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Why defensemen ruled the deadline

The Kings won big by securing Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera at the trade deadline. Debora Robinson/NHLI/Getty Images

Hockey analytics pioneer Rob Vollman is ESPN Insider's armchair GM this season, exploring how modern statistics can inform front-office decisions.

The NHL's 2015 trade deadline was the year of the defenseman. While no starting goalies and few prominent forwards changed uniforms, Andrej Sekera, James Wisniewski, Keith Yandle, Braydon Coburn, Tyler Myers, Zach Bogosian, Cody Franson, Zbynek Michalek and Jeff Petry headlined a long list of top-four defenders to change zip codes during the past two weeks. As the dust starts to clear, which teams are the winners and losers?

Among the buyers, Los Angeles and Montreal have to be the most pleased with how well they filled their team's holes on the blue line. Among the sellers, Arizona certainly can't be disappointed with its impressive haul. On the flip side, it will take some time to figure out whether the bolder moves by the Ducks and Rangers paid off.

At least that's how the trades looked when examined through the lens of statistical analysis. Prior to the deadline, we used hockey analytics to predict Monday's hot pursuit of a scarce supply of defensemen and identify the three available options that stood out as the most likely difference-makers -- Sekera, Michalek and Petry -- along with their possible destinations and price tags. Today we'll use those same metrics to find this year's big winners.