For weeks the conversations were all about what would get done and who would be on the move by 3 p.m. ET Monday. As it turns out, we all had to wait just a little bit longer.
Most of the excitement on NHL Trade Deadline Day 2012 came after the clock moved past the hard deadline for teams to get their deals into the NHL for approval. A flurry of trades, including a shocking blockbuster between the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres, came to light after 3 o'clock, turning what was looking like a relatively quiet deadline day in the NHL into a far more interesting one.
"Nothing was happening until an hour and a half before the deadline," Sabres GM Darcy Regier said, "then things started to pop."
No, Rick Nash didn't move out of Columbus despite Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson saying he was the one that asked for the trade. Neither the Rangers nor the Maple Leafs made any significant moves to bolster themselves for a playoff push. And, in that regard, no goaltenders were moved and some teams that were rumored to be active remained quiet.
TRADE DEADLINE 2012
Kostitsyns reunited in NashvilleBy John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent
The Predators and Canadiens made the first big deal of the day, sending Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville and reuniting him with his brother, Sergei. READ MORE ›
The most notable was the deal between the Sabres and Canucks that included Calder Trophy candidate Cody Hodgson moving to Buffalo and rugged 21-year-old right wing and fellow first-round pick Zack Kassian shipping out west to Vancouver. The Canucks also sent depth defenseman Alexander Sulzer to Buffalo in exchange for defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani.
Both Hodgson and Kassian told TSN they had no idea they were going to be traded. Hodgson, who has 33 points in 63 games this season, found out from now former teammate Christopher Tanev, but there is no doubting that he'll get a better opportunity in Buffalo now that he doesn't have to play behind Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler.
"I would characterize the center position as the second-most difficult position to fill in the NHL behind goaltending. Most teams are struggling to find top centers, top-two line centers," Regier said. "So when we went through the process of where are we going to find centermen going forward, it became a priority. He brings very solid two-way play, contribute offensively. Right now he's sitting in Vancouver with 33 points, and at his age, and fitting in with (Tyler) Ennis and (Tyler) Myers, I think that bodes well not only now but in the future."
Kassian said he received a phone call from Regier as he was driving to the airport to meet the team for their trip out to Anaheim.
"I'm very excited to go contend for a Cup now," Kassian told TSN.
The Sabres and Canucks were also big players in other deals, but for different reasons.
Vancouver added veteran checking center Samuel Pahlsson from Columbus in exchange for a pair fourth-round picks in 2012. Buffalo pulled a first-round pick in this year's draft out of Nashville for pending unrestricted free agent Paul Gaustad and a fourth-round pick in 2013.
Pahlsson, who is good friends with the Sedin twins, gives the Canucks the center depth they needed in order to trade Hodgson to Buffalo. He also gives them more experience down the middle as he joins Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra as the team's pivots.
Pahlsson won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with Anaheim and the Olympic gold with Team Sweden in 2006.
The Sabres were reportedly asking for a first-round pick for Gaustad all day, and finally the Predators gave in. The hope is Gaustad combined with Andrei Kostitsyn, who was acquired in the first trade of the day, will give the Predators added offense as they try to contend for the Stanley Cup and prove to star defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber that signing long-term deals to stay Predators is in their best interest.
SOG: 62 | +/-: -1
"These trades have certainly given us a chance to play with the big boys this year," Poile said. "Obviously we hope the moves today show Ryan and all the players that ownership is committed."
Regardless of what the Canucks, Sabres and Predators did, the Nash news (or lack thereof) was still one of the hottest topics of the day after 3 p.m. ET, especially with Howson starting his press conference with the whopper of a statement.
"Rick Nash approached us and asked to be traded," Howson said from Nationwide Arena.
That statement suggests the Nash sweepstakes could and likely will open again this summer, but Howson did not like any of the offers he was getting for Nash throughout Monday. Without being specific, he said a lot of teams inquired on or made offers for Nash, who is signed through 2018 at a $7.8 million cap hit.
"The price was high and I don't apologize for that," Howson said. "It had to be high."
One of the more underrated player-for-player trades of the day was between Northwest Division rivals Edmonton and Minnesota. The Oilers sent offensive-minded defenseman Tom Gilbert to his home state to play for the Wild in exchange for defensive-minded blueliner Nick Schultz, who is the Wild's all-time games played leader with 743.
Both Gilbert and Schultz are 29 years old and have spent their entire careers in one organization. They each have two years left on their current contracts with Gilbert making $4 million per season and Schultz at $3.5.
SOG: 27 | +/-: -1
"Our ability to transition the puck from the defensive zone to the offensive zone is an area we wanted to improve," Fletcher said. "We feel we are better at that today."
Boston's acquisition of Zanon, who is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the season, appears to be in response to the injury Johnny Boychuk suffered in Saturday's game against Ottawa. Boychuk was hit hard by Chris Neil and sat out practice Monday with concussion symptoms. He's listed as being day-to-day.
The Bruins also acquired Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau from the Islanders for a pair of minor-leaguers. Rolston played four-plus seasons in Boston from 2000-04 and Mottau is a Quincey, Mass. native and former Hobey Baker Award winner from Boston College. Both are in the final year of their respective contracts.
"Zanon is a terrific shot-blocker," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said according to the Boston Globe. "He's a really gritty competitor. He's a warrior type of defenseman."
Speaking of defenseman, the Blackhawks feel they got their guy in Johnny Oduya from Winnipeg. Oduya became available after the Jets picked up Grant Clitsome off waivers from Columbus. He fetched the Jets Chicago's second- and third-round picks in 2013.
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"His style really fits in well with what we do here, in terms of his ability to skate," Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman told reporters in Chicago.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson did what he could to bolster his team's 28th-ranked penalty kill by adding TJ Galiardi and Daniel Winnik from Colorado in exchange for Jamie McGinn and two prospects. Galiardi and Winnik have combined for 13 goals and 32 points this season (McGinn had 12 and 24), but more importantly they have been key components to the Avs' 16th-ranked penalty kill.
Some teams that were reportedly going to be players at the deadline -- namely the Rangers, Maple Leafs, Flyers and Capitals -- wound up doing little to nothing at all.
Toronto only acquired Carter Ashton from Tampa Bay and Mark Fraser from Anaheim, meaning James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson will remain as the goaltending pair for a struggling team that is 10th in the East. The Rangers were reportedly involved in the Nash sweepstakes until the end, but wound up with only the pugilistic Scott.
Washington and Philadelphia were among the 11 teams that did not make a trade all day.
"Everyone wanted to add, and there was no one selling," Capitals GM George McPhee told reporters in Arlington, Va. "I just didn't see anything that makes us better."
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