This year’s deadline was packed with big names being moved to new teams and some playoff teams were active in trying to make a splash that would give them an edge towards – and within – the post-season.
So, as we near the end of the first round, how are some of these deadline day acquisitions working out with their new teams in the post-season?
Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles
The Slovak sniper acquired from Columbus was a non-factor in the first two games against San Jose, but in the past four games, ‘Gabbo’ has three goals, four points and 13 shots. He’s mostly been playing 13-15 minutes a game in the playoffs because he’s a specialty player: Gaborik is there to get timely goals for the low-scoring Kings. He’s not one of Los Angeles’ patented hard-nosed checkers; he’s a unique talent to the team. As long as Gaborik keeps putting the puck in the net, he’ll play the perfect, limited role GM Dean Lombardi had in mind.
Thomas Vanek, Montreal
Brendan Gallagher was the only Canadien who had a better individual Corsi than Vanek in the four-game sweep of Tampa Bay, but Vanek did his part by contributing a goal and two assists. Gallagher, Rene Bourque and Lars Eller were the big producers for the Habs in Round 1, but how likely are they to keep it up? Bourque has made a career as an inconsistent player, while the other two have played fewer than 13 Stanley Cup playoff games. Vanek is the experienced scorer who was acquired to contribute throughout the run. Good start – and the Habs even paid less of a price for him than the Islanders did.
Mike Weaver, Montreal
The first non-scorer on the list, Weaver is anything but a point-getter. For the low, low price of a fifth round pick, the Habs added a reliable stay-at-home defender to strengthen the third pair. Weaver went from playing 18:47 a night on the Panthers’ blueline to around 11-16 minutes a night with Montreal. Among Habs blueliners, only Francis Bouillon has a higher percentage of defensive zone starts than Weaver. So far, Weaver has been an effective shutdown specialist who has given the Habs a good amount of depth. Dealing with Boston’s forwards will be a whole different challenge.
Martin St-Louis, New York
No Rangers forward pulls in as much ice time as St-Louis, who also just so happens to lead the team in scoring. The former Lightning has gotten a point in four of five games against the Flyers. He faces the highest quality of competition for the Rangers against Philadelphia, but that has a lot to do with the fact he starts 43.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, when the Flyers
are try to be in lockdown mode. He’s certainly been a positive add for the Rangers, especially when you consider he’s still under contract for another year. Which brings us to…
Ryan Callahan, Tampa Bay
The former Rangers captain led the Lightning in blocked shots against Montreal, so he fulfilled his gritty promise. He failed to score even a single point, but was matched up against tough opponents and had one of the lowest offensive zone start percentages on the Lightning. He was a minus-5 in the sweep, but when you look at this chart, his series wasn’t all that bad, considering the type of player he is and how quickly the series ended. Still, did he earn a $7 million contract with anyone? Heck no.
(size of the circle represents ice time, color represents 5on5 Corsi percentage – blue good, red bad, per extraskater.com)
Matt Moulson, Minnesota
The former Islander and Sabre has an unsustainably high Corsi against Colorado, which is inflated by the fact the entire Wild team is running possession circles around the Avs, and that he’s been mostly playing with center Mikko Koivu, Minnesota’s best Corsi player all season. Yet his first goal, and only point, of the series didn’t come until a Game 5 tip-in. Moulson was brought in to provide secondary scoring for a team that sometimes struggles with primary scoring. So far, Moulson’s playoff production hasn’t been up to snuff. Can he help tip the scale in Game 7? That would instantly make his acquisition worth it, and he’s due.
Ilya Bryzgalov, Minnesota
Down the stretch, it looked like Bryzgalov may actually have been settling in with Minnesota, posting seven wins, a .913 SP and three shutouts in 12 appearances. But his first two playoff starts were horrid, allowing eight goals on 45 shots (.822 SP). He is what we thought he was: a fit as Darcy Kuemper’s (Minnesota’s No. 3 goalie) backup.
David Legwand, Detroit
The Michigan native came at the costly price of Swedish prospect Calle Jarnkrok and it’s the rare deal that GM Ken Holland may come to regret. Legwand had no points, averaged very few minutes and had one of the worst Corsi marks on Detroit. The 33-year-old was really nothing special in the post-season, as Detroit’s depth proved slower and weaker than Boston’s. Making the deal even worse: Legwand is a UFA, though also a Michigan native.
Stephane Robidas, Anaheim
The former Star was pulling in 20-plus minutes in the first two games against his former team before he suffered another break to his right leg in Game 3. The Ducks acquired Robidas to strengthen their shoddy play within their own zone: Anaheim already had enough possession problems and now they’ll move into the second round without their best D-Zone player. Nobody on the Ducks started shifts within their own zone more often than Robidas. While the Ducks still knocked off the Stars in a magnificent Game 6 comeback, Los Angeles or San Jose is better equipped to take advantage of this weakness on the back end.