It’s Here: Hockey’s Trade Deadline Day

HERE’S the running list of today’s trades, from start to finish, with “the skinny” on some of them from myself and various other sources.

The Hurricanes were involved in one trade, sending winger Andrew Ladd to Chicago for winger/center Tuomu Ruutu. You can read the inside scoop on that one below.

The deadline has now passed, but there may be one or two more deals to be announced…

FOR MORE…go to www.hockeybuzz.com 

What it is: NHL Trade Deadline (ended at 3 p.m. today)

Why it’s important: “Buyers” (teams looking to strengthen themselves for a playoff run) and “sellers” (teams unlikely to make the post-season or those looking to get something in return for unrestricted free agents-to-be) make deals during the season, but typically between 20 and 25 trades are made on the dealine day.

What’s different about this year: With the tightest divisional and conference races in years, there are fewer clear-cut buyers and sellers…which could mean for fewer deals. 

prospal.jpg

C VACLAV PROSPAL to Flyers; D ALEXANDRE PICARD & CONDITIONAL DRAFT PICK to Lightning

The skinny: Looking to get back on the winning track after stumbling through a debilitating 10-straight losses, the Philadelphia Flyers notched a shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres Monday night and then added a veteran scoring presence in Vaclav Prospal in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In exchange, the Flyers sent minor-league defenseman Alexandre Picard and a conditional draft pick to the Lightning.

“Alexandre Picard is a young prospect with good size and excellent hockey sense who has played in the NHL,” Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said. “We believe he has a significant amount of upside in his future. In moving Vaclav Prospal, we wanted to add to our organizational depth, and by acquiring both a young defenseman and a future draft pick we were able to achieve that goal.”

Prospal can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but the Flyers are more concerned with the here and now, especially after losing Mike Richards for several weeks with a torn hamstring. Prospal has a nose for the net and should not only help the team replace the dynamic Richards on a short-term basis, but also add a jolt to a team that needs some extra juice these days.

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C MIKE COMRIE inks one-year extension with New York Islanders; D DAN BOYLE signs six-year extension with Tampa Bay Lightning.

The skinny: good for both teams. Comrie is coming into his own on the Island; Boyle is one of the game’s most solid defensemen…

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D BRYCE SALVADOR to New Jersey Devils; RW CAM JANSSEN to St. Louis Blues

The skinny: Blues get tougher with acquisition of brawler Janssen, who goes back to home town; Salvador gives Devils defensive help

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D BRIAN CAMPBELL to San Jose Sharks; RW STEVE BERNIER and 1st ROUND DRAFT PICK to Buffalo Sabres

The skinny: Campbell was among the most coveted trade prospects this season. When he and the Sabres couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension, he was dangled by Buffalo.

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The day’s first blockbuster deal:

RW BRAD RICHARDS and G JOHAN HOLMQVIST to Dallas Stars; G MIKE SMITH, C JEFF HALPERN, LW JUSSI JOKINEN to Tampa Bay Lightning

The skinny: Richards, one of the “big three” (with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis) in Tampa Bay, is nearly a point-a-game player, but he’s struggled this season with the woeful Lightning. This shakes up the Tampa Bay roster and gives Dallas a bit more firepower heading into the playoffs.

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HURRICANES ALERT

LW ANDREW LADD to Chicago Blackhawks; C TUOMU RUUTU to Carolina Hurricanes

The skinny: Ruutu scored 23 goals in 2003-04, but his offensive production has fallen since. Stats: Ruutu has 48 goals, 66 assists in 228 career games; Ladd has 26 goals, 24 assists in 137 career games. Ladd, like Ruutu, a former first-round pick, is having his best year production-wise, but Canes feel like he’s underachieved. Many Carolina fans will hate this move, but it could propel each player to new heights. This is basically a swap of underperforming players in hopes that the trade will jump-start their careers. Chicago gets a little more in the deal because Ladd is younger, a bit more physical.

“Tuomo is a versatile player who gives the coaches more options at center or wing,” Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “He’s a hard-hitting and skilled two-way player who will complement our group of forwards.”

Ruutu, 25, is in his fourth NHL season after the Blackhawks drafted him with the ninth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. The Vantaa, Finland, native has scored six goals, earned 15 assists (21 points) and accumulated 75 penalty minutes, while averaging 15:34 of ice time in 60 games with Chicago this season.

Ruutu has represented Finland at seven major international tournaments, capturing four medals. He served as an alternate captain and led Team Finland in scoring at the 2000 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Junior Championships in Switzerland. Ruutu captured a silver medal with Finland at the 2001 U-20 World Junior Championships, and bronze medals at the 2002 and 2003 World Juniors, leading the tournament in scoring in 2003. He was a member of Finland’s team at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and the 2006 and 2007 World Championships, leading the tournament 2006 with 49 penalty minutes.

From NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman:

The Chicago Blackhawks thought they were drafting a future cornerstone player when they spent the ninth-overall pick in the 2001 Entry Draft on Tuomo Ruutu. The Carolina Hurricanes thought the same when they chose Andrew Ladd fourth overall in 2004.

On Tuesday afternoon, the teams swapped the promising, but injury-prone, forwards.

“Andrew Ladd is a very good, young forward who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina as a 20-year-old,” said Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon. “We acquired a very good, young player in Andrew Ladd and in doing so had to give up a good, young player in Tuomo Ruutu.”

In 43 games with the Hurricanes this season, Ladd had nine goals, 18 points and was a plus-9, but he missed 19 games due to various injuries.

In the Hurricanes’ run to the 2005 Stanley Cup, Ladd had two goals and five points in 17 games.

Now in his third NHL season, the 6-foot-2, 201-pounder has 26 goals and 50 points in 137 games.

With the Blackhawks sitting 13th in the Western Conference and eight points out of a playoff spot with 20 games to play, this trade further signifies Chicago’s commitment to giving its younger players — Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews — a larger piece of the team and hope the lumps taken today will lead to success in the future.

Going south to Carolina is Ruutu, a 6-foot, 200-pound banger with good hands, but whose physical play has led to injuries that have stunted his growth.

“Tuomo is a versatile player who gives the coaches more options at center or wing,” said Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford. “He’s a hard-hitting and skilled two-way player who will complement our group of forwards.”

With Rod Brind’Amour lost for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee earlier this month, the Hurricanes needed to add a center. Ruutu, 25, was used at center and left wing in Chicago.

Ruutu’s best season was his first, when he had 23 goals and 44 points while playing all 82 games as a rookie in 2003-04. Since that first season, though, he’s played just 146 of a possible 246 games.

Ruutu has been healthy this season, playing 60 of 62 games, during which he’s registered six goals and 21 points.

In 228 NHL games, Ruutu has 48 goals and 108 points.

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G CHRISTOBAL HUET to Washington Capitals; 2nd ROUND DRAFT PICK to Montreal Canadiens

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D RUSLAN SALEI to Colorado Avalanche; D KARLIS SKRASTINS and 3rd ROUND DRAFT PICK to Florida Panthers

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RW MARTIN LAPOINTE to Ottawa Senators; 6th ROUND DRAFT PICK to Chicago Blackhawks

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D ADAM FOOTE to Colorado Avalanche; 1st ROUND DRAFT PICK to Columbus Blue Jackets

The skinny: Foote’s best years were in Colorado; Avs are hoping his return can help them make playoffs.

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C SERGEI FEDOROV to Washington Capitals; D TED RUTH to Columbus Blue Jackets

The skinny: Caps shore up with Cup-winning vet; Jackets definitely sellers this year, looking to build for the future.

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D MATT COOKE to Washington Capitals; D MATT PETTINGER to Vancouver Canucks

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D ROB DAVIDSON to New York Islanders; 7th ROUND DRAFT PICK to San Jose Sharks

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D MARC-ANDRE BERGERON to New York Islanders; 3rd ROUND DRAFT PICK to Anaheim Ducks

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D CHRISTIAN BACKMAN to New York Rangers; 4th ROUND DRAFT PICK to St. Louis Blues

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The day’s second blockbuster trade…Atlanta loses star Hossa, but gets talent and a first-round pick…

RW MARIAN HOSSA and RW PASCAL DUPUIS to Pittsburgh Penguins; RW COLBY ARMSTRONG, C ERIK CHRISTENSEN, C ANGELO ESPOSITO and 1st ROUND DRAFT PICK to Atlanta Thrashers

The skinny: Hossa was the player most “buyers” were interested in, but with many teams saying they weren’t going to “rent” players this year (trade for an unrestricted free agent-to-be just to have them for the rest of this season) everyone was curious to see where he’d end up. Atlanta hoped to sign Hossa. This is a good deal for them, though, because they get two pretty solid veterans, a former top prospect in Esposito, who has 79 points in 60 games in the “Q” this season (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)…PLUS a first-round pick… Pittsburgh trades a lot of its future in order to try to win the Cup this season.

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D BRAD STUART to Detroit Red Wings; 2nd ROUND and 4th ROUND DRAFT PICKS to Los Angeles Kings

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LW CHAD KILGER to Florida Panthers; 3rd ROUND DRAFT PICK to Toronto Maple Leafs

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G JEAN-SEBASTIEN AUBIN to Anaheim Ducks; 7th ROUND DRAFT PICK to Los Angeles Kings

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LW CHRIS SIMON to Minnesota Wild; 6th ROUND DRAFT PICK to New York Islanders

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G AL MONTOYA and LW MARCEL HOSSA to Phoenix Coyotes; RW FREDERIK SJOSTROM, G DAVID LENEVEU and C JOSH GRATTON to New York Rangers

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LW JAN HLAVAC to Nashville Predators; 7th ROUND DRAFT PICK to Tampa Bay Lightning

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RW BRANDON BOCHENSKI to Nashville Predators; FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS to Anaheim Ducks

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RW BRANDON SEGAL & 7th ROUND DRAFT PICK to Tampa Bay Lightning; D JAY LEACH to Anaheim Ducks

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LW ALEXANDRE GIROUX to Washington Capitals; RW JOE MOTZKO to Atlanta Thrashers

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D HAL GILL to Pittsburgh Penguins; 2nd ROUND and 5th ROUND DRAFT PICKS to Toronto Maple Leafs

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