So the Devils made their deal before the NHL Trade Deadline, picking up Niclas Havelid for Anssi Salmela. As seen by the lack of news and confirmed by Gulitti, Scott Clemmensen remains in the Devils organization for now. Check out this quote from Lou:
"It did not make sense in my mind to do it with reference to what he means to the depth in our organization," Lamoriello said of trading Clemmensen. "The value we were going to get back wasn't comparable to the value he has to us."
You just can't low-ball Lou. So I think this guarantees that Clemmensen, an unrestricted free agent this season, will play out his contract and be off to a new organization this summer. All in all, the Devils were smart to make what is only a low-key deal. The team is doing very well as-is, and there is no need to really make a splash. So they didn't.
Let's look at what the other teams in the East did, as those will affect New Jersey more than the other squads (sorry Calgary!). For clarification, most of these links go to a SBN site's analysis of the deal.
ISLANDERS: SOMEWHAT WEAKER The Islanders sent Bill Guerin onto Pittsburgh for a conditional pick that can be no better than a 3rd rounder in 2009, depending on Pittsburgh's playoff success. So the Islanders are down a forward. Even though Guerin hasn't had a good season, it's still a loss in terms of experience.
FLYERS: TOUGHER? Scottie Upshall was having an OK year with Philadelphia on the third line. Yet, Philadelphia felt it could improve itself by moving him and a pick for Daniel Carcillo of Phoenix. Energy player for energy player. OK, Carcillo is more fiesty but it's basically a lateral move. Travis Hughes is confused by this deal and so am I. Phoenix wanted a pick plus Upshall and they got it?
By the way, the Flyers also got Kyle McLaren for a 6th round pick - which is a high-reward, low-cost move, really. If McLaren gets back to the NHL and does well as a depth stay at home defender, then he's worth the cost. If not, then it's no big loss.
RANGERS: POSSIBLY BETTER...MAYBE The Rangers became late buyers by sending Dimitri Kalinen, Nigel Dawes, and Petr Prucha to Phoenix for Derek Morris. Prior to the deadline, Odin had fine things to say about Morris and how well he is in his own end. Well, a bolstered defense is always good. A smart move to have if you're looking to make the playoffs. But given that the Rangers' biggest issue is scoring goals - I don't see how Morris helps. Especially by moving some fairly young and talented forwards like Dawes and Prucha for what amounts to a rental. Were they that bad with Redden and Rosival leading the defense? Well, don't answer that.
On that front, the Rangers sent a 2nd round 2009 pick and a conditional pick to Toronto for Nik Antropov. Pension Plan Puppets, understandably so, are not happy with this development. Antropov should bolster the offense, he gives the Rangers size up front, he'll crash the net, he's fairly consistent in producing points, and he can finish some of those plays. While I wouldn't say Antropov is a big goal scoring machine, I think he'll fit their need for scoring much better than you'd think. If he pans out, the Rangers become much better and their playoff hopes become much more realistic.
That said, if the Rangers fail, I will laugh at these deals in retrospect.
PENGUINS: MORE VETERAN PRESENCE Bill Guerin's now a Penguin and can bring the leadership and experience that Mark Recchi brought the team last season. He can't be worse than Miroslav Satan, who cleared waivers (much to the annoyance of the Forechecker.) That said, I don't think Guerin alone is going to make the difference for Pittsburgh. How the team has played recently, however, will.
ATLANTIC DIVISION: I'd say the only team that possibly dramatically improved themselves are the Rangers. This is all dependent on whether Antropov and Morris fit in with the team, both on and off the ice, and whether they can perform. Antropov, especially, is the key factor. If he can get scoring right away, then the Rangers' biggest need is answered. This is a big "if" however.
Essentially, these moves don't make the Flyers as tougher opponents outside of grit; the Penguins aren't significantly better unless Guerin finds a rejuvenation machine to warp his game back 5 years; and the Islanders, well, are rebuilding. Only the Rangers have possibly addressed a need and that would make them tougher opponents.
BRUINS: DEEPER As if Boston needed to be bolstered further, they moved some of their younger talent for veteran depth. The Bruins picked up Mark Recchi and a 2nd round pick for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums. Recchi will be useful for the playoffs, and it's clearly a move for "now." The Bruins also got Steve Montador in exchange for Pettri Nokelainen. Another addition to depth without ruining the core of the team. No, the Bruins didn't make the big rumored trade for Chris Pronger. Then again, did they really need to do it? Like the Devils, they just needed depth and they got it. Like the Devils, they will remain difficult to defeat.
HURRICANES: MORE ROOM TO SIGN RUUTU ThThat's pretty much the initial thought at Canes County regarding the three-way deal that lands Erik Cole in Carolina. If Cole can give a spark to
Eric Staal the team, though, that's a benefit. Something that I guess Justin Williams wasn't doing. Given that the Canes are in the big playoff fight in the East, anything to get the team going would be helpful. That said, will they be better for it? I'm not sure. I just know that their collapsing defense will likely still give the Devils' fits and this trade won't eliminate that!
SABRES: FILLED IN GAPS Buffalo needed a goaltender and some more depth at forward. They got Mikael Tellqvist for a 4th round pick, which is a good bargain for the next month-and-a-half (or more if the Sabres make it in). Then they went out and picked up Dominic Moore for a 2nd round pick. Moore's not a bad center, he can help out on the penalty kill and do some useful work here and there. I don't think these two will make the Sabres a dangerous opponent, but the team is more stable in net and they get another asset at center. Good work.
FLORIDA: SHREWD The Panthers flipped Noah Welch down to Tampa Bay for Steve Eminger, and I think this was a smart move. Eminger has been very good on a very bad Tampa Bay team. I wasn't impressed with Welch from what I saw, so I see this as an upgrade. Maybe not a huge upgrade, but an upgrade all the same - and an upgraded defense is always a good thing. Most importantly, they did NOT trade Jay Bouwmeester. This is a team that is serious about it's playoff chances and I think the one deal they did make will pay off. They definitely improved.
LEAFS: REBUILDING! Seriously.
CAPITALS AND CANADIENS: NOTHING. So they stay the same. Ah, well.
Overall, in the East, I think the Rangers, Sabres, Bruins, and Panthers helped themselves out. I don't think anyone outside of the Rangers made a big improvement, and that even remains to be seen for the Rangers. So the Devils should keep on looking at these opponents as they have been all season. For other trades and analysis about what happened today, check out the NHL Trade Deadline Hub.