Winners, losers at the deadline

Andrei Kostitsyn (QMI Agency)

Andrei Kostitsyn (QMI Agency)

Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:53 PM ET

Another trade deadline has rolled by, leaving excitement and disappointment in different hockey towns in its wake.

Here's a look at the winners and losers:

WINNERS

1. Nashville Predators

They made some bold moves and paid the highest prices. They wanted to bolster their top six forwards and got Andrei Kostitsyn from the Montreal Canadiens for second and fifth-round picks and Paul Gaustad from the Buffalo Sabres for a first-rounder. Kostitsyn is so inconsistent, but gets his 20 goals a year (though not many in the second half of the season). Being reunited with his brother Sergei could go either way. Gaustad gives them a good face-off guy and some 9-12 forward depth.

2. Vancouver Canucks

They shipped Cody Hodgson to Buffalo for Zack Kassian and picked up Sami Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a couple of fourth-round draft picks. Pahlsson has been under the radar with the last-place Jackets, but he's tough to play against and won a Cup with Anaheim in 2007. Can he still skate? It's a question as to whether Kassian is ready to contribute, but these could be decent depth moves for an elite team like the Canucks. They've already got lots of skill and these moves might help them with the heavy slogging.

3. Buffalo Sabres

If you subscribe to the theory the team that got the best player wins the trade, they won the deal with the Canucks, according to scouts. Cody Hodgson is the best player. They also managed to turn third- or fourth-line centre Paul Gaustad into a first-round pick in their deal with the Nashville Predators. Not a bad day.

4. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets are a budget team and made a couple of good moves in shipping out Johnny Oduya, who they might not have been able to afford to re-sign. They got back a couple of draft picks, which is good return. And they brought in Grant Clitsome, claiming him on waivers, to maintain their defensive depth.

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Jackets didn't back down from their demands for Nash. Now they can turn their attention to setting up a bidding war at the draft this summer, when teams will have more cap flexibility and will be more comfortable giving up guys off their roster. Question is, will GM Scott Howson be the guy making the deal come June?

LOSERS

1. The Eastern Conference

The big moves were made by teams in the West, with Nashville and Vancouver bulking up (by dealing with Eastern teams). The top teams in the East didn't make any significant changes, though the Boston Bruins made some good moves to bolster their depth. Possible upside for the East: the Western teams could turn each other into hamburger before the Stanley Cup final.

2. Rick Nash

The Blue Jackets captain didn't get traded. After both sides had been relatively quiet about the souring of the relationship, Howson went public with the fact Nash asked to be traded. That won't make Nash's remaining days in Ohio very pleasant. Nash is counting the days until he gets dealt at the draft now. That's not going to be much fun.

3. Hockey fans

This draft deadline was pretty much a dud. Kassian and Hodgson are great prospects, but hardly big names in the NHL and characterizing the Buffalo-Vancouver deal as an earthshaker, as one talking head did, is just hyperbole. Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad, while they might be good pickups, hardly get fans buzzing. This was one of the lamest trade deadlines in recent memory. The biggest news was Howson saying Nash approached the Jackets about a trade. That tells you all you need to know about this deadline.

4. Carolina Hurricanes

At one point they looked like the team that had the most assets (Tim Gleason, Bryan Allen, Jaro Spacek, Tuomo Ruutu) to move at the deadline and really pile up a bunch of draft picks. They are not a playoff team and have opted to re-sign many of those guys. This was a chance to strike out in a new direction.

5. Washington Capitals

It didn't seem that long ago the Caps were one of the league's marquee franchises. Now they have been reduced to an insignificant player at the trade deadline. A couple of years ago, you might have forecast this deadline as one when they were making a move to help them win a Cup. They did nothing and, significantly, nobody noticed. They have become almost irrelevant and it has been a swift fall.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @CJ_Stevenson


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