The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and it's time to assess winners and losers in the Western Conference as all the attention moves towards the chase for the playoffs. David Poile acquired defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, and depth forward Dustin Boyd in exchange for what amounts to two draft picks and Ryan Jones. Time will tell if these moves pan out, but other teams' transactions are already easier to evaluate.
After the jump, the Coyotes improve drastically and Calgary continues their head scratching ways.
Lets take a look at how the teams around Nashville improved...
In: Wojtek Wolski, Lee Stempniak, Mathieu Schneider, and Derek Morris
Out: Peter Mueller, Kevin Porter, Sean Zimmerman, 2 4th round picks, Anders Eriksson
In the blink of an eye, the Coyotes suddenly became the most dangerous team not leading a division in the conference. They acquired more than enough scoring to account for Scottie Upshall's injury, and greatly improved their back end. There's not much not to like about these deals, especially considering that Phoenix needs the playoffs in the worst way.
In: Jeff Halpern, Fredrik Modin
Out: Teddy Purcell, 3rd round pick, future considerations
Dean Lombardi improved his team at the depth winger position by essentially swapping Modin for Purcell, and acquired career third liner Jeff Halpern to boost their depth and penalty kill. Nothing truly spectacular, but solid moves from a team that wants to make some noise in the postseason. Expect to see Modin and Halpern in action against Nashville tomorrow night.
In: Lubomir Visnovsky, Aaron Ward, Joey MacDonald, Curtis McElhinney, sixth round pick
Out: Ryan Whitney, Vesa Toskala, Justin Pogge, 4th, 6th, 7th round picks
The fact that Anaheim was able to dump Vesa Toskala is enough to make them winners, but acquiring an elite offensive defenseman from the Oilers in Visnovsky could prove crucial.
In: Steve Staois, Vesa Toskala, 4th round pick
Out: Dustin Boyd, Curtis McElhinney, Aaron Johnson, 3rd round pick
Matchsticks and Gasoline is uh, exploding at the moment as Daryl Sutter pulled a strange one on fans by acquiring the truly awful Toskala (or Tosaka-lol, as some fans prefer) and overrated and underpaid defenseman Staois from archrivals Edmonton. They also gave up Dustin Boyd to Nashville for a draft pick, one that also has fans up in arms. Commenters at M & G feel like Boyd wasn't given enough of a shot, and under the right circumstances actually has second line potential. That is certainly good news for the Predators.
In: Peter Mueller, Kevin Porter, Stephane Yelle, Harrison Reed
Out: Wojtek Wolski, prospect, sixth round pick
The giving up of one of their older, more productive wingers was a bit of a shocker. Wolski has quite the scoring touch and is nearly unstoppable in the shootout. Peter Mueller has potential, but was extremely disappointing as a Coyote.
Too soon to tell
In: Andrew Alberts, Yan Stastny, Sean Zimmerman
Out: Mathieu Schneider, prospect
Stastny is a good prospect but will likely remain in the minors, while Alberts provides depth after Willie Mitchell went down to injury.
In: 2nd round pick
Out: Eric Belanger
Belanger is a solid two-way center, and Minnesota apparently didn't deem him valuable enough to keep for a possible, though unrealistic, playoff run. Washington's pick won't be high, but you occasionally find players like Shea Weber in that part of the draft.
What really jumps out at me from today was what basically amounts to a retooling in Phoenix, yet without giving up anyone substantial. Dave Tippett already made lemonade, and with more weapons, the fourth place Coyotes look to be solidified in their home-ice advantage spot.
The Kings improved marginally, but may not have improved as much as the Predators. Modin is an injury hazard, and Halpern seems to be somewhat inconsistent.
Outside of Phoenix and LA, thankfully, I don't see anything that frightens me when it comes to Nashville's playoff chances. Hopefully Grebeshkov and Boyd are enough to push the Predators over the threshold and into second round territory.