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Monday notes: Blockbuster trades shuffle the Western Conference picture

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The NHL trade deadline may still be over a month away, but a genuine blockbuster came yesterday as Toronto Maple Leafs general manager pulled off two huge trades, with Calgary and Anaheim. While the focus is mostly on the impact in Toronto, the Western Conference playoff race will be impacted tremendously.

Calgary received center Matt Stajan, wingers Niklas Hagman and Jamal Mayers, and defenseman Ian White in exchange for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie. In summary, they've added some legitimate offensive help up front, and a blueliner in White who can chip in as well. The Flames have struggled to score goals lately, and this deal might help solve those problems.

Anaheim sent J.S. Giguere to Toronto for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala, basically swapping out backup goaltenders while bringing in a winger who put lots of pucks on net and should add some scoring punch in the short term, although he's in the twilight of his career and under contract for two more seasons.

After the jump, we've got reaction to these deals from a variety of perspectives, as well as lots of Predators news and other NHL notes as well...

Predators News

Preds On The Glass: POTG Radio Tonight and Weekend Round-Up
Buddy's morning notes include word that Travis from Five For Howling will be a guest on tonight's podcast.

Predators prospects roundup - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond has your weekly look at how the kids are doing...

What The Puck: 1/30/10 - Atlanta at Nashville: W 3-4
Rachel's recap of Saturday's game includes a group of blue men. No, not those performers from Vegas...

Scottie Upshall Injury to Keep Him Out Indefinitely - Five For Howling
The Preds won't have to face their former 1st round draft choice when the Coyotes come to town tomorrow.

The Predators Almanac for Winter/Spring 2010 | The Hockey Writers
Jas has the stretch run all laid out for you.

Predators' roster move keeps an eye on offense - The Tennessean
It sounds like the decision to keep Cal O'Reilly here and send Nick Spaling down has Cal targeted for plenty of PP work coming up...

Around the NHL

Dion Phaneuf Trade - Analysis, Reactions - Matchsticks and Gasoline
Kent sees the addition of Jay Bouwmeester as having made Dion Phaneuf somewhat expendable, and likes the potential of Ian White's scoring from the blueline.

Down Goes Brown: Brian Burke drops the hammer - Toronto Maple Leafs Blog
I like DGB's summary of the Phaneuf deal best: "The Leafs are looking to the future, and in terms of longterm impact they basically just traded Ian White for Dion Phaneuf. It's far from a sure thing, but that's just about the ultimate buy low/sell high deal, isn't it?"

Leafs low on forwards, cap space - The Globe and Mail
James Mirtle picked a great time to jump on the Maple Leafs beat, and provides his assessment on where Toronto stands now.

3.5 Finger Discount - Anaheim Calling
Arthur and Daniel review the Ducks' side of yesterday's trade, and wonder if Jason Blake was the right "bad contract" to take from Toronto.

Ducks Sign Goaltender Jonas Hiller To Four-Year Contract Extension - SB Nation
While this contract was the prelude to the J.S. Giguere trade, it has a Nashville impact. Has Hiller's 4-year, $18 million contract set a rough guideline for what Pekka Rinne might seek? Hiller has a longer track record of proven performance and some playoff success, so I would certainly think Rinne will cost a bit less than this.

Maple Leafs shake up entire organization with two massive trades… | Section 303
Jeremy offers his thoughts on how yesterday's two trades will impact the playoff picture.

Twitter / Elliotte Friedman: Got a text overnight sayin ...
There was to be a 3rd trade yesterday, with Calgary sending Olli Jokinen to the Rangers, but Elliotte Friedman reports that it fell apart. What will we do with all the "Joker headed to Gotham" headlines now?

Is Anze Kopitar An Elite Player? - View From My Seats
Remember all the buzz early this year when L.A.'s Slovenian sensation led the league in scoring? Well, he's cooled off since then, and Matt Reitz wonders how much further upside he has at age 22.

From Soldiers' Funerals to Hockey Games, Lunatic Cult Thinks Everything Is Evil - SB Nation
This pack of idiots drives me nuts - I remember them jumping into the front of the 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis a few years ago, piggybacking on a great event to spread their vile, hate-filled message.

Photo Expedition: Experiencing Hockey Day in Canada - Puck Daddy
Ian Denomme shares a look at the big festivities from Stratford, Ontario.

Kovalchuk obstacles; more rentals at Igloo - NYPOST.com
Finally, somebody else (Larry Brooks) points out that by enacting the 5% salary cap escalator last summer, the NHLPA is partly to blame for the high level of escrow being taken from player paychecks this season.

The NHL's top defensive forwards - The Globe and Mail
James Mirtle offers up a list of candidates for the Selke Trophy, defying the conventional wisdom on the subject.