Although Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr. is only in his rookie season, he's been around long enough to develop a perspective on the NHL's final day of wheeling and dealing.
"You don't win the trade deadline unless you win the Cup," Ferguson said.
Which means no one will know for sure for another three months, when some team skates around the ice with the prized trophy. So in the meantime, here's a look at the teams who did well and those who didn't at the NHL's trading deadline.
The Avs pick up Tommy Salo as insurance for goalie David Aebischer. (Getty Images)
Buffalo Sabres: You gotta believe. The Sabres do when it comes to their playoff chances, and they left a few teams looking to cherry-pick their roster standing in the lurch. Buffalo came into deadline day six points behind the Islanders with 14 games remaining, but instead of moving high-priced players Miroslav Satan and Alexei Zhitnik, they decided to bulk up and give the postseason their best shot. Buffalo picked up RW Mike Grier and talented young defenseman Jeff Jillson, giving them more size and grit on the wing and boosting their blue line for a playoff run. They lost a good prospect in Jakub Klepis, but the roster wasn't dramatically affected by the loss of fourth-line center Curtis Brown and little-used defenseman Andy Delmore.
Colorado Avalanche: Avs GM Pierre Lacroix watched his backup goalie overwhelmed by Calgary on Sunday and his team roughed up in Vancouver on Monday, so he wasted little time fixing things at Tuesday's deadline. Lacroix got veteran goalie Tommy Salo for an unsigned college prospect and then added size and toughness by getting center Chris Gratton and defenseman Ossi Vaananen from Phoenix. That was after he picked up a great agitator and a hard-working two-way player in Matthew Barnaby from the Rangers late Monday night. Lacroix gave up a lot in futures -- defensemen Keith Ballard and David Liffiton are considered genuine prospects -- and a talented young veteran defenseman in Derek Morris. But the Avs believe they can win it all this year, and their moves at the deadline won't hurt their chances.
New York Rangers: A strange choice? Perhaps, until you consider how effective the Rangers were in getting rid of so much salary. And actually getting a pretty good return. New York GM Glen Sather has been blowing up his roster for the past 10 days, getting rid of every high-priced veteran he had a buyer for. In the early stages, he was getting mainly mid-level prospects and drafts pick, but Tuesday he scored a very good young defenseman with a few NHL seasons under his belt in Karel Rachunek and R.J. Umberger, a recent first-round draft choice who is finishing his high-scoring career at Ohio State and should be ready to step into the NHL. Sather also picked up David Liffiton, a highly touted young defenseman from Colorado in the Barnaby deal. And Sather sent away more than $30 million in player salaries, leaving the Rangers in a much better position to deal with the next CBA.
Phoenix Coyotes: They are building for the future under GM Mike Barnett and the former player agent helped create an even stronger foundation with his moves at the deadline. The Coyotes grabbed Derek Morris, a talented young offensive-minded defenseman, who struggled in the shadow of Rob Blake and Adam Foote in Colorado. Phoenix also picked up Keith Ballard, a star at two-time NCAA champion Minnesota, and a 2002 first-round draft pick. Barnett also found a way to get rid of LW Brian Savage, who has been only a shadow of himself offensively since coming over from Montreal two years ago. Savage, who has been on the trading block all season and was waived recently, went to St. Louis for future considerations.
New York Islanders: The Islanders have struggled since the All-Star break and have seen Buffalo close the gap. New York wanted to deepen its blue line, and add a high-scoring winger, but spent the last few weeks watching from the sidelines. They made only a minor move at the deadline, getting defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev from Chicago. He won't hurt them, but he won't be much of help either.
New Jersey Devils: Just about all the heavyweights in the East have made big moves in the past two weeks. New Jersey hasn't. They picked up centers Viktor Kozlov and Jan Hrdina last week, players who might help up front, but the Devils biggest concern heading into the playoffs is along the blue line because of Scott Stevens absence. There is a chance the Devils captain could return from his concussion by the playoffs, and perhaps New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello didn't make a move because he is confident that Stevens will. But that's risky, especially when so many solid veteran defensemen were available for relatively nominal prices.
San Jose Sharks: They lost one of their top scorers in speedy winger Marco Sturm last week, but came up short for every possible replacement at the deadline. Martin Rucinsky and Geoff Sanderson went to Vancouver, Valeri Bure went to Dallas and Shawn McEachern stayed in Atlanta. The Sharks added a good fourth-line player in Curtis Brown, but they'll miss Sturm's scoring going forward.
Vancouver Canucks: They picked up two good offensive wingers in Rucinsky and Sanderson and deepened their blue line with Marc Bergevin without spending much, but those moves won't matter much if Todd Bertuzzi gets a lengthy suspension. Even if Bertuzzi is back by the playoffs, the Canucks failed to address their biggest concern -- goaltending. Starter Dan Cloutier is struggling these days and he has not been a confidence-builder for the team in recent playoffs, and backup Johan Hedberg isn't consistent. The Canucks should have made a play for Washington's Olaf Kolzig.