Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and while this one lacked some of the big-name, high-profile trades of years past, there were nearly 30 moves made on Wednesday. FanHouse's Adam Gretz takes a look at three of his winners and losers in no particular order, because it's never too early to judge roster moves.
Raise your hand if, back in September, you expected the Phoenix Coyotes to be buyers on trade deadline day. No hands? Can't blame you. And not only were they buyers, they were one of the busiest teams on Wednesday, bringing in Wojtek Wolski, Lee Stempniak, Derek Morris and Mathieu Schneider. They were able to acquire Morris for next-to-nothing (a 2011 fourth-round pick) and managed to add some firepower to their offense with Wolski and Stempniak.
Neither player is perfect; Wolski is extremely streaky and somewhat one-dimensional, while Stempniak is simply a solid, if unspectacular forward. Still, they're an upgrade for a team that's been strong defensively all season yet struggled to score goals (25th in goals per game).
They're taking a chance long-term by trading talented, yet extremely disappointing forward Peter Mueller to Colorado for Wolski, but for the short-term it's a win for the playoff-bound Coyotes.
Another deadline, another impressive showing by Penguins general manager Ray Shero. After acquiring Marian Hossa, Pascal Dupuis and Hall Gill two years ago, and Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz last year, Shero followed it up this week by trading a second-round pick to Florida for Jordan Leopold, and then sending promising forward Luca Caputi and defenseman Martin Skoula to Toronto for Alexei Ponikarovsky.
He filled two large needs (an upgrade on defense and a top-six winger to play with Evgeni Malkin) and gave up only Martin Skoula, a healthy scratch for much of the season, off of his NHL roster. Caputi has a chance to be a player down the line, but if it helps the Penguins make another long postseason run it'll be more than worth it.
As the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference (by a wide margin) and the team with best goal-differential in the NHL (by an even wider margin), the Washington Capitals didn't need much, but that didn't stop general manager George McPhee from bringing in four players: Eric Belanger, Scott Walker, Milan Jurcina and Joe Corvo.
Up front, the Capitals gave up a second-round pick for Belanger, and a seventh-rounder for Walker -- the type of gritty, character guys you always have room for, regardless of how stacked your team is, and the type of guys you want on your team in the playoffs. Belanger also gives the Capitals another dominant face-off man, when paired with Dave Steckel, they have two of the top-seven face-off performers in the NHL this season. That can't be overlooked.
There isn't a deeper, more well-rounded group of forwards in the NHL.
Not as crazy about their additions on the blue line (Jurcina and Corvo), but they didn't give up anything that's going to burn them long-term (prospect Oskar Osala is probably the most valuable asset going the other way), so it's hard to really call that a "loss." Corvo is another good offensive player on the blue line, but has a reputation for being prone to the occasional bad turnover at the absolute wrong time. They didn't bring in the "shutdown" defenseman people keep looking for them to acquire, but, on the other hand, it's hard for the other team to score if it never has the puck.
Simply because they're prepared to go into the playoffs with Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher as their goalies. New year, same story: great team up front and on the blue line, nobody to stand up tall in the crease.
As I mentioned above, it's possible that Peter Mueller could wake up in his new surroundings and become the player he was supposed to be as a former top-10 pick; but giving up your second-leader scorer (Wolski) to a team you're competing with for playoff seeding, and could eventually face in the postseason, has to be a loss for today when all you receive in return is a couple of projects.