TSN hockey analysts break down the winners and losers of Trade Deadline Day, focusing on the Vancouver Canucks' and Buffalo Sabres' moves, and Scott Howson's lack of activity in Columbus.
Winner: Vancouver Canucks
I like what Vancouver did so I'll have to say that they're a winner. They added the depth that they know they're going to need to make a long run again into this year's Stanley Cup playoffs. Playing against Boston last year you knew that they were going to have to address the physical nature of how Boston played them and let's face it, the Western Conference is all about physicality this year. All those teams are going to be very physical. I like the addition of Samuel Pahlsson. First of all, the Sedins will not have to play against him and that's a big bonus for them because he shut them down in 2007. They also added Zack Kassian who is a young guy who doesn't have to start in their top six and I think he's going be a physical force for years to come.
Winner: Toronto Maple Leafs
If you're trying to just get in the playoffs sometimes it is better to stick with the group that you've got because you don't have time to mold as a team going into the playoffs. I like their addition of Carter Ashton, I think he's going to be a very good player.
Winner: Darcy Regier
Darcy Regier held strong on Paul Gaustad and got a first-round draft pick and then he got Cody Hodgson, a really good two-way centre who I think will thrive in Buffalo. I think Regier had a great day.
Loser: Vancouver Canucks
I'm not going to call the Vancouver Canucks losers, but when you have one series against the Boston Bruins (albeit an important one) continually in your mind and now you're making moves based on that, I don't like those types of moves. While Kassian is a big, strong winger, I think Hodgson is too good. The Detroit Red Wings never give up on their identity which is skill and competitiveness and Hodgson brings that.
Winner: Buffalo Sabres
For unloading Paul Gaustad to the Nashville Predators for a first-rounder alone, the Sabres are an automatic winner. You're a bigger winner though, when you acquire a guy like Hodgson. He's been limited by circumstances, sitting behind Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin. You can only play so much. Now he goes to Buffalo, takes his game to a circumstance where they're going to appreciate what he brings to the table. He's young and will get an opportunity to develop because there will be ice time for him to seize.
Loser: Scott Howson
It's a full failure for press conference etiquette and I'm sure it's noted by most who watched this, especially players, to see him sewer Rick Nash by saying to everybody out there watching he's the guy who came to us asking for the trade. I wouldn't be surprised if Rick's list got a little harder to accommodate with a few less teams.
Winner: Vancouver Canucks
I'm going to go with Vancouver as a winner. We've always talked about the lack of team toughness for the Canucks, they've been in a lot of playoff series, whether you go back to the Blackhawks series or more recently the Boston Bruins, they lacked that toughness. Kassian is a guy that can provide that but also play the game at a high level.
Winner: Nashville Predators
Nashville pre-emptively got Hal Gill this week, and then (on Monday) acquired Paul Gaustad, a guy who can win some faceoffs and play some pivotal roles. Gill is a guy who can take some pressure off Ryan Suter and Shea Weber on the blueline playing some shutdown minutes and if Kostitsyn scores some goals for them I think it's just a bonus.
Loser: Montreal Canadiens
I'm going to go with a soft loser, the Montreal Canadiens. I know they're not like some of these teams that are in a playoff or Stanley Cup run but they showed their hand earlier by trading Mike Cammalleri and Hal Gill and they had an opportunity with some more pieces like Chris Campoli and Travis Moen that they could have accumulated some draft picks and future assets and they failed to do so.
Winner: Scott Howson
I'm going to say Howson was a winner because he wasn't forced into taking a package he didn't want for Rick Nash. He stuck to his ground and was patient. He is willing to wait for the summer. He wants a Del Zotto or McDonagh; these are the pieces he needed to have to trade Rick Nash and he wasn't going to accept anything less, despite the difficult situation. So he's a winner. As far as his 'star-relations, inter-personnel communications, press conferencing', I'm not so sure he gets a passing grade.
Loser: Vancouver Canucks
Because they gave up so much for Kassian, I'm going to say they're a loser because the Canucks have had success by playing offensively, scoring goals, and out-skilling teams. Now they get a player in Kassian that brings them something that they don't have, but it cost them Hodgson, a third-line centre that can score goals, play the system they want, be on the power play, make them more dangerous throughout their lineup. Certainly, Kassian may help them a year or two down the road but we're talking about Stanley Cup this year in Vancouver. For that - chasing a game that is not theirs - I'm going to call them a loser.
Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs
If it's about getting your team better and making the playoffs this year, then the Maple Leafs had to be a loser. They did not improve their team – the cost might have been too high – but for whatever reason they're no better after 3pm et than before.