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Button: NHL landscape has changed after deadline

Friday, 03.06.2009 / 12:55 PM / 2009 Trade Deadline

By Craig Button - Special to NHL.com

Former Calgary Flames' GM Craig Button is an analyst for the NHL Network. On Trade Deadline day, he broke down every trade for NHL.com. Today, he looks at each NHL team to see what Wednesday's activities means going forward.

Wednesday, the clock struck midnight -- actually 3 p.m. ET -- for teams looking to add players, or in some instances, looking to trade players.

There were buyers and sellers in a frenzied marketplace, attempting to get a leg up on their competitors. And there was the excitement for the fans, believing their team might obtain that elusive player to move the dreams of a Stanley Cup celebration closer to reality. 

When the deadline came and rosters for the postseason were effectively frozen, some teams had made trades to better position themselves for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, others were looking to the future for their Stanley Cup dreams.

We take a closer look at the 30 NHL teams, now that the 'trade dust' has settled for this season.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Anaheim -- With a cast including J.S. Giguere, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and rookie-of-the-year candidate Bobby Ryan, the Ducks are a very formidable team. GM Bob Murray added two good defensemen in Ryan Whitney and James Wisniewski and has positioned Anaheim to challenge this season and into the future.

Calgary -- A very good team became better. Olli Jokinen provides a top-tier center that can play against the best in the West and defenseman Jordan Leopold solidifies a defense corps, which was already strong. Miikka Kiprusoff is on top of his game and the Flames are looking for the return of the Stanley Cup after 20 years.

Chicago -- The roar is alive and the Hawks have some young lions. Now the experience of the playoffs is the next step. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is a Stanley Cup winner and the addition of Sammy Pahlsson from the Ducks gives them another champion, as well as a premier checking center that is excellent on faceoffs.

Colorado -- The injury bug bit the Avalanche this season with the losses of Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny. It is difficult to overcome the loss of one of those players, let alone both of them. They did nothing other than move Leopold.

Columbus -- Forward Antoine Vermette, from Ottawa, adds speed and a two-way component. He is capable of adding offense and will be given every opportunity to do so. Columbus added what they wanted and what they needed, and the playoffs are in sight.

Dallas -- Despite so many injuries to key players and the distraction of Sean Avery, the Stars have remained in the playoff picture. Center Brendan Morrison, picked up on waivers from Anaheim, is a nice replacement for injured Brad Richards and forward Steve Begin, obtained from Montreal before the deadline, should help a penalty-killing group that has struggled this season.

Detroit -- The Red Wings are the standard bearer for excellence. Continually looking to improve their chances to win the Cup, they added Marian Hossa in free agency. But it may come down to goalie Chris Osgood finding the form which helped the Wings win in 2008.

Edmonton -- The Oilers found a natural center in Patrick O'Sullivan, from the Kings, to relieve some of the pressure on Shawn Horcoff and he may be the player who can complement Ales Hemsky and help the Oilers improve their scoring.  With the loss of defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, forward Ales Kotalik, from Buffalo, can help the power play with a good shot.

Los Angeles
-- Having a core of good, young players positions the Kings well for the future -- not only to be in the playoffs, but to be formidable for years to come. Justin Williams is a well-rounded player who can play in all situations. As the Kings' young players gain experience, opponents will become wary of this team.

Minnesota -- Goaltending and coaching are key ingredients for success in the NHL. Signing goalie Niklas Backstrom to a contract extension just before the deadline was important for the Wild and Jacques Lemaire's record speaks for itself. They will keep Minnesota competitive for years to come.

Nashville -- Steve Sullivan is healthy and finding his way on the ice. That's a great addition for the Predators. He is fast and dynamic and he plays with a fire and hunger that is contagious. Nashville has caught that fire and is serious about being in the playoffs once again.

Phoenix -- GM Don Maloney brought in Calgary's Matt Lombardi and Brandon Prust, as well as Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha from the Rangers in a series of moves. Adding the blend of skilled players, who are not only young but fast, to an already impressive young group of players strengthens its team. With the opportunity of having more selections in the Entry Draft, the future is bright for the Coyotes.

San Jose -- Never underestimate the importance of adding winning playoff experience to a group of players who have had some disappointments in playoffs past. Travis Moen and Kent Huskins certainly contribute on the ice and, combined with the additions of Dan Boyle and Rob Blake last summer, the Sharks are poised to end playoff disappointments.

St. Louis -- Challenging for the playoffs -- despite some significant player losses due to injury -- bodes well for the Blues. With excellent young players, the spirit is back in St. Louis and its appearance in the playoffs should soon become a regular occurrence.

Vancouver -- Turn back the calendar to the date Mats Sundin was added (Dec. 18, 2008) and it becomes a signature move for a team determined to play deeper into the playoffs. With a healthy Roberto Luongo in the net and the Sedin twins on top of their game, opposing teams will be looking to avoid a playoff matchup with the Canucks.

EASTERN CONFERENCE


Atlanta
-- Adding some draft selections and some young players for their potential free agents was the goal. Picking up Rich Peverley, earlier in the season from Nashville, has been a boon for Ilya Kovalchuk and obtaining Eric O'Dell from Anaheim at the deadline is a move which could pay good dividends in the future.

Boston
-- On a team with a lot of playoff inexperience, Mark Recchi, from Tampa Bay, is an excellent addition. He is versatile, competitive and can fit in any number of positions. He will fit in with a very formidable forward group and his experience should help this young group.

Buffalo -- Tim Connolly signed and, for Sabre fans, there should be a collective sigh of relief because he is a good player. Toronto's Dominic Moore gives them a good faceoff center and Buffalo has struggled in this area all season. Mikael Tellqvist, from Phoenix, gives the Sabres a reliable backup goaltender.

Carolina -- Who says you can't come home? Erik Cole is coming home, after a stopover in Edmonton, and will fit in on and off the ice as if he never left. He and Eric Staal complemented one another on the ice very well, which will enhance each of their games. Opponents won't be happy.

Florida -- Attempting to return to the playoffs, the Panthers made a significant move by not moving defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. He has matured as a player and brings so much to this Panther team. You may be able to replace him on the roster with players and prospects, but to replace his contributions is much more difficult.

Montreal
--The League-leading power play the past two seasons has struggled this season. They are a quick team and they are able to draw a lot of penalties. Taking advantage of the ensuing opportunities was a challenge; but Montreal is looking like the team of last season with the addition of Mathieu Schneider, obtained from Atlanta a few weeks before the deadline.

New Jersey --Add a well-rested Martin Brodeur and a very well-rounded player in Niclas Havelid, obtained from Atlanta, to a team with dynamic offensive players, strong checkers and a confidence from playing excellent hockey for the past 50 games and you are looking at a serious Stanley Cup contender.

New York Islanders -- It's about the future for the Islanders. There are some good young players in the system, but they need to mature and that takes time. There is no other path, so patience must be in high order.

New York Rangers -- Their goaltending is excellent, but they have struggled all season to score goals. Nik Antropov, from Totonto, is a big distracting presence for opposing goalies and can score around the net. Derek Morris, from Phoenix, can move the puck up the ice and the Rangers hope that Sean Avery, picked up on re-entry waivers, can be distracting to opponents.

Ottawa -- Adding goalie Pascal Leclaire from Columbus addresses an area the Senators have seemingly been trying to find a solution to for years. He is a very capable goalie and, when healthy, has shown to be the reliable, dependable goaltender that can help you win games.

Philadelphia – The Flyers are a formidable team and the biggest addition to their team could be a healthy Daniel Briere, although the playmaker went down with another injury Thursday night. He is a dangerous player and can help offensively and on faceoffs. He gives opponents real challenges because he adds balance to a very good group of forwards.

Pittsburgh -- Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are going to create a lot of opportunities for other Penguin players. They key is to have players who can finish those opportunities. Chris Kunitz, from Anaheim, is one such player and he is an excellent fit to play in most situations with both of those players. Bill Guerin, from the Islanders, adds experience. Having defenseman Sergei Gonchar healthy makes the Penguins formidable.

Tampa Bay -- They are focused on retooling a team with some youth, especially on defense. Adding Boston's Matt Lashoff is a move in that direction. They have excellent forwards, but they need the puck coming ahead to them and adding defensemen who can do it will be important.

Toronto -- Call it a reconstruction, a remodelling, or a rebuilding; but whatever it is, it's fully under way in Toronto. As the Leafs undertake this process, it is important to have as many draft selections as possible. They were without second-round draft selections in the coming drafts and were able to replenish them. It is a significant step for the Leafs.

Washington -- Perhaps having a healthy Brent Johnson return to the crease will be one benefit. This is a team blessed with enormous talent and should be better served because of their playoff experience of a year ago. Believing in the capabilities of the group may be all they need.


Quote of the Day

I kept refreshing the page on the NHL website after the second round and I was shocked he lasted that long. I'm sure the Coyotes were pretty happy to get him. He's such a good player and he plays big in big games.

— Arizona forward Henrik Samuelsson on prospect Edgars Kulda being drafted by the Coyotes