- Craig Custance
It’s one thing to analyze a trade with the big picture in mind, which should be the goal of any objective analysis. But to coaches and fans, the moment the trade deadline is wrapped up, the next question becomes this: Has my team closed the gap on the team in front of it in the standings right now?
Forget the long-term impact losing the first-round pick might have, or what conditions must be met to upgrade that third-rounder into a second. Here's a look at which way a few of the most active teams are moving during the stretch run with the deadline wrapped up.
New York Rangers: UP
We love Ryan Callahan. He’s a guy you win with. But in the here and now, Martin St. Louis can impact a game in ways that Callahan doesn’t. There are currently only five players who have scored more goals than St. Louis has this season and he has consistently been one of the game’s top point producers. The Rangers are at No. 19 in the league in scoring, averaging 2.54 goals per game. Adding St. Louis will help that. He's been on a bit of a hot streak and his even-strength PDO, which is a shooting percentage metric that measures luck, is at 103.2. That stat usually regresses to 100 over time, so he might not keep this pace. But he's the ultimate competitor and knows people will be watching to see how he handles the transition to New York after strong-arming his way out of Tampa. A driven Martin St. Louis is someone you want on your side, and his addition helps close the gap that existed between the Rangers and the East's two best teams in Boston and Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia Flyers: DOWN
GM Paul Homgren was in on Ryan Kesler but ultimately there wasn’t a deal to be made with Vancouver. He would have been a fantastic addition to the Flyers and would have moved them into that next tier in the East. Instead, the Flyers focused on addressing their defense by adding Andrew MacDonald, whom we like for his warrior mentality and fearlessness in blocking shots. But his advanced stats suggest he’s not a guy who helps drive possession. According to ExtraSkater.com, the Flyers are at No. 22 in the league with only 48.9 percent of their shots headed at the opposing goalie at even strength. Adding MacDonald doesn’t help there. When he was on the ice at even strength with the Islanders only 43.4 percent of the shots were headed the right way. It gives him more shots to block but that’s a dangerous way for a team to live. He won’t be asked to do as much with the Flyers, which should help his effectiveness.