The Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks added some reinforcements for a playoff run, while Rick Nash’s wish for a deal didn’t come to fruition Monday as the NHL trade deadline passed without any blockbuster moves.
Having won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history a year ago, the Predators are looking to take the next step – and beyond – by beefing up the offense with left wing Andrei Kostitsyn and two-way forward Paul Gaustad. Nashville, which also acquired defenseman Hal Gill earlier this month, is fifth in the Western Conference.
The Canucks, sitting atop the NHL standings with 19 games left in the regular season, fine-tuned their roster with three deals that added four players: checking-line center Samuel Pahlsson, rookie forward Zack Kassian, defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani and forward Andrew Gordon.
But the player expected to be the big catch of the day went nowhere. Nash, captain of the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets, requested a trade last month, according to general manager Scott Howson.
“The price was high,” Howson said. “And I don’t apologize for that.”
Nash’s non-trade was emblematic of a relative tranquil deadline day. There were 16 deals, but nothing that came close to altering the fabric of the NHL universe.
“The theme of this year’s deadline was that everybody wanted to add, and there was no one selling,” said Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee, who stood pat even though his team is underperforming and in need of a center because of Nicklas Backstrom’s concussion.
The Predators spent the future for the present, sending a 2012 first-round draft pick and a 2013 fourth-round selection to the Buffalo Sabres for Gaustad. Kostitsyn, who will be reunited with his brother Sergei in Nashville, came from Montreal for a second-round and conditional fifth-round pick in 2013.
The Canucks acquired Pahlsson from the Blue Jackets for minor-league defenseman Taylor Ellington and two 2012 fourth-round draft picks.
They also shipped rookie center Cody Hodgson to Buffalo for Kassian in an exchange of former first-round draft choices. Rarely used defenseman Alexander Sulzer also went to the Sabres for Gragnani as part of the deal.
Vancouver’s third trade sent defenseman Sebastien Erixon to the Anaheim Ducks for Gordon.