Takeaways on a flurry of pre-deadline NHL trades

Every year around the end of February, Canada takes an unofficial holiday. The day off is the NHL trade deadline and it brings excitement to NHL fans across the nation albeit for various different reasons.

Hang on here. Can we have some order, please?

Some rules for these trades, please? Something that can restore Deadline Day as a day with lots of big trades, please?

The trend continues in 2016, with National Hockey League general managers getting a jump on Monday’s 3 pm ET deadline with a flurry of deals on Saturday. By the time Monday arrives it’s fair to wonder what will be left on the shelves, with another day Sunday for the remaining names like Dan Hamhuis, Kris Russell, P.A. Parenteau or Lars Eller.

Some thoughts:

Toronto deals James Reimer to San Jose, gets a conditional fourth

My take: We all get what the Leafs are doing. And we’re all OK with it. One mistake not to make however, is to undervalue goaltending — even on a team designed to be a lottery club for the next three seasons. The one thing the Leafs have done this year is work hard and believe they can upset an opponent every night. If Toronto does not find a better goalie than Jonathan Bernier next season, it will be impossible to ask for any level of belief from a group of pro players who know when they don’t have a prayer of winning.

Chicago loads up, grabs Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann, Christian Ehrhoff

My take: Winnipeg did better than I thought they’d do for Ladd, getting a late first round pick and Marko Dano. That is, providing Dano becomes an effective player. He’s now been moved twice in the past season. As for the Blackhawks, they become the prohibitive Stanley Cup favorite in the Western Conference. Ladd is a proven winner and a big, skilled left-winger who makes you much better. Weise is an effective bottom-six upgrade, while Fleischmann and Ehrhoff are high-end reserves.

The question becomes, when do Anaheim GM Bob Murray and St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong get busy? The Blues and Ducks were already in the chase position and now Chicago got a lot better. Let’s go boys…

• Edmonton gets third round picks for Teddy Purcell, and lighting rod defenceman Justin Schultz. Oilers eat 50 per cent of remaining Schultz salary.

My Take: Both Schultz and Purcell are examples of soft players the Oilers must eradicate if they’re ever going to compete with teams like Los Angeles and Anaheim. I’m looking forward to watching Schultz in a new environment. Can a useful, offensive defenceman rise from the ashes that his career has been thus far? I’m not sure he has the mental game or the shot to ever run a power play successfully. Hope he proves me wrong.

• Florida acquires Jiri Hudler, Purcell, Jakub Kindl.

My take: Give Dale Talon credit for being proactive, and only parting with four picks: a second, third, fourth and sixth. But we’re not sure these players are the kind of additions that will help a playoff drive. Kindl has been on waivers twice this year. He’s big and soft, and so is Purcell. Hudler is small and skilled, but was completely ineffective in the Flames playoff run last season.

The game changes in the post-season. It gets harder to play, and none of these players have become known as guys whose games thrive when the game gets more and more physical.

Los Angeles brings back Rob Scuderi

My take: There’s only one question about Scuderi helping the Kings playoff push — can he still skate? Chicago didn’t think he had the pace to help them, and they knew that Kings head coach Darryl Sutter loves Scuderi’s game in the playoffs. So do I, but will anyone love his game at age 37? The playoffs are a fast, fast place for an NHL defenceman. Too slow and you get exposed.

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