Atlantic deadline winners, losers
New Jersey Devils: Winners
Devils management decided they needed a defensman and, with decisive swiftness, they went out and acquired one in the week before the deadline. New Jersey was able to get Marek Zidlicky from the Wild for pending-restricted-free-agent forward Nick Palmieri, bottom-pairing defenseman Kurtis Foster, minor league forward Stephane Veilleux, a second-round draft pick and a conditional draft pick. The second-rounder was the most valuable asset the Devils sacrificed. Zidlicky, a 35-year-old veteran, will play valuable minutes for New Jersey down the stretch, and carries just one more year on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million.
New York Islanders: Winners
Realistically, the Islanders’ playoff chances fall between slim and none. Dumping veteran left wing Brian Rolston and defenseman Mike Mottau to the Bruins for a pair of low-end prospects was a no-brainer. General manager Garth Snow reportedly fielded offers for winger P.A. Parenteau, who is having a surprisingly strong season playing on a line with John Tavares, but did not receive a satisfactory offer. The Islanders parted with two players who are not part of their future and at the very least added some organizational depth.
New York Rangers: Push
The Rangers were heavily involved in rumors about a deal for the biggest prize on the trading block: Columbus forward Rick Nash, but general manager Glen Sather was unwilling to meet Scott Howson's high demands. Sather was unable to fix his team’s most glaring weakness, its offense, but given the prices in what was a sellers’ market he showed good restraint. The Rangers did add 6-foot-8 forward/defenseman enforcer John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks for a mid-round pick.
Philadelphia Flyers: Push
The Flyers stood pat at the trade deadline, and while they could have used some help in a number of departments, including goaltender, general manager Paul Holmgren was wise not to force the issue on deadline day given his limited resources in terms of cap space and prospects. Philadelphia fortified its defense by acquiring defensemen Pavel Kubina from Tampa Bay on Feb. 16 and Nicklas Grossman from Dallas on Feb. 18 by sacrificing in essence just a pair of second-round picks.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Push
The Penguins did not make a move on deadline day, but given the way they have been playing recently, they did not need to. The return of Jordan Staal within the past month helped the team’s offense, and Kris Letang rejoining the club bolstered their defensive corps, at least temporarily. Evgeni Malkin is playing at an incredible pace and the Penguins are looking like they will be a very difficult team to bounce from the playoffs. If they get Sidney Crosby back, look out.