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Puckin' Around With Spector

Reviewing the Notable NHL trades of 2011.

As 2011 draws to a close, I thought it worthwhile to look back on the notable trades of this year and see how they’ve worked out so far.

Granted, it’s still too early to fully gauge how most of these trades could pan out, while some are easy to determine the success or failure of the deal. Still, the early reviews can provide some insight into determining which club “won” each deal.

The following are listed in the order in which they occurred throughout the year.

- The NY Islanders trade G Dwayne Roloson to the Tampa Bay Lightning for minor leaguer Ty Wishart.

In the short term, this worked out well for the Lightning. Roloson provided steady veteran goaltending over the second half of the season, and backstopped them to the Eastern Conference Final. This season, however, it appears age has finally caught up with the 42-year-old, as he’s lost the starter’s job to backup Mathieu Garon.

- The Anaheim Ducks trade RW Joffrey Lupul, D Jake Gardiner and conditional fourth round pick in 2013 to Toronto Maple Leafs for D Francois Beauchemin.

This could be one the Ducks wish they had back. Lupul has finally put his injury woes behind him and ranks among the league’s top scorers, while Gardiner appears to have a promising future. Beauchemin, meanwhile, has done little to improve the struggling Ducks this season.

- The Ottawa Senators trade C Mike Fisher to Nashville Predators for a first round pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

Fisher helped the Predators win their first playoff series in franchise history before being hobbled by injury against Vancouver in the second round. He’s slowly rounding back into form after missing training camp and the opening games of this season to shoulder surgery.

- The Ottawa Senators trade C/RW Chris Kelly to the Boston Bruins for a second round pick in 2011.

Kelly became a key component in the Bruins march to the 2011 Stanley Cup. There’s talk of the Bruins re-signing him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

- The Colorado Avalanche trade G Craig Anderson to the Ottawa Senators for G Brian Elliott.

Anderson has established himself as the Senators starting goalie, while the Avs cut Elliott loose at season’s end. Signed as a backup by the St. Louis Blues, Elliott leads the league in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

- The Boston Bruins trade RW Blake Wheeler and D Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for C/W Rich Peverley and minor league defenseman Boris Valabik.

Wheeler and Stuart have become key members of the now-Winnipeg Jets, while Peverley went on to help the Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup, earning a three-year contract extension for his efforts.

- The Toronto Maple Leafs trade D Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins for prospect C Joe Colborne, Boston’s first round pick in 2011 and a conditional second round pick in 2012.

While Kaberle did win the Stanley Cup with the Bruins, he was a major disappointment and was not re-signed following the playoffs. Colborne, meanwhile, has shown considerable promise in his few games with the Leafs. If he should play up to expectations, the Leafs over the long run win this deal.

-The Colorado Avalanche trade RW Chris Stewart and D Kevin Shattenkirk to the St. Louis Blues for D Erik Johnson, C Jay McClement and a conditional first round pick.

This trade appeared at first a big win for the Blues, but while Shattenkirk remains a good addition, Stewart has been a disappointment so far this season. Johnson has been notable for inconsistency this season with the Avs, while McClement continues in his role as a checking line center.

- The Dallas Stars trade RW James Neal and D Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for D Alex Goligoski.

Neal struggled to score after joining the Penguins, but has regained his offensive touch this season, leading the club with 20 goals in his first 35 games. Niskanen has also shown considerable improvement this season. Goligoski has been hampered by a broken thumb, but the Stars still have high hopes for him as a puck-moving defenseman.

-The Edmonton Oilers trade LW Dustin Penner to the LA Kings for defense prospect Colten Teubert, a first round pick in 2011 and a third round pick in 2012.

Envisioned as a first line power forward, Penner has been a huge disappointment since joining the Kings at last season’s trade deadline.

-The Phoenix Coyotes trade goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Matt Clackson, a third round pick in 2012 and future considerations.

Bryzgalov has a good win-loss record so far (14-8-3) but his goals-against (3.01) and save percentage (.890) are well off his numbers with the Coyotes. To date, the Flyers haven’t received their money’s worth.

-The Philadelphia Flyers trade C Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for RW Jakub Voracek, a first and a third round pick in 2011.

-The Philadelphia Flyers trade C Mike Richards and a second round pick to the LA Kings for RW Wayne Simmonds and prospect Brayden Schenn.

These deals happened within an hour of each other last June, as the Flyers cleared cap space to sign Bryzgalov to a lengthy contract. Carter has struggled through injuries this season, one of the reasons the Blue Jackets remain in the bottom of the league standings. Richards has had better luck with the Kings, as he’s currently their second-leading scorer.  Voracek and Simmonds, meanwhile, have become valuable role players for the Flyers.

- The Colorado Avalanche trade defenseman John-Michael Liles to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a second round pick in 2012.

A good move by the Leafs to replace the departed Tomas Kaberle, as Liles (currently sidelined by a concussion) has been among their best players throughout this season.

- The Minnesota Wild trade D Brent Burns and a second round pick in 2012 to the San Jose Sharks for RW Devin Setoguchi, forward prospect Charlie Coyle and a first round pick.

The Wild hoped to bolster their offense, while the Sharks wanted to add more top end depth to their defense. Burns has been solid for the Sharks, though he’s not contributing as much offensively as hoped. Setoguchi had a decent start with the Wild, but has been on injured reserve since early December with an ankle injury.

-The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers for LW Rostislav Olesz.

Essentially two teams swapping big contracts they no longer wished to carry, Campbell has become one of the key factors in the improvement of the Panthers this season, while Olesz has been banished by the Blackhawks to the minors.

- The Calgary Flames trade D Robyn Regehr, D Ales Kotalik and a second round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Chris Butler and forward Paul Byron.

It was believed Regehr would, along with free agent additions Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino, help the Sabres become a Cup contender, but so far he, along with his teammates, have struggled. Butler’s been a decent addition to the Flames blueline. Kotalik is now playing in Europe, while Byron is on his second call-up with the Flames.

-The LA Kings trade LW Ryan Smyth to the Edmonton Oilers for forward Colin Fraser and a seventh round pick in 2012.

This one was contentious, as the Kings believed the Oilers knowingly dealt them “damaged goods” in Fraser. Eventually both sides settled. Smyth has regained his form in Edmonton, ranking among the team’s leading scorers and on pace for his first 30-goal season since 2006-07; coincidentally, the last time he was an Oiler. Fraser is currently the Kings fourth line center.

-The Washington Capitals trade G Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for a first round pick in 2012 and a second round pick in 2012 or 2013.

Varlamov got off to a strong start, but has since fizzled out, relegated to backup duty behind veteran J-S Giguere. It’s still far too early to write off Varlamov, but he needs to work on his game.

-The Philadelphia Flyers traded RW Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers for a second round pick in 2012 or 2013 and San Jose’s third round pick in 2012.

After bouncing from Chicago to Toronto to Philadelphia over the past couple of years, Versteeg appears to have found a home with the Panthers. He’s their leading scorer and on pace for career-best offensive numbers.

The Nashville Predators trade C Matt Lombardi and D Cody Franson to the Toronto Maple Leafs for D Brett Lebda and minor leaguer Robert Slaney.

Lombardi continues to be hampered by injuries, and Franson struggled earlier in the season to fit into the Leafs defense, but despite these problems, the Leafs win this deal hands-down, as the Predators made this deal to clear cap space for Shea Weber’s expensive new contract.

-The San Jose Sharks trade LW Dany Heatley to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for RW Martin Havlat.

The Sharks certainly were desperate to rid themselves of Heatley if they were willing to take on the brittle Havlat. Heatley’s best seasons appear behind him, but he’s still been a key part of the Wild’s improvement this season. The oft-injured Havlat is once against sidelined, this time with a “lower body injury” after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury hopping onto the ice for a shift in a recent game.

- The Vancouver Canucks trade RW Mikael Samuelsson and LW Marco Sturm to the Florida Panthers for LW David Booth, minor leaguer Steven Reinprecht and a third round pick in 2013.

Another trade where two teams do each other a favor by moving players who no longer fit into their future plans. Samuelsson and Sturm are UFAs next summer, and provide short-term, experienced checking line depth for the Panthers (though Samuelsson has missed most of this season to injury). Booth, however, was expected to provide second-line scoring depth for the Canucks, and seemed to be adjusting to his role when he was recently sidelined indefinitely by a knee sprain.

-The Carolina Hurricanes trade D Tomas Kaberle to the Montreal Canadiens for D Jaroslav Spacek.

The Hurricanes desperately wanted to be rid of Kaberle and his $4.25 million per season contract, while the Canadiens were desperately seeking a boost in the offensive production from their blueline, especially on the power-play. The early returns suggest the Hurricanes got the better of this one, simply for finding a taker for a player most observers felt was untradeable.

- The Phoenix Coyotes trade C Kyle Turris to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman David Rundblad and a second round pick.

So far, the only notable thing about this deal is it brought to an end Turris’ contentious relationship with Coyotes management. Far too early to determine which side wins this deal, but hockey fans bored of the seemingly endless trade speculation over Turris rejoiced.

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SYF's avatar

The Bryz signing by the Flyers is still friggin’ unbelievable.  Just unbelievable.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 12/28/11 at 04:06 PM ET

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About Puckin' Around With Spector

I’m Lyle Richardson. You might know me from my website, Spector’s Hockey, my thrice-weekly rumor column at THN.com, my weekly column at Eishockey News (if you read German), and my former gig as a contributing writer to Foxsports.com.

I’ll be writing a once-weekly blog here with my take on all things NHL. Who knows, I might actually find time to debunk a trade rumor or two.