General manager Marc Bergevin added to the Montreal Canadiens without altering his Eastern Conference-leading lineup.
In Detroit, GM Ken Holland thought it was important to provide his young Red Wings a nudge by adding two experienced veterans. As for the Toronto Maple Leafs, their long-expected purge of high-priced talent failed to materialize before the NHL’s annual trading deadline struck on Monday.
“We did as much as we could. We just hoped for more,” Maple Leafs general manager David Nonis said after being limited to making just two moves, none of which included forwards Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak, or defenseman Dion Phaneuf. “Today, there weren’t deals that were there for any of our players that made sense for us.”
That didn’t prevent others from staying busy on a day that featured 24 trades involving 43 players.
The Canadiens plugged several needs by acquiring defenseman Jeff Petry from Edmonton, and making two separate deals with Buffalo to land forwards Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. In exchange, they gave up a combined four draft picks and minor-league prospect Jack Nevins.
“We’re getting rewarded for our good play right now,” Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said. “I think (Bergevin) saw a couple of areas he can improve on but not change things too much.”
Other East teams weren’t going to let Rangers GM Glen Sather steal the thunder a day after the Rangers acquired defenseman Keith Yandle and forward James Sheppard.
The New York Islanders kept pace by making four trades. Aside from adding center Tyler Kennedy from San Jose, the Isles upgraded their backup goalie spot behind Jaroslav Halak by acquiring Sabres starter Michal Neuvirth.
Holland took an aggressive approach in adding to the Red Wings. A day after acquiring veteran forward Erik Cole from Dallas, Holland gave up a conditional draft choice to New Jersey for veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
“The growth of our team and the growth of our younger players, I guess, sent a message to me that we’ve got a good team,” Holland said. “We’re right in the thick of things.”
The Anaheim Ducks were among several contenders to stock up in the West.
The Pacific Division leaders made four trades. The most significant involved Columbus, in which the Ducks acquired high-scoring defenseman James Wisniewski and a 2015 third-round pick in exchange for forwards Rene Bourque, Williams Karlsson and a 2015 second-round pick.
Other highlights from Monday:
HAPPY HOMECOMING: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen was pleased to fulfill Jordan Leopold’s daughter’s request in sending the veteran defenseman to his native Minnesota Wild.
The trade for defenseman Justin Falk and a 2015 fifth-round pick was completed just as 11-year-old Jordyn Leopold’s letter asking for her father to be dealt began circulating online.
“The deal was already done when I saw it. Almost simultaneously,” Kekalainen said. “But that’s a touching letter. We wanted to do the right thing with Jordan Leopold.”
HAPPY HOMECOMING II: Defenseman Ben Lovejoy is returning to Pittsburgh after spending the past two-plus seasons in Anaheim. The 31-year-old was a fan favorite with the Penguins, where he spent his first four seasons.
“To have a good run in the playoffs, you need experience, and that’s what we’ve done here,” said Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who traded 23-year-old defenseman Simon Despres to the Ducks.
RACE TO THE BOTTOM: The Sabres and Arizona Coyotes continued shedding players eligible to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Arizona traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to St. Louis to follow up deals that sent Yandle to the Rangers and leading scorer Antoine Vermette to Chicago over the weekend.
The last-place Sabres on Monday traded forwards Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell to Montreal; Neuvirth to the Islanders and Chris Stewart to Minnesota.
The trades increase both teams’ chances of finishing last and earn the opportunity to draft two highly regarded prospects in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
“We’re in 30th place. Our time is the future. And we added assets for the future,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said.
FEELING A DRAFT: Five first-round picks in this year’s draft have been traded this season, a sign of how steep a price some teams have paid to add talent.
“Everybody thinks they’ve got a chance,” Holland said. “There was a time in the late ’90s and early 2000s when I think everybody thought Dallas, Detroit or Colorado as going to represent the West in the Stanley Cup finals. I think those days are over.”
STANDING PAT: Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was busy enough before Monday to consider making any more changes.
“At the end of the day, we felt very comfortable with what we have and where things are at moving forward,” Cheveldayoff said.
The Jets acquired Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford in a seven-player deal in sending Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to Buffalo on Feb. 11. They acquired forward Jiri Tlusty from Carolina on Feb. 25, and then added forward Lee Stempniak from the Rangers on Sunday.
AP Hockey Writer Ira Podell and Sports Writers Josh Dubow, Rusty Miller, Dan Gelston, Will Graves, Noah Trister and Dave Campbell contributed to this report.
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