This post will probably be updated throughout the day with my thoughts on some of the deadline deals (not all, because, well, not all of them are going to make a big impact).
Jordan Leopold (Florida) to Pittsburgh for a pick. Ray Shero obviously believes you can’t have too much depth on the blue line. I like this trade for Pittsburgh. Leopold showed what he could do a couple years ago with Calgary in the Cup Finals, but hasn’t performed up to that level since. In Pittsburgh, he doesn’t have to be the go to guy, so he should be able to play his game. Good skater and good first pass out of the defensive zone. This move makes Martin Skoula expendable.
Alexei Ponikarovsky (TOR) to Pittsburgh for Luca Caputi & Martin Skoula. I like this trade, but am not wild about it. Ponikarovksy is solid player and a legitimate 20+ goal threat every year (he has 21-21-18-23 in the past four years and 19 already this year). He has garnered the reputation of occasionally dogging it, but, well, nobody’s really tried that hard in Toronto for the past couple years. Caputi is a big piece to give up. A prototypical power forward, Caputi has been ranked in the Penguins top 10 prospects for the past three years. Caputi was projected to give the Penguins size and scoring from the wing, which is something they need considering they’re so deep down the middle. Skoula is pretty much a throw in to get the Penguins under the cap.
Andy Sutton (Islanders) to Ottawa for pick. Sutton’s a physical, shot-blocking defenseman. Kind of surprising move since Ottawa already has a couple d-men with the same profile.
Update #1: 11:45
Throw-in Skoula is on the move again to New Jersey for a draft pick.
The Bruins are re-making their defense after a mostly disappointing year. Derek Morris is out (to Phoenix) and Dennis Sidenberg and Matthew Bartowski (both from Florida) are in.
Carolina sends Aaron Ward to Anaheim. Ward had the second worst plus/minus on Carolina with a -17. He only has 11 points on the season.
Update #2: 1:00
Capitals get Scott Walker for a pick. Washington gets some extra grit up front with Walker. I still think they need some defensive help.
Phoenix gets Wolski from Colorado for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter. Both Wolski and Mueller are good young playes who had massive rookie campaigns for their respective teams (Wolski with 22g and 50 points in 06-07 and Mueller with 22g and 54 points in 07-08). Wolski still produces about 40 points a season, while Mueller had 36 his sophomore year and only 17 this year. A change of scenery could do both players some good.
Update #3: 2:50
Ten minutes left, and Bufalo's been busy. They picked up Raffi Torres from Columbus for Nathan Paetsch and sent Clarke MacArthur to Atlanta for picks. Torres makes sense. They're strong on defense and have an all-world goalie in Ryan Miller. Torres's 19 goals automatically makes him their top scorer (Thomas Vanek is having a really of year). Not sure why they traded MacArthur except maybe to make up for draft picks they've traded away.
Update #4: 5:30
Capitals re-acquire Milan Jurcina from Columbus and get Joe Corvo from Carolina. The fire sale in Carolina continues. Washington needs defensive help, but neither of these moves addresses their major problem. Corvo is a good d-man, but known more for his offense. He is prone to defensive lapses and too many turnovers.
Ryan Whitney (ANA) for Lubomir Visnovsky (Edmonton). Not bad for either team. Both are offensive defensemen, but Visnovsky is producing a lot more this season than Whitney is. Whitney can still be a #2 d-man in the league, but needs to return to the form he had during the Penguins' Cup run of two years ago.
At first blush, the winners of the deadline are Phoenix, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh. I'd say Carolina is a loser, but can you really lose if your goal is sell sell sell?