While we drum our fingers and wait for the judges' final decision on the Caps/Rangers and Devils/Canes matchups, let's remember that some teams made big sacrifices just to get to the last week of April.
Some of these deals don't look so good in 20/20 hindsight:
Don't get me wrong. Schneider definitely helped keep Montreal on the right side of the playoff bubble, which was an overriding priority at the time.
Unfortunately it also represented a desperate attempt by Bob Gainey to save his own job. As an asset-management move it made no sense, as the Habs are clearly not in a position to give up valuable draft picks in the face of sweeping organizational changes. Meanwhile, the Thrashers have to be thrilled about this deal now that the pain is over in 08-09.
Comparable 2nd rd picks: Tim Jackman (2001), Kamil Kreps (2003), Michael Sauer (2005)
Phoenix really cleaned up at the deadline, but this was their most uneven steal. Carcillo has little role as an NHL player, yet the Flyers were willing to potentially give up two legitimate contributors to get him. After their first-round loss to Pittsburgh, you have to wonder if Upshall (8 goals in 19 games with the Coyotes) could have made a difference. This is a real forehead-slapper for Philly.
NYR Antropov = TOR 2009 2nd round pick (conditional)
Sensing a pattern here? The Rangers spent much of the season near the top of the Eastern Conference, but flatlined after an atrocious February. This trade was Glen Sather's version of CPR, trying to resuscitate his flailing team in time to make the playoff cut. Their chances of advancing as a low seed were minimal -- Antropov and Morris could never have made this team equal to the division winners -- so it's tough to rationalize the loss of three young players in the long term.
CAL Jokinen = PHO Lombardi + Prust + 2009 or 2010 1st round
CAL Leopold = COL Nycholat + Wilson + 2009 2nd round pick
Comparable 1st rd picks: Colby Armstrong (2001), Ryan Kesler (2003), Tuukka Rask (2005)
Comparable 2nd rd picks: Jason Pominville (2001), Duncan Keith (2002), David Booth (2004)
Oh man. This one hurts. Again, it's the sort of deal that a desperate GM makes when he feels the rope around his neck. Darryl Sutter squeezed the Flames so hard against the salary cap ceiling that they couldn't even ice a full roster as they stumbled down the stretch, and their new acquisitions couldn't even get Calgary to the second round. In return the Flames have shorn themselves of quality depth players for the indefinite future, likely ensuring a long rebuild beginning in the next few years.