What was the biggest surprise of the trade deadline?
Scott Burnside: I was surprised that none of the teams in need of goaltending depth made a move, even though there were a number of options available, including Jaroslav Halak, languishing in the minors, and Ryan Miller of the Vancouver Canucks, both of whom presumably could have been had at a modest price. Indeed, the only goalie moved was Ben Bishop, who went to the Los Angeles Kings from the Tampa Bay Lightning, basically as a backup to Jonathan Quick. Weird. Now, will the San Jose Sharks, who stood pat with untested Aaron Dell, or the Columbus Blue Jackets, who rely so heavily on Sergei Bobrovsky, or the Edmonton Oilers, with Cam Talbot getting ready for his first starting assignment in the playoffs, wish at some point this spring that they'd added veteran goaltending help? I'll go out on a limb and say at least one of those teams will rue not shoring up the most important position on their respective teams.
Pierre LeBrun: I was surprised at how low the prices plummeted on nearly everyone when you consider people feel the 2017 draft class isn't very strong. A sixth-rounder for Drew Stafford? No one wanted to meet the Arizona Coyotes' price on Radim Vrbata, so he didn't even move? Nobody offered a bag of pucks for Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov? Holy mama, not a day to be selling. I can't remember the market ever being this picky in my 22 years covering the NHL.
Craig Custance: I was also surprised the Coyotes didn't move Vrbata. It wasn't from a lack of interest, but GM John Chayka set a price on Vrbata and it wasn't met. There's a case to be made that anything is better than getting nothing, but Chayka is also early on in his tenure there and taking that stance could end up leading to better returns in trades down the road, so it was certainly a calculated decision. It also helped that he got a big return for Martin Hanzal, and the Michael Stone trade looks better now than it did initially after a couple other defensemen weren't moved or were traded for minimal return.
Rob Vollman: The Sabres were strangely quiet. Not only did they keep Evander Kane, but they didn't trade any of their pending unrestricted free agents in Brian Gionta, Kulikov, Cody Franson or Anders Nilsson. Why not give those players a chance to play for the Stanley Cup and get prospects and draft picks in exchange?
Joe McDonald: I'm not surprised about Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic's decision to keep Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog for the remainder of the season. Sakic wasn't impressed with the offers and didn't panic. If he didn't acquire the proper return for the two forwards, then Sakic's job probably would have been in danger. Now he can wait until the offseason and likely deal the two before the draft. I can't imagine how nerve-racking this process must have been for Duchene and Landeskog, but now they can finish the season with the Avalanche.