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Western Conference team-by-team moves

by Corey Masisak

The first two days of NHL free agency have come and gone, and nearly every team in the League has undergone changes -- some significant, others less so.

Here's a team-by-team look at what has transpired in the Western Conference and which key unrestricted free agents are still searching for a home for the 2013-14 season:


Say hello to: RW Jakob Silfverberg, RW Stefan Noesen, C Saku Koivu (re-signed), F Matt Beleskey (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: LW Bobby Ryan, D Nate Guenin

Still shopping: RW Radek Dvorak, D Jordan Hendry, C Matthew Lombardi, D Toni Lydman, RW Teemu Selanne, C David Steckel

Skinny: Trading Ryan obviously signals a significant shift for the organization. If Selanne returns for another year, the Ducks will still have three great offensive forwards (with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry), but how well Silfverberg can replace Ryan remains to be seen. There are other young forwards -- Emerson Etem in particular -- who could be ready for a top-six role. If Lydman doesn't return, Sami Vatanen or Hampus Lindholm locking down a regular spot on defense would help. If general manager Bob Murray looks to make another trade, there is goaltending depth with elite prospect and American World Junior hero John Gibson on the way. The Ducks also brought back one of their most versatile players when they re-signed forward Matt Beleskey to a two-year contract extension.


Say hello to: G Karri Ramo, C Sean Monahan, D Kris Russell, LW TJ Galiardi, RW Brian McGrattan (re-signed), D Chris Butler (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: G Miikka Kiprusoff, C Roman Cervenka, D Anton Babchuk

Still shopping: RW Akim Aliu, LW Steve Begin

Skinny: The Flames committed to rebuilding before the NHL Trade Deadline in April and haven't done a lot in the past few days. Ramo likely will get first crack at replacing Kiprusoff as the No. 1 goaltender. Monahan, the sixth pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, and prospect Sven Baertschi should have an opportunity to make the team in training camp. The Flames still need to sign some RFAs, including center Mikael Backlund and defenseman TJ Brodie. This club has needs at every position, but that's kind of the plan in rebuilding mode.


Say hello to: G Nikolai Khabibulin, LW Bryan Bickell (re-signed), C Michal Handzus (re-signed), D Michal Rozsival (re-signed), D Nick Leddy (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: G Ray Emery, LW Viktor Stalberg, C Dave Bolland, RW Michael Frolik, C Rostislav Olesz, D Steve Montador

Still shopping: G Henrik Karlsson, RW Jamal Mayers

Skinny: The champs kept Bickell, their most important pending UFA, but had to trade Bolland and Frolik to make it happen. Stalberg wasn't happy with his playing time during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and was not likely to return. RFA center Marcus Kruger needs a contract, but otherwise the Blackhawks will defend this title with a much-closer-to-intact roster than their previous defense in 2010-11. Forward prospects Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes will be the top contenders for the vacated roster spots, but all of the key pieces are back in the Windy City, and GM Stan Bowman could have a little wiggle room below the cap for an in-season addition or two. The champs will enter 2013-14 as the team to beat in the West.


Say hello to: C Nathan MacKinnon, D Nate Guenin, D Nick Holden, D Andre Benoit, RW JT Wyman

Say goodbye to: RW Milan Hejduk, D Greg Zanon

Still shopping: RW Chuck Kobasew

Skinny: MacKinnon joins a very nice collection of top-nine forwards, which includes Alex Tanguay after he arrived in a trade from Calgary a few days before the draft. The defense corps remains a serious issue, and those minor signings aren't the answer. Colorado has exciting prospects at the position -- Duncan Siemens, Tyson Barrie, Stefan Elliott -- and there are openings if any prove ready at camp, especially with Zanon bought out. Evaluating goalie Semyon Varlamov hasn't been easy because of injuries and the group in front of him. If the new regime doesn't make any more moves, this team could wind up in a lot of high-scoring games.


Say hello to: C Tyler Seguin, C Shawn Horcoff, C Rich Peverley, RW Valeri Nichushkin, G Dan Ellis

Say goodbye to: RW Loui Eriksson, D Joseph Morrow, RW Reilly Smith, D Philip Larsen, G Richard Bachman, LW Eric Nystrom

Still shopping: None

Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin
Center - DAL
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 32
SOG: 161 | +/-: 23

Skinny: There is a theme about those offseason additions (Hint: Look at the position in front of the first three names). New GM Jim Nill identified a major weakness -- depth at center -- and didn't mess around addressing it. He may have added the team's top three centers -- young Cody Eakin will have a chance to crack the top three -- in less than 24 hours in a pair of trades. Nichushkin figures to have a chance to stick with a team that still looks one top-six forward short. New coach Lindy Ruff certainly has a different roster than he did when he took the job. If Seguin becomes a superstar, Nill will look like a very smart man.


Say hello to: D Andrew Ference, C Boyd Gordon, D Philip Larsen, G Jason LaBarbera, RW Ryan Jones (re-signed), LW Jesse Joensuu, G Richard Bachman

Say goodbye to: C Shawn Horcoff, G Nikolai Khabibulin, G Yann Danis, C Eric Belanger

Still shopping: D Mark Fistric, LW Darcy Hordichuk, D Theo Peckham, LW Lennart Petrell, C Jerred Smithson, D Colten Teubert, D Ryan Whitney

Skinny: The Oilers offloaded a bad contract -- even if Horcoff was the captain -- and made themselves better at preventing goals. That has been a huge issue in Edmonton the past couple of seasons. Ference should fit nicely on the second pairing, and Gordon immediately becomes the team's top defensive forward and go-to faceoff man. The Oilers need to sign RFA forwards Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi, and they'd probably still be short a bottom-six player or two (Belanger was bought out). The defense corps now has a logjam, and that's before prospects Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marancin try to squeeze onto the roster. The refrain has been the same in Edmonton: Is this the year the kids help this franchise become a contender? A little bit of defense to go with all those scorers might finally make the answer, "Yes."


Say hello to: D Jeff Schultz, D Keaton Ellerby (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: D Rob Scuderi, RW Brad Richardson

Still shopping: LW Dustin Penner, RW Anthony Stewart

Skinny: For the second straight offseason, GM Dean Lombardi hasn't had a lot of work to do. He has to sign a few RFAs, including defensemen Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez (each received a qualifying offer). Muzzin's breakout season made it easier to let go of Scuderi. Penner could return, but the Kings added forward Matt Frattin in a trade for backup goalie Jonathan Bernier and have a few young forwards -- Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey, in particular -- who could push for roster spots. Tyler Toffoli is almost certain to land in the top six if Penner doesn't come back. The Kings were built to last when they won the Cup in 2012, and that entire core group has at least one more run together (a few more if captain Dustin Brown signs an extension). They are the team to beat in Division A and likely the top challenger to the Blackhawks in the West.


Say hello to: LW Matt Cooke, RW Nino Niederreiter, D Keith Ballard

Say goodbye to: RW Devin Setoguchi, C Matt Cullen, D Justin Falk, RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard, RW Cal Clutterbuck, D Tom Gilbert

Still shopping: None

Matt Cooke
Matt Cooke
Left Wing - MIN
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 21
SOG: 61 | +/-: -2

Skinny: Given the boatload of young players trying to find a place on the roster, jettisoning costly role players to make room for cheaper ones was inevitable. Credit to GM Chuck Fletcher for finding a buy-low opportunity with Niederreiter after "El Nino" had a turbulent two years with the New York Islanders organization. Cooke will replace Clutterbuck, who was traded for Niederreiter, and Ballard could find a place in the bottom half of the top six on defense, especially with Gilbert bought out. As it stands, the Wild can now be patient and let their prospects continue to claim places in the lineup or develop in the system. Don't be surprised if the Wild challenge the St. Louis Blues for second place in Division B behind the Blackhawks. There are too many talented players available for this team to regress; even if there are some sophomore slumps, there are other young players waiting for a chance.


Say hello to: D Seth Jones, LW Viktor Stalberg, C Matt Cullen, LW Eric Nystrom, LW Matt Hendricks, G Carter Hutton

Say goodbye to: RW Sergei Kostitsyn, D TJ Brennan

Still shopping: D Hal Gill, D Jonathon Blum, G Chris Mason, RW Brandon Yip

Skinny: The Predators were thrilled to land Jones with the fourth pick of the draft and spent the first day of free agency retooling their forward group. Stalberg and Cullen could get opportunities on the second line, and Hendricks will help in shootouts. Nashville is not going to be confused with some of the offensive juggernauts in the League, but a breakout season up front from Craig Smith or Colin Wilson and an impact rookie campaign from Filip Forsberg would make the Predators competent. The arrival of Jones and improvement by Ryan Ellis could make Nashville one of the top clubs at getting offense from the defense, at least. Ellis could be dangled to add more help at forward.


Say hello to: C Mike Ribeiro, G Mike Smith (re-signed), G Thomas Greiss, C Kyle Chipchura (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: C Boyd Gordon, G Jason LaBarbera, RW Chris Conner

Still shopping: RW Nick Johnson

Skinny: The Coyotes added a potential No. 1 center, Ribeiro, and he now carries the largest charge against the salary cap among the forwards. Phoenix is set at center with Ribeiro, Martin Hanzal and Antoine Vermette, but short on wings. One of the centers could move, but the Coyotes could use another one or two -- and that's even if prospects Chris Brown or 2013 first-round pick Max Domi make the roster. The defense corps looks set, and locking up Smith means the Coyotes are likely to be one of the better goal-prevention teams in the League again. Will they score enough to return to the postseason? That's the big question in the desert.


Say hello to: RW Tyler Kennedy, D Scott Hannan (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: LW TJ Galiardi

Still shopping: C Scott Gomez

Skinny: There are teams that were quiet this past week; then there is San Jose. The Sharks added a third-line forward at the draft and traded one away two days later. They brought back a depth defenseman on a one-year deal. The biggest news was the contract extension for center Logan Couture, but he wasn't eligible to be a free agent for another 12 months. The roster is pretty much set and there's basically no cap space unless GM Doug Wilson moves someone. San Jose looks like a strong bet to battle the Vancouver Canucks to line up behind the Kings in Division A.


Say hello to: C Derek Roy, C Maxim Lapierre, C Keith Aucoin, D Jordan Leopold (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: D Kris Russell, C Andy McDonald, RW Jamie Langenbrunner, C Scott Nichol

Still shopping: None

Maxim Lapierre
Maxim Lapierre
Center - STL
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 10
SOG: 54 | +/-: -6

Skinny: The Blues were mostly quiet on the first day of free agency but on Day Two landed one of the top centers on the market, Roy, and only had to give him a one-year contract. The biggest moves left for the Blues are signing a few key RFAs, particularly No. 1 defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, right wing Chris Stewart and goaltender Jake Allen. The emergence of Allen last season could mean one of the team's established goaltenders, Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott, ends up in a trade to give further help to the offense.


Say hello to: RW Brad Richardson, D Yannick Weber, C Mike Santorelli

Say goodbye to: C Max Lapierre, D Keith Ballard, G Cory Schneider

Still shopping: D Andrew Alberts, D Cam Barker, C Manny Malhotra, LW Mason Raymond

Skinny: The Canucks finally alleviated the logjam in goal, but not in the way everyone expected, trading Cory Schneider and keeping Roberto Luongo. They also didn't get any help for the present club, unless the ninth pick in the 2013 draft, Bo Horvat, makes the team in training camp. Vancouver is short on the wing, and it becomes a serious problem if David Booth and/or Chris Higgins don't find their previous form. GM Mike Gillis needs to sign RFA defenseman Christopher Tanev, but otherwise this is likely pretty close to the team new coach John Tortorella will take to camp unless there is another trade.


Say hello to: RW Devin Setoguchi, RW Michael Frolik, D Adam Pardy, D Grant Clitsome (re-signed), G Al Montoya (re-signed)

Say goodbye to: No one, at this point

Still shopping: C Nik Antropov, D Ron Hainsey, D Derek Meech, LW Antti Miettinen, C Kyle Wellwood

Skinny: The Jets have a lot of room below the salary cap, but their roster is nowhere near set. There are as many as eight RFAs who need a contract, though forward Alexander Burmistrov reportedly is considering a return home to Russia. If all of the other RFAs are locked up, how much this team can improve depends a lot on top prospects Mark Scheifele (forward) and Jacob Trouba (defenseman) being able to make an impact. Setoguchi can help the offense, but the defense corps is unlikely to be a strength unless Trouba is ready for high-leverage minutes. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec is going to have to be a workhorse again.

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