happy. Sure.

Florida Panthers: They decided to keep D Jay Bouwmeester and now risk losing him for nothing in the off-season.

Washington Capitals: They wanted to address a need for a blueliner and did nothing. They also needed a goalie. No Stanley Cup there this year.


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