Rangers' rivals counter by stocking up at NHL trade deadline
Mar. 03, 2015
New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather struck the first bold move of the weekend by acquiring playmaking defenseman Keith Yandle in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes.
By the time NHL trade deadline struck a day later on Monday, many of Sather's Eastern Conference-contending counterparts responded with a series of moves to address their needs.
"Anybody got a crystal ball around?" Sather asked, in response to whether he was prepared to predict the Rangers' chances of reaching the Stanley Cup final for a second consecutive year. "It was nice to get there. And I hope we can do that again."
But, Sather added, "there are a lot of teams that are going to think the same thing we're thinking now."
On a day that featured 24 trades involving 43 players, the Montreal Canadiens countered by acquiring Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry and Buffalo forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell. Pittsburgh stocked up on veteran defense with Ian Cole and Ben Lovejoy. Boston shook up a sputtering team with forwards Brett Connolly and Max Talbot.
The New York Islanders acquired Tyler Kennedy from San Jose, and shored up their goaltending depth behind Jaroslav Halak by landing Sabres starter Michal Neuvirth. And Detroit entered the trading mix. A day after acquiring Erik Cole from Dallas, the Red Wings added Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
"The growth of our team and the growth of our younger players, I guess, sent a message to me that we've got a good team," Red Wings GM Ken Holland said.
It was no different in the West, where Anaheim, St. Louis and Minnesota each made several trades to counter moves other contenders made last month.
Anaheim acquired defensemen James Wisniewski, Simon Despres and Korbinian Holzer and center Michael Sgarbossa in four separate deadline deals Monday
"Hopefully we're capable now to compete against most of the teams in our conference," GM Bob Murray said despite his team holding a 12-point edge atop the Pacific Division.
The Blues made three trades to acquire defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Zbynek Michalek, and forward Olli Jokinen.
Minnesota, clinging to the West's second wild-card spot, added veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold and two-way forward Chris Stewart.
AP Hockey Writer Ira Podell and Sports Writers Josh Dubow, Rusty Miller, Dan Gelston, Will Graves, Noah Trister, Dave Campbell and Greg Beacham contributed to this report.