It's hard not to love what the Bruins did at the deadline, at least, what they did the day before the deadline. Jaromir Jagr had the highest GVT of any skater at the trade deadline. Yup, higher than Jarome Iginla. By a good margin in fact: 7.4 to 5.1. As my fancystats compatriot has argued in exquisite detail: Jagr is better than Iginla. Since I doubt that Peter Chiarelli would have moved on Jagr if he'd already picked up Iginla, it's probably a good thing the deal with Calgary fell through (more on this later). In return, the Bruins gave up a fringe prospect, a non-prospect, and a conditional second round pick. They came out of the trade deadline with their top prospects intact.
The second, and somewhat less-heralded, deadline pickup was Wade Redden. As a Ranger, Redden was such a colossal bust that he was completely written off as a useful hockey player. However, he actually played very well in St. Louis, for the role he had. True, his ice time was extremely sheltered, but he dominated opponents to the tune of a 15.7 relative Corsi (14.78 Corsi on). That's much better than what Adam McQuaid has done with nearly identical ice time and better than what Andrew Ference has done with slightly less favorable ice time (nearly identical qualcomp, but 52% offensive zone starts for Ference vs. 56% for Redden).
So why can't Redden help out on the third pair? Yes, the Bruins will have to shelter him, but so what? In the playoffs, Zdeno Chara will play 30 minutes a night against the toughest competition anyway. By definition, EVERY defenseman other than Chara and his partner (whether it's Johnny Boychuk or Dennis Seidenberg) will be sheltered. He's not the puck mover he once was, but he's still better at that than either Ference or McQuaid and the Bruins should be a bit less susceptible to the forecheck when the third pair is on the ice. Alas, it's more likely that Redden will simply be the 7th defenseman, a role for which he is, in my eyes, overqualified.
With Chris Kelly soon returning from injury, Patrice Bergeron (hopefully) ready to return to action by the playoffs and Carl Soderberg (hopefully) coming over from Sweden soon, the Bruins didn't need another forward at the deadline. I am sure that they would have liked to add a top 4 defenseman, but given the prices that lesser blueliners were commanding, I can understand Chiarelli's reluctance to make a move. If San Jose got a pair of second rounders for Douglas Murray, I shudder to think what they'd have demanded for Dan Boyle. Two first rounders, Malcolm Subban and a kidney?
So what about the rest of the NHL?
Pittsburgh Penguins - But not by as much as you think. Yes, they made a great move to get Iginla, but enough ink and pixels have been spent blowing Ray Shero that we needn't do so here. And yes, Jussi Jokinen is a useful (juseful?) player they got for free. So those moves put them here regardless. But giving up a pair of second rounders for Douglas Murray was a nonsensical move. Murray has pretty much sucked in fairly soft ice time this year. And for all the vaunted grit n' heart n' leadership that Brenden Morrow brings to the table, he's just not that great a hockey player anymore. In a third line, soft deployment, maybe he can get some of his groove back, but as I've stated previously, I think it's more likely that he's just washed up.
Toronto Maple Leafs - No, I don't think Ryan O'Byrne is any great shakes. In fact, I think he sucks, and so does Corsi. But the Leafs were winners by refraining from doing anything with their goaltending. James Reimer is a perfectly good goaltender, and the Leafs would have been stupid to pick up Miikka Kiprusoff as a backup, and downright insane to give up useful assets for Roberto Luongo and his contract.
Buffalo Sabres - The Sabres picked up 3 second round picks and a fifth rounder for Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr. That's a lot of assets for a pair of guys that are nearing replacement level. And they got a king's ransom for Jason Pominville: two prospects who immediately become top 5 prospects in their organization, a first and a second. This will no doubt be a big help to Darcy Regier when he's interviewing for a new job this summer.
San Jose Sharks - Along with Buffalo, I don't think any seller did a better job than the Sharks. 2 second rounders for Douglas Murray? "Crankshaft" can barely skate, for crying out loud! 2 seconds and a third for Ryane Clowe? It was clear that Clowe was going to break out of his slump (which he certainly did last night), but still, that's a nice return for a 30 year old forward who's in decline and who was going to walk as a free agent anyway. I didn't really get the Scott Hannan and Raffi Torres acquisitions, but that shouldn't detract too much from a couple of excellent moves.
Ottawa Senators - They got a nice return for Ben Bishop, who, talented as he is, they didn't need. Cory Conacher has faded a bit after a hot start, but adds a quality top 6 forward to a team that could really use some talent up front.
Minnesota Wild - Gave up a lot to get Jason Pominville, but the Wild have a very deep farm system and reservoir of young talent, so they can afford the hit. They're not taking on a huge salary, and Pominville will presumably jump right into the first line right wing role with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise, a huge upgrade from Torrey Mitchell.
New York Rangers/Columbus Blue Jackets - I haven't decided who won or lost this deal yet, but it would be negligent not to comment on the most fascinating deal of the deadline. There are a ton of questions I have about this deal. Why did the Rangers trade a significant asset at the nadir of his trade value? Gaborik's shooting percentage is a mere 8.0%, well below his 13.2 career average. He should bounce back soon. Why was Columbus a buyer? This is simply not a good hockey team, and they're being propped up by Sergei Bobrovsky's unsustainable play. What do the Rangers see in Derrick Brassard and Derek Dorsett? Personally, I see a second/third line forward who's never going to fulfill his full potential and a guy with slightly more skill than the average goon. John Moore can be useful, though. Is Gaborik a head case? I'll just say that the list of people who think Torts has an attitude problem is a lot longer than the list of people who think Gaborik does, and drop the mic.
Tampa Bay Lightning - In the offseason, they made a deal for Anders Lindback and anointed him their goalie of the near future, with Andrei Vasilevski in waiting. So after Lindback struggled for 21 games, they decided to trade Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick to bring in Bishop. I don't have a problem with Bishop, I think he's likely to be a good goaltender, but it strikes me as a panic move. They have a tiny sample size on Lindback, they've got Vasilevski a couple years off, and they're probably not going anywhere this year. Why give up a talented top 6 forward who's young and cheap?
Los Angeles Kings - The "Robyn Regehr as Willie Mitchell v.2.0" meme, as mentioned on TSN Tradecentre yesterday, is so absurd I don't know what to do with it. Regehr, at this point in his career, is at most a third pair defenseman who will throw out some highlight reel hits on occasion. They shouldn't have given up more than a third rounder for him, let alone two seconds.
Vancouver Canucks - The Derek Roy acquisition was a great move; Roy was insanely undervalued, and I really wanted Boston to make a run at him, but the elephant in the room is Roberto Luongo. How on earth did Mike Gillis fail to get something done? Now he's got the NHL's most expensive backup goaltender, who quite plainly does not want to be there. While I think that locker room chemistry is massively overrated (saying that chemistry causes winning is to confuse cause and effect), I am fairly certain that you can only play one goaltender at a time, so having a top 15 goaltender on the bench is silly.
The common defense for Gillis is, "well, he can get more in the offseason", to which I say, "are you sniffing glue?" This was a trade deadline where probably 80% of the NHL envisioned themselves as a possible buyer. A win-now GM with shaky goaltending could buy his team 2 or 3 more wins over the rest of the year by adding Luongo. Meanwhile, the salary cap is going to drop this offseason. A buyer might ignore that in the interest of making a playoff push right now, but that's going to be a harder sell after the cap drops by 6 million bucks. Finally, the Canucks have a huge salary cap problem this offseason. Here, check it out. I'm reasonably sure that they're going to be stuck giving away assets on the cheap; they may even have to buy out Luongo and lose him for nothing.
Calgary Flames - Let me start by saying that I liked the Jay Bouwmeester deal for them. On a good team, i.e. not the Flames, he's a second pair defenseman. He has almost no offensive skill, and he's going to make $6.7 million next year. Getting a first round pick for him was impressive. This concludes the portion of this entry where I will say kind things about Jay Feaster.
The Flames got pennies on the dollar for their best asset, Jarome Iginla, and failed to move Miikka Kiprusoff and the $5.8 million he's due next year. Feaster offered up the predictable defense at his press conference: we wanted to do right by those guys. They did a lot for this franchise and we wanted to take care of them. That makes you a good human being, Jay. You know what it doesn't make you? A good general manager. Take a wild guess which is more important to the future of your franchise?
The standard defense for Feaster's incompetence with Iginla and Kiprusoff has been that both had no trade clauses. This is true, but we know that Iginla, at one point, had Boston on the list of teams to whom he would accept a deal. Kiprusoff didn't really want to leave Calgary. So, I guess we just give up at that point, right? Or, maybe being a general manager involves, and I'm just spitballing here, being a salesman from time to time? It's not like he was trying to send these guys to Siberia; he was trying to send them to Boston and Toronto, respectively. As a sales pitch, this isn't exactly selling ice to Eskimos.
You know what? There's someone who's a hell of a lot better at this than I am. Heed his advice, Jay.
(warning, language may be NSFW):
Glengarry Glen Ross speech (via Andy chau)
If there is any justice in this world, Ken King won't allow Jay Feaster another cup of coffee the rest of this season.