The NHL trading period is now over and teams have either added pieces for a playoff run or a rebuild. Lets take a look at how teams did with their February transactions, including the NHL Trade Deadline. The playoff grade deals with how the addition will impact a playoff run, while the fantasy grade deals with offensive addition and long term potential.
ATLANTA THRASHERS – The Thrashers didn’t make too much noise by adding Brett Festerling, Radek Dvorak, Ben Maxwell, Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler. The only player of impact here is Blake Wheeler, who is still developing into a power forward; the question is will Atlanta be able to re-sign him. Wheeler should be a regular 30-goal and 30-assist player going forward. Only Johnny Oduya and Patrice Cormier remain with Atlanta from the assets acquired from New Jersey for Ilya Kovalchuk. PLAYOFF GRADE: D FANTASY GRADE: C+
BOSTON BRUINS – The Bruins made a big push by acquiring Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley, Boris Valabik, Chris Kelly and a few other depth, minor leaguers. Boston is now built for a long playoff run. Valabik and Zdeno Chara could be the scariest combo ever. Kaberle will fill the void on the powerplay due to Marc Savard’s injury. Bruins will try to re-sign Kaberle this off-season and a long playoff run will help. PLAYOFF GRADE: A+ FANTASY GRADE: A
BUFFALO SABRES – The Sabres only made one move, which was to trade for Brad Boyes. Boyes will provide Buffalo with offense from the third line but could easily jump up a line or two if needs be. The Sabres have turned around their season after a terrible start and Boyes could play a big role in getting them into the playoffs. PLAYOFF GRADE: C+ FANTASY GRADE: C+
CAROLINA HURRICANES – The Canes made a couple moves bringing back a former player in Cory Stillman and adding some depth to their blue line in Bryan Allen and Derek Joslin. Stillman has two rings, including one with Carolina and was brought in because he is familiar with the organization. Stillman will play with Eric Staal and Erik Cole so he could see a bump in his stats. PLAYOFF GRADE: B- FANTASY GRADE: C
FLORIDA PANTHERS – The Panthers have traded away several key assets to add draft picks and players like Niclas Bergfors, Alexander Sulzer, Jack Skille, Patrick Rissmiller and Sergei Samsonov. You have to feel for Panther fans, as this team has no direction; are they pushing for playoffs or rebuilding? Samsonov is on the downside of his career and Rissmiller has played in just one NHL game over the last two seasons. Did I mention that both of these players are 32 years old? Bergfors and Skille are young and have some offensive potential but you have to wonder why teams are giving up on them so young, especially Bergfors who is now with his third team in two seasons. PLAYOFF GRADE: Will not make playoffs FANTASY GRADE: C+
MONTREAL CANADIENS – Due to several long-term injuries to key defensemen the Canadiens were forced to make moves to fill those holes. Montreal acquired Paul Mara and Brent Sopel. Mara has zero offensive ability but brings the tangibles that will help Montreal win games. He is a big, strong defenseman that will make Carey Price better. Sopel was a key member of the Blackhawks Stanley Cup team and can play any role that is needed. Montreal also got Nigel Dawes from Atlanta where he just didn’t seem to fit in. Last year he scored 14 goals and 32 points with Calgary and could be a late bloomer. PLAYOFF GRADE: B- FANTASY GRADE: C
NEW JERSEY DEVILS –The Devils have been the hottest team in the NHL going 18-2-2 over the last 22 games. New Jersey traded away Jason Arnott for a younger version of Arnott in David Steckel. They play similar games but Steckel doesn’t have the same offensive skill set. The Devils didn’t need to make major changes this season they just needed their top players to be their best players. Unfortunately this hot run is a little too late as they will miss playoffs and wonder what if. PLAYOFF GRADE: Will miss playoffs FANTASY GRADE: D+