On the heels of my Eastern Conference Recap, here is my view of what happened in the Western Conference.
IN – Michal Handzus
OUT – none
OVERALL – The Hawks didn’t do much, because they didn’t have to. Bringing in a solid depth forward was enough, as long as they are happy with their goaltending duo going into the playoffs.
OUT – Brandon MacMillan, Jeff Deslauriers
OVERALL – The surprising Ducks added a couple of depth forwards in Steckel and Lombardi while not losing any key players from their roster.
OVERALL – The Wild gained a very solid top 6 forward in Pominville, which will help them down the stretch. Hackett and Larsson are very solid prospects and they also gave up a 1st and 2nd to get him, which might hurt them down the road.
WINNER/LOSER: Winner now, loser long term
IN – Derek Roy
OUT – none
OVERALL – While they couldn’t get a deal done for Roberto Luongo, they did bring in the centre that they needed. The longer they go without dealing Luongo, the less they are going to get, but in the short term he seems to have the right attitude to not become a disruption, and is the best 1-2 combo in the league.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
OVERALL – Clowe didn’t provide many goals this season, but was still a very solid player. Handzus was good, especially in the shootout lately, and Murray was replaced by former Shark Hannan coming back to the team. Torres adds some grit, but his new-found personality makes him a less effective player.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
IN – Robyn Regehr
OUT – Davis Drewiske
OVERALL – Regehr is an aging player, but his ability to play physical makes up for the loss of Willie Mitchell, who is done for the season. He is a solid pickup for this year. The defending Champions are still finding their way, but are showing signs of coming around.
DETROIT RED WINGS
IN – Danny DeKeyser
OUT – none
OVERALL – The Wings are still trying to overcome the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom. Easier said than done, however winning the bidding war for DeKeyser will help in the long run, but will not likely do much for the now. They are still hovering around the edge of the playoffs, with the risk of falling out for the first time since 1990.
OVERALL: The Oilers addressed 2 needs – toughness and faceoffs – with their acquisitions over the past month. Brown has been good in his role and the Oilers are peaking at the right time and, as Taylor Hall put it, “chasing goalies”. They didn’t address the need for defensive depth, but a resurgence from Ryan Whitney is coming at the right time.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
OUT: Wade Redden, Matt D’Agostini
OVERALL: The Blues now have one of the top bluelines from 1-6 in the NHL. However their goaltending questions were not addressed and with Jaroslav Halak out for a couple of weeks the defense will have to stand strong defensively to carry the Blues to the post-season.
IN: prospect Filip Forsberg
OVERALL: The Predators dealt one of their leading scorers in Erat, without adding a roster player for the present. Forsberg will be a great addition, but could be a year or two away.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
OVERALL: Gaborik is the key to the Blue Jackets playoff hope. If he can revert to the dynamic player he was, instead of the inconsistent player he has been this year, then the Jackets got a steal. If not, they gave up a big chunk of their future for pretty much nothing.
WINNER/LOSER: TBD pending Gaborik’s performance
IN: Brandan McMillan
OVERALL: The Coyotes dumped a couple of aging veterans who under-acheived in Phoenix this year.
WINNER/LOSER: Winner – addition by subtraction
IN: Joe Morrow, Lane MacDermid other prospects
OVERALL: The Stars shipped out veterans and didn’t get much in return that will help them any time soon. It will be a long rebuild in big D. For a team on the edge of the playoff race, they have pretty much thrown in the towel.
OVERALL: The Flames are also emabarking on a rebuild, and got less for their best players than the Stars did. Not being able to get anything for the retiring Miikka Kiprusoff didn’t help Jay Feaster’s cause.
OUT: Ryan O’Byrne
OVERALL: The Avalanche are looking ahead to next year, coming off a very disappointing season that had lots of drama. Just playing out the string.
So there wasn’t the number of impact players coming into the West like the East, but teams that are in the race