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NHL 2014 playoff stretch drive trade pickups that are paying off … or not

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Thomas Vanek of the Montreal Canadiens

After escaping from Long Island, Thomas Vanek has ignited the Canadiens’ offense. (Terry Renna/AP)

By Allan Muir

Most hockey trades can’t, and shouldn’t, be judged for years. They deserve time to play out, to tip the scales as the players make their marks during their tenure with their new teams.

NHL deadline trades, though, are different. They’re unique because the expectations of the partners in the deal vary so widely.

One team takes the long view, hoping that a pile of magic beans eventually yields a top-six scorer, a sturdy defender or, at the very least, a low-dough roster-filler who can help it stay under the cap. For the other side, the payoff must be microwaved — delivered hot and fast with an eye set on playoff success. It doesn’t matter how the other side of the equation — next season and beyond — plays out. Executed properly, these deals pay off quickly and then it’s on to the next thing.

Here are six players who switched sweaters at this year’s deadline and are on the verge of paying those immediate dividends … and three more who could be downgraded to junk status.

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  • Published On Apr 02, 2014
  • Miller, Luongo among players making immediate impact with new teams

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    David Legwand's start with the Detroit Red Wings has been a roller coaster ride. (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    David Legwand’s start with the Detroit Red Wings has been a roller coaster ride. (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Amy Lilek

    The dust has settled from the NHL trade deadline and now it’s time for teams to get down to business as the playoffs approach. But first, let’s take a look at some of the more notable traded players in their fresh starts with their new teams.
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  • Published On Mar 09, 2014
  • Thomas Vanek trade bungle is Garth Snow’s latest epic gaffe

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    New York Islanders GM Garth Snow

    GM Garth Snow’s trade market miscalculation will put the Isles in a sticky situation in June. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Wednesday was another bad day in a long line of them for Garth Snow, a man who probably thought he might salvage a lost season on Long Island with a bravura performance at the trade deadline but instead cemented his reputation as the Charlie Brown of NHL general managers, the one whose clothes fly off in all directions when each pitch he throws is hit for a screaming comebacker.

    While the deadline efforts of his peers will require the benefit of time and distance to adequately judge their success, the work of the Islanders GM needs no such perspective.

    It was a disaster.

    CAZENEUVE: Teams to watch in the post-deadline stretch

    While Buffalo’s dynamic duo of Darcy Regier (since fired) and his replacement, Tim Murray, were ultimately able to turn impending free agent Thomas Vanek into a first-round pick, three second-rounders, and forward Torrey Mitchell for the Sabres, all Snow could muster was a conditional second rounder (it’s gone if Montreal fails to make the playoffs) and prospect forward Sebastien Collberg.

    Get that? Buffalo walks away with four picks and an affordable depth forward for Vanek. Snow gets the football yanked away just as he leans into it and the endless rebuild on Long Island takes another step backwards.

    Of all the Garth Snows in the world, he’s the Garth Snowiest.

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  • Published On Mar 06, 2014
  • Blogging NHL trade deadline day 2014

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    Thomas Vanek of the New York Islanders

    Another season gone wrong has made dealing Thomas Vanek a necessity for the Islanders. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Welcome to our coverage of deadline day. Here’s a running log of the trade action with my thoughts on each deal and rumor:

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  • Published On Mar 05, 2014
  • Tim Thomas makes tire-pumping joke about new teammate Roberto Luongo

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    By Nick Stoico

    After losing 4-1 to the Bruins Tuesday night, Florida Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas was asked about his newest teammate, Roberto Luongo, who was dealt from the Vancouver Canucks earlier on Tuesday.

    “It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale Tallon went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas said.

    Thomas said that he did not come up with the comment, but seemed rather proud of the little joke after telling it to the media.

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  • Published On Mar 04, 2014
  • Thomas Vanek a healthy scratch for Islanders before trade deadline

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    Being scratched before Tuesday's game in Winnipeg could indicate Thomas Vanek's stay with the Islanders could be a short one. (David Hahn/Icon SMI)

    Being scratched before Tuesday’s game in Winnipeg could indicate Thomas Vanek’s stay with the Isles could be a short one. (David Hahn/Icon SMI)

    By Nick Stoico

    New York Islanders’ winger Thomas Vanek was a healthy scratch tonight against Winnipeg in what could potentially be his last evening with the team.

    Vanek, who is third on the team in points with 44 since being traded to New York on Oct. 27, is undoubtedly the Islanders’ top trading asset and with the trade deadline rapidly approaching (Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET), and it is easy to speculate that GM Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano would prefer to keep him healthy. Vanek is an unrestricted free agent this summer and has verbally expressed interest in testing the market. He could be a top-six forward on any team willing to make a deal with Snow and it would seem that a deal is certainly on the horizon.

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  • Published On Mar 04, 2014
  • Vancouver trades disgruntled goalie Roberto Luongo to Florida Panthers

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    Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo

    Lack of experience: The Canucks now turn to unproven Eddie Lack (left) as Roberto Luongo departs. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    After an 18-month goaltending drama highlighted by trade demands, parody videos, emotionally charged press conferences and a rowdy, chanting crowd at the Heritage Classic, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis chose to hand his team’s net over to … Eddie Lack?

    Somehow the unheralded Swedish prospect finds himself the undisputed No. 1 keeper in Vancouver after a stunning trade on Thursday that sent long-time starter Roberto Luongo to Florida, where, deliciously, he’ll be partnered with 2011 Stanley Cup rival Tim Thomas.

    The Canucks also tossed minor league forward Steven Anthony into the package and will receive goaltending prospect Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias in return. The Canucks will also pick up 15 percent of Luongo’s tab.

    That’s not exactly the sort of bountiful haul that will push Vancouver’s much-needed rebuild forward — Markstrom is 24 and has failed multiple times to seize a job in Florida — but this wasn’t a hockey trade for Gillis. This was about ending a soap opera that had gone on too long, and which had threatened to erupt again after Luongo was benched by coach John Tortorella for last Sunday’s Heritage Classic game.

    And it was about moving an unmovable contract that will count $5.333 million against the cap through the 2021-22 season.

    In those ways Gillis can call himself a winner. Vancouver can move on with Lack — a respectable young netminder — and some cap space which can be put to other uses moving forward.

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  • Published On Mar 04, 2014
  • Rumor: Sabres pull Ryan Miller off the trade market

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    By Allan Muir

    A well-known NHL agent says that the Sabres have decided not to trade goalie Ryan Miller and instead will focus on re-signing the pending free agent.

    Brian Lawton, the former general manager of the Lightning, passed that rumor along early this morning via his Twitter account.

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  • Published On Feb 25, 2014
  • VIDEO: Finalizing the Marian Gaborik to Columbus trade

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    By Allan Muir

    The NHL Network has its flaws — that’s a post for another day — but it deserves full marks for treating yesterday’s trade deadline like E! handles a Kardashian wedding. The wall-to-wall coverage (courtesy of TSN, mixed with its own cut-ins) fed our boundless fascination with an event that has no chance of living up to the hype, but keeps us transfixed anyway.

    But one of the best views it offered came well after the event coverage had ended. Later in the evening, the league provided a video look at the behind-the-scenes trade call that finalized the deal that saw the Rangers send Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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  • Published On Apr 04, 2013
  • Top Line: Luongo’s sucky contract, Rangers win trade day, more links

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    Ryane Clowe of New York Rangers

    Broadway smash: Ryane Clowe and the retooled Rangers pounded the Penguins. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Roberto Luongo may say his contract sucks, but no one believes he’ll nullify it even though money isn’t buying him happiness.

    • It’s official: Glen Sather won the trade deadline. After watching his new guys light it up, guess we can go ahead and hand them the Cup, eh?

    • Here’s a New York view of the Marian Gaborik trade, and here’s what they were saying in Columbus 1 and 2. And here’s a copy of his no-trade waiver. Ever seen one of these before?

    • The Blue Jackets also bid goodbye to Steve Mason, the author of the greatest moment in franchise history.

    • Jim Matheson labels the Bruins, Penguins and Blue Jackets the winners of the trade sweepstakes.

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  • Published On Apr 04, 2013


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