One of the fascinating chemistry test/poker table aspects of the race in the Western Conference is juxtaposing what team's did or didn't do at this year's trade deadline with how they've done since. (Approx. 10 games)
Two teams, the Stars and the Blues, stood pat. (Texas Hold 'Em in a paddle-wheeler on the Mississippi) They are currently the Pacific and the Central/W. Conf. leaders respectively. Well played indeed.
The rest did 'something' and here it is:
The Canucks swapped with the Sabres and landed a coveted, rugged young power forward that has huge upside, Zack Kassian. They also acquired defensive center Sami Pahlsson to 'Keep it Swedish'. Prior to and since, the Canucks have played with their food as they are all but lead-pipe locked into the 2-hole.
Last 10: 4-4-2
The Preds were maybe the league's most active team. They added Hal Gill on defense, Paul Gaustad at center, then reunited the Flying Kostitsyn Brothers and any minute now a Russian named Radulov is going to stumble back into the fold like Bobby in the shower on 'Dallas'. Message: Going For It
Last 10: 6-3-1
They acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey. They also have someone named Nik Lidstrom on defense, just in case the Quincey deal doesn't work out. Nik has been out with a foot malady...look at their last 10 without him...apparently he's quite good.
Last 10: 3-6-1
The Hawks badly needed a center so they trolled the waters and came up with defenseman Jonny Oduya. What they really need is a healthy captain Jonathan Toews at center.
Last 10: 7-2-1 (tied with Dallas and St Louis as hottest teams in West)
I've always liked Antoine Vermette and the Yotes were able to salvage him from the rotting pile in Columbus. They were unbeaten in February prior to the trade but are middling at best since.
Last 10: 3-5-2
Jamie McGinn is turning out to be maybe the most impactful addition to any roster in the West. He's potted 7 goals in 10 games since the trade from San Jose and that's helped the Avs cling to the final spot despite being the youngest and most financially economical team in the league.
Last 10: 6-3-1
San Jose (9)
As always, the Sharks continue to tinker with their personnel in an effort to find that which they are looking for. They brought in a trio of players (Winnik, Moore, Galiardi) to hopefully shore-up the league's worst penalty killing and seem to slowly be lifting their nostrils out of the water after a lengthy struggle to tread water.
Last 10: 4-3-3
Los Angeles (10)
The Kings, tired of losing 1-0 and 2-1, 'pried' Jeff Carter from the willing hands of the Bluejackets in hopes of improving their ability to score one goal per period instead of per game. (Carter has scored 5 times in 11 games) It's helped.
Last 10: 7-3-0
Yes they swapped jersey-filler Rene Bourque for former Flame Mike Cammalleri (6 goals in 21gp) but it's two mainstays who were retained that have them still in the mix (Iginla and Kiprusoff)
Last 10: 6-2-2
Bottom line, some of the best trades a GM makes are the ones he doesn't. Unless of course we are talking the ones that were made and did work. Razor calls this, 'selective affirmation'. It is a glorious tool. As am I.