NHL Deadline Day frenzy turned into “Dud-line Day” as the trade window closed on Monday with only a handful of mostly minor deals.
The day began with the spotlight on Columbus, where the last-place Blue Jackets were eager to consummate a blockbuster deal involving their All-Star forward Rick Nash.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, Nash, a proven scorer and leader who has helped Canada win the world championship in 2007 and Olympic gold in 2010, has the type of resume that causes coaches’ pulses to quicken.
Several teams reportedly made pitches for the Blue Jackets captain, but in the end the asking price was simply too rich, leaving Nash, who requested the trade, in Columbus until at least the off-season.
Two years ago, Deadline Day featured a record 31 trades, but only 15 were completed on Monday, involving 31 players and 11 draft picks.
The Predators acquired big Russian winger Andrei Kostitsyn from the Montreal Canadiens for a second-round pick in next year’s draft and a conditional fifth-round selection. They later sent a first-round pick this year to Buffalo for forward Paul Gaustad.
The deal with Montreal reunites Andrei with his brother Sergei, who was dealt to the Predators by the Canadiens last year and has rejuvenated his career in Nashville.
Nashville will be hoping for more of the same from Andrei, who has just 12 goals and 24 points in 53 games this season.
The biggest trade of the day came at the buzzer, with league-leading Vancouver shipping skilled forward and rookie of the year candidate Cody Hodgson to the Sabres for promising, but unproven Zack Kassian, a big, rugged power forward who will provide a physical presence the Canucks have lacked.
The Canucks also added checking forward Sami Pahlsson from the Blue Jackets for a pair of fourth-round picks.
The day ended with a flurry of smaller deals in the final hour, with teams content to tweak their lineups rather than going for the big splash.
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman kept busy by swinging three deals for defensemen, acquiring veteran Mike Commodore from the Detroit Red Wings for a seventh-round pick, Keith Aulie from Toronto for prospect Carter Ashton and Brian Lee from the Ottawa Senators for Matt Gilroy.