It has been three weeks since the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline, and there are three weeks left in the 2011-12 regular season. Which teams are reaping the benefits from the moves they made, and which teams are still waiting for their bold strokes to show results?
A couple of trends to note at this point are teams that made their moves early (before deadline day) have collectively had more success than those who waited (though Chicago and Buffalo are exceptions), and adding a veteran defenseman or two has helped a few teams in a big way. Here is a breakdown of teams that made moves before the deadline, with their record since the transaction in parenthesis:
COLORADO AVALANCHE (10-3-1): The Avalanche made a pair of curious moves, sending solid defenseman Kyle Quincey to Tampa Bay for Steve Downie on Feb. 21 and then moving depth forwards T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik to San Jose for Jamie McGinn and a few prospects. Both deals looked like moves made more for the future, and when Downie came on board the Avalanche were in 11th place -- four points below the No. 8 spot.
Well, the team has been rolling since Downie injected some energy and feistiness, and adding McGinn six days later was more of the same. Downie has two goals and 11 points in 13 games, while McGinn has seven goals and 10 points in 10 games. Galiardi and Winnik had combined for 13 goals in 118 games played this season. The Avalanche are going to need to keep winning. The Avs are in eighth place but San Jose is one point back -- and the Sharks have three games in hand.
It is no coincidence that Ilya Bryzgalov is playing like a $51-million goaltender since the moves were made -- he's allowed 12 goals in 10 games since the deadline and has four shutouts. The Flyers have also moved to within three points of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (9-3-2): No team was more active than the Predators, and GM David Poile made it clear that he was trying to prove to franchise defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber that the ownership group was committed to contending for the Stanley Cup. Poile added veteran defenseman Hal Gill early, then scooped up forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad on deadline day.
Gill is playing more than 18 minutes a night for Nashville. Kostitsyn has three goals and six points in nine games. Gaustad has missed a couple of games because of injury, but has three assists in six contests. Nashville is deeper and tougher than it was a month ago, and looks like a legitimate contender to come out of the Western Conference.
And that's not even taking into account a certain dynamic Russian forward who might still be joining the team at some point.
LOS ANGELES KINGS (8-3-0): The Kings couldn't score, plain and simple, so GM Dean Lombardi added Jeff Carter from Columbus to help inject some life into the offense. Carter has five goals and eight points in 11 games, which is right about what should be expected from him based on his days in Philadelphia.
His addition to a line with Mike Richards has also helped the team's top unit with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown not facing the other team's shutdown pairing on every shift. The results are there -- Los Angeles has scored 37 goals in Carter's 11 games. That's 3.36 per game, which is a vast improvement on the 2.05 per contest the Kings were averaging before Carter arrived.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (7-1-1): Others teams that added on deadline day have not seen the same return, at least in terms of team success, that the Blackhawks have. GM Stan Bowman spent weeks searching for help on defense, and he found it just before the deadline in Johnny Oduya from Winnipeg.
Oduya has a goal and four points in nine games for the Blackhawks. He's also playing more than 23 minutes a game, and the Hawks are allowing 2.44 goals per contest since he arrived. That they're doing this without captain Jonathan Toews, out with an upper-body injury, is even more impressive.
FLORIDA PANTHERS (8-3-1): The Panthers made a pair of under-the-radar moves, snagging Wojtek Wolski from the Rangers and Jerred Smithson from the Predators for third- and sixth-round picks. Florida was banged up and needed some veteran depth, and the moves have worked.
Wolski wasn't going to get a chance with the Rangers, but he's got three goals and eight points in 12 games for the Panthers, while Smithson has one point in 11 contests. The Panthers have extended their lead in the Southeast Division despite not having Kris Versteeg for most of the past three weeks.
BUFFALO SABRES (6-2-2): Here's an interesting conundrum -- the Sabres have played better since trading Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani to Vancouver for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer, but the jewel of those deals for Buffalo -- Hodgson -- has no goals and no points in 10 games since arriving. The Sabres have closed the gap on eighth place in the East from six points to just two, but they're still waiting for some production from a guy that could be one of their top two centers for years to come.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (6-5-1): The Devils added Marek Zidlicky from Minnesota, and he has a goal and five points in 12 games while playing a little more than 21 minutes a night. New Jersey has been OK as a team since the trade, but the problem for the Devils is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have been much better than OK. That said, the Devils might be happy to finish with the No. 6 seed and face either Florida, Washington or Winnipeg in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs instead of finishing fourth or fifth and seeing one of the two Pennsylvania teams.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (5-8-3): The Sharks bolstered their forward depth, adding Dominic Moore on Feb. 16 and then making the deal with the Avalanche for Galiardi and Winnik on deadline day. That trio of additions has combined for no goals and four assists in 30 total games played.
San Jose is 4-3-3 since the deal with Colorado. The Sharks' biggest addition was always going to be Martin Havlat returing from injury, and they are 2-0 since he came back. They may be in ninth place in the West on Monday, but they're actually sixth in points percentage and have games in hand on Dallas, Phoenix and Colorado. And, a win monday night, could put them in the division lead and the No. 3 spot in the West.
Vermette has played with either Shane Doan or Ray Whitney (or both) for the vast majority of his ice time at even strength with the Coyotes, who face a battle to hold onto one of the final playoff spots in the West -- though one hot streak could land them the Pacific Division title.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (5-6-0): Sure, the Blue Jackets were in full-sell mode in February, and they unloaded several players. They also brought back one guy who figures to be a key part of their future success or failure in defenseman Jack Johnson from Los Angeles.
Johnson has three goals and six points in 11 games for the Blue Jackets, and he's up to more than 26 minutes a night of ice time after being in the 22-23 range for the past few seasons in Los Angeles
When Anderson got hurt, the Senators were in seventh place in the East and two points back of Boston. Anderson is close to returning, and Ottawa sits in seventh place Monday, just one point back of Boston -- and six clear of eighth. Bishop has been solid, going 3-1-2 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.10 goals-against average.
Murray kept his team afloat without the guy some pundits would say is Ottawa's most important player, and he also made the position one of considerable strength for the future with two enticing assets in Lehner and Bishop. That's some good work.
DETROIT RED WINGS (3-6-2): This may just be a case of bad timing for defenseman Kyle Quincey, who arrived in Detroit just as an NHL-record home-winning streak was coming to an end and just before the Red Wings were about to be hit really hard by injury. Quincey has a goal and an assist for the Wings, and this record is much more of a reflection of missing guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen than anything Quincey has or hasn't accomplished.
That said, rookie defenseman Brendan Smith has impressed in the nine games he's played since the NHL Trade Deadline, so Quincey might not be guaranteed a spot in the lineup once Detroit's blueline corps is healthy, and GM Ken Holland gave up a first-round pick to get him.
BOSTON BRUINS (4-7-0): The Bruins added Brian Rolston, Gren Zanon and Mike Mottau as depth guys on deadline day. Rolston has a goal and four points in 11 games, while Zanon and Mottau have combined to play 10 games. Zanon will probably be the key guy of the three moving forward if the Bruins can get Rich Peverley back for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (3-4-1): The Canucks added a veteran center with Cup-winning experience in Sammy Pahlsson, and then made the big deal with the Sabres for Kassian and Gragnani. Pahlsson and Kassian each have one goal and one assist in the eight games, while Gragnani -- an offensive-minded defenseman -- has no points in six contests.
Pahlsson and Kassian will make the Canucks tougher in the postseason, but if they have problems scoring at any point critics are going to point out they could use Hodgson considering the season he was having before the deal.