Commentary

Grading the deadline-day deals

Updated: March 1, 2011, 1:10 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

Here are our grades for the top trades from Monday's deadline day:

Penner
Penner

Edmonton trades RW Dustin Penner to Los Angeles for D Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick and a 2012 conditional third-round pick

• Breakdown: The Kings, looking to make a statement since failing to land free-agent forward Ilya Kovalchuk this past summer, finally got their big-bodied forward. He's not Kovalchuk or Brad Richards and he's not a center, but Penner is something, and Kings GM Dean Lombardi needed something.

Throw Penner in with a group that includes Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth, Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll, and all of a sudden, the Kings' lineup looks like it can play with the big boys in Vancouver, Detroit and San Jose (at least offensively).

Yes, there have been questions about Penner's compete level during his time in Edmonton, but he has 21 goals this season and scored 32 last season. Playing in Los Angeles should take Penner out of the fishbowl that is playing in a Canadian market.

The Oilers essentially get two first-round picks for Penner, who has another year left on his contract at $4.25 million. They get the Kings' first-round pick this year (likely around 20th overall), and Teubert was the 13th overall pick in 2008. Teubert is a big, 6-foot-4 defenseman whose development might not have been as dramatic as the Kings would have liked. But he will join a fine group of young players in Edmonton and get a chance to play under a great teaching coach in Tom Renney. Grade: A

Arnott
Arnott

New Jersey trades C Jason Arnott to Washington for C David Steckel and a 2012 second-round pick

• Breakdown: The Capitals have been looking for a big, veteran body down the middle for a couple of seasons. Late in the day, they filled that void after Arnott waived his no-trade clause to go to the Caps. Arnott, of course, scored that Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Devils in 2000, but his issue is he has not produced in the playoffs in recent years. In four seasons with Nashville, Arnott and the Preds never won a playoff round.

Arnott, who has only 13 goals this season, also has struggled to stay healthy. Still, if he is healthy, he has the tools to be the kind of player who will help the Caps get over the playoff hump. The Caps certainly paid a hefty price to bring Arnott aboard, especially given that the 36-year-old center can become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Steckel has become a top defensive center and is proficient in the faceoff circle. He also is signed through the 2012-13 season at an annual cap hit of $1.1 million. Grade: A-minus

Wideman
Wideman

Florida trades D Dennis Wideman to Washington for C Jake Hauswirth and a 2011 third-round pick

• Breakdown: With Mike Green expected to miss a couple of weeks after having his bell rung by the Rangers' Derek Stepan, the hard-shooting Wideman will be asked to help move the puck and work the power play. He's not terrific in his own zone, but coach Bruce Boudreau has the Caps playing much better team defense, so perhaps that's not as big a deal as it might seem on the surface. The Panthers, meanwhile, shed salary, as Wideman will make $4.5 million next season with a cap hit of just less than $4 million. Panthers GM Dale Tallon also grabbed more assets for the Panthers' rebuild. Grade: B-plus

Boyes
Boyes

St. Louis trades F Brad Boyes to Buffalo for a 2011 second-round draft pick

• Breakdown: This one happened late Sunday night, but we count it as a trade deadline-day acquisition. Boyes' production has trailed off since he scored 43 goals in 2007-08, but he gives the Sabres some nice offensive punch. By keeping Tim Connolly, who had been rumored to be on the market, the Sabres hope they have enough offensive pop to get into the playoffs and possibly shock a higher seed such as Philadelphia, Boston or Tampa.

For a traditionally conservative franchise, this was a big move. It sends a message to fans and the team that new owner Terry Pegula isn't fooling around when he's talking Stanley Cup or bust. The upside for the Sabres is that even if they miss the playoffs this season, they will have Boyes moving forward, as he has one more year left on his contract at $4 million. Grade: B-plus

Maxim Lapierre
Lapierre

Anaheim trades C Maxim Lapierre and C MacGregor Sharp to Vancouver for C Joel Perrault and a 2012 third-round pick; Florida trades LW Christopher Higgins to Vancouver for D Evan Oberg and a 2013 third-round pick

• Breakdown: Stanley Cup fever is as high as it's ever been in Vancouver -- certainly as high as it was in 1994. While GM Mike Gillis did not add any defensive depth, as many had speculated he might, he did add a couple of potential key pieces for a long playoff march. Higgins is out with a broken thumb but will give some offensive pop to the Canucks' third and fourth lines when healthy.

Lapierre had a terrific playoffs last season for the Canadiens but now is with his third team in less than a year. He's a bit of a loose cannon, but big and abrasive, kind of like the rest of the Canucks. Both Lapierre and Higgins have played in Montreal, so they understand the pressures of playing in a Canadian market. Grade: B-plus

Klesla
Klesla

Columbus trades D Rostislav Klesla and LW Dane Byers to Phoenix for LW Scottie Upshall and D Sami Lepisto

• Breakdown: Interesting deal for Columbus and Phoenix, which had to stay within the NHL's mandated budget on trade deadline day (thanks, City of Glendale) and couldn't take on salary without sending salary out.

Klesla, when healthy, is a big body who can help fill the gap left by Ed Jovanovski, who might not return during the balance of the regular season with a broken orbital bone. The Coyotes are 8-2-1 in their past 11 games and will be fighting for playoff positioning down the stretch. To get Klesla, they had to give up a player in Upshall, who has 16 goals this season. Lepisto also is a useful puck-moving defenseman who played for Finland in the Olympics last year.

The move works for Columbus as it tries to claw its way back into the Western Conference playoff race. The Blue Jackets already had picked up top-six forward Craig Rivet on waivers, so their defensive depth also has been improved. It is an unusual deal in that both teams will be fighting for what could be the same place in the playoff bracket. Grade: B-minus

Samsonov
Samsonov

Carolina trades LW Sergei Samsonov to Florida for D Bryan Allen

• Breakdown: As always, Carolina GM Jim Rutherford managed to quietly get the job done by adding another defenseman to a blue-line corps that relies on the collective for success. Perhaps more significant -- Rutherford did not deal Joni Pitkanen, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July. The Hurricanes control their own fate in making the playoffs (they currently are eighth in the East), and Allen will help. He has another year left on his deal at $2.9 million, more than what Tallon wanted on his roster as he continues to pare down and rebuild. Florida takes back Samsonov, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Grade: C-plus

Campoli
Campoli

Chicago trades C Ryan Potulny and a 2011 second-round pick to Ottawa for D Chris Campoli and a 2012 conditional seventh-round pick

• Breakdown: Chicago GM Stan Bowman wanted to add some depth to his blue line and accomplished that in acquiring Campoli, who has been with Ottawa for the past season and a half. Campoli can eat up some minutes, and perhaps take some of the pressure off minute-munchers like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook heading into the playoffs. The team's defensive needs were exacerbated when Jordan Hendry suffered a knee injury in Sunday's win over Phoenix that will require surgery. Campoli will become a restricted free agent this summer.

The rebuilding Sens get the draft pick and 26-year-old Potulny, who bounced from Philadelphia to Edmonton to Chicago before Monday's trade to Ottawa. Grade: C

Dvorak
Dvorak

Atlanta trades RW Niclas Bergfors and LW Patrick Rissmiller to Florida for RW Radek Dvorak and a 2011 fifth-round pick

• Breakdown: Bergfors went to Atlanta in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal a little more than a year ago and never quite got going there. He had 11 goals this season but will get a chance to blossom in Florida, where Tallon has unloaded many of the team's veteran players. Bergfors will become a restricted free agent this summer.

The Thrashers, meanwhile, add a veteran forward in Dvorak, who they hope will chip in some offense as they try to stay in the playoff hunt. With Fredrik Modin going to Calgary on Monday, Dvorak likely will see third-line minutes for the Thrashers. He once scored 31 goals for the New York Rangers, back in 2000-01, and hasn't scored more than 17 goals in a season since. Dvorak is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Thrashers also picked up former 25th overall pick Rob Schremp on waivers from the New York Islanders. Grade: C

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.