Yet another boring trade deadline has come around, with not a lot of big names on the move. Jaromir Jagr and Ryane Clowe went the day before the deadline, as did Derek Roy, Jay Bouwmeester and Marc-Andre Bergeron.
All in all, they'd make a great team in 2008.
On deadline day itself, the moves were mostly for depth so insignificant that they weren't worth noting. That is, 'til the last half hour, when the news wire exploded with deals.
No trade was bigger than the Rangers and Blue Jackets consummating another blockbuster deal, sending Marian Gaborik to Columbus for Derick Brassard, John Moore and Derek Dorsett. This comes just nine months after the Rangers traded a package to Columbus for Rick Nash, and if you're a Rangers fan as I am you have to be wondering how the new-look New York lineup will shake out. They traded the inconsistent and underachieving Gaborik, and got back two inconsistent and underachieving former top picks in Brassard and Moore, plus some needed grit in the person of the injured Dorsett. And of course there's the Ryane Clowe add. An interesting couple days for the Rangers; it'll be interesting, to say the least, to see if they can integrate all the new pieces into what's been a dysfunctional puzzle.
In an intriguing deal of younger players, the Senators and Lightning swapped goalie Ben Bishop for Cory Conacher and a draft pick a fine deal for both sides. Conacher's small, but the second-leading rookie scorer has got star-quality upside and should fit in beautifully with Ottawa's high-end young talent, while Bishop will help the Bolts secure their goaltending situation.
And the final interesting deal: Jason Pominville returned a pair of promising young players in goalie Matt Hackett and winger Johan Larsson. Does the Sabres' growing wealth in goal mean the end of the Ryan Miller era is near? Stay tuned this offseason.
P.S.: The Filip Forsberg deal (for Martin Erat and Michael Latta) is one the Capitals will regret for a long, long time to come.
Luke Adam, LW, BUF After a 52-game trial with Buffalo last year, Adam only just got into his first NHL game this season on Tuesday, skating a meager 9:36 in the win over Pittsburgh. The thing that's kept him in the minors is a lack of production after going for more than a point per game in the AHL last season, he's got just 32 points in 64 games for AHL Rochester this year. Perhaps another taste of the big-time will give him the motivation he needs to get his offensive game back on track.
Jake Allen, G, STL Allen went down, then was called back up after Jaroslav Halak went down again with a groin injury. He failed to seize the reins for the Blues, but will get another shot splitting time with Brian Elliott while Halak's out. It'd be nice to see him be able to boost his save percentage over the .910 mark.
Jeremy Morin, LW, CHI Morin skated in two games with Chicago, scoring a goal against the Wings in the first one. Not much ice time there for him on a stacked 'Hawks team, though, so he heads back to AHL Rockford, where he's racked up 49 points and 86 PIM! in 59 games. You can expect the 2009 second-rounder to carry that kind of skill-plus-goon production forward to the NHL once he arrives to stay. He's still almost two weeks short of his 22nd birthday.
Nathan Beaulieu, D, MON The 20-year-old blueliner looked good in his first two NHL games, picking up an assist and plus-2 rating in limited ice time. After that taste, he was sent back to AHL Hamilton, where his production's been a bit lackluster just 25 points and a minus-9 in 62 games. Beaulieu's a tough kid with offensive upside, having racked 52 points and 100 PIM in 53 games for St. John's of the QMJHL last year, and the Habs clearly believe in their 2011 first-rounder's long-term potential.
J.T. Miller, LW, NYR With Ryane Clowe in the fold, Miller and Chris Kreider both got sent down to AHL Connecticut. Miller had been seeing significant ice time, but not producing at all, and I've expressed previously my belief that he'll need a couple years yet to develop a significant offensive game.
Chris Kreider, RW, NYR Blah, blah, blah, the same stuff about making room for Clowe. Kreider had been producing minimally in third-line minutes, totaling just a lone goal in six games since being recalled. He was streaking in the AHL after being sent down, and that's where the Rangers would prefer to keep him in order to keep his development on track.
Zack Kassian, RW, VAN This may have more to do with Kassian's recovery from a back injury than his play this year, although with just eight points and a minus-7 in 27 games, hasn't exactly been blowing the doors off for the Canucks. He scored in his first game with AHL Chicago, a promising sign. Expect Kassian back in the NHL soon, especially with the Canucks fairly quiet at the deadline aside from their acquisition of Derek Roy.
The Future to Come
This week's prospect is Dmitri Jaskin, a 20-year-old right wing whom the Blues just signed to an entry-level deal. The 2011 second-rounder is coming off a huge season in the QMJHL this year, totaling 46 goals and 53 assists in 51 games, and now he'll take his talents to AHL Peoria.
A big-bodied native of Omsk, Russia, Jaskin profiles as a power forward who can be effective in his own end as well as in the offensive zone. He's also unafraid to mix it up with the fists, as he racked up 73 PIM for Moncton this year.
With a hard, accurate shot, a grinding work ethic, great hands and terrific ice vision all on display in a highlight video from one game Jaskin's got the tools to become a quality player for the Blues, who could use the offense and the toughness both on their front lines.
If you have any players youd like me to discuss in next weeks column, please direct all inquiries here, or feel free to discuss them in the comments.