Forget Valentine's Day if you want to see crazed, last-minute shopping.
The NHL Trade Deadline is where that’s at.
The sprint to the final reconstruction of NHL rosters began in earnest last week with three trades involving 13 players and three draft picks. Buffalo kicked off the trade season by signing off on two deals, the biggest of which was the acquisition of Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and prospect goaltender Jason Kasdorf from Winnipeg for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux, and a first round pick in June's Draft. The Sabres later added goalie Anders Lindback and a 2016 third round pick from Dallas for Jhonas Enroth.
Those deals were the precursor to the four player and draft pick swap consummated by the Predators and Maple Leafs Sunday.
Nashville acquired pending unrestricted free agents Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli in an attempt to round out the roster for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toronto landed the Predators' first round pick in June's Draft, prospect wing Brendan Leipsic and UFA to be-Olli Jokinen.
Franson and Santorelli had been Predators draft picks. As far as Jokinen, there has been speculation that the Leafs will try to flip him prior to the deadline.
“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down the lineup based on the situation," Predators President of Hockey Operations and General Manager David Poile said ina statement. "We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the trade deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates.
“Both Cody and Mike were drafted, developed and began their NHL careers here. They know our organization and still have former teammates and friends on the roster. We are fully confident that they will seamlessly fit into our team.Cody brings size, offensive ability and the capacity to play in all situations to our lineup. He is the perfect component to round out our defensive corps and give us eight proven NHL defensemen.Mike is a versatile player that can move up and down the lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “He has fantastic speed, is excellent in the face-off circle, and can play all three forward positions if called upon. He is an excellent complement to our existing group of forwards.”
So what do these deals mean?
In a micro view, Nashville and Winnipeg are attempting to bolster their squads for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while Buffalo and Toronto are in the midst of an organizational rebuild. In the macro view, though, the deals may cause the March 2 trade deadline to be underwhelming, especially when Marc Methot's four-year, $19.6 million extension with Ottawa Monday morning is factored in. In fact, the two most highly coveted players may be Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera and Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr, the future Hall-of-Famer, recognizes that he most likely won't be part of the Devils’ future.
"If something comes up, I'll be traded,"Jagr told NJ Advanced Media Sunday. "What's the reason to keep me? I'm not important to this team."