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Five underrated trades made prior to 2015 deadline

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:28 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The blockbuster trades, and even the ones that never get made, are the attention grabbers on Trade Deadline day in the NHL, but they are far from the only ones that can make a big impact.

Sometimes it's the lesser-known trades that enhance a team's chances of either securing a Stanley Cup Playoff berth or going deep in the postseason.

Take, for example, the impact forward Michal Handzus made with the Chicago Blackhawks after they acquired him at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline for a fourth-round draft pick. Handzus was a cheap addition, filled a hole at center, and helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

Similarly, in 2012 the Blackhawks got defenseman Johnny Oduya for two draft picks. He has played a significant role in Chicago ever since, making the price of a second- and third-round pick seem well worth it.

Forward Chris Higgins has been a worthwhile contributor for the Vancouver Canucks since they acquired him prior to the deadline in 2011 for a defense prospect and a third-round pick. Higgins helped the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Here are five examples of underrated trades made prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline (note they weren't all made Monday) that could be talked about as having a significant impact at some point this spring:

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Islanders acquire goalie Neuvirth, forward Kennedy

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:18 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

The New York Islanders made two trades leading into the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, acquiring goalie Michal Neuvirth from the Buffalo Sabres and forward Tyler Kennedy from the San Jose Sharks.

The Islanders traded goaltender Chad Johnson and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft for Neuvirth.

"It was shocking. I was enjoying my sushi and one of my teammates told me to look on the TV and I saw it," Neuvirth said. "It was a little bit of a shock but it's a great opportunity to be in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]."

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Rangers, Zuccarello agree on new contract

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:15 PM / News

NHL.com

Forward Mats Zuccarello has agreed to terms on a contract to stay with the New York Rangers.

It is for four years, $18 million, according to ESPN.com. Zuccarello would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The contract reportedly includes partial trade protection.

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Penguins trade Despres to Ducks for Lovejoy

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:12 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks swapped defensemen Monday, with Simon Despres going to Anaheim and Ben Lovejoy going to Pittsburgh, where he started his NHL career.

The Penguins also acquired defenseman Ian Cole from the St. Louis Blues for Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

"The reasons for these trades is that when we looked at our defense, despite the fact that it's played pretty well to this point, we were concerned about the experience of our defense," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We were looking to upgrade it a little bit, more from a veteran presence.

"Since Ben Lovejoy left here, he has gained great experience in Anaheim and has played extremely well and that will continue when he comes back to Pittsburgh. And in Ian Cole's case, he's been in the League and has some good experience and has played extremely well this year."

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Ducks acquire Sgarbossa from Colorado for Clark

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:06 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

AnaheimDucks.com

The Anaheim Ducks have acquired center Michael Sgarbossa from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Mat Clark.

Sgarbossa, 22 (7/25/92), has earned one assist (0-1=1) with 14 penalty minutes (PIM) in nine career NHL games with Colorado. Sgarbossa appeared in three games with the Avalanche this season, recording his first career NHL point on Dec. 4 at Calgary.

A native of Campbellville, Ontario, Sgarbossa collected 4-19=23 points with 35 PIM in 40 games with Lake Erie, Colorado’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). Sgarbossa has appeared in three AHL seasons with Lake Erie, posting 28-59=87 points with 162 PIM in 146 career games with Lake Erie. The 5-11, 180-pound center was selected to play in the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic and finished his rookie season with 19-25=44 points in 57 games. Prior to joining Lake Erie, Sgarbossa won the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) scoring title with 47-55=102 points in 66 games for Sudbury in 2011-12.

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Wild acquire Stewart from Sabres for 2017 pick

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 5:52 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

The Minnesota Wild acquired forward Chris Stewart from the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

"Going to this team, I think it's going to be a fresh start," Stewart told Sportsnet. "I'm excited. I think going back to the [Western Conference] and in that division (Central), I think it's going to be more of my kind of hockey. And I think that's going to drive me to elevate my play."

Stewart, 27, has 11 goals and 25 points in 60 games. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and was the subject of trade rumors almost the entire season.

"[The rumors] became too much to handle," Stewart said. "I think once I put it all behind me and just told myself that it's out of your control and literally just turned off the Twitter and all that social media stuff and just started focusing on my game, and I thought that was the best thing for me."

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Conacher traded to Canucks by Islanders

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 5:50 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

VancouverCanucks.com

Vancouver, B.C.Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have acquired forward Cory Conacher from the New York Islanders in exchange for forward Dustin Jeffrey.

Conacher, 25, has played 15 games with the New York Islanders this season, recording three points (1-2-3) and 14 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 28 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, collecting 22 points (5-17-22) and 30 minutes. The Burlington, ON native has appeared in 141 career NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and New York Islanders collecting 58 points (19-39-58) and 84 penalty minutes.

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Wisniewski traded to Ducks by Blue Jackets

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 5:50 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

Defenseman James Wisniewski was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, with the Columbus Blue Jackets receiving veteran forward Rene Bourque and forward prospect William Karlsson, and a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

It will be Wisniewski's second stint with the Ducks; he had four goals and 41 points in 86 games during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

"[The Ducks] have a chance to win the Stanley Cup, not only this year but for years to come," Wisniewski told Sportsnet. "I know some guys on that team. My wife is from California. I played there for a year and a half so I know the area. I know [general manager] Bob Murray. I'm familiar about being there. I'm just really excited to go to a team that's going to be contending to win the Stanley Cup."

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Maple Leafs acquire Brewer and draft pick from Ducks

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 5:43 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

TorontoMapleLeafs.com

David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Monday that the hockey club has acquired defenceman Eric Brewer and a fifth round draft pick in 2016 from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenceman Korbinian Holzer.

Brewer, 35, has registered one goal and one assist in nine games with the Ducks this season after arriving in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 28, 2014. In 991 career NHL games, the Vernon, British Columbia native has recorded 266 points (75 goals and 191 assists) and 780 penalty minutes. Brewer was originally selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall selection in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

To read more from the Toronto Maple Leafs website, CLICK HERE.

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Bruins acquire Phillips from Wild for Knight

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 5:30 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

BostonBruins.com

Boston Bruins have acquired forward Zack Phillips from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for forward Jared Knight.

Phillips has played in 49 games for the Iowa Wild (American Hockey League) this season, recording seven goals and eight assists. The forward has appeared in 196 games at the AHL level in the Minnesota organization from 2012-15 where the 22-year-old has accrued 27 goals and 48 assists for 75 points.

The 6'1'', 178-pound native of Fredericton, NB was drafted in the first round (28th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild.

Knight has appeared in 107 games with the Providence Bruins from 2010 to 2015, notching seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points. The Bruins drafted Knight in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

To read more from the Boston Bruins website, CLICK HERE.

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