Southeast deadline winners, losers
Carolina Hurricanes: Push
The majority of the Southeast teams stood pat on trade deadline day, and the Hurricanes were no exception. Carolina has all but been eliminated from the postseason, and so many expected the Hurricanes to be sellers, with Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek named as possible trade targets. But both Allen and Spacek remain Hurricanes — for now.
The 'Canes are 5-1-4 in their past 10 games, and GM Jim Rutherford is happy with the way his team is progressing under new head coach Kirk Muller. Though Rutherford might have liked to add a top-six forward, he indicated asking prices were too high, and he was not willing to part with someone like Jeff Skinner (and rightly so). But Rutherford hinted that the Hurricanes may be signing that top-six forward as soon as free agency opens this summer.
"We need another top-flight forward to play with Eric Staal," Rutherford said. "If we can maintain what we have now and add that player, then we're getting real close to being a real good team again."
Florida Panthers: Push
The Panthers were buyers Monday, but ended up coming home with nothing after no deals panned out for general manager Dale Tallon.
"We made a lot of phone calls," Tallon said. "We had identified what we wanted to add to our lineup and we were unable to get exactly what we wanted to get without mortgaging our future."
Like the Hurricanes, the Panthers also were in the hunt for a top-six forward, but the limited market meant that no deal could be reached. Last week the Panthers added a tough center in Jerred Smithson from Nashville and also dealt with the New York Rangers for winger Wojtek Wolski, and Tallon was just glad those deals were done early.
"Those moves probably would have cost us a lot more today to do," Tallon said. "Overall, I'm satisfied with the team we have. We have tremendous depth now. We improved our team a few days ago and we're going to get healthier as we move on the next couple of weeks."
Tampa Bay Lightning: Winners
Of all the teams in the Southeast, the Lightning did the most Monday, not including the handful of big moves they made in the few weeks prior to the deadline, accumulating a few picks and prospects for Steve Downie, Kyle Quincey, Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina. With those moves made for the future, the Lightning's trade deadline deals were made with the present in mind. To solve their thin depth at defenseman, particularly with their injuries, the Bolts first acquired veteran Mike Commodore from Detroit for a conditional seventh-round pick. Then they swapped defensemen with Ottawa, sending 27-year-old Matt Gilroy to the Senators for 24-year-old Brian Lee.
Arguably the biggest deal for the Bolts was one that brought defenseman Keith Aulie to Tampa, but for a big price — Carter Ashton, arguably the Bolts' highest-ranked prospect, was sent to Toronto. Ashton has been having a very good year in the AHL in his first pro season. General manager Steve Yzerman was not happy to give up Ashton, but felt confident that his young forwards would be able to fill the void.
"With some of the forwards that we have and with players like Brett Connolly playing well, (we felt) that we could afford to trade one forward for a defenseman," Yzerman said.
Washington Capitals: Push
Though the Capitals were expected to make a move for a desperately-needed second-line center on deadline day, by the time the clock ran down Monday, the Caps stood pat. As many other teams indicated, prices may just have been way too high for any available players, and general manager George McPhee didn't want to make a trade just for the sake of making a deal. McPhee said he spoke with many clubs leading up to the deadline, but ultimately, didn't want to sacrifice players for a deal.
"We weren't interested in moving anyone out of here, and we didn't. And we would have added something to the team if we thought it would make us better," McPhee said. "But it had to make us better. And what transpired today, really there wasn't anything there that would have been the right thing for our club."
McPhee said that any teams interested in trading wanted to give the Caps picks or prospects for the Capitals' roster players, and with the Caps looking for that second-line center and other pieces to give them a playoff push, picks and prospects weren't what they needed.
"We weren't going to make a mistake. We weren't going to make a bad deal," McPhee said. He was probably smart to refrain from any trades — no deal is better than a bad deal.
Winnipeg Jets: Losers
The Jets are definitely in on the playoff hunt — they held first place in the division for a few days last week, and the thing they needed most on trade deadline day to help them towards a playoff appearance was scoring. The Jets have just two players with more than 20 goals: Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd. However, what the Jets acquired at the deadline was two 2013 draft picks from Chicago for defenseman Johnny Oduya. The Jets did claim Grant Clitsome off waivers from Columbus, but as a defenseman, Clitsome doesn't address the need for scoring that Winnipeg has. But general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff would disagree that scoring was the most immediate need for Winnipeg, mentioning that building for the future and keeping what they have now were the primary targets at the deadline.
"These guys here, they've played very, very well and very, very hard down the stretch," Cheveldayoff said. "I'd be lying if I said there wasn't more opportunity to maybe make some deals, but at the end of the day ... we certainly felt comfortable moving forward with the group of guys that we have."
Regarding Clitsome, Cheveldayoff said, "We added a piece to our puzzle that we hope is going to help us now and in the future."