The NHL trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and there were no blockbusters to report. Though some trades will be announced after the deadline, there was no expectation that big names would be involved.
The biggest trade — or the most intriguing — involved the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche traded forward Wojtek Wolski, their first-round pick in 2004, to the Phoenix Coyotes, getting forwards Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter in return.
Wolski will give the Coyotes instant offensive punch while the Avs are taking a chance on Mueller, whose desire appears to have stalled after a good rookie season.
The Leafs received fourth- and seventh-round picks from Phoenix for forward Lee Stempniak, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stempniak was the Leafs' third-leading scorer with 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points in 62 games.
The Leafs didn't keep Martin Skoula long, dealing him to the New Jersey Devils for a fifth-round draft pick this summer, less than 12 hours after they acquired him and Luca Caputi from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Alexei Ponikarovsky trade. The Leafs had to take Skoula from the Penguins for salary cap reasons in Pittsburgh, so general manager Brian Burke essentially received Caputi and a fifth-rounder for Ponikarovsky.
Toronto also traded minor-league goalie Joey MacDonald to the Anaheim Ducks for a seventh-round pick in 2011.
The Boston Bruins traded defenceman Derek Morris to the Coyotes in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2011, while Aaron Ward was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks from Carolina and Dennis Seidenberg was traded to the Boston Bruins from the Florida Panthers.
"I'm surprised it's Anaheim," Ward told TSN. "I didn't see Anaheim coming. I'm happy. I feel like it is a new lease on life."
Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford continued cleaning house, sending winger Scott Walker to the Washington Capitals.
The Buffalo Sabres strengthened their group of forwards when they acquired Raffi Torres from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenceman Nathan Paetsch and a second-round pick.
Sidney Crosby, meanwhile, told TSN that he likes the deal that saw the Penguins acquire Ponikarovsky.
"From playing against him, I know he is a big strong guy with good hands around the net," Crosby said. "He can play in any type of situation, and as games get tighter, we will need that depth."
Despite the hype that comes with deadline day, history shows that most trades that are done do not turn clubs into instant Stanley Cup contenders.
Significant trades completed on deadline day:
TO PHOENIX: RW Lee Stempniak
TO TORONTO: A fourth-round draft pick and a seventh-round draft pick
The skinny: The Coyotes get another forward who should help, and as a result win this trade. It's a bit surprising Brian Burke was not able to get more than two picks for Stempniak, who joins a Phoenix club that is hot on the playoff trail.
TO ATLANTA: LW Clarke MacArthur
TO BUFFALO: A third-round draft pick and a fourth-round draft pick
The skinny: MacArthur, in his second full NHL season, has developed into a solid forward, and he could become a top-six guy in Atlanta. The Thrashers are close to a playoff berth, but one has to think that general manager Don Waddell was hoping to make a bigger splash. The Sabres probably won’t miss MacArthur, who might have become expendable when Raffi Torres was acquired.
TO BUFFALO: LW Raffi Torres
TO COLUMBUS: D Nathan Paetsch and a second-round draft pick
The skinny: The Sabres needed someone who can score and crash into people, and Torres fits that description. The Sabres are Torres’ fourth team since he was drafted fifth overall by the Islanders in 2000, but importantly, Torres has managed to get through much of this season without being injured. This is a clear win for Buffalo, as Paetsch had been healthy scratch more often than not.
TO CALGARY: G Vesa Toskala
TO ANAHEIM: G Curtis McElhinney
The skinny: Toskala is the second former Leafs goalie traded after Justin Pogge and is reunited in Calgary with Miikka Kiprusoff, who wasa teammate in San Jose. Though Toskala struggled this season with Toronto, he has the ability to play well if he can wrap his head around the fact he will be a backup. McElhinney played in 10 games for the Flames and had three wins, but will not play much behind Jonas Hiller.
TO WASHINGTON: C Eric Belanger
TO MINNESOTA: A second-round draft pick
The skinny: Along with Scott Walker, Belanger will bring grit to the Capitals lineup. What's more, Belanger had 13 goals and 22 assists in 60 games for the Wild, so he can chip in offensively as well. Belanger is a rental, as he is destined to be a free agent on July 1.
TO LOS ANGELES: C Jeff Halpern
TO TAMPA BAY: LW Ted Purcell and a third-round draft pick
The skinny: Halpern is a sharp defensive player and a good penalty killer, and should be a solid addition to the Los Angeles dressing room, where youth is king. Halpern has been a serviceable player in 24 career playoff games, and should be an asset in the post-season, as long as the Kings don’t self-destruct before then. Purcell will add depth to the Lightning.
TO COLORADO: C Peter Mueller, LW Kevin Porter
TO PHOENIX: LW Wojtek Wolski
The skinny: The Coyotes win this one right away, as Wolski, with 17 goals, is five short of his career high of 22 and has the ability to be a threat every time he is on the ice. Mueller’s heart has come into question, as he has not been the same player since scoring 22 goals as a rookie two seasons ago. There have been whispers that Wolski and Avs coach Joe Sacco did not see eye-to-eye, hence the deal. Porter will provide depth for the Avalanche.
TO WASHINGTON: RW Scott Walker
TO CAROLINA: A seventh-round pick in 2010
The skinny: Walker is a character player who will bring a touch of sandpaper to the Capitals lineup, and there’s no question Washington comes out on top as long as Walker stays healthy. Also, Walker is a good presence in the dressing room and will be a benefit if the Caps make a long run through the playoffs. Walker last spring scored a series winner in overtime against Boston not long after learning his wife had cancer.
TO ANAHEIM: D Aaron Ward
TO CAROLINA: G Justin Pogge and a fourth-round pick in 2010 or 2011
The skinny: The Ducks get depth in Ward, who has struggled this season in his second go-round with the Hurricanes, registering a minus-17 mark. The decision of former Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson to keep Pogge instead of Rask continues to haunt, as Pogge is dealt again. Rask has developed into one of the better young goalies in the NHL with the Boston Bruins.
TO FLORIDA: F Craig Weller, F Byron Bitz and a second-round pick in 2010
TO BOSTON: D Dennis Seidenberg, D Matthew Bartkowski
The skinny: The Bruins wasted no time in replacing Derek Morris, winning the small Seidenberg sweepstakes. Seidenberg is a dependable blueliner who doesn’t take many shifts off. Bitz has scored the odd goal in a bit role for the Bruins, and is under contract through next season. Seidenberg will be unrestricted this summer.
TO NEW JERSEY: D Martin Skoula
TO TORONTO: Fifth-round draft pick in 2010The skinny: Both clubs win, in that Skoula will provide depth to the Devils at no cost to the Leafs. With the draft pick in return, Leafs general manager Brian Burke gets something tangible for a player who was not going to play a shift for Toronto. Skoula won the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001 but has played for five teams since breaking into the NHL with the Avalance in 1999.
TO PHOENIX: D Derek Morris
TO BOSTON: Fourth-round draft pick in 2011
The skinny: The Coyotes take this one, as Morris, with three goals and 22 assists in 58 games, will add a bit of offence to the blue line. What’s interesting, though, is the Coyotes already have several offensive-minded defencemen in Keith Yandle, Ed Jovanovski and Adrian Aucoin. Morris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so the Bruins win in a sense as well, as they won’t lose Morris and get nothing in return.
The Vancouver Canucks acquired forward Yan Stastny from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie. The Canucks also dealt defenceman Mathieu Schneider, who was in the minors, to the Coyotes in exchange for defenceman Sean Zimmerman and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2010. The Montreal Canadiens acquired forward Aaron Palushaj from the Blues in exchange for forward Matt D'Agostini. The Detroit Red Wings traded forward Kris Newbury to the New York Rangers for forward Jordan Owens.