Well folks, it's over. The NHL trade deadline has come to an end and now, it is time for fans to gear up for either a playoff push or the off-season. With that in mind, let's quickly go over the winners and the losers from this year's wild trading frenzy.
- Pittsburgh Penguins: Every season, it seems like Penguins GM Ray Shero makes a keen move or two.
This season, Shero was able to acquire Dallas Stars forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen, while also picking up Alexei Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators (for just a conditional seventh-round pick). The only piece that Shero really had to give up was defenseman Alex Goligoski. With the Penguins struggling with injuries, it will be interesting to see how Penguins' new pieces to the puzzle fit in and contribute.
- St. Louis Blues: Blues GM Doug Armstrong made out like a bandit this trade deadline despite giving up some talented players in Erik Johnson, Jay McClement, Brad Boyes and Eric Brewer (among others).
In return, however, Armstrong was able to get back extremely talented youngsters in defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and forward Chris Stewart. Both of those players will contribute offensively as the team tries to make a playoff push and gets better for years to come. Armstrong also gathered some draft picks for the future.
- Toronto Maple Leafs: I know that some fans may disagree with me on this, but Leafs GM Brian Burke did a solid job with trades at the deadline this season. Burke traded away Tomas Kaberle, Kris Versteeg and Francois Beauchemin, but got quality assets in return.
He was able to get top-tier prospects Joe Colborne and Jake Gardiner, talented yet underachieving forward Joffrey Lupul, and four draft picks (including a first-rounder this summer). Burke was able to address what he needed now along with what he needs for the future in order to build towards being a playoff contender.
Honorable Mention: Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals
- Colorado Avalanche: It appears that Avalanche GM Greg Sherman hit the panic button once the Avalanche started struggling in 2011.
He gave up aforementioned youngsters Shattenkirk and Stewart -- both of who were producing consistently when healthy -- and instead got Johnson and McClement from the St. Louis Blues. He also swapped goalies with Ottawa, getting Brian Elliott for Craig Anderson.
Yes, Johnson is only 22 years old and has a lot of potential, but he failed to live up to it in St. Louis; Elliott was fairly inconsistent between the pipes as a Senator. Will the same happen in Colorado?
- Atlanta Thrashers: For a general manager who has a lot of experience in the NHL, Thrashers GM Rick Dudley certainly made some disappointing moves at this year's deadline.
Dudley dealt defensemen Brent Sopel and Boris Valabik along with forwards Niclas Bergfors, Rich Peverley, Nigel Dawes and acquired inconsistent forwards Blake Wheeler (Boston Bruins) and Ben Maxwell (Montreal Candiens) and defensemen Mark Stuart and Brett Festerling. With the team still in the playoff hunt, one cannot be sure how these moves will play out in Atlanta as they were both buyers and sellers.
- Los Angeles Kings: While the Kings were able to acquire streaky goal-scoring forward Dustin Penner from the Edmonton Oilers, they certainly struck out when it came to everything else.
The Kings wanted to get Ales Hemsky, but the Oilers wanted extremely talented prospect Brayden Schenn; so that did not work out. The Kings were also interested in Brad Richards, but Dallas ended up keeping their star player. Not only that, but the team gave up a lot to get Penner in prospect Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick and a 2012 conditional third-round pick.
With the Kings in the playoff hunt, they needed to get a lot more than Penner.
Honorable Mention: Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers
Photos credit: Getty Images