Trade Deadline Analysis

Finally good enough to play! Still not good enough to stay.

Editor's Note: We'll update this article regularly with trades and some quick hit analysis throughout the day.

2:35 PM - The Vancouver Canucks have traded Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer to the Buffalo Sabres for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Analysis: An honest-to-God hockey trade, and a very interesting one at that. Hodgson was looking like a failed pick for a while there, but got a real opportunity to play this season, and has done pretty well. He's shooting 15.5% overall, and has a five-on-five PDO of 103.3 (including a team-leading 10.8% on-ice shooting percentage). This season has put the shine back on and I get the sense that Mike Gillis thinks he's selling high.

Zack Kassian was drafted a year later than Hodgson, and that makes this his first pro season. He's tracking ahead of Hodgson offensively (0.87 PPG in the AHL this season compared to 0.58 last season for Hodgson), but hasn't yet put up numbers in the NHL. +/- doesn't tell us a whole lot, but he is a plus player in the AHL too. During his NHL time, he's been sheltered, but has done pretty well with it. At 6'3'' and 230 lbs. he's also huge, which should satisfy the portion of the Canucks' fanbase looking to "compete with the Bruins". Honestly, I think he's a safe bet to be a top nine guy over the long term.

The Canucks also brought in Marc-Andre Gragnani who's kicking out the PDO jams. He can play (and has played) both forward and defense, but really makes his hay as a PP guy. I don't know if it'll be the first or second unit, but that's where I expect him to add value for the Canucks. He's on a very cheap deal this season and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year so there's some chance that he'll be a long-term bargain for the organization as well.

Alex Sulzer is the other piece going to Buffalo. He was a decent fill-in for the Canucks for a dozen games this season but he'll be unrestricted after the season, and I'd be surprised if he was in Buffalo's long-term plans.

Overall, this looks like a very good trade by the Canucks. Maybe Hodgson ends up being a really good player, but Kassian could well be better, and the size he brings with that skill is tough to find. Throw in Gragnani on Vancouver's side, and I'd feel much more comfortable in Mike Gillis' shoes than I would in Darcy Regier's.

A look at the rest of the day's trades after the jump...

2:09 PM - The Vancouver Canucks have traded Sebastian Erixon to the Anaheim Ducks for Andrew Gordon.

Analysis: Erixon is a defense prospect in the AHL who scored well with Timra of the SEL in 2010-11. Gordon is a twenty-six-year-old tweener who has gotten almost all of his NHL experience this season and has been completely overwhelmed. Erixon won't play for the Canucks this year and Gordon might get five minutes in a game or two during the playoffs, but this one seems a bit unnecessary to me, especially since Gordon is on a one-way deal next season. I know that money isn't really an object in Vancouver, but this looks like a solid win for the Ducks.

1:58 PM - The Toronto Maple Leafs are clearly making a big playoff push with their acquisition of defenseman Mark Fraser, though Dale Mitchell is a lot to give up.

Analysis: Brian Burke wasn't able to get anything done, but still wanted to have a press conference.

1:52 PM - The Rangers have added some toughness to their lineup by acquiring John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks for a fifth-round pick.

Analysis: Getting something for John Scott is a win. Getting John Scott isn't.

1:50 PM - David Poile continues his excellent week by adding Paul "Goose" Gaustad (and a fourth-round pick) from the Buffalo Sabres for a first-round pick.

Analysis: Gaustad has anchored Buffalo's toughs line while also taking the toughest zonestarts among any of their forwards and he's done good work in Buffalo. He's been amazing on the faceoff dot (56.8%) and brings size up the middle in Nashville. Gaustad is 6'5" 212 lbs and is the perfect guy to deal with opponents like David Backes and Ryan Kesler.

Buffalo got great value for Gaustad, a pending UFA who they weren't going to re-sign, and may not have been able to re-sign given their cap situtaion. In the end Buffalo got as much as they could, but if Nashville wins a round or two in the playoffs, that pick isn't worth much to the Preds, so Poile wins again.

1:45 PM - The New York Islanders have traded Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau to the Boston Bruins for prospects Yannick Riendeau and Marc Cantin.

Analysis: Mottau provides more defensive depth for the Bruins. He was good in 2009-10, but lost all of last season to injury, and hasn't been any great shakes as a bottom pairing guy for the Islanders this season. Still, I can't see him as being better than seventh on the Bruins' depth chart, so he's not likely to play anything other than bottom pairing minutes if the Bruins run into injuries during the playoffs. Rolston has had a very tough year, but adds an option on the wing. I can't see him being anything but a fourth liner. So just small potatoes for the Bruins.

As you'd expect, that means small potatoes going the other way. Cantin has yet to score a point in the AHL Riendeau is nearly a point per game guy... in the ECHL. I gather that the Isles save a few bucks here, although Cantin still has two years left on his ELC, so that'll eat a spot on the fifty-man roster. Maybe they like him.

1:30 PM - The Minnesota Wild have traded defenseman Greg Zanon to the Boston Bruins for defenseman Steve Kampfer.

Analysis: Kampfer spent four years at Michigan before turning pro last season. He played quite a bit (and seemingly quite well) for the Bruins during the regular season, but didn't get into any playoff games, and hasn't played much so far this season (just 10:30 per game in 10 games). He's not a very big guy, and at twenty-three years old, he's an older prospect. It's an interesting acquisition because the Wild have a bunch of these guys. Justin Falk, Nate Prosser, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner, and now Kampfer are all just now trying to establish themselves as NHL players. Lots of competition for playing time, but I expect that Kampfer will step into the lineup in Minnesota for at least a few games. It's likely that there were a couple of picks (a 2nd and something else) on the table for Zanon, so the Wild must like Kampfer quite a bit.

The Bruins obviously aren't sold on Kampfer and Zanon will help their depth on the blueline. He played some tough minutes last year with the Wild, but wasn't all that good doing it. With easier minutes, he's done well. I expect him to be fifth or sixth on Boston's depth chart, so he should look good. They'll probably regret this if Kampfer is a player, but Zanon is a good hire.

12:42 PM - The Winnipeg Jets have traded defenseman Johnny Oduya to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2nd and 3rd round picks, both in 2013.

Analysis: Oduya has obviously fallen out of favor in Winnipeg, but replacing Oduya with Clitsome definitely makes them worse both today and in the future (even if you don't like Oduya, at least his contract is up this year). That said, the two picks don't hurt at all, especially since Winnipeg will have two drafts to use those extra picks to move up in the draft if they decide to target a particular player.

The Blackhawks are in free fall and need help. Oduya will keep John Scott out of the lineup, which is good, but what they really need is help between the pipes. If they don't address the need there, I don't see the point in giving up futures for rental players. If they get a better goaltender (Josh Harding?), this deal makes sense, but if they stand pat in net then I don't think it does.

12:30 PM - The Ottawa Senators have traded defenseman Brian Lee to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Matt Gilroy.

Analysis: Brian Lee never lived up to being a top-ten pick in the 2005 draft, though to be fair, not very many of the top-ten picks in the 2005 draft did: Jack Johnson (3), Benoit Pouliot (4), Gilbert Brule (6), Jack Skille (7), and Brian Lee (9) is an ugly group. Anyroad, Lee gets another chance in Tampa after drowning in every opportunity he received in Ottawa. They'll have a quarter-season to decide whether or not he should get a qualifying offer. The Senators, meanwhile, add a pending UFA who should be able to actually help them in the here and now. Gilroy is young enough that he could be part of the future too if the Senators like what they see. This is a deal that makes a lot of sense for the Senators. It's not a great one for the Lightning, but it's the kind of flyer that makes sense given their position in the standings.

12:20 PM - Mike Gillis made sure that Henrik and Daniel Sedin never take another defensive zone faceoff for the rest of the season by acquiring Sammy Pahlsson for a pair of fourth round picks. While in the midst of a firesale, this is one player Jackets' General Manager Scott Howson probably had to move because he was a pending UFA.

Analysis: Mike Gillis won this deal in a walk. Fourth round picks have little value and Pahlsson gives the Canucks more depth at center than any team in the league except maybe a healthy Pittsburgh lineup.

12:05 PM - The San Jose Sharks have acquired Daniel Winnik, T.J. Galiardi, and a 7th-round draft pick from the Colorado Avalanche. No news on what's going Colorado's way yet.

Analysis: If it isn't premium stuff, this looks like a good deal for the Sharks. Winnik in particular is a good player. He was part of an excellent tough minutes line earlier this season, so he's not the kind of player who needs to be hidden. He also led the Avalanche in PK time on ice per game, so he should help in that area as well.

Update: The Avalanche get Jamie McGinn, Mike Connelly, and Michael Sgarbossa. McGinn is a pretty decent young player that the Avalahche will have under control for several seasons, so that's not a bad return at all. Both Sgarbossa and Connelly are undersized scorers. Sgarbossa is lighting up the OHL as a 19-year-old and Connelly is having a pretty good rookie season as a 22-year-old rookie in the AHL with 30 points in 40 games. Looks like a decent move for both clubs.

11:39 AM - The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded tweener (at least right now) defenseman Keith Aulie to the Tampa Bay Lightning for prospect Carter Ashton.

Analysis: Aulie is a work-in-progress and will require a significant investment by the Lightning before he makes an impact:

Simple statistics like goals, assists and points don't tell the full story for defence-first guys like Aulie. Last year with the Leafs, Aulie was significantly outshot at even strength, with a CORSI ON rating of -21.52 (Mike Komisarek, another defence-first defenceman, was next worst among Leaf regulars* at -9.68). If you're not familiar with CORSI, it means that not only were the Leafs outshot when Aulie was on the ice, they were SIGNIFICANTLY outshot.

Ashton comes with a reputation as a goal-scoring threat, but his NHLE82 numbers in Norfolk don't give much hope that he's going to be an impact player in the NHL:


NHLE82 G NHLE82 A NHLE82 P
2011-12 12 11 23

11:00 AM - The Edmonton Oilers twitter account is reporting that Tom Gilbert has been traded to the Minneosta Wild for Nick Schultz, so I guess we can stop being in denial now.

Analysis: Fuck me. More to come.

10:45 AM - Nick Kypreos reports that Mike Commodore is off to the Lightning. Bob McKenzie tells us that the Red Wings apparently get a conditional seventh in the deal.

Analysis: The condition is probably something like, "If Ken Holland is eaten by an alligator". Steve Yzerman is doing his BFF a favor here. The Red Wings were sitting right on the fifty-contract limit and this drops them down to forty-nine. Obviously good for the Red Wings, good maintenance of a positive relationship for Yzerman, and Commodore... well... he's probably not thrilled at this (he probably had a chance at a playoff game or two and thus his name on the Cup), but there ain't a whole lot he can do about it.

10:10 AM - Bob McKenzie gives us a waiver update:

Jets claim Grant Clitsome off waivers. Habs claim Brad Staubitz... Staubitz was picked up on re-entry waivers.

Analysis: The Jets get Clitsome without giving up any assets, but still manage to lose the deal. The Jackets got sucked in to giving Clitsome a two-year contract after he scored 19 points in 31 games last year. A lot of that had to do with his 11.1% on-ice shooting percentage five-on-five, good enough for seventh in the NHL. In truth, Clitsome is a replacement level third pairing type who will earn $1.4M next season on a cap hit of $1.25M. Best deal the Jackets have made in the last few weeks.

As for Staubitz, the Canadiens look like they might be moving out bodies, and so they need to bring some people in. Staubitz isn't very good, but his contract is over after this year, and he sure will be cheap for the rest of this year with the Canadiens only paying half the contract. If the goal is saving money (seems probable), this makes sense.

8:22 AM - Andrei Kostitsyn to the Predators per the trade call, reports Bob McKenzie via Twitter. Pierre LeBrun Tweeted the return:

Preds deal 2nd rd pick in 2013 plus return the conditional pick they got in Hal GIll trade

Analysis: Seems like David Poile decided Rick Nash was too expensive and went for the smaller, cheaper, less risky alternative. This trade also reunites Andrei with his younger brother Sergei, who has 15 goals and 35 points in 56 games for the Predators so far this season. The picks aren't worth much, especially if Nashville wins a round, so David Poile did extremely well here.

Update: McKenzie sort of confirmed the above take with a later tweet:

NSH has had some reservations about reuniting the Kostitsyns, but they also don't want to get shut out on scoring forwards.

Kostitsyn's career high is 26 goals in 78 games during the 2007-08 season but the concern this season is his shot rates - his per game rates are off about 30% year-over-year. Nashville needs to get the puck on the net and Andrei isn't going to help in that department. They'll still rely on goaltending.

The Rick Nash party is now down to three - the Maple Leafs, Sharks and Rangers.

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