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  Friday, October 24, 2014
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Trade Deadline Recap
By Paul Noonan

     With the new CBA in its inaugural year, no one knew exactly what to expect from the first trade deadline.  Would it be a quiet year with no big names being moved because of salary cap concerns?  Would prospects be the bulk of most of the deals?  Well, both ended up being pretty true.  While some big names were shipped, it was not to the extent that they were in years past.  So here’s a look back at some of the trade deadline’s biggest moves, and some of the winner’s and losers.

     Losers:       

     Atlanta Thrashers:  The Thrashers are in an interesting predicament.  It is tough to tell if their position in the standings is because of being without G Kari Lehtonen for half the season, or if there really is a deeper problem.  Both are the problems.  The Thrashers would probably be in a playoff spot if Lehtonen were healthy all year, but even now that he is they’re struggling a bit.  Defense is their glaring weakness, and all they added at the deadline was a depth defenseman in Steve McCarthy.  The Thrashers may still make the playoffs, but they won’t go deep unless Lehtonen carries them.

      Montreal Canadiens:  They aren’t big losers, but Montreal could have done a little more at the deadline, especially considering they are still on the brink.  While they did get rid of Theodore, easing their financial situation, they probably could have gotten a little more in return.  Meanwhile, they did little to address their lack of toughness, only adding Todd Simpson to beef up their blueline a little.  

Florida Panthers:  They had two pieces of trade bait (Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo) that they could have used to turn their team around in a hurry, instead they stood pat.  The Panthers have been waiting on the youth movement too long, and it’s about time they add some guys in their prime who can make an impact both immediately and long term.  That chance may have just come and gone for the Panthers.

     Winners:

     Toronto Maple Leafs:  Huh?  You might wonder that, but for once the Leafs didn’t take the ‘let’s get every aging veteran out there only to lose by the Conference Final’ route.  The Leafs played it smart this time around.  They are going to give the team they have a chance, and at least if they don’t get far, they will still have some decent draft picks left.  For this fast aging team, the more youth they hang on to, the better off they’ll be down the road.

     Nashville Predators:  They only made one move, but it was a good one.  By acquiring D Brendan Witt the Predators added depth to a defense that could have been trouble for them in the playoffs.  With enough offense and a reliable goalie in Vokoun, adding depth to their D was the best move the Predators could make.  Brendan Witt does just that.

     Edmonton Oilers:   Inconsistency between the pipes has plagued the Oilers the last few years; they addressed that problem in acquiring G Dwayne Roloson from Minnesota.  They’ve also been looking for someone to compliment F Ryan Smyth and for someone to be a bit of a scoring threat.  Enter former Bruin Sergei Samsonov, who should fit the bill quite nicely.  And what did all this cost?  A couple of depth players and a couple of draft picks, a reasonable price to pay to put yourself in contention to win the division and possibly the Cup as well.

     Los Angeles Kings:  It came at the cost of a good defensive prospect, but the Kings added two quality players who will add some useful depth to their lineup.  D Brent Sopel is a big body who is as solid a stay- at- home defenseman as they come.  In a Kings’ lineup loaded with strong defenders, he may be a 4th or 5th guy, a scary thought considering he’s top three caliber on most teams.  The Kings also added Mark Parrish, a veteran forward who can put up solid numbers.  While Parrish has never regained the form he had when he put up career numbers a few years ago, he can still score, and playing with a bit more talent in LA, and a little less pressure, Parrish may be a surprise.



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