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Gaborik, St. Louis were best gets of '14 trade deadline

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

Who will be this year's Marian Gaborik and Martin St. Louis?

That's one of several interesting and as yet unanswered questions with the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline approaching March 2 at 3 p.m. ET. That is two weeks away. Before the flurry of deadline deals, let's take a look back at what transpired leading up to the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline.

The Los Angeles Kings acquired Gaborik on deadline day last year; the right wing led the NHL with 14 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and helped the Kings with their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons.

The New York Rangers acquired St. Louis on deadline day last year; the right wing helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final with 15 points in 25 playoff games, including the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. He was also an inspiration for playing after the death of his mother during the second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While Marian Gaborik and Martin St. Louis helped teams reach the Stanley Cup Final, many of the other marquee trades before the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline failed to offer a great return on the investment. (Photo: Getty Images)

Granted, the cost for St. Louis was high, which is why the Tampa Bay Lightning were also winners on deadline day. They acquired right wing Ryan Callahan, who they subsequently re-signed, as well as two first-round draft picks in the trade that sent St. Louis to New York.

The Florida Panthers also benefitted last year in the way the Buffalo Sabres are hoping for this year.

Florida got goalie Roberto Luongo before the trade deadline with an eye on this season. He has helped them become contenders for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo landed Evander Kane in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. Kane won't play the rest of this season, but he might be a first-line wing alongside Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel next season.

Of the players who changed teams prior to the trade deadline last season, Gaborik and St. Louis had the most influence on their new team's playoff success. Many of the players traded didn't make the significant difference that was expected of them.

That's about par for the course when it comes to projecting a player's value to a team at the  deadline; it's an imperfect science to say the least. The same thing will inevitably happen when the dust settles this season.

There were a lot of trades that had promise but in the end didn't make much of a difference.

The St. Louis Blues thought they'd be in position to challenge for the Stanley Cup by acquiring goalie  Ryan Miller in a blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 28. Goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round pick in 2016 went to Buffalo. The Blues also got forward Steve Ott.

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Miller couldn't help the Blues get out of the Western Conference First Round. He had a 2.70 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in six playoff games. He's now playing for the Vancouver Canucks. Ott is a bottom-six forward in St. Louis.

Thomas Vanek was supposed to be the goal scorer that helped the Montreal Canadiens over the hump last season. The Canadiens acquired the left wing on deadline day (March 5) for prospect Sebastien Collberg and a second-round draft pick.

Though it's hard to put Montreal's loss to the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final on Vanek (remember that goalie Carey Price played two periods in Game 1 and never returned), he was not the difference maker the Canadiens thought he would be.

Vanek had 10 points in 17 games, but two assists in the six-game conference final. He was moved to the fourth line and played 8:55 in Game 5. The Canadiens did not show any interest in re-signing him.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were hoping forwards Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak would solve their depth problems up front. It seemed worth it because all former general manager Ray Shero had to give up were draft picks to get each player (two third-round picks and a fifth-round pick).

Goc and Stempniak didn't do much for the Penguins, who lost in the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Rangers.

Stempniak had 11 points in 21 regular-season games and three points in 13 playoff games. Goc won some faceoffs and fared OK in a bottom-six role, but he didn't produce and was traded to the Blues this season for forward Maxim Lapierre.

The Detroit Red Wings were hoping center David Legwand would provide some depth for them down the middle, particularly because forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss were injured. They gave up center Calle Jarnkrok in the package to get Legwand.

It didn't quite work out. Legwand had 11 points in 21 regular-season games but was shut out in five playoff games when the Red Wings were knocked out in the first round by the Boston Bruins. Legwand signed with the Ottawa Senators; Jarnkrok has 14 points in 50 games as Nashville's third-line center.

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The Anaheim Ducks were hoping defenseman  Stephane Robidas would give them some veteran depth when they acquired him from the Dallas Stars for a conditional fourth-round draft pick. Robidas broke his leg in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Stars.

Forward Ales Hemsky found some chemistry with Jason Spezza after the Ottawa Senators acquired him on deadline day for two draft picks, but it wasn't enough to get into the playoffs.

The Senators were four points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference when they got Hemsky; they finished five points out. Hemsky had 17 points in 20 games then signed with the Stars in the offseason.

It wasn't all negative, though. There were some minor hits along the way.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov struggled but contributed to the Minnesota Wild getting to the Western Conference Second Round. The same can be said of forward Matt Moulson, who helped the Wild secure a playoff spot with 13 points in 20 games.

The Kings got defenseman Brayden McNabb and some draft picks, including a second-round pick in 2015, from the Sabres for forwards Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers.

McNabb is a top-six defenseman now for the Kings, who might need to use that second-round pick to acquire some help before the deadline this year. Fasching and Deslauriers could have futures in Buffalo.

Defenseman Mike Weaver helped the Canadiens in the playoffs after he was acquired for a fifth-round pick. He played in all 17 playoff games and finished a plus-8 averaging 15:33 of ice time.

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