The Eastern Conference: After the Dust has Settled

Now that all the trade deadline hoopla is over, lets take a look at how the Eastern Conference was altered. With the top five teams in the East starting to separate themselves from the pack, which team made the biggest move to help them raise Lord Stanley come this June.

With Boston, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh all making their moves prior to the trade deadline, Washington was left to make their move. In picking up veteran Jason Arnott and offensive defenceman Dennis Wideman, the Caps have filled in the holes in their line-up. But can these pick-ups compete with that of the B’s, Bolts, Pens and Flyers?

Philly picked up Kris Versteeg and defenceman Nick Boynton to add a little depth to their already stacked line-up. While Tampa Bay picked up stay-at-home defenceman Eric Brewer to help anchor their mediocre D-corps. The Pens went with the future in mind and picked up young stars James Neal and Matt Niskanen for the present Cup run and the future core. And the B’s went big as they brought in puck moving D-man Tomas Kaberle, and two-way centres Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

Obviously these five teams added significant pieces to their teams for their playoff runs. With Boston and Philadelphia the heavy favourites to come out of the East, I think Boston has improved the most with their moves. In adding Tomas Kaberle, their 16th ranked powerplay just got a whole lot better. And by adding the defensively responsible Chris Kelly, the Bruins will be able to lower their already league leading goals against average. And with the long-term injury to centre Marc Savard, Rich Peverley can come in and provide added offense down the middle.

Boston not only addressed their needs in their line-up, they improved their team with their pick-ups. And with their recent winning streak where they swept their six game road trip, Boston seems to have found chemstry with their new additions. Going into the playoffs, whoever draws Boston in that first round will have one heck of a battle.

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