Even though we didn't see any high-profile names moved, we did see a record number of trades (31) and players involved (55). Let's take a look at some of the teams I feel were winners and losers, based on the moves made today:
WASHINGTON - Winner: I felt the Capitals went out and made moves that could precursor a Stanley Cup championship for them. Acquiring the likes of Scott Walker, a gritty veteran with plenty of playoff experience, and Eric Belanger, a solid two-way center man who will add a bit of offense, will pay dividends for them. Washington lacked experience last year during the playoffs, so combine a year's worth of time with the right player moves and you could see the Capitals hoisting a championship come June.
PHOENIX - Winner: Already turning heads with their surprising play this season, GM Don Maloney was extremely active on this day, acquiring 6 players in an effort to stock-pile his team for a deep playoff run. Wojtek Wolski and Lee Stempniak will provide some offensive depth up front and the re-acquisition of Derek Morris will bring a veteran presence on their blue line and in their locker room.
BOSTON - Loser: Despite acquiring D Dennis Seidenberg from Florida, Boston did not do much else to improve its playoff chances or address their primary need: goal scoring. At the moment, they are tied with the Rangers for the 8th spot in a vacuum tight Eastern Conference. Already plagued by injuries the entire season to forwards Milan Lucic and Marc Savard, the Bruins will have to scratch and claw their way to the playoffs.
LOS ANGELES - Winner: The Kings didn't make a splash today; instead they made some savvy moves that could make them dangerous in the playoffs. Los Angeles followed suit of their Eastern Conference counterparts Pittsburgh and Washington by acquiring a veteran presence for their team in Jeff Halpren from Tampa Bay. The Kings also acquired forward Fredrik Modin from Columbus.
PHILADELPHIA - Loser: Hear me out on this one. Most experts will tell you the Flyers are a dangerous team with young studs Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, Peter Laviolette behind the bench and have arguably one of the best all-around defenseman in the NHL in Chris Pronger. Notice how I didn't mention any goalies? That's because Philadelphia, quite honestly, doesn't have a household name. They are confident in their goalie Michael Leighton and opted to not acquire a goalie for the stretch run. This could prove very costly.
PITTSBURGH - Winner: If you include only today, Pittsburgh did relatively nothing compared to other teams. They didn't have to; they made their key acquisition of Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto the previous night. He joins the list of players that include Bill Guerin, Marian Hossa, and Gary Roberts whom the Penguins have acquired at the trade deadline each of the last 3 seasons to bolster their lineup. Ponikarovsky will add offense to an already potent Pittsburgh team.
MONTREAL - Loser: Like Boston, Montreal did nothing to improve their lineup for the remaining games of the regular season. The Canadiens sit in the 7th spot in the East, yet only 3 points separates them from being out of a playoff spot. They don't expect their best forward Mike Cammaleri back from injury until mid-March and already have forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Beniot Pouliot out as well. However, by mid-March, it might be too little too late for Montreal.
EDMONTON & CAROLINA - Future Winners: Both of these teams had the future in mind today, stock-piling future draft picks in exchange for moveable assets and shed salary in the process. In their re-tooling, the Oilers got back USA Olympian Ryan Whitney, a young, puck-moving defenseman, who can help Edmonton in the long term. As for Carolina, they traded away 6 players for draft picks. Both teams will undergo major overhauls to their rosters over the summer and could possibly see them as playoff contenders, depending on the moves they make, as early as next season.
Teams like Dallas, Chicago, Vancouver, NY Rangers, New Jersey, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay didn't do anything of note to help or hurt their chances on this day. As the adage goes, some of the best trades are ones you do not make. Time will only tell for these teams if that cliché' holds true.