Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Now We Poke Through the Rubble

With the NHL trade deadline come and gone, it's time to take stock of what's left... and who made the best moves. Really, you have to group the teams into buckets based on spot in the standings to see who made out well on their big trades (I don't bother listing some smaller moves like Kyle McLaren from the Sharks minor league system to Philadelphia)...

First bucket: elite teams (who also happen to be the division leaders)

Western Conference

San Jose Sharks - Acquired Travis Moen and Kent Huskins from Anaheim. I like it a lot. Helps in the depth and enormously in the grit department. To that point... I think Claude Lemieux played his way out of any postseason role with his non-response to Joe Thornton being checked from behind in the last Red Wings game.

Detroit Red Wings - Didn't do anything, but didn't seem to need anything (yeah... always nice to have more, but not at any price).

Calgary Flames - Big step forward with the acquisition of Jordan Leopold and Olli Jokinen. Wouldn't have thought so at the start of the season, but this is a dangerous team.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins - Got a bit tougher and more battle-tested with the addition of Mark Recci and Steve Montador. Looking good going into the playoffs.

New Jersey Devils - Good team, a bit better with the addition of Niclas Havelid.

Washington Capitals - Nothing doing, but still a high-level team. Might have benefited from investing a bit (not a lot, just a bit) in a solid backup goalie should Theodore have a rough go of it.

Second bucket: good teams that could do some playoff damage

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks - I certainly like the pickup of Sammy Pahlsson, but question whether the Hawks will be good enough this season to come out of the West. Best seasons are likely in front of this team.

Columbus Blue Jackets - I don't see the Jackets being able to get far in the playoffs, but it is the proverbial "time" for this club to make the postseason. Getting Antoine Vermette from Ottawa for a big-contract backup goalie doesn't give them the top-line center needed, but does help.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers - Always a fun team to watch for the mayhem they bring to the ice.... so, no surprise that they would bring in a personal favorite in Daniel Carcillo from Phoenix. Kyle McLaren won't hurt to have as depth at D... and good for him making it back to the NHL this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins - They certainly aren't messing around. Fire the coach, ship out the hot young defensemen, put the superstar on the shelf to heal. All of it seems to have worked thus far and the addition of Bill Guerin shouldn't hurt (may not help a lot, though, as the Sharks found with Guerin two years ago).

Third bucket: everyone else

Well, the Rangers, Hurricanes, Sabres and Oilers among other teams gunning for the playoffs did a bunch of stuff. Will it matter (even if they do make the postseason)? Me don't think so at this point, but ya' never know.

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