Vanek perfect fit for Canadiens, Kesler stays in Vancouver | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaVanek perfect fit for Canadiens, Kesler stays in Vancouver

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | 08:01 PM

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The Canadiens acquired left-winger Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders on Wednesday. (Getty Images) The Canadiens acquired left-winger Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

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The Montreal Canadiens were the big winners among the seven Canadian NHL clubs on the trade deadline day on Wednesday when they landed sniper Thomas Vanek.

The Montreal Canadiens were not the most active Canadian club during NHL trade deadline day, but they certainly improved their team the best with the acquisition of sniper Thomas Vanek.

The Vancouver Canucks, meanwhile, were not offered enough for their star second-line centre and as a result Ryan Kesler will finish the season on the West Coast and will have to wait until the draft for a change of address.

Kesler remarked that he was happy he remained with the Canucks, but with all the chatter on Wednesday there was no doubt Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis fielded some serious offers for his forward.

But the price of a front-line young player, a prospect and first-round draft pick was never met. 

"None of the possibilities fit with our expectations today," said Gillis, who did not name Kelser specifically as one of the targets. But it has been no secret that the Canucks had been "aggressively listening" to offers for Kesler over the past few days.

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The only deal Gillis pulled off was shipping defenceman Raphael Diaz out after six games in a Canucks sweater to the New York Rangers for a fifth-round draft choice.

The Canadiens surrendered a second-round pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg for the 30-year-old Vanek. Montreal needed a boost to its offence, which sits 20th in the league.

Vanek, slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, stated that he always has enjoyed playing in the atmosphere of the Bell Centre.

"Right now, I'm just excited to be playing for Montreal," said Vanek, who has nine goals in 26 career games at the Bell Centre. "I came to Montreal so many times with the Sabres. I always loved playing at the Bell Centre, the atmosphere is so electric there."

The atmosphere wasn't so electric on Long Island on Wednesday, where Islanders GM Garth Snow was licking his wounds. He gave up first- and second-round selections as well as Matt Moulson to the Sabres to land Vanek earlier this season and only received a second rounder and prospect in return.

Here was the action from the other five Canadian teams.

Calgary Flames

The Flames failed to move sniper Mike Cammalleri. But Flames GM Brian Burke felt because Vanek and Moulson (dealt to Minnesota) were traded so close to the deadline that teams interested in Cammalleri ran out of time to circle back to Calgary.

Burke, however, will continue to explore contract talks with Cammalleri, an impending unrestricted free agent.

Lee Stempniak must feel like he won the lottery. This poor soul was stuck on some bad teams in St. Louis, Toronto and Calgary and as a result has only played in 11 playoff games (with Phoenix in 2010 and 2011) in his nine-year NHL career. Now he has been moved to a Stanley Cup contender in the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flames gained a third-round pick in return.

Burke also landed a 2014 second-round selection from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for goalie Reto Berra.

Edmonton Oilers

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish stockpiled three draft picks in two separate trades. He received a fifth-round selection this year and a third-round choice next year from Ottawa for Ales Hemsky. Edmonton also will retain 50 per cent of Hemsky's salary this season. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

Ironically, Hemsky, who had a strong Olympics with Czech Republic, put a damper on his new team's playoff hopes with a two-goal outing against the Senators on Tuesday.

MacTavish's big task now is to rebuild that leaky blue line.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators lost Cory Conacher on waivers and replaced him with Hemsky. But maybe a bigger move for Ottawa GM Bryan Murray was signing 35-year-old defenceman Chris Phillips to a two-year extension worth $2.5-million a season. Losing both Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson in 10-plus months would have been a leadership hole impossible to fill.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Like the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, the Maple Leafs didn't have much salary cap space to work with. They also had no desire to part with draft picks and youth. So Toronto GM Dave Nonis was quiet at the deadline.

Nonis also didn't want to part with any of his soon-to-be restricted free agents. He stated that he likes his team and he soon will get back an important player in David Bolland from his Achilles tendon injury.

Winnipeg Jets

It was an awful 24 hours for the surging Jets. Not only did they fail to take care of the lowly Islanders at home on Tuesday evening, but lost emerging young centre Mark Scheifele to a knee injury that will keep him out six-to-eight weeks.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was active and investigated a handful of moves, but he didn't want to part with draft picks and prospects and he didn't want to unload an impending unrestricted free agent because of how close his team has pulled to within a playoff spot. So, in the end, he stood pat.

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