Headline deals are terrific for fans on the NHL's trade deadline day, the St. Ronald Caron day of holy obligation. Star players get the biggest headlines, the loudest analyst-squawk and the most face time from quick-cut TV coverage.
But there are plenty of deals to consider, and not all of them rate highlight-show clips.
Pause and consider some of this year's under-the-radar moves:
Kyle McLaren to the Flyers
Interesting pickup for the Flyboys, who needed help on defense and basically found someone to fill in for Derian Hatcher. He's a tough guy who provides depth and experience.
But the bigger end of this deal is with the Sharks, who dumped McLaren's salary and thus were able to add two significant pieces to their lineup — Travis Moen and Kent Huskins — in a separate deal with the Anaheim Ducks.
Moen fills the Sharks' biggest need — a tough, grinding forward to replace Mike Grier, who might be out for the season after getting a knee 'scoped. Huskins is expected back soon from surgery to repair a broken foot. He's adds championship experience and sandpaper to the defense corps.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson didn't believe he'd make a trade, but he found he had to with injuries to Grier and Jeremy Roenick. And he made them without subtracting a major piece from his core.
If McLaren works in Philly, fine; he's a plodder, like Hatcher was, without significant offensive upside. It's the Sharks who made the most of this deal.
Samuel Pahlsson to the Blackhawks
Ducks GM Bob Murray was on a mission to reshape his team, which has the white flag ready but hasn't officially raised it for this season. Let's give Murray credit for his deals, including the one last week with the Penguins for Ryan Whitney: He made his roster younger without sacrificing his most significant assets.
In giving up Moen and Huskins he moves veterans in need of contracts for a couple prospects and a pick. For Pahlsson, he gets a younger defenseman in James Wiesniewski. We like it.
Pahlsson will plug a big need down the middle with the Blackhawks. He is considered a defensive specialist and the Ducks played him to great success in that role in their run to the 2007 Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks will benefit from his defensive game.
Pahlsson is 31 and still spry, although it seems we've been hearing about him forever. He also has enough offensive ability to be more than just a thumper and checker. He's spent time on the power play, and he can go to the front of the net. We'll see if he can be a solid disher, because he'll be playing with skilled wingers.
While we see it as a stretch for him to play second-line center, such an assignment will allow coach Joel Quenneville to fit players better in roles on other lines. We're thinking of the way Michal Handzus worked early in his career with Pavol Demitra — clearing room for a skilled player to work his magic and giving a line a more solid defensive presence.
Mikael Tellqvist to the Sabres
Lost behind Ilya Bryzgalov in Phoenix, Tellqvist has experience in the Eastern Conference and will share the Sabres' goaltending load with Patrick Lalime. We told you early on the Sabres needed goaltending help until Ryan Miller returns, and Tellqvist is an option for now and later.
It's a much lower-level deal than Buffalo's acquisition of Leafs forward Dominic Moore, and we're loving that deal because of the boost it gives the Sabres up front. But stopping the puck is as crucial as putting it in the net.
Lalime scares a lot of people because he has peaks and valleys. Tellqvist should be there to fill in and smooth things out.
Make no mistake: The Sabres are in a massive struggle for a playoff berth — they sit 10th in the East heading into Wednesday's games. They have a mathematical chance to move up to fifth, so they must get every point they can grab. Goaltending will help them make the most of their chances.
Erik Cole to the Hurricanes
This deal works big time because Cole works big time with Eric Staal. As his former coach, Peter Laviolette, said during Wednesday's talkathon on TSN.ca, the two complement each other perfectly. Cole is a lefthanded shot from the right wing who is getting back in stride after a miserable start in Edmonton.
The Oilers couldn't find the right guy for Cole, which led to his problems in Edmonton. There won't be an adjustment period for Cole as he goes back to the Hurricanes. Coach Paul Maurice knows that.
To get Cole, the Hurricanes did some nifty juggling. They surrendered Justin Williams to get Patrick O'Sullivan from the Kings, then moved O'Sullivan to the Oilers for Cole.
But by flipping him to the Oilers, the Hurricanes got back a piece they know will fit.
Now, O'Sullivan gets a chance to fill a big need for the Oilers — a center for Ales Hemsky. We wonder just how he'll fill that role, because he's been playing on the wing. O'Sullivan has the skill to make the adjustment, but he must find a comfort level in Edmonton. He had that in L.A. with his close friend Kyle Quincey in the room.
The Oilers didn't surrender in their drive in the West. The Hurricanes didn't surrender in their push in the East and picked up a second-round pick they could use to get Cole. And the Kings got another veteran with scoring talent.
PHT: A comeback win in Game 3 gave Ottawa hope, and the Senators seek a repeat result tonight to level the series.
PHT: The Canucks parted company with head coach Alain Vigneault and two assistants, according to a report.
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