The Rangers have traded struggling sniper Marian Gaborik to Columbus for three players. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
I’ll be constantly updating this post with the latest rumors and confirmed deals during the lead-up to the NHL’s trade deadline on 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 3. You can read my previous takes on the first major deals — Jaromir Jagr to the Bruins, Derek Roy to the Canucks and more — here.
TRADE TRACKER: Complete team-by-team list of transactions since March 24
Wednesday, April 3
6:10 p.m. That’s a wrap
Deadline Day 2013 was destined to be a low-wattage event until a flurry of bold deals at the buzzer set some teams up for a dramatic finish…and others for a much brighter future.
You have to be impressed by Jarmo Kekalainen’s willingness to go big to push his Blue Jackets toward a short-term reward, and Darcy Regier’s ability to maximize the return for Jason Pominville. If you need a snap judgement on the winners of the day, those top two the list.
As for losers, you have to consider Jim Rutherford and Kevin Cheveldayoff, who were unable to improve their sides with the Southeast division title up for grabs. Maybe their cautious approach pays off in the long-run, but in the short term they lost ground to their rival in Washington…and that may mean another spring on the playoff sidelines.
If you missed out on the action, here’s how it played out, warts and all.
5:05 p.m. TRADE: Jeff Deslauriers to Minnesota
And so deadline day goes out like a lamb as the Ducks send their fifth string netminder to the Wild for future considerations–the proverbial “bag of pucks.”
4:55 p.m. TRADE: Martin Erat to Washington
The day’s last deal paints a clear picture of the pressure Washington GM George McPhee is under to get his team into the playoffs. The Caps needed immediate scoring help and Erat, despite having just four goals this season for Nashville, has a resume that proves he can be much more productive. Moving to a new system might be what he needs to get his game back on track. The Caps also get Michael Latta, a physical forward who is developing into a decent playmaker. He’s close to being NHL-ready as a bottom-six center.
It’s a good haul for the Caps, but they paid a steep price in Forsberg, the 11th overall choice in last summer’s draft. Pretty unusual to see a top pick dealt so quickly, but the Caps have some depth in this part of their prospect pool. He’s a highly regarded kid, and while there are varying takes on his upside ranging from third-line power forward to first line sniper, he’s sure to be a player. Scouts rave about his heavy shot and his compete level. He’s a huge get for an organization that lacks blue-chippers up front.
4:21 p.m. TRADE: Jason Pominville to Minnesota
Full details are now in on this deal…and they are stunning.
In exchange for Pominville and a 2014 fourth rounder, Buffalo gets Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, a 2013 first rounder and 2014 second rounder. Sabres fans? For all the grief you’ve given GM Darcy Regier–and heaven knows he’s earned every bit of it–he deserves flowers and cookies for this deal.
Good grief, what a fleecing this is! Hackett can play as a backup in the NHL now, and has the potential to become a No. 1. I talked to a scout about him last week before he played against the Stars and he was very enthusiastic about Hackett’s athleticism and skill set. Larsson is a big-bodied pivot who plays a defensively-minded game. There’s not a lot of flash to him, but he’ll be a solid No. 3 at worst, and possibly a decent No. 2. Add in the picks and it’s great haul for a player who would have been tough to re-sign.
The trick now will be convincing Thomas Vanek that dishing the captain is a re-tooling, not a rebuild, when they try to extend his contract after this season.
It was a heavy price to pay, but not too steep for a Minnesota team that has a deep system and hasn’t made the playoffs in four years. Pominville plays a gritty, 200-foot game and can be used in all situations, which makes him a significant upgrade to their top-six and makes the Wild a much more dangerous team.