by pcoffey on 03/06/14 at 05:52 PM ET
Always a day when hockey dominates the headlines, the 2014 NHL trade deadline supplied the usual array of moves that leave you scratching your head, or eager to see the outcome for the teams involved. Let's take a look at some of the big moves and see if they pass the stink test a day later.
* Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round pick and a conditional 2014 second-round pick -- Fans of both teams can make pretty good cases for either loving it or hating it.
If you're the Lightning, you get a solid rental in Callahan, a heart-and-soul guy who was the Rangers' captain and a very popular player in New York. But Callahan hasn't thrived under Alain Vigneault this season and talks on a new contract never gained the proper traction. If you've listened to the pre-deadline talk, many think Callahan is destined to sign with the Buffalo Sabres, his hometown team. Callahan certainly won't replace St. Louis' goals, but brings other assets for as long -- or short -- as he remains in Tampa. For Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, the trade ends the distraction of an unhappy veteran player wanting out and adds a couple of assets in the draft picks from the Rangers.
For the Rangers, St. Louis is a gritty, dynamic player who makes this season's Rangers better, maybe much better. He is a terrific offensive player, whose desire can't be questioned. Being reunited with Brad Richards may light a fire under Richards, which would be an excellent benefit for the Rangers too.
But -- and you knew a but was coming -- St. Louis is 38 and the Rangers traded a younger player and two picks for a player who has to deliver now.
* Thomas Vanek and a pick to the Montreal Canadiens with Sebastian Collberg and a pick going to the Islanders -- Really, Garth Snow? This is it? What was the plan here? Obviously there wasn't one. The Islanders dealt Matt Moulson, a first-round pick in 2014 or 2015, and a second round pick in 2015 for Vanek with no guarantee that the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent would sign on. That's bad work, plain and simple. When Vanek said he would test free agency, his value dropped like a rock as everyone knew Snow would have to deal him for something. The Canadiens come away with a talented rental, while the Islanders continue to make ill-conceived decisions that ruin seasons.
* Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild for Torrey Mitchell, a second-round pick in 2014 and a second rounder in 2016 -- The Wild are looking to go deep into the playoffs and Moulson adds some scoring punch. The Sabres want all the picks and prospects they can get, and this deal helped stock the cupboard a little more. Not a bad deal for either team.
* David Legwand to the Red Wings for Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and a third-round pick -- Many Red Wings followers are mystified by this deal. Count me among them. Legwand has never impressed me during his career and for a player selected second overall in 1998. He does bring plenty of experience to the Wings, but surrendering a player, prospect and pick just seems to be too much for the return.
* Tim Thomas to Dallas, Dan Ellis to the Panthers -- This may have been big news a couple seasons back, but doesn't move the excitment meter anymore. with Roberto Luongo taking over as the top guy in Florida, the Panthers needed to shed some salary. Ellis is presumably now his backup, while Thomas will vie for ice time in Bid D with Kari Lehtonen.
* Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey for center Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round pick -- When healthy, Ruutu is a pretty good player. Of course staying healthy is the problem. But Ruutu has the potential to goose the New Jersey offense a little bit and that was a move worth taking for Lou Lamoriello.
* Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak to the Penguins from Florida and Calgary, respectively, for picks -- When you're the Penguins, you nevr can have enough depth.
* Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings for Matt Frattin and a couple picks -- Remember when Gaborik was a pretty impressive offensive player? The Kings are hoping he does, too.
And going nowhere -- Two of the players rumored to be moving, New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur and Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler, went nowhere at the deadline, which wasn't that surprising in Brodeur's case, and may not in Kesler's either.
No one was going to offer much to the Devils for Brodeur and when Ilya Bryzgalov was dealt to the Wild, that ended the most logical move for Brodeur, who mulls over his future for the rest of the season.
As for Kesler, he is a player any contending team would love to have, but the price of a player, prospect and pick, for starters, can be a little too disruptive at the deadline. It makes more sense for the Canucks to talk trade for Kesler at the Entry Draft.
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About Iced Coffey
Phil Coffey has covered the NHL since 1981, most recently as the Senior Editorial Director of NHL.com. He spent over 11 years there.