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Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Updated: March 5, 11:48 AM ET
Which trades will have best impact

By Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun
ESPN.com

Winners? Losers? Let's grade the impact of Wednesday's top deals:

Jokinen
Jokinen

• Calgary Flames acquire Olli Jokinen from Phoenix Coyotes for forwards Matthew Lombardi and Brandon Prust and 2009 first-round pick, plusJordan Leopold from Colorado Avalanche for defensemen Lawrence Nycholat and Ryan Wilson and 2009 second-round pick

The telling thing from these moves is that Calgary GM Darryl Sutter understands his window to win is open right now. Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Robyn Regehr and Daymond Langkow aren't getting any younger. This is the time to go for it, to try to win a championship. This is as good as this group will get, and Sutter reacted to injuries to Rene Bourque up front and Mark Giordano on the back end by plugging those holes.

The Flames also acquired players they knew. Leopold returns for his second tour of duty in Calgary, where he was a more productive player than he's been in Colorado. Jokinen played the best hockey of his career for Flames coach Mike Keenan in Florida, and the hope is the Finnish center will recapture that form for a Calgary team that has long yearned for a true No. 1 center. There's also this reality -- Jokinen has never played a playoff game in his career, so no one can sit there and pretend he or she really knows what kind of factor Jokinen will be come April. But that's the risk Sutter was willing to take because the time is now to go for broke.

Impact-o-meter: 8 | Complete trade details


Guerin
Guerin

• Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Bill Guerin from New York Islanders for conditional draft pick

When Guerin was acquired by the San Jose Sharks at the 2007 trade deadline, he had 28 goals and was expected to be the veteran sniper who would get the Sharks to the promised land. Guerin didn't score a playoff goal that season, and the Sharks exited in the second round. As well as being two years older, Guerin also will be asked to fulfill a much different role in Pittsburgh. On a team that is just hitting its stride and that boasts stars like NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and new addition Chris Kunitz, Guerin will be asked to help provide a calming influence in the dressing room and lead by example on the ice.

If he can chip in some goals from high-traffic areas -- areas rarely visited by Miroslav Satan, who was sent to the minors Wednesday after clearing waivers -- he will have done his job. Guerin, who had 16 goals on a bad Islanders team, is not Ryan Malone, but if he can be a reasonable facsimile, count on the Penguins to make some noise in April.

Impact-o-meter: 7.5 | Complete trade details


Kotalik
Kotalik

• Edmonton Oilers acquire Patrick O'Sullivan and second-round pick from Carolina Hurricanes for Erik Cole, plus Ales Kotalik from Buffalo Sabres for second-round pick

From the moment Jaromir Jagr said thanks but no thanks to Edmonton this past summer, the Oilers have been searching and searching for another impact forward. They got two pretty good forwards in O'Sullivan and Kotalik while losing only Cole, a winger who just never fit in with the Oil, off their roster. They've equipped themselves better for a chance at the playoffs without giving up a whole lot.

Kotalik will help a power play that has struggled of late. He's an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, so maybe he's a rental, but Cole also was going to walk as a UFA. O'Sullivan has two more years on his deal, and the kicker is that his three-year deal with the Kings was front-loaded. So, after O'Sullivan earns $4 million this season, 80 percent of which was already paid by Los Angeles, the Oilers get him for $2.39 million apiece next season and in 2010-11. His cap number will be $2.9 million, but his real-life salary will be pretty reasonable for a player we believe can score 60-70 points in the NHL. It's a good day to be an Oilers fan.

Impact-o-meter: 7 | Complete trade details


Moen
Moen

• San Jose Sharks acquire Travis Moen and Kent Huskins from Anaheim Ducks for Nick Bonino, Timo Pielmeier and a conditional pick

San Jose GM Doug Wilson has had a one-track mind for 10 months or so: If he's going to bring in a new face, the addition needs a Stanley Cup ring to enter the arena. From Rob Blake to Dan Boyle to Brad Lukowich to Claude Lemieux and coach Todd McLellan, Wilson has added NHL championship experience to a contending core that's trying desperately to get over the hump. So we should hardly be surprised to see Wilson add two more Cup champions Wednesday in Moen and Huskins. We especially love the addition of Moen, one of the toughest players in the NHL and one who just can't stand losing. He oozes character and leadership and will be a noticeable fixture, especially come playoff time. This was a trade that felt like the last piece to a championship team puzzle.

Impact-o-meter: 6.5 | Complete trade details


Cole
Cole

• Carolina Hurricanes acquire Erik Cole from Edmonton Oilers for Patrick O'Sullivan and a second-round pick

The Hurricanes have gone retro this season, returning Paul Maurice as coach along with Ron Francis and now repatriating forward Cole. Earlier, GM Jim Rutherford had success in reclaiming Matt Cullen, another key part of the Hurricanes' Cup-winning team in 2006 and who is playing the best hockey of his career. If Carolina can get immediate production from Cole, that might be enough to coax the Hurricanes into the postseason for the first time since that '06 Cup run. Why Cole didn't thrive in Edmonton is anyone's guess, but it clearly didn't work out as he managed just 16 goals for the Oilers after seasons of 22, 29 and 30, respectively, in Carolina.

Over the long haul, the Hurricanes probably would rather have had a healthy Justin Williams, who was dealt to Los Angeles on Wednesday, but Rutherford didn't have the luxury of waiting and hoping Williams would return to his previous form next season. The Canes need to make the playoffs, and they need to do it now. Cole, who formed a dynamic offensive trio with Staal and Cory Stillman back in the day (Stillman is now in Florida, of course), might just be enough to help Carolina get over the hump.

Impact-o-meter: 6.5 | Complete trade details


Morris
Morris

• New York Rangers acquire Nik Antropov from Toronto Maple Leafs for 2009 second-round pick and conditional pick, plus Derek Morris from Phoenix Coyotes for Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha

The problem with assessing the Rangers' acquisitions -- defenseman Morris and center Antropov (not to mention the return of Sean Avery) -- is trying to figure out how all these personalities are going to fit in with new coach John Tortorella. Morris should help bring some stability to a New York defense that has been easy to push around all season and the subject of much criticism in Gotham. He's not going to help a power play that is 29th in the league, but that's not his job.

Antropov might help on that end, and there are moments to marvel at with the 6-foot-6 pivot, who has shown amazingly soft hands at times in his career in Toronto. Although he has been streaky and takes ill-advised penalties sometimes, he had 26 goals last season and has 21 so far in 2008-09. On a Rangers team that is small up front and has struggled to score (New York is dead last in goals scored), Antropov might just be the tonic to keep the Blueshirts in the playoff mix.

Impact-o-meter: 6.5 | Complete trade details


Vermette
Vermette

• Columbus Blue Jackets acquire Antoine Vermette from Ottawa Senators for Pascal Leclaire and second-round pick

Columbus has been looking for a forward who can play both the power play and penalty kill for a long, long time. No offense to Jason Williams or Chris Gratton, but the Jackets finally found their man in Vermette, a versatile player who had a career-high 24 goals and 53 points last season. In Columbus, he'll get more playing minutes to prove he's a first-line player, a chance he believed he never received in Ottawa. Perhaps just as important for the Jackets, they got out from under a contract with Leclaire that sees him earn $3.6 million next season and $4.8 million in 2011-12 (that's actually not bad for a proven starter). It's a good financial fit for goalie-starved Ottawa and an expense the Blue Jackets could not afford with Steve Mason clearly established as the man in goal in Columbus.

Impact-o-meter: 6 | Complete trade details


Recchi
Recchi

• Boston Bruins acquire Mark Recchi and 2010 second-round pick from Tampa Bay Lightning for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums, plus Steve Montador from Anaheim Ducks for Petteri Nokelainen

Let's be honest here, the forward Boston really, really wanted was Keith Tkachuk. But given that the Blues decided to keep him (despite listening intently to the Bruins' final offer), we give Boston GM Peter Chiarelli credit for plucking Recchi out of Tampa. This is a Bruins team that needed to inject some level of experience to a talented yet unproven team that has no clue how to act as a Cup contender. Recchi has won two Stanley Cups and fit in nicely as a trade-deadline pickup in Carolina in 2006, helping that team win a championship. So he has been there, done that, as a rental; he won't feel like a fish out of water. Oh, and by the way, the 41-year-old has had a heck of season for a struggling Tampa Bay team.

Montador wasn't the high-end blueliner Chiarelli had first sniffed around for, but he certainly came much more cheaply. He'll slide in as a No. 5 or 6 defenseman for the Bruins and won't look out of place. In the end, the best part is Chiarelli didn't lose anything from his core roster.

Impact-o-meter: 5 | Complete trade details

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun cover the NHL for ESPN.com.