Although we saw a few big trades last week, the last few days have been relatively quiet on the player movement front, which only means that we are in the calm before Monday's big storm. Make no question about it; Monday will be a very busy day as it relates to player transactions in the NHL. In fact, it's regularly NHL.com's biggest day when it comes to web site traffic because of the flurry of deals. However, what often gets forgotten this time of year is that the rumors you'll hear always end up being bigger than the trades that actually take place. That's not meant to downplay the excitement of it all, but the moves made on Monday will most likely be small, with either team involved giving up very little in terms of assets.
Deadline Day, by the nature of how it works, is not conducive for big, impact moves that will either set up an organization for the long run or hurt a team for years to come. General Managers simply don't make decisions that big up against a deadline like that. The moves that will be made will be to compliment things already in place or to plug a hole. That will be especially true this season since there are so many teams still left in the hunt.
That said, let's move on to the moves made this week:
The Penguins became reacquainted with Alexei Kovalev, this version is far removed from the 40-goal scorer who wore the black and gold at the beginning of this decade, but he gives the Pens much needed depth for essentially no cost (a conditional pick).
The Lightning and Ducks swapped goaltenders with Dan Ellis heading to Anaheim and Curtis McElhinney going to Tampa Bay. Ellis has recently become more famous for his twitter posts than his goaltending and was relegated to backup duty behind Dwayne Roloson. The Ducks, desperately trying to make the postseason, are hoping Ellis can regain the touch he had in Nashville while Jonas Hiller recuperates. The Lightning, meanwhile, takes a nice cap hit off the books and ends up with a capable backup to boot.
The Thrashers have been active during this trading season and that continued with acquisition of prospect Ben Maxwell and a fourth round pick for Brent Sopel and prospect Nigel Dawes. Sopel became expendable after the Thrashers acquired Mark Stuart from Boston. He’ll head to Montreal to try and help the Canadiens in their playoff race. Meanwhile, the Thrashers have continued to get younger and add picks, while not exactly selling off the season for themselves.
The Panthers unloaded Cory Stillman to Carolina and received Ryan Carter and a fifth-round pick from the ‘Canes. These will likely be the kinds of trades we’ll see on Monday. Carolina picks up Stillman for their playoff run and the Panthers get money off the books and get something for an impending free agent.
The most recent move was Florida picking up blueliner Alexander Sulzer for a conditional seventh round pick.