Trade deadline day a dud

Former Oilers forward Dustin Penner talks to the media after being traded to the Kings at Rexall...

Former Oilers forward Dustin Penner talks to the media after being traded to the Kings at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Feb. 28, 2011. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:40 PM ET

As far as excitement goes, it was an NHL trade deadline upon which so little happened there was time spent wondering why Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke bothered with his tie.

Did he actually wear it Monday or did he leave the house with it draped over his shoulders?

There was lots of time for observations like that.

It was a dud of a deadline, the type of day when the news about who didn't get traded -- Brad Richards staying put with the Dallas Stars -- was bigger than who did.

When Dustin Penner, a player whom many Edmonton Oilers would have gladly driven to the airport to get rid of a couple years ago, is the biggest name in the biggest deal of the day, that puts things in perspective.

The juice was sucked out of Monday's deadline with all the deals that were done in the runup. League general managers didn't wait for the deadline to get active and left the shelves looking about as empty as Wal-Mart at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Given the lack of supply, the prices were simply too rich for many of those kicking the tires.

But that doesn't mean there weren't some significant, if not flashy, moves made.

There were two executives with much attention focused on them heading into the deadline.

George McPhee of the Washington Capitals.

Dean Lombardi of the Los Angeles Kings.

McPhee and the Caps because they have been great, often outstanding, in the regular season, but have yet do much in the playoffs. McPhee addressed the issue that has been pressing the Caps for a couple of seasons now, the need for experience and a second-line centre, by getting Jason Arnott to waive his no-trade clause and leave the New Jersey Devils.

The Caps gave up centre David Steckel. For this deal to be a success for the Caps, Arnott will have to impart some of his post-season wisdom -- which is to say he'll need to give some of the Caps a slap on the head to make them realize what it takes to win in April, May and June.

With top defenceman Mike Green out for at least a week, maybe longer, McPhee also picked up Dennis Wideman from the Florida Panthers, giving the Caps another good offensive defenceman.

Lombardi and the Kings are a promising young team but the club needed a boost. Lombardi landed Penner for prospect defenceman Colten Teubert, a first-round pick and a conditional second. That looks like a good move for the Kings because Lombardi made his addition without any subtraction from the current roster.

At the other end of the spectrum, Montreal fans were roasting general manager Pierre Gauthier on Twitter (for what that's worth) after he stood pat, only make a move to shore up the club's AHL goaltending situation.

The Habs could certainly have used some grit up front (Zenon Kenopka of the Islanders, maybe, but the asking price was a second-round pick), but Gauthier said he had spent his war chest after patching holes left by the loss of defencemen Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Jaroslav Spacek.

"I feel like a guy who saves all his vacation time and all his money to go on a nice holiday in the summer," said The Ghost, "but winds up seeing that his roof is leaking and spends his whole summer and all of his money fixing the roof."

It was that kind of trade deadline.

Leaky roofs, not fancy vacations or flashy new cars in the driveway.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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