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January 31, 2012 | 6:32pm ET
All Star caliber trades

CHICAGO, IL -- The 2012 NHL All Star Game is now in the rear view mirror, and the hockey world is centrally focused on the upcoming trade deadline.

And what better way to frame our focus on that deadline than this year's great game in Ottawa? Consider, for a moment, the impact of trade deadline deals from only last year on this year's game!

Four of this year's All Stars were involved in deals in February of 2011, and each of those deals is a great cautionary tale of buyer beware.

Last year, Joffrey Lupul was traded for a fourth time, but it was his first deadline deal (the rest were summer moves, two of which involved Chris Pronger). Toronto brought Lupul north from Anaheim with Jake Gardiner and a fourth round pick for defenseman Francois Beauchemin. How'd that work out for the Ducks?

Pittsburgh dealt from a position of strength and moved a defenseman, Alex Goligoski, to Dallas for a couple forwards. The deal was seen then as a minor swap of complimentary, but not special, players. Now, James Neal sits second in the NHL with 27 goals for the Pens. Not a bad addition for Pittsburgh.

Florida decided they wanted to add pieces to their rebuild and moved Denis Wideman to Washington for a third round pick and Jake Hauswirth. So far, the Panthers haven't seen either of the players they acquired in an NHL game... but they did pick up All Star Brian Campbell this summer for Rostislav Olesz.

If you haven't heard of Olesz, don't worry about it. He's been effective in Rockford (AHL) this year.

Of the four deals that were consummated before the deadline last year that involved a 2012 All Star, perhaps only one ended up being break-even.

When Ottawa dealt Brian Elliott to Colorado for Craig Anderson, many thought it was a dead weight swap of netminders looking for a last chance. But Anderson has been good for the Sens this year, and Elliott returned to the scene of the deal last year as an All Star member of the St. Louis Blues.

In 2010, the Calgary Flames sold low on Dion Phaneuf and moved him in a blockbuster, seven-player deal. Now the captain in Toronto, he's back to the form that had his name in the conversation for the Norris earlier in his career with the Flames.

In 2008, two other 2012 All Stars moved in February. Campbell was traded to San Jose by the Sabres for Steve Bernier and a pick that later became Tyler Ennis.

In the bigger deal of that trade season, Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis were dealt to Pittsburgh by the Thrashers for Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and a first round pick in that year's draft. The Thrashers picked Daultan Leveille, who is now a senior at Michigan State.

Ennis is nice, Armstrong was decent for Atlanta, and the players that bounced back and forth between Calgary and Toronto ultimately didn’t impact either roster that season. But Atlanta/Winnipeg hasn't replaced Hossa, and Calgary hasn't replace Phaneuf, and both played well in Ottawa this past weekend.

As we sprint through four weeks of injuries, losing streaks, winning streaks, and probably a coach or two losing their job, rumors will light Twitter on fire and keep traffic flying around the web.

Fans everywhere are hoping their team finds "the missing link," and GMs are hoping to as well. But as each of the deals happen, one has to wonder which future NHL All Stars will be wearing a different sweater in March.

Tab Bamford is a Columnist for and the Chicago Correspondent for The Fourth Period Magazine.



Jan. 17, 2012 Immediate Impact
Jan. 07, 2012 It was a good idea, at the time
Jan. 03, 2012 New Year's Resolutions
Dec. 30, 2011 Trading Places
Dec. 13, 2011 Bench clearing changes
Nov. 30, 2011 Plenty of action early on
Nov. 18, 2011 Should Boston have dealt Thornton?
Nov. 15, 2011 Unintentionally gutless?
Nov. 08, 2011 Preds, Blues make big moves
Nov. 01, 2011 Early season surprises
Oct. 28, 2011 The trade that kept Belfour in Chicago
Oct. 25, 2011 It's a young man's game
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