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Market forces and farces

Assessing the impact of the month's trade activity

Posted: Wednesday February 28, 2007 4:04PM; Updated: Wednesday February 28, 2007 5:28PM
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The dust is settling and a picture is emerging after a month of trade activity. Here's the breakdown on which teams strengthened themselves for the stretch run, playoffs or rebuilding, and which teams got taken to the cleaners. All 30 teams are not represented. Some, such as the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets, didn't do enough to merit comment, especially when measured against some of the impact trades.

WINNERS

San Jose Sharks
The Cavalry So Long
RW Bill Guerin
D Craig Rivet
D Josh Gorges
Analysis
The Sharks identified their needs as a nasty veteran defender to stabilize their young, skilled blueline and a gritty goal-scoring winger to upgrade their top six. In adding the very salty duo of Guerin and Rivet, no team did a better job of plugging their holes.
Final Tally
A playoff spot's a foregone conclusion. The Sharks are officially in the hunt for the Cup.
Detroit Red Wings
The Cavalry So Long
RW Todd Bertuzzi
LW Kyle Calder
C Jason Williams
Analysis
Early on, coach Mike Babcock said that he wanted these Wings to be tougher to play against. He finally has the soldiers to make that happen. The additions of Bertuzzi and Calder directly addressed the team's pressing need for grit and scoring on the wings. Williams was a valuable player, but they have others cut from the same cloth. He won't be missed.
Final Tally
The Wings' success has been a major surprise. These deals reward the room for their efforts, and allow them to keep pace with their rivals.
Pittsburgh Penguins
The Cavalry So Long
LW Gary Roberts
LW Georges Laraque
D Joel Kwiatkowski
G Nolan Schaefer
D Noah Welch
Analysis
They've had the impact players all season. Tuesday was about adding the warriors. Roberts not only toughens up the top six, he brings the valuable playoff experience that the young core lacks. Laraque won't play as many minutes down the stretch as Roberts, but his presence alone should buy extra room for Crosby and Malkin to work their magic.
Final Tally
The Pens are well ahead of schedule, and these moves should convey to the room that they're legitimate contenders for the Atlantic title.
Dallas Stars
The Cavalry So Long
D Mattias Norstrom
LW Ladislav Nagy
D Jaroslav Modry
LW Mathias Tjarnqvist
Analysis
Instead of addressing their pop-gun offense, the Stars played to their strengths by adding a top-pairing defender in Norstrom. The playmaking Nagy seems like a square peg, but he has the talent to make his mark down the stretch if he can develop chemistry with someone -- Mike Ribeiro, perhaps?
Final Tally
Interesting strategy. Instead of adding to his scoring, GM Doug Armstrong bought his beleaguered offense a little more breathing room. It just might work.
Nashville Predators
The Cavalry So Long
C Peter Forsberg
LW Scott Upshall
Analysis
The Preds stood pat at the deadline, but their big play of Feb. 15 set the bar for other Western clubs to match. Despite a series of bold moves, no other team truly did.
Final Tally
Forsberg was the premier talent to trade hands this month. If they simply play to their potential, the Preds should enter the playoffs as the top seed in the West.
New York Islanders
The Cavalry So Long
LW Ryan Smyth
D Marc-Andre Bergeron
RW Richard Zednik
LW Robert Nilsson
Analysis
The arrival of Smyth will have a profound impact on the lethargic power play, but more so on the team's spirit. Bergeron can be an adventure in his own zone, but he'll add another element to the offense with his playmaking ability.
Final Tally
No team in the East improved their immediate fortunes more than the Isles. They can start printing those playoff ducats today.
Calgary Flames
The Cavalry So Long
D Brad Stuart
C Wayne Primeau
D David Hale
D Andrew Ference
W Chuck Kobasew
Analysis
Outside of a move to bring in blueline depth (Hale), the Flames were quiet on Tuesday, resting on the laurels of their Stuart blockbuster of Feb. 11. That deal cost them two regulars but upgraded the top end of the blueline and added size and grit down the middle.
Final Tally
The Flames might have more talent than in their Cup Finals season of 2003-04, but it will be a battle to the wire for the top spot in the Northwest.
St. Louis Blues
The Cavalry So Long
C Glen Metropolit
LW Ville Nieminen
C Brad Boyes
C Keith Tkachuk
W Bill Guerin
D Dennis Wideman
Analysis
The immediate returns don't add up to much, but it's the parcel of picks and prospects that they received for the departing veterans -- combined with the signings of Eric Brewer and G Manny Legace -- that made this week a milestone in the team's rebuilding efforts.
Final Tally
The wins won't come as often as they did in the days leading up to the deadline, but tomorrow looks considerably brighter -- and closer -- in St. Louis.
Philadelphia Flyers
The Cavalry So Long
G Martin Biron
D Braydon Coburn
W Scott Upshall
D Lasse Kukkonen
C Peter Forsberg
D Alexei Zhitnik
LW Kyle Calder
Analysis
The 2006-07 edition of the Flyers failed primarily because they were old and slow, the antithesis of the model for success in the New NHL. After working four deals prior to the deadline, gaining several talented young players and picks in exchange for his declining assets, GM Paul Holmgren has the franchise back on track.
Final Tally
The Flyers are destined for the maximum number of balls in the draft lottery but don't be surprised to see them finish the season as one of the league's hottest teams.
Los Angeles Kings
The Cavalry So Long
D Jaroslav Modry
D Jamie Heward
C Jamie Lundmark
C Craig Conroy
D Mattias Norstrom
LW Konstantin Pushkarev
C Sean Avery
C Eric Belanger
LW Jason Ward
Analysis
Now that's a housecleaning. The Kings that will finish out the season are shy on experience, but GM Dean Lombardi heads into the summer with a sack full of picks to kickstart the next phase of his rebuilding effort.
Final Tally
As with the Blues, the Kings will assume some short-term pain for long-term gain.
Atlanta Thrashers
The Cavalry So Long
C Keith Tkachuk
C Eric Belanger
D Alexei Zhitnik
C Jason Krog
LW Pascal Dupuis
D Braydon Coburn
C Glen Metropolit
C Denis Hamel
C Niko Kapanen
RW Alex Bourret
Analysis
The Thrashers are one of just two franchises never to make the playoffs, and with jobs on the line, they couldn't afford to let that streak continue. Tkachuk and Zhitnik address two key needs: a first-line center and a blueliner with a mean streak.
Final Tally
The Thrashers are a better team on paper than they were a month ago, but their hopes still rest on Kari Lehtonen's ability to stop the puck. If he fails to do that often enough, there'll be wholesale changes behind the bench and in the front office.
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