Erik ColeIcon Sportswire/AP ImagesForward Erik Cole, who has 15 even-strength goals, should bolster Detroit's offense.

The deal

Detroit Red Wings get: Erik Cole, 2015 third-round pick

Dallas Stars get: Mattias Backman, Mattas Janmark and a 2015 second-round pick


Detroit Red Wings: B

The Red Wings are averaging 2.9 goals per game, which is No. 7 in the NHL. But they’re a little reliant on a power play that is No. 1 in the league, and that’s a hard way to win in the playoffs where power plays can dry up quickly. At even strength, the Red Wings average just 2.07 goals per 60 minutes, a total that is No. 23 in the league.

Cole will help.
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The deal

New York Rangers get: Keith Yandle, defenseman Chris Summers and 2016 fourth-round pick

Arizona Coyotes get: Anthony Duclair, John Moore and 2016 first-round pick and 2015 second-round pick




New York Rangers: B

Give the Rangers credit on multiple fronts. The Eastern Conference is wide open and they got an impact defenseman who can be a game-changer. There are few defensemen in the league who teams have to game plan for, and always know where they are on the ice at all moments. Yandle, like P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson, is one of those players. This deal is fantastic in the now. The Rangers have a better chance of winning a championship now than before this trade.

The other consideration is this: If you ever were going to trade Anthony Duclair, now is the time. He was a guy whom the Rangers bought low on in the third round of the draft and sold high on after he had an incredible World Junior Championship for Team Canada. He was a standout in the gold medal game when the pressure was highest.

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The deal

Capitals get: Curtis Glencross

Flames get: Capitals' second-round pick in 2015, Capitals' third-round pick in 2015


Washington Capitals: B-

Washington was interested in both Glencross and Erik Cole, and opted to go with the veteran Flames forward in their attempt to give the group more depth. According to an NHL source, they didn’t have any conversations with the Sabres about Chris Stewart, another available winger.

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Trade Grade: Vermette to the Blackhawks 

February, 28, 2015
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The deal

Blackhawks get: Antoine Vermette

Coyotes get: Klas Dahlbeck, Blackhawks' first-round pick in 2015


Chicago Blackhawks: B

GM Stan Bowman took full advantage of the additional cap space created by Patrick Kane's injury in adding Kimmo Timonen and Antoine Vermette, with Vermette the best rental forward on the market. He’s the kind of veteran Joel Quenneville will absolutely love.

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Trade Grade: Timonen to Blackhawks 

February, 27, 2015
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The deal

Blackhawks get: Kimmo Timonen

Flyers get: Blackhawks' second-round pick in 2015, conditional fourth-round pick in 2016. If the Blackhawks win two rounds in the playoffs and Timonen plays in 50 percent of the games, the pick becomes a third-rounder in 2016. If Chicago wins three rounds and he plays in 50 percent of the games, it becomes a second-rounder in 2016.




Chicago Blackhawks: B

This is high risk, high reward for Chicago. It has the potential to pay off in a big way, in that they’re getting a veteran defenseman who was a legitimate, top-pairing defenseman the past season -- at 38 years old.

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Next steps for Buffalo Sabres 

February, 27, 2015
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Nikita ZadorovAP Photo/Chris SzagolaThe Buffalo Sabres will be a fascinating team to watch this summer.
Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray is in full sell mode right now. While he hasn’t ruled out another deal like the Evander Kane trade, he set the odds at 80 percent that he'll sell his rentals compared to 20 percent that he'll make a pure hockey trade before the deadline.

“I don’t foresee a hockey trade, but then again, I didn’t foresee the Winnipeg trade until we did it,” Murray said when we chatted this week.

The interesting question for the Sabres is -- what happens next? At some point the selling ends and the building begins in earnest.

When the dust settles, the Sabres will be loaded with draft picks.

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Trade Grade: Clarkson to Columbus 

February, 26, 2015
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David ClarksonBruce Bennett/Getty ImagesDavid Clarkson hopes to provide an offensive boost for the Blue Jackets down the stretch.

The deal

Maple Leafs get: Nathan Horton

Blue Jackets get: David Clarkson


Columbus Blue Jackets: A

Stick with me here. The huge cheers from Maple Leafs fans as they carried David Clarkson and his $5.25 million salary-cap hit out of town suggests that the Blue Jackets got ripped off in some form for making this deal.

That’s not the case.

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Trade Grade: Jagr to the Panthers 

February, 26, 2015
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The deal

Panthers get: Jaromir Jagr

Devils get: Panthers' 2015 second-round pick, 2016 third-round pick (Florida's or Minnesota's)


Florida Panthers: C

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Antoine VermetteChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesAntoine Vermette is among the best remaining "rental" options on the trade market.
And just like that, the rental trade market has thinned out considerably.

On Tuesday, the trade for Sean Bergenheim helped set the price for a rental, with the Florida Panthers getting a third-round pick while shipping a seventh-rounder to the Minnesota Wild along with the forward, who had asked out.

The other general managers took that bit of information on Wednesday and ran with it.

“I think the Bergenheim price motivated some sellers to take what they can get. That was not a great price if you’re a seller,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “The value -- I don’t think it was anywhere near what people were saying the market was going to be.”

That said, the price the Pittsburgh Penguins paid for Daniel Winnik was high, in part because he was one of the few rentals they could squeeze under the cap. And the Los Angeles Kings paid a nice ransom for Andrej Sekera, but get the double benefit of adding the best available rental defenseman and preventing him from going to Chicago.

In a span of two days, Bergenheim, Winnik, Sekera and Jiri Tlusty were removed from a market that also no longer contained Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli.

There are still useful options out there, but it moves the spotlight to the "hockey trade" market. This is the market in which contenders vie for a player who has more term on his deal.

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Trade Grade: Sekera to the Kings 

February, 25, 2015
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The deal

The Kings get: Defenseman Andrej Sekera

The Hurricanes get: Kings 2015 first-round pick (becomes 2016 first-rounder if Kings miss the playoffs) and prospect Roland McKeown


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Trade Grade: Tlusty to the Jets 

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
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The deal

The Jets get: Jiri Tlusty

The Hurricanes get: Jets' 2016 third-round pick, 2015 conditional sixth-round pick (becomes a fifth-rounder if the Jets make the playoffs)

 

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Trade Grade: Winnik to the Penguins 

February, 25, 2015
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The deal

The Penguins get: Daniel Winnik (Toronto retains 50 percent of his salary)

The Maple Leafs get: Zach Sill, fourth-round pick in 2015, second-round pick in 2016


Pittsburgh Penguins: C+

Daniel Winnik is a solid player. He can contribute on the third line and the penalty kill, and he can be useful for coach Mike Johnston. But he isn't necessarily worth two assets, which the Penguins paid in second- and fourth-round picks.

“I’m surprised [the Maple Leafs] got a second and a fourth,” said an Eastern Conference executive on Wednesday.

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With Kane hurt, Blackhawks need to add 

February, 25, 2015
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KaneJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesWith Patrick Kane out six to 10 weeks, GM Stan Bowman may have to add before Monday's deadline.
It was one fluke moment that could change the top of the playoff race in the Western Conference. Florida’s Alex Petrovic was called for a crosscheck on the hit that sent Patrick Kane into the boards, and Chicago Blackhawks fans into full panic mode, although replays suggest it wasn’t as egregious as that.

Regardless, it’s a hit that Blackhawks fans won’t forget for a while.

Chicago reporters have become experts at reading the tea leaves when it comes to interpreting Joel Quenneville’s postgame comments, so when Quenneville was already ready to concede that Kane would miss “some time,” as reported by ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers and others, it doesn’t bode well for hopes that he will return to the ice quickly.

As of Wednesday morning, the report from Powers is that Kane will miss six to 10 weeks, and it certainly changes the landscape of the trade deadline for GM Stan Bowman.

First and foremost, it creates a hole in the lineup that is irreplaceable.

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Same old story for the Kings? 

February, 24, 2015
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KingsDoug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThe Kings' seven-game win streak has put them in third place in the Pacific Division.
It’s so easy from the outside not to stress about the Los Angeles Kings. It’s so easy to look at that team, excuse their annual early-season issues and just wait for them to pull it together and make their spring run.

Kings GM Dean Lombardi doesn’t have that luxury. He couldn’t assume anything. When his team was sitting outside a playoff spot as the calendar flipped to 2015, he couldn’t laugh it off like the rest of us and just assume it would work itself out.

He stressed. He didn’t even like the suggestion that the Kings would eventually work things out. He’d point out deficiencies, how this team was different from those in the past. As he tends to do, he analyzed it every possible way.

At one point, he seriously considered making a trade that would shake things up, send a message. But he couldn’t. Those aren’t the type of trades he’s made in his career. He makes trades to improve the team, and the thought of making one when that wasn’t the singular goal didn’t sit well. So he waited.

When you win as much as the Kings have in recent seasons, there’s a trust that builds between the general manager and the players. Lombardi watched his team closely, and at no point during their struggles was there any finger-pointing in the dressing room. He saw the opposite. He saw a team that understood its issues well.

“There was never any blaming of the coach, blaming other players,” Lombardi said when we chatted Monday. “The one thing this group has always been good at is critiquing themselves. I don’t think there was any doubt we all knew we weren’t being ourselves.”

That especially hit home following a loss to the Panthers on Feb. 5. Lombardi meant no disrespect to the Panthers when he said it, but that’s the game that looked like rock bottom for the Kings.

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Boston Bruins Icon Sportswire/AP ImagesThe Bruins put six pucks past Blackhawks goaltenders in their win on Sunday afternoon.
The road trip could have been an absolute disaster. One more loss and the Bruins would have been in full crisis mode arriving back in Boston.

The Bruins didn’t mind how they played Friday against the Blues -- but it was a 5-1 loss. Nobody wants to hear about process after a 5-1 loss. It was also the Bruins' sixth consecutive loss as they looked determined to hand over the playoff cushion they had built up over the Panthers and the suddenly charging Flyers.

After a practice Saturday in Chicago, Milan Lucic summed things up this way: “No better time than now to get it going.”

As far as understatements go, that was a pretty good one.

Then the Bruins went out on Sunday and steamrolled the Chicago Blackhawks, a team with its own issues.

If the Bruins pull things together and straighten out their season, this will be the game pointed to as the difference. It was a 6-2 win in which everything looked perfectly normal if you believe the Bruins are an Eastern Conference contender. Patrice Bergeron was great, with a goal and assist to go with his usual 200-foot game. Dougie Hamilton scored his 10th goal of the season. Reilly Smith was flying.

Sure, there were too many penalties and Tuukka Rask lost his cool for a moment, but that’s OK. They can’t be perfect.

Games like this make the Bruins such a hard team to judge this season -- and you can add the Kings and Blackhawks to that group too.

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