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Insider

Trade deadline's biggest winners, losers

2/28/2012
Jeff Carter has to be pretty pleased about being traded to the Kings. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Good friend and colleague Scott Burnside has already tackled the teams that benefited the most or didn't accomplish their goals during the trade deadline season. But what about the people involved over the last couple of weeks?

Here's a look at individual winners and losers as we hit the stretch run before what's shaping up to be an incredible postseason.

Winners

Jeff Carter -- Carter never wanted to be dealt to Columbus in the first place, so imagine how good he felt when he got the news that he was being shipped to Los Angeles and reunited with old friend Mike Richards. It's a chance to redeem his reputation and takes him from the bottom of the standings to a team right in the mix for a playoff spot.

The addition of Carter eases the pressure some of the Kings forwards were feeling to get L.A. out of the basement in team scoring. It also allows guys like Jarret Stoll to focus on their proper role rather than worry about moving into a top-six spot and trying to score goals. "There's a lot of intangibles that go into this," Kings GM Dean Lombardi said.

Zack Kassian -- In the final moments of the trade-deadline frenzy, Kassian's future completely shifted. He goes from a Buffalo Sabres franchise that has been one of the league's biggest disappointments this season to the team that I think has emerged as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

"I'm stunned," Kassian told the Vancouver Sun. "I'm very excited to go and contend for a Cup now." He brings an edge the Vancouver Canucks severely lacked in the postseason last year.

Ben Bishop -- In a strange goalie market, Bishop was an interesting possibility. I spoke with St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong about him in January and Armstrong was weighing his options. He could trade Bishop, but if he kept Bishop in the organization, he had an impressive young goalie who could potentially lead the Blues' AHL team on a long playoff run and provide valuable experience for some Blues prospects. That's why Armstrong wasn't willing to give him away for a late-round pick even if he could leave for nothing in free agency this summer. "You never know what's going to happen between now and July 1," Armstrong said in January.

He stood firm in his demands and received a second-round pick from the Ottawa Senators for a goalie they were going to likely lose in a few months. Now Bishop will get the opportunity in Ottawa he wasn't getting in St. Louis.

David Poile -- Poile entered this season in an unenviable situation. His three best players -- Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter -- all faced uncertain futures and were watching his every move closely while weighing whether or not they wanted to stay with the Nashville Predators long-term. Poile risked alienating his stars this offseason by letting longtime veterans leave the team, creating opportunity for unproven youth.

It was a show of faith in the talent evaluation of assistant GM Paul Fenton -- and it paid off. The young Predators matured quickly and as the deadline approached, Nashville was playing some of its best hockey of the season. Poile then brought in the reinforcements by adding Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad and Andrei Kostitsyn, making Nashville a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. It also prevented division rivals like the Detroit Red Wings from acquiring Gaustad and the Chicago Blackhawks from adding Gill.

Losers

Jonathan Bernier -- Bernier is the opposite of Bishop. Bishop left a crowded crease in St. Louis to get opportunity in Ottawa. Meanwhile, another deadline passed without Bernier being moved, and the talented young goalie remains stuck behind Jonathan Quick waiting for playing time. GM Dean Lombardi took calls on Bernier, but nothing materialized. "I think he's going to be a top goaltender in this league," Lombardi said when we chatted after the deadline passed. "To me, the things he's shown and the way he's grown, I don't think there's any doubt he's ready to take the next step. He's paid his dues."

It sets up an interesting summer when teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets are both expected to target young goaltending for their rebuilds. Both Bernier and Vancouver's Cory Schneider could be on the move.

Rick Nash -- It was a rough Monday for Nash. Not only did he remain with last-place Columbus, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson also made it clear that it was Nash who asked to be traded and not the Blue Jackets who initiated the talks. Now the Nash camp will have to do a little spin control so that the fans in Columbus don't completely turn on their captain.

Trade talks will resume again this summer. "We will continue to keep all our options open to continue to improve our hockey club in the coming months," Howson said when he addressed the media in Columbus on Monday. "He's a member of our team right now. He's our captain, that's not going to change."

Garth Snow -- This opinion quickly changes if Snow is able to sign both Evgeni Nabokov and P.A. Parenteau to reasonable contract extensions that will keep them in New York long-term, but Snow's lack of action at the deadline was a bit puzzling. He's done a good job accumulating young talent for the New York Islanders and certainly could have received another key asset in return for Nabokov, who would have been the best goalie on the market. The Toronto Maple Leafs were certainly interested. Parenteau would have netted a nice return because of the lack of sellers.

Snow also hung on to potential unrestricted free agents Al Montoya, Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton, Marty Reasoner and Steve Staios. Now the pressure is on Snow to get deals done for both Nabokov and Parenteau.

Notes

• Here's an interesting read from Kevin Allen at USA Today, who writes that a frustrated Brian Burke said he might consider a moratorium on trade-deadline deals in the future with the Maple Leafs, because of the distraction they caused his team. "I'm serious about this," Burke said. "Luke Schenn has probably been traded 20 times over the past couple weeks [in the rumor mill]."

Burke resisted serious offers for some of his pending free agents while also resisting the temptation to pay the high asking price for rental players. Even with the free-fall that accompanied his team at the deadline, Toronto is still just three points outside a spot in the top eight.

Eric Erlendsson reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning must make the playoffs and Mike Commodore must play in at least 15 games the rest of the season for the Red Wings to receive the conditional seventh-round pick that was part of the Commodore trade. Tampa was surprisingly active Monday, acquiring Commodore, Keith Aulie and Brian Lee in three different deals. "I came into today not expecting to do a whole lot, but we're pleased with the outcome of the afternoon," Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman said.

• The Chicago Blackhawks added defenseman Johnny Oduya in a deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but Chicago Sun-Times writer Adam Jahns wonders whether Chicago GM Stan Bowman was aggressive enough, especially considering the moves made in San Jose, Nashville and Vancouver. "You have to focus on yourself," Bowman said, according to the Sun-Times. "You can look at previous deadlines. The teams that made the most moves often stumble the most. Some of the teams that don't make any trades are the ones that do very well."