- Craig Custance
The trades weren't numerous, but general managers around the league made up for it on the final day by moving some big names in the final moments. Some teams improved and some missed out, which colleague Scott Burnside summed up here. But there were individuals who won and lost out over the course of the trade deadline as well -- players who find themselves in new roles or new surroundings, and those who stayed put. Here's a look at some of the players and front-office figures most impacted for better or worse by the trade deadline:
Marian Gaborik, Columbus Blue Jackets: Before the season, it would have been unthinkable to suggest that a move from the Stanley Cup favorite Rangers to the rebuilding Columbus Blue Jackets is a win for a player, but it was time for Gaborik to get out of New York.
He was moved from right wing to left, he was demoted from top six, he was benched, he never developed real chemistry with Brad Richards -- it just wasn't working between Gaborik and coach John Tortorella. And for the first time since his rookie season, he was a minus player. Now, he goes to a Columbus team that's surging and in need of his goal scoring. He'll get every opportunity to regain his goal-scoring touch under Todd Richards on the Western Conference's most surprising team -- one that was able to retain all three of its first-round picks in this June's draft while acquiring Gaborik.
He also joins a team with familiar faces from the Rick Nash trade.
"It's a good team. Yeah, I'm looking forward to playing with those guys again," Gaborik said during a conference call. "You can see in the short time they were there, the team is showing they're going in the right direction."
James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs: Reimer admitted the trade speculation surrounding the possible addition of Miikka Kiprusoff or Roberto Luongo was a bit of a distraction in the days leading up to the deadline. Now, he emerges as the unquestioned No. 1 starter moving forward.
"If you look at what James has done this year, he's played very, very well," Toronto GM Dave Nonis said during a post-trade deadline news conference. "We expect him to grab the net."
That didn't prevent Nonis from trying to acquire Kiprusoff and give him a contract extension. Nonis said the plan was to keep both young goalies -- Reimer and Ben Scrivens -- in the organization and bring in Kiprusoff as a veteran mentor, although that could have quickly deteriorated into a goalie controversy at the first sign of struggles from Reimer.
Doug Wilson, San Jose Sharks GM: No, Wilson won't be lacing them up after the deadline, but he was a player in the front-office sense. Aside from the Penguins' Ray Shero, it's hard to find a general manager who handled the trade deadline as deftly as Wilson. He picked up a slew of draft picks in a deep draft by trading Ryane Clowe, Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus. Then on deadline day, he was able to replace Clowe's physicality with Raffi Torres and Murray's defensive depth with Scott Hannan without expending anything close to the same price.
Wilson credited the cooperation he received from Clowe and Handzus, who had no-trade clauses, in working closely with the Sharks so they could get maximum value.
"That tells you a lot about them," Wilson said when we chatted after the deadline. "They deserve the credit."
In the process, the Sharks have a huge opportunity this summer to restock their system with talent and actually become a faster team on the ice this season by expanding the roles of some of their younger, faster players. The team has responded favorably in the standings, and hasn't lost since the Murray trade on March 25.
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks: It was hard not to feel for Luongo as he expressed his frustration over not being traded on Wednesday. He has handled this entire trade situation with class and humor, and it was clear the disappointment of staying in Vancouver was a bit overwhelming. Cory Schneider is the No. 1 guy in the crease and is poised to make a long run while Luongo sits on the sideline -- when he'd be a starting goalie on nearly every other team in the league. Now the trade rumors get dragged into another offseason.
"We'll have a discussion about the future with him again," GM Mike Gillis said in a Wednesday news conference. While Luongo blamed his long-term contract for being such an obstacle, Gillis said the real issue was finding agreement from interested teams on players and draft picks that would come back to Vancouver.
"Those were bigger hurdles," Gillis said.
Anders Lindback, Tampa Bay Lightning: His reign as the unquestioned No. 1 goalie in Tampa Bay lasted exactly 21 games, with the addition of Ben Bishop in a deal that sent Cory Conacher to Ottawa. Lindback had some trouble adjusting to the Lightning's system after starting his career in the defensively sound Nashville organization. Before his ankle injury, Lindback showed signs of straightening things out with a .940 save percentage in his last five games. But apparently it wasn't enough to convince Lightning GM Steve Yzerman not to bring in reinforcements.
Ryan Whitney, Edmonton Oilers: It's understandable why GM Steve Tambellini didn't trade Whitney. Edmonton is firmly in the playoff hunt and Whitney is playing better lately. But he's an unrestricted free agent after this season and isn't part of long-term plans in Edmonton. There was speculation that the Bruins were interested in adding him and an opportunity to play close to home for the Boston native had to be an appealing one for Whitney, whose Cup chances would have increased dramatically with a deal to Boston.
Ron Hainsey is in the same boat. The Connecticut native is an unrestricted free agent who would have been a nice fit with the Bruins. Instead, he stays in Winnipeg, a team that didn't add or subtract at the deadline despite four straight losses.