March 1, 2016 / 2:46 AM / 2 years ago

Lack of blockbusters turns trade deadline into dud of a day

(Reuters) - With no blockbusters deals to be had Stanley Cup contenders tweaked their rosters while others waved the flag on the season, jettisoning contracts for draft picks in a muted National Hockey League trade deadline day on Monday.

The wheeling-and-dealing on Canada’s unofficial hockey holiday produced 19 largely inconsequential trades involving 37 players, which marked the quietest deadline day since 17 trades involving 30 players were made three years ago.

“It became apparent to me early on that the market was going to be very different,” said Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who made his big deal last week by sending captain Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of a deal that landed his team a prospect and first-round draft pick.

“We didn’t look at it as getting ahead of the market, we basically weighed our options with what we thought was going to be realistic.”

It was certainly a dud of a day for Canada’s all-sports TV networks that aired gimmicks like kiss cams and mascot races to help fill a day’s worth of trade coverage until a late flurry of deals at the 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche, who are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, pushed all in with three trades, including a three-for-one deal that brought them Danish forward Mikkel Boedker, who was the Arizona Coyotes’ third-leading scorer with 13 goals and 39 points.

The Dallas Stars, who are battling Chicago for top spot in the West, added some grit to their blueline by acquiring Kris Russell, who led the NHL in blocked shots last year.

The Anaheim Ducks, another team in the hotly-contested West with Stanley Cup ambitions, got ready for the stretch run by making four deals, including two that landed them Jamie McGinn (14 goals, 27 points) from the Buffalo Sabres and speedy Brandon Pirri (11 goals, 24 points) from the Florida Panthers.

The Boston Bruins, looking to solidify their playoff position in the East, added some scoring depth by trading for New Jersey Devils journeyman Lee Stempniak, who will be joining his ninth team in 11 seasons.

The Devils, who had a deadline day fire sale by making three deals mostly for draft picks, got a fourth round pick this year and second round next year for Stempniak, who was leading New Jersey with 25 assists and 41 points in 63 games.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks also got in on the action with a couple of minor deals that paled in comparison to moves made last week when, in addition to Ladd, they landed veterans Dale Wise and Tomas Fleischmann from Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff from Los Angeles.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue

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