During Wednesday's trade deadline, there were plenty of teams seeking help for a potential postseason push, and plenty of teams pulled the trigger. But did they actually improve their chances?
Puck Prospectus took a look at what exactly each deal means for the teams, using their GVT metric to calculate how many points the added player(s) projects to contribute to his new team in the standings. We calculated points added thusly: In a league averaging 2.7 goals per team per game, it takes roughly 2.7 goals to obtain an extra point in the standings. Since GVT is measured directly in goals contributed, 2.7 extra points of GVT are worth one point in the standings.
So let's see who helped themselves on deadline day as we evaluate some of the more notable trades from Wednesday.
Note: All standings point changes are rounded to the nearest whole number.
by Timo Seppa
Deal: Penguins get RW Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto Maple Leafs for W Luca Caputi and D Martin Skoula
Impact: +7.0 GVT, 3 standings points for Pittsburgh
Analysis: While most forwards peak in their early to mid-20s, the late-blooming Ponikarovsky seems to be hitting his stride now: the 29-year-old winger posted a career best 12.7 GVT and 0.74 points per game last season. As Pittsburgh has been inexplicably lousy on the man advantage (16.7 percent, 24th in NHL) for the second year running, the Pens ideally could have used a power play specialist, but their primary gain from the Ukrainian winger will be at even strength. Ponikarovsky has the distinction of being one of the dozen best even-strength scorers in the NHL this season when taking time on ice, strength of opposition and strength of teammates into account. A talented finisher, look for Ponikarovsky to hit new heights now that he'll finally paired be with a superstar linemate like Evgeni Malkin.
Deal: Penguins get D Jordan Leopold from Florida Panthers for a 2nd round pick
Impact: +3.0 GVT, 1 point for Pittsburgh
Analysis: While the league-average Leopold is an improvement over the departing Martin Skoula, the Penguins are yet again keeping a potentially useful youngster from their ranks as a regular: last season, it was D Alex Goligoski that got the cold shoulder (20 points and 5.0 GVT in only 45 games); this season it's D Ben Lovejoy (1.7 GVT and plus-8 in only 12 games).
Total impact: +10.0 GVT, 4 points for Pittsburgh
New Jersey Devils
Deal: New Jersey Devils gets D Martin Skoula from Maple Leafs for a 5th round pick
Analysis: The Devils desperately needed to pick up a top notch offensive defenseman. While it's not surprising for Skoula -- a favorite of former Minnesota Wild skipper Jacques Lemaire -- to join his old coach in New Jersey, the journeyman's value has diminished to that of a third-pairing defenseman at best. Washington's acquisition of Joe Corvo was exactly what New Jersey needed; ultimately, Corvo's greatest value to the Capitals may be in keeping one of their Eastern Conference rivals from fixing a key strategic weakness.
Total impact: +1.2 GVT, 0 points for New Jersey
by Tom Awad
Deal: Sabres get Raffi Torres (4.9 GVT in 58 games) from Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Paetsch (0.8 GVT in 11 games) and a 2nd round pick
Analysis: Torres was one of the second-tier commodities. He can contribute on the power play and helps a Buffalo offense ranked 13th in the league that can't really compete with the conference's high-end of Washington, Pittsburgh and the Kovalchuk-powered Devils. While a player and a second-round pick seems like a lot to give up for a player who may walk away in four months, Paetsch didn't figure to be part of their long-term plans.
Total Impact: +4.1 GVT, 2 points for Buffalo
Deal: Bruins get Dennis Seidenberg (3.7 GVT in 61 games) and Matthew Bartkowski from Florida Panthers for Craig Weller, Byron Bitz (-0.7 GVT in 44 games) and a 2nd round pick
Analysis: It's interesting that the Bruins chose to focus on their blue line at the trade deadline, since their problem since the beginning of the season has been offense. Seidenberg is a quality defender who was leading Florida defensemen with 23 minutes a game and was sixth on the Panthers in total GVT. In the abstract this is a good trade for Boston, but I still don't see them making it out of the first round in April. It'll be even better if the Bruins can re-sign Seidenberg, a UFA in July.
Impact: +4.4 GVT, 2 points for Boston
Deal: Senators get Andy Sutton (2.7 GVT in 53 games) from New York Islanders for a 2nd round pick
Analysis: Sutton figures to give the Senators more snarl on the blue line because, at 6-foot-6, he is one of the most imposing blueliners in the league. In Long Island, Sutton was given many of the tough defensive assignments, often used when faceoffs were in the Islanders zone and playing against good opposing players. The one knock against him is a lack of offensive skill, but that's not why the Senators are acquiring him. A dependable defensemen like Sutton can help reduce quality scoring chances by the opposition.
Impact: +2.7 GVT, 1 point for Ottawa
by Richard Pollock
Deal: Capitals get Scott Walker from Carolina Hurricanes for 7th round pick (2010)
Impact: -0.5 GVT, 0 points for Washington
Analysis: Scott Walker currently has a negative GVT (-0.5) but he was not added to this team for his goal-scoring prowess. He was brought in by the Capitals to play on the fourth line and provide some nice veteran leadership and toughness.
Deal: Washington acquires Eric Belanger from Minnesota Wild for 2nd round pick (2010)
Impact: +7.1 GVT, 3 points for Washington
Analysis: The Capitals acquire a versatile forward that can play in all situations. The Quebec native has accumulated a GVT of 7.1 this season which would place him ninth on the Capitals in that category. Belanger has won faceoffs at a 57-percent clip this season, can play on the power play, penalty kill and at even strength. Good trade.
Deal: Washington acquires Joe Corvo from Carolina for Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala and a 2nd round draft pick (2011)
Impact: +2.0 GVT, 1 point for Washington
Analysis: In Corvo, the Capitals are adding a very smooth puck-moving defenseman that should give sniper Mike Green some help on the back end. Corvo is not having a great season having battled an injury (ironically inflicted by a Caps defenseman), but will help the Capitals' transition game and second power play unit. Additionally, Corvo left the Hurricanes while leading the team in both power play and penalty killing ice-time.
Deal: Washington acquires Milan Jurcina from Columbus for 6th round pick (2010)
Impact: +1.1 GVT, 0 points
Analysis: Jurcina lacks some foot speed but plays a physical game and can log time on the penalty kill. His current GVT is 1.1, so Jurcina is certainly not a game-breaker.
Total Impact: +9.7 GVT, 4 points for Washington
Deal: Thrashers get Clarke MacArthur from Sabres for a 3rd round pick (2010) and 4th round pick (2011)
Analysis: MacArthur sports a poor 1.1 GVT this season. He is still under 25, and was only given just over 14 minutes per game of ice-time this season in Buffalo. Additionally, he only saw the 13th most power play ice-time of any Sabres player this year, so expect his chances to produce offense in Atlanta to rise fairly significantly.
Total Impact: +1.1 GVT, 0 points
by Andrew Rothstein
St. Louis Blues
Deal: St. Louis Blues acquire Matt D'Agostini from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Aaron Palushaj
Analysis: This deal can be summed up in one word for St. Louis: pointless. Coming off missing a month at the beginning of the season with a sprained knee, the RW has all of two goals and two assists on the season for a total of four points. Instead, St. Louis could have promoted someone from the AHL and been better off. Currently being on the outside of the playoffs rather than on the inside, the Blues should have decided to be sellers instead of buyers if this was the only move they were going to make.
Total Impact: -2.3 GVT, -1 point for St. Louis
by Robert Vollman
Deal: Calgary gets Steve Staios from Edmonton Oilers for Aaron Johnson and a 3rd rounder
Impact: -1.6 GVT, -1 points for Calgary
Analysis: Aaron Johnson has a GVT of +0.6 in 22 games, and was simply brilliant defensively in limited action for Chicago last season. Meanwhile the 36-year-old Steve Staios has struggled with a -1.0 GVT this year and -1.4 last year. Edmonton's opponents have scored a whopping 3.68 goals per 60 minutes when Staios was on the ice, and just 2.72 when he wasn't. Based on this, it's hard to see how Staios can help the Flames at all.
Deal: Calgary gets Vesa Toskala from Anaheim for Curtis McElhinney
Impact: -11.9 GVT, -4 points for Calgary
Analysis: Curtis McElhinney has -3.5 GVT in just 8.4 games, virtually identical to his -3.6 in 8.6 games last season, so it would be very hard to replace him with anybody worse. Miraculously, Calgary GM Darryl Sutter managed to do just that, picking up Vesa Toskala, the worst player in the league two seasons running.
Total Impact: -13.5 GVT, -5 points for Calgary
by Philip Myrland
Deal: Phoenix acquires Mathieu Schneider for Sean Zimmerman and a conditional 6th round pick
Impact: +1.1 GVT, 0 points for Phoenix
Analysis: At this point in his career, the 40-year old Mathieu Schneider is a power play specialist who's only capable of playing bottom-pairing minutes at even strength. With Adrian Aucoin, Keith Yandle and Ed Jovanovski already capable of playing the point on the power play, this is a curious addition. Schneider is not much of an upgrade on Sami Lepisto or James Vandermeer, and the Coyotes also added Derek Morris at the deadline.
Deal: Phoenix acquires Wojtek Wolski from Avalanche for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter
Impact: Wolski: +7.0 GVT, 3 points for Phoenix; Mueller: -0.1 GVT, 0 points for Colorado
Analysis: This is a steal for the Coyotes and a surprising trade for the Avalanche who sit just one point behind Phoenix in the tight Western Conference playoff race. Wolski was one of Colorado's best young forwards with 17 goals and 47 points this season. His 7.0 GVT matches Radim Vrbata, who was the top-rated forward on the Coyotes. Wolski should get lots of ice time in Phoenix's top six, and will help improve the team's offense, which has been its biggest weakness. The only downside is that Wolski has not been a very good power play scorer, although he will probably still get lots of chances to play on Phoenix's 29th-ranked power play.
Mueller's development has stalled over the last few seasons. In fact, he has regressed, from a 54 point scorer at the age of 19 to just 17 points in 54 games this season. Going to Colorado will likely be a positive move for Mueller -- and he did score in his debut -- as he struggled to fit into Phoenix coach Dave Tippett's defensive system.
Deal: Phoenix acquires Derek Morris for their 4th-round pick in 2011
Impact: +6.2 GVT, 2 points for Phoenix
Analysis: Morris is a veteran defenseman that has been having a pretty good year in Boston. He is averaging 22 minutes per game and can play in all situations. Morris is familiar with the Coyotes organization, having played in Phoenix from 2005-06 to 2008-09. Still, he's probably a three-month rental.
The Coyotes also acquired Petteri Nokelainen, Alexandre Picard and Lee Stempniak on Wednesday, accounting for their final GVT change. Phoenix may have been the busiest team yesterday, and it looks like the 'Yotes did themselves a world of good.
Total Impact: +15.9 GVT, 6 points for Phoenix
Deal: Anaheim gets Lubomir Visnovsky for Ryan Whitney and their 6th-round pick
Impact: Visnovsky +8.8 GVT, 3 points for Anaheim; Whitney +4.0 GVT, 2 points for Edmonton
Analysis: In a terrific move for Anaheim, the Ducks acquired one of the league's best offensive defensemen in Visnovsky. He rates 17th among defensemen this season in offensive GVT, despite playing on the worst team in the league. Whitney is six years younger and has some upside, but at the moment he is not nearly as good as Visnovsky.
By swapping Visnovsky's cap hit of $5.6 million for Whitney's $4.0 million the Oilers free up additional cap space. In terms of actual dollars paid, however, Visnovsky is due to earn $14 million over the next three seasons, while Whitney will be paid $15 million. The Ducks save money and get a much better player. That's a win-win.
The Ducks also dealt for Joey MacDonald (-1.4 GVT) and Aaron Ward (0.1 GVT). We also have to subtract the loss of Whitney to arrive at the final impact.
Total Impact: +3.5 GVT, 2 points for Anaheim
Los Angeles Kings
Deal: Los Angeles Kings acquires Fredrik Modin for a conditional draft pick
Impact: +0.2 GVT, 0 points for Los Angeles
Analysis: This move will not help the Kings much. Even though he was selected to Sweden's Olympic team in Vancouver, Modin's best days as a scorer are behind him and he has just 6 points in 24 games this season. With the Kings' strong group of forwards he is not likely to get much playing time.
Adding Jeff Halpern (0.9 GVT) may have a bigger impact, but the Kings' improvement may only be measured in intangibles.
Total Impact: +0.8 GVT, 0 points for Los Angeles
So where does all of that movement leave us? The dealing deadline brought many potentially exciting trades that could have changed the landscape of the 2009-10 NHL season. Instead, what we ended up with was nothing more than disappointment in terms of shaking up the standings.
Our projections already had the Penguins ahead of New Jersey in the Atlantic, same with Buffalo over Ottawa in the Northeast, and after the deadlne, they remain there.
The Coyotes, who had an outstanding 2009 offseason, made plenty of moves and may have been helped the most yesteday. Our projections still don't see them improving, but we do see them remaining in the playoffs. Here's our projected finish as of Thursday morning:
East: Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal
West: Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Colorado, Nashville, Detroit
A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider .
This column was authored by the staff of Puck Prospectus.