It was the most trades since the March 3, 2010 NHL record exchange where 31 trades were made, totalling 55 players.
Early consensus had the Anaheim Ducks pegged as Monday's winners as they added defencemen Simon Despres from Pittsburgh in exchange for Ben Lovejoy, and James Wisniewski from Columbus in a deal that saw the Blue Jackets receive Rene Bourque and William Karlsson. The teams also exchanged draft picks.
Later, the Ducks acquired defenceman Korbinian Holzer from the Toronto Maple Leafs for veteran blue-liner Eric Brewer and Anaheim's fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The Tampa Bay Lightning scored defenceman Braydon Coburn from the Philadelphia Flyers for a couple of draft picks, a move Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman summarized as giving his team "a better chance to win in the playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings also added a defenceman, opting for Marek Zidlicky from the New Jersey Devils, costing them a third-round conditional pick, rather than taking on the lucrative contract of Toronto's Dion Phaneuf, whose name had surfaced in connection with the Wings.
No heavyweight movements
What was missing from the hectic day was any heavyweight trades that might have a more significant effect on the stretch run towards the NHL playoffs. Toronto players Phaneuf and Phil Kessel received a lot of attention as players who might be dealt, but neither player departed the restructuring Leafs.
Among Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens were the busiest adding defenceman Jeff Petry from Edmonton for a pair of draft choices, as well as centre Brian Flynn from the Buffalo Sabres for a fifth-round 2016 pick, and centre Torrey Mitchell, also from Buffalo, for winger Jack Nevins and a seventh-round 2016 pick.
Vancouver picked up left winger Sven Baertschi from Calgary for a second-round 2017 draft pick, plus centre Cory Conacher from the New York Islanders, who got back centre Dustin Jeffrey.
The Flames were rocked by the confirmation Monday that defenceman Mark Giordano needs surgery for a torn biceps tendon and will miss the rest of the season. On Sunday, the Flames traded Curtis Glencross to the Washington Capitals for second and third-round draft picks.
Toronto, which had already moved out four starting players in recent deals, opened Monday by sending centre Olli Jokinen, who played just six games after coming from Nashville, to the St. Louis Blues for centre Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional sixth-round pick.
The day-long media blitz over the airwaves that began early in the morning had a few regretful moments, none worse than an off-colour tweet shown on TSN mentioning Toronto Maple Leaf player Joffrey Lupul and Phaneuf's actress wife Elisha Cuthbert, which drew this response from Lupul.
An apology was later issued by TSN.
Undoubtedly the most poignant deal of the day reunited Jordan Leopold with his family in Minnesota. The Minnesota native's family hadn't seen him after a Nov. 15 trade that sent the 34-year-old defenceman to Columbus from the St. Louis Blues. Leopold's 11-year-old daughter Jordyn had sent a hand-written note to the Minnesota Wild suggesting that the team could use another defenceman, not to mention how heartbroken the family was without their did.
Jordyn Leopold got her wish as the Wild obtained her father for Justin Falk and a fifth-round 2015 draft pick.
On a day when big name players didn't move about, there couldn't have been a bigger name headed to the Leopold household in Minnesota.
NHL Trade Deadline since 1980