The final total was 17 trades, along with three waiver pickups, involving 35 players – including stars like Adam Oates, Joe Nieuwendyk, Darius Kasparaitis and Jason Arnott -- as the NHL Trading Deadline arrived Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.
The heaviest action was in the Atlantic Division as all five teams made significant moves to their rosters.
The New York Rangers followed up Monday night’s major acquisition of sniper Pavel Bure from the Florida Panthers with several more deadline beaters, the most significant of which sent the versatile Mike York and a fourth-round pick in the 2002 Entry Draft to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for puck-moving defenseman Tom Poti (right) and forward Rem Murray.
Poti, 24, has struggled through a difficult season in Edmonton and was relieved to finally put aside the many trade rumors that dogged him in recent weeks.
"It definitely is a relief," Poti said. "It certainly wasn't a surprise.
"It's definitely good to go to a team where you know some guys," said Poti, who was a teammate of York on the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team. Poti will be joining fellow U.S. Olympians Brian Leetch and Mike Richter with the Rangers.
Murray, 29, has seven goals and 17 assists in 69 games for the Oilers this season.
"It's always tough being traded," said York, who thought he dodged the trade bullet when he didn’t go to the Panthers for Bure, as had been rumored. In fact, York skated with Bure at the Rangers’ Tuesday morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "But I have some friends up there. It's a great hockey city, so it'll be fun. But it's also shocking. I have good friends here, too."
York has 18 goals and 39 assists this season.
The Rangers also acquired defenseman Richard Lintner from the Nashville Predators for defenseman Peter Smrek.
The New Jersey Devils grabbed a huge piece of the trade spotlight thanks to a blockbuster deal with the Dallas Stars that sent 2000 Stanley Cup Finalists Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner to New Jersey in exchange for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and a first-round selection in the 2002 Entry Draft.
For the Devils, struggling to jumpstart their offense, the trade brings one of the smoothest playmakers in the game in Nieuwendyk, who also excels at faceoffs. Langenbrunner is the kind of solid two-way forward who should fit perfectly with the New Jersey scheme. He has 23 goals and 24 assists in 67 games this season. Langenbrunner has scored 10 goals and 18 assists in 68 games
In Arnott, the Stars receive a strong power forward who had centered New Jersey’s “A Line” for the past few seasons. This season, Arnott has 22 goals and 19 assists in 63 games. McKay, with six goals and seven assists, brings considerable experience to the Dallas lineup.
In a separate deal, the Devils re-acquired winger Stephane Richer in a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins for a draft pick. Richer has 13 goals and 12 assists in 58 games.
Injuries to top center Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau forced the Philadelphia Flyers to go shopping at the deadline, and GM Bob Clarke was forced to pay a stiff price to acquire one of the League’s all-time top playmakers in Adam Oates. The Flyers surrendered goaltending prospect Maxime Ouellet and selections in the first three rounds of the 2002 Entry Draft to bring Oates aboard.
Oates, 39, has scored 11 goals and 57 assists in 66 games for the Capitals this season. He has 327 goals and 1,020 assists in his 16-year career.
"Obviously he's a tremendous playmaker,” Clarke said of Oates. “He'll help our power play which has been very anemic. He's going to help whoever he plays with because some of our better scorers have had trouble scoring recently."
"We've been a good team this year, but like all good teams, it was our responsibility to identify the needs of this team had to try and get better."
"We didn't plan on trading Adam Oates 24 hours ago," Capitals GM George McPhee said in a statement. "But when Philadelphia lost Jeremy Roenick to an injury last night, they had a need for a playmaking center. Given Adam's unrestricted free-agent status, it was uncertain if he was going be a Capital next year."
The Capitals also claimed left wing Benoit Hogue off waivers from the Boston Bruins.
In addition to trading Richer, the Penguins sent hard-rock defenseman Darius Kasparaitis to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Ville Nieminen and defenseman Rick Berry.
Kasparaitis, one of the League’s toughest hitters, gives the Avalanche another top-quality defenseman as they look to repeat as Stanley Cup champs.
Nieminen had 10 goals and 14 assists in 53 games for the Avs. Berry was without a point in his role as a sixth defenseman for Colorado.
The New York Islanders, in a battle for playoff positioning with the Devils, added some depth Tuesday, acquiring defenseman Darren Van Impe from the Florida Panthers in exchange for fifth-round pick in 2003. The Isles also re-acquired forward Dave Roche from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for forwards Bjorn Melin and Ben Guite.
The Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins also went the depth route in their tight battle for the division lead with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. Boston picked up a pair of defensemen and a minor-league center in three trades.
Longtime NHL backliner Jeff Norton joins the Bruins from Florida for a sixth-round pick in 2002 and Sean Brown came over from the Edmonton Oilers for prospect Bobby Allen. Center Darryl Laplante came aboard from Minnesota for left wing Grag Crozier.
"We know Sean well as we were the team that drafted him," Bruins GM Mike O'Connell said of the deal for Brown, who had six goals and four assists and 127 penalty minutes in 61 games with the Oilers. "He's big and tough, he's a good skater and he gives us a little more bite in front of the net."
Norton, 36, is a 15-year veteran who has been limited to 29 games this season by back and knee injuries.
"We feel that Jeff is a player that will help our team," O'Connell said. "He's a good skater, has played on the power play an gives us added experience on defense."
The Montreal Canadiens, looking to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race added veteran goalie Stephane Fiset in a deal for a conditional draft pick with the Los Angeles Kings. In addition, the Canadiens picked up veteran forward Bill Lindsay on waivers from the Florida Panthers. Lindsay had four goals, seven assists and 117 penalty minutes in 63 games for the Panthers.
In the Western Conference, both Chicago and Detroit kept pace with the Avalanche by adding defensemen in deadline deals.
The Blackhawks picked up veteran Lyle Odelein from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and a second-round selection in the 2003 Entry Draft. Columbus then swapped froward Blake Sloan to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Jamie Allison.
The Red Wings, owners of the NHL’s best record, picked up defenseman Jiri Slegr from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for center Yuri Butsayev and a third-round pick in the 2002 Entry Draft.
The Thrashers also traded veteran forward Bob Corkum to the Buffalo Sabres for a fifth-round pick in June and then sent left wing Darcy Hordichuk and fourth- and fifth-round pick in 2002 to the Phoenix Coyotes for defenseman Kirill Safronov, the rights to Ruslan Zainullin and the Coyotes’ fourth-round pick in 2002.
The Los Angeles Kings also picked up a player Tuesday, re-acquiring veteran forward Ted Donato from St. Louis on waivers.