Yeah, yeah, we know that it’s far too early to know who really won the trade deadline. Still, a team’s moves (or lack of moves) can tell you a lot about their aggressiveness, confidence and overall plan. With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the deadline’s winners and losers in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh: GM Ray Shero continued his stellar deadline track record of low-risk, high-reward moves. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jordan Leopold might not be world-beaters like Marian Hossa, but the Penguins didn’t give up much to upgrade their depth.
The draft picks more or less cancel each other out, so they basically received a gritty, playoff-proven rental (Raffi Torres) for Nathan Paetsch and Clarke McArthur. That might not knock your socks off, but the small market Sabres could really benefit from Torres’ physical presence
Toronto: Brian Burke is dramatically altering the Maple Leafs and he did a solid job of dumping salary and bringing in picks/prospects. Getting rid of Stempniak was wise, but finding a sucker to take Jeff Finger would have justified Burke’s notable swagger.
Philadelphia: The Flyers left the deadline empty-handed: no goalie, no Dan Hamhuis. They’re on a hot streak now, but if Michael Leighton falters there will be plenty of second guessing.
Atlanta: They’d missed the playoffs if they started today, but wouldn’t it have been wise for the Thrashers to try to soothe their fan base (at least a bit) after the Kovalchuk trade?
Florida: Tomas Vokoun is one of the most underrated goalies in the league, but if his time in Florida is indeed limited then why not get something for him sooner rather than later?