Reasons for why some teams were so quiet, the unsettling situation with Jonathan Toews, the Rangers without Rick Nash, the beat-up Red Wings, teams looking ahead, the Islanders' plans, and a pair of teams that still could be in the race -- it's all in the first post-deadline edition of Trending This Week.
Among the 11 teams that did not make a trade Monday, four are noteworthy for various reasons.
Let's start with Pittsburgh, which usually is a major deadline player. This year, Penguins GM Ray Shero
is a firm believer in the makeup of his team as it is. He said that a month and a half ago when it was going through a six-game losing streak. He said it again Monday when he spoke with reporters at Consol Energy Center.
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The Penguins are in good shape for a playoff spot and now will look to secure at least the fourth seed. It's not as if the Penguins needed to add experience -- they have plenty of that, along with plenty of talent and great coaching.
They just need No. 87.
The Capitals aren't getting the same kind of pass the Penguins are getting for not doing anything at the deadline. They are not set with a playoff position, and they do not have a No. 1 center, with Nicklas Backstrom
However, Caps GM George McPhee
said he didn't see anything on the market that he thought would make his team better. He thinks it's good enough to make the playoffs, and if Backstrom returns they are good enough to beat anyone in the Eastern Conference.
The other two teams, Dallas and Calgary, are in the same odd predicament. The Flames and Stars may be good enough to make the playoffs in the Western Conference (though it's hard to believe both will get in), but neither can be considered a true contender for the Stanley Cup right now.
If Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk
was going to make any type of move, it would have been as a seller. Steve Ott
, Mike Ribeiro
and Sheldon Souray
were among the players being talked about. But the Stars want to try to get into the playoffs, and dealing any of those players would have made that quite difficult.
Similarly, Calgary was caught on both sides of the fence, as a buyer and a seller. Flames GM Jay Feaster wound up in the middle because he knows his team hasn't shown the ability to take the next step in its development, but that blowing it up wasn't the right option, either, as it would have sent the Flames back to square one. There was no reason to do that after acquiring Mike Cammalleri
in early January.
Concern in Chicago has shifted from goaltending to the injury status of captain Jonathan Toews
Toews has missed four straight games with an upper-body injury that some in the Windy City are
Center - CHI
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 57
SOG: 185 | +/-: 17
speculating could be related to concussion symptoms. The Blackhawks have not said anything of the sort, but coach Joel Quenneville
said after Sunday's 3-1 loss at Anaheim that Toews' status for Wednesday's home game against Toronto is still to be determined because he has not begun skating yet.
This is far more serious than any other problems or concerns the Blackhawks have. They are just 1-4-0 with just five goals in games Toews has missed this season. They have lost three in a row and scored just one goal during their weekend road trip to Southern California.
The Blackhawks addressed their need on the blue line Monday by acquiring Johnny Oduya
, but the other Johnny -- the more important Johnny -- has to come back soon if the Blackhawks want to stay off the playoff bubble.
The Rangers were major players in the Rick Nash
sweepstakes, but in the end, the Blue Jackets decided no one was playing hard enough to earn Nash's services for the rest of this season.
While the Rangers and Blue Jackets could re-visit their discussions over the summer, Rangers fans everywhere should be smiling today. Not because they didn't get Nash, but because by the looks of their roster and the rest of the Eastern Conference, it still appears the Rangers are the favorites right now.
Right Wing - CBJ
GOALS: 21 | ASST: 22 | PTS: 43
SOG: 236 | +/-: -23
The Rangers have a nine-point lead in the Eastern Conference after Monday's 2-0 win against New Jersey. Nine points is like a landslide in the NHL standings these days, especially when you've got the best goalie in the NHL.
They did not trade anyone off the current roster -- a roster, by the way, that is healthy except for defenseman Michael Sauer
Speaking of injuries, most of the other contending teams in the Eastern Conference have at least one that is serious: Sidney Crosby
is still not playing for Pittsburgh; Chris Pronger
won't return for Philadelphia; the Bruins are without Nathan Horton
and Johnny Boychuk
; Washington doesn't have Backstrom.
So the Rangers were players for Nash, but in the end they held firm and refused to pay Columbus' high price. It's hard to argue with that line of thinking. The Rangers consistently have been impressive all season, and as long as they stay healthy they certainly look like the Eastern Conference favorites going down the stretch.
The Red Wings have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since early November and are winless in three straight for the first time since their six-game skid bridging October into November. They also didn't upgrade at all at the forward position before Monday's trade deadline.
Defense - DET
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 31
SOG: 127 | +/-: 25
Moreover, there are injuries to note: Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson
will be out at least a month with a wrist injury; forward Pavel Datsyuk
is out after having minor knee surgery; defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
is "bruised" and "day-to-day," according to Red Wings GM Ken Holland, per the Detroit Free Press; newly acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey
has a groin injury and is day-to-day.
Relax, Hockeytown. It's going to be OK.
The Red Wings are going through a run of bad luck and sub-par play. It's been enough to knock them from their perch atop the Western Conference, but none of the injuries are supposed to affect them come playoff time and it's fair to assume they'll get back on track Tuesday against Columbus.
said after Sunday's win in Newark, N.J., that with 20 games left the Lightning are not ready to mail in the season just yet. Odds are they feel the same way in Columbus, but it appears after Monday that both teams are planning to make some major moves this summer.
Columbus GM Scott Howson held on to Nash, keeping true to his word that the price to acquire the star forward's services was high and would stay high. Howson also fueled the notion that Nash could be on the way out of Columbus this summer by revealing the captain came to the team and asked for a trade.
Goalie - VAN
GAA: 2.19 | SVP: 0.930
It's likely that more suitors will join in on the Nash sweepstakes this summer, with potentially better offers than what the Blue Jackets were fielding prior to Monday's deadline. If in that mix is a team with a goalie to offer the Blue Jackets, well, even better.
The thought among the media in Tampa is that GM Steve Yzerman
has been positioning himself to be ready to make a move for a franchise netminder this summer. Yzerman is thought to have his eye on Vancouver's Cory Schneider
, who is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after the season.
Schneider, who will be in demand, will not come cheap in a trade and will get a hefty raise from the $900,000 he's making now. But the Lightning have the cap space, especially with Dwayne Roloson
($3.5 million) coming off the books, and Yzerman acquired some chips during the trading season that could entice Vancouver, namely an extra first-round pick as well as second-round picks in 2012 and 2013.
The Islanders probably could have fetched decent returns for Evgeni Nabokov
and PA Parenteau
to make it worth their while to consider trading both. Islanders GM Garth Snow
said forget about it, and held on to both the veteran goalie and the playmaking 28-year-old Parenteau despite both being in the final years of their current contracts.
The Parenteau decision is easy to understand. He's the second-leading scorer on the team with 58 points, and he wants to be an Islander. He has flourished since he arrived on Long Island prior to last season after never getting a real chance with the Rangers. At 28 years old, he is part of the Islanders' core group of forwards.
Right Wing - NYI
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 58
SOG: 136 | +/-: -1
Parenteau, though, could be in line for a contract worth upwards of $4 million per season. Ales Hemsky
, also 28, hasn't played a full season since 2008-09 but still got a two-year, $10 million contract extension from the Oilers over the weekend. Hemsky has had a longer career with more sustained success than Parenteau, but lately the Islander has been a better player.
The Nabokov decision may have raised a few eyebrows, especially with the Islanders tied to the oft-injured Rick DiPietro
for the next decade.
Nabokov is 36 and was so against coming to the Islanders last season that he opted not to report. He's quietly been excellent this season and the Isles reportedly are in contract negotiations with him, but with the season he's having, will he decide to wait to see what his value could be come July 1?
Nabokov got to test his market value two years ago and wound up in the KHL. If he's more inclined to solve his immediate future right now, the Isles should be able to get him signed. But what's the price for a soon-to-be 37-year-old goalie who never has won a Stanley Cup?
The Ducks stayed with the status quo save for a minor-league deal.
Buffalo was loud, but made conflicting moves for a team that -- at least on paper -- appears in the race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Center - BUF
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 33
SOG: 103 | +/-: 8
The Sabres got a young center they covet in Cody Hodgson
, but gave up a young, rugged winger they used to covet in Zack Kassian
. They gave veteran forward Paul Gaustad
to Nashville for a first-round pick. They dealt defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani
to Vancouver for Alexander Sulzer
Neither Ducks GM Bob Murray
nor his Sabres counterpart, Darcy Regier
, appear too keen on their teams' chances should they somehow qualify for the playoffs. Both GMs were right to avoid temptation to try to win this season when the odds are so stacked against them, but as the NHL season heads around the final turn and into the homestretch, it's not ridiculous to think both teams can pull off what seemed like the impossible.
Anaheim's chances took a hit Monday with a 4-1 loss at Colorado, but the Ducks remain only six points out of a playoff spot with five teams in their way. Buffalo has gained eight points in their last five games (3-0-2) as Ryan Miller
has found his game in time to at least give his team a puncher's chance despite being six points out of eighth in the East with four teams in their way.
The Sabres start a telling four-game road trip Wednesday in, of all cities, Anaheim.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl