Calgary Flames burn out phone lines at NHL trade deadline

This was a strange NHL trading deadline. I was a little disappointed in the lack of big name players changing uniforms. In total, 22 trades (involving 47 players) were completed. And the biggest name that was traded (Olli Jokinen) has never played in a playoff game in his 10-year career.

The Calgary Flames became a legitimate contender in the Western Conference after acquiring D Jordan Leopold from the Colorado Avalanche and Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes in separate deadline deals. Leopold is a great fit that could make their backline the most imposing in the league. Jokinen played his best hockey under current Flames coach Mike Keenan during their time together in Florida. He is a great scorer but not a great on-ice leader, though Calgary offers him a fresh start. It’s a veteran squad that will not ask Jokinen to provide leadership in the locker room, just puckss in the net.

A nice day’s work for Coyote GM Don Maloney, as his agenda yesterday was to cut payroll. After completing the Jokinen trade early in the day, he sent D Derek Morris to the New York Rangers for F Nigel Dawes, F Petr Prucha, and D Dmitri Kalinin right at the deadline. The hope is for Prucha (a former 30-goal scorer) to become an effective player on the Coyote’s second-team power play unit and not the healthy scratch participant he has been for the Blueshirts all season. Dawes possesses a quick shot and could develop into a big goal scorer under the tutelage of head coach Wayne Gretzky.

The jury is still out on whether the Rangers will make the playoffs, but you cannot criticize GM Glen Slather — at least he tried to improve his team. He brought in John Tortorella as coach to instill enthusiasm into a listless locker room, and yesterday Slats acquired F Nik Antropov and Morris to aid the league’s worst power play. Antropov is the big body needed in front of the net to distract the defense and allow shots to go through from the point on the power play. Morris brings a heavy shot from the point position and will add stability to the defense that has been pushed around all season.

Kudos to Florida Panthers GM Jacques Martin for not trading away D Jay Bouwmeester at the deadline and standing pat for the remainder of the season. This sends a strong message to their fans that they’re committed to fighting for a playoff spot now and will worry about next season later on.

The Stanley Cup will be won in late spring, and at that time we will find out who were the real winners at the NHL’s trading deadline. Until then, it’s all speculation.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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