NHL deadline day brings no major trades
Deadline day madness? It didn't exactly turn out that way.
What promised to be a day full of blockbuster trades and surprising moves made by the NHL's 30 general managers turned out to be a pretty tame affair
Thirty deals were completed by the time the NHL's trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, but none of them could be described as jaw dropping.
Instead of looking to make a splash by trading for one marquee star, teams took a more measured approach by acquiring squad players to bolster their rosters as the playoff push begins.
Sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference and looking to qualify for the post-season for the first time in eight years, the Phoenix Coyotes proved to be the busiest team on Wednesday.
The Coyotes made seven trade deals, including acquiring forward Wojtek Wolski and a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 from the Colorado Avalanche for forwards Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter.
Phoenix also re-acquired defenceman Derek Morris (from the Boston Bruins), veteran blue-liner Mathieu Schneider (Vancouver Canucks), and wingers Lee Stempniak (Toronto Maples) and Alexandre Picard (Columbus Blue Jackets), forward Petteri Nokelainen (Anaheim Ducks) and goaltender Miika Wiikman (New York Rangers).
Wolski said he was very surprised to be traded to Phoenix.
"I had heard some rumours about it last night. My agent called me and gave me the heads up, but I didn't think it was going to go through," Wolski told Hockey Night in Canada Radio.
"I'm just excited that Phoenix is in the playoff hunt and hopefully I can be a part of that."
Wolski believes that the fact that the Coyotes made so many deals at the deadline speaks to the club's commitment to winning and wanting to end its playoff drought this year.
"They want to win. That's a big thing because you want to be part of a team that has a chance to win," said the former Avalanche forward.
Schneider spoke with Phoenix coach Dave Tippett and GM Dion Maloney, who both told him they were acquiring him in order to "breathe new life" into the team's power play.
"That's the part of my game that I've enjoyed the most and had a bit of success with during my career," Schneider said.
The Washington Capitals were also busy on Wednesday.
The first-place team in the NHL made four trades, most notably acquiring defenceman Joe Corvo and right-winger Scott Walker from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Washington GM George McPhee also acquired centre Eric Belanger and blue-liner Milan Jurcina.
"I've known George pretty much my whole career. He used to play for the Guelph Platers [of the Ontario Hockey League] then they moved to Owen Sound where I played [in the early 1990s]," Walker told Hockey Night in Canada Radio.
"Then I had him as a GM in Vancouver. I represented myself one time and did a contract negotiation with him, so I'm excited to play for him
Walker joins his fourth team after breaking into the NHL in 1994-95 with Vancouver and spending seven seasons in Nashville before joining Carolina in 2006.
"They're a truly skilled and dynamic team so I'm so excited to go and be a part of it," Walker said.
Perhaps to the chagrin of hockey fans in Canada, none of the NHL's six Canadian teams made a major move on Wednesday.
While the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens stood pat, the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs all made minor moves, the most notable trade being between the Alberta rivals — Calgary acquired Steve Staios from Edmonton for fellow defenceman Aaron Johnson and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2010 or 2011.
Flames GM Darryl Sutter told reporters he's long been an admirer of Staios.
"We wanted a veteran defenceman with some leadership qualities, where the money would work for us and that's where it fell," Sutter told reporters during a press conference.
"He's a player that I've liked for a long time.… so I was thankful to get him."