NHL Trade Deadline Movers and Shakers

It's been another eventful trade deadline for the NHL. Over the past two weeks or so, plenty of big names have changed teams. What's the fallout? Let's take a look.

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The first of the big names went with Peter Forsberg's move to Nashville. Nashville is already deep with forwards, thanks to the emergence of David Legwand, Scott Hartnell, and Martin Erat. Nashville now boasts Forbserg, Jason Arnott, and Legwand up the middle, along with the likes of Paul Kariya, Steve Sullivan, and J.P. Dumont on the wings.

Similarly, San Jose boosted their forwards by adding veteran Bill Guerin. Guerin will most likely see time with old Bruin teammate Joe Thornton, but San Jose's top nine forwards allow Ron Wilson a veritable mix-n-match selection of what can work. Veteran Craig Rivet helps stabilize a talented but inexperienced defense.

In Dallas, defense was already the team's strong suit. They added a little bit of scoring with Ladislav Nagy, but it's still uncertain how Nagy will adjust to Dallas' defensive system. However, getting Mattias Norstrom to add to a group of Sergei Zubov, Darryl Sydor, and Phillipe Boucher gives Dallas, on average, the strongest top four in the west (though Anaheim's top two are obviously better).

The Atlanta Thrashers had been free-falling for several weeks, but GM Don Waddell believes they've righted the ship. Adding power forward Keith Tkachuk brings some secondary scoring to a very top-heavy forward group, while Alexei Zhitnik makes the defense a lot more veteran savvy in Blueland.

The Penguins had plenty of talent, but they lacked discipline and size. Enter in veterans Gary Roberts and Georges Laraque. Roberts will tag-team with veteran Mark Recchi as the team's elder statesman and calming voice, while Laraque will put fear into the skates of anyone who looks at Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin cross-eyed.

Tweaking Things

Buffalo's been decimated by injuries. While the acquisition of Danius Zubrus offers depth in the form of a second-line forward, it doesn't do anything to bring back Chris Drury, Maxim Afinogenov, or Tim Connolly back faster. When Buffalo is healthy, their forward depth competes only with San Jose and Nashville, making Zubrus just another cog in the Sabres machine. Ottawa was in the running for Gary Roberts, but they were outbid by Pittsburgh; instead, the Sens got shifty, but inconsistent Oleg Saprykin to get some additional secondary scoring.

Toronto made a last-ditch gasp for the playoffs by giving up young Brenden Bell for veteran Yanic Perrault. Calgary, already strong on the blueline with the addition of Brad Stuart, grabbed David Hale from New Jersey, who finally freed up some cap space to allow Richard Matvichuk into the lineup.

Standing Pat

The Anaheim Ducks inquired about a number of players — Todd Bertuzzi, Bill Guerin, and Ryan Smyth — but found themselves outbid in all cases. They added Brian Burke's favorite tough guy in Brad May, but essentially stood around passively while their Western Conference rivals bulked up. Anaheim's defense is still probably the best in the league, but it remains to be seen whether Nashville, San Jose, and Detroit have added too much firepower.


St. Louis sold off what assets they had left and got a bevy of draft picks in the deals for Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin. Phoenix sold off some assets, but found no takers for Jeremy Roenick and Owen Nolan. Chicago got a great young forward in Jason Williams, who should get plenty of ice time and bring some support for Martin Havlat. Todd Bertuzzi's Panthers career ended at just seven games, and the centerpiece of the Roberto Luongo deal will remain just a footnote in Panther history.


Ken Holland is a smart, but risky man. He knows that Kyle Calder played some solid seasons in Chicago even though this year's turn in Philadelphia has been miserable. He knows that Todd Bertuzzi was once the most dominant power forward in the league. He knows that his team was pushed around in the last playoffs. The result is a roll of the dice — if Bertuzzi remains healthy and finds his groove and if Calder returns to the gritty form he showed with the Blackhawks several seasons ago, the Wings will be poised for a healthy playoff run.

The Islanders gave up a lot for Ryan Smyth, but word out of Long Island is that owner Charles Wang is itching to sign Smyth long-term. If, however, Smyth fails to propel the Islanders into the playoffs and leaves as a free agent, GM Garth Snow will look like a fool for giving up so much just to help out his on-the-bubble team.

What Does This All Mean?

In the West, the big guns got bigger. In the East, where more competitive scrambles for playoff positions are the name of the game, the wealth was shared, meaning that everyone still hopes to make the playoffs and have a magical run. In the end, though, when it comes to pure depth, the West is a beast with San Jose, Anaheim, and Nashville.

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