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NHL teams make a flurry of deals before deadline

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm •  Published: March 5, 2014
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Martin St. Louis told Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman more than once he wanted to play for another team.

The reigning NHL scoring leader got his wish — hours before the league's trade deadline — in one of 20 trades that involved 38 players Wednesday.

Tampa Bay dealt its unhappy captain to the New York Rangers for their rugged captain, Ryan Callahan.

"Are we better? I don't know," Yzerman acknowledged at a news conference. "We're different."

St. Louis, who ranks among league leaders this season, should help the Rangers' chances of finishing among the top three in the Metropolitan Division to avoid falling into the Eastern Conference's wild-card logjam.

Callahan joins a Lightning team that hopes his grit and soon having star Steven Stamkos in the lineup for the first time since he broke his right leg in November will help them be in the Atlantic Division's top three when the regular season ends April 13.

Here's a look at five other trade-deadline observations as teams made moves — or chose not to — in an attempt to get in a better position for the playoffs in the hopes of hoisting the Stanley Cup in three months.

GOALIE GO-ROUND: The Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues made a big splash Friday, acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller, to perhaps improve enough to at least reach the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2001. The Sabres acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak as part of the deal and dealt him four days later to the Washington Capitals, who hope he can help them close the regular season well enough to earn a spot in the playoffs. The Florida Panthers are almost mathematically out of the playoff race, but they're putting Roberto Luongo back in their net for the future after giving up on him in the past. After lots of talk about the possibility, the Vancouver Canucks finally decided to part ways with Luongo. "When I was least expecting it, something happened," Luongo said at a news conference in South Florida. To make room for Luongo, the Panthers traded goalie Tim Thomas to Dallas. Minnesota also acquired goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton. "A lot of goalies changed hands," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "That's surprising this late in the year that so many teams would feel they would need to make a change at that position. I haven't seen that before."

MONTREAL'S MANEUVER: Some teams stayed out of the fray for big names because they didn't want to pay a steep price for a player, especially one with an expiring contract. The Montreal Canadiens, meanwhile, made what seems to be a shrewd move. The Canadiens acquired high-scoring forward Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders for a prospect, second-round pick and conditional fifth-round selection. Vanek, who becomes Montreal's leading scorer, has 53 points this season and 541 in his nine-year career, which was spent in Buffalo until he was traded to the Islanders early this season.

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