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Paul Gaustad and 7 Players Who Will Spark on New Teams

Joe RussomannoCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2012

Paul Gaustad and 7 Players Who Will Spark on New Teams

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    The NHL trade deadline is finally over. That means at least two months before the crazy, nonsensical, high school cafeteria generated rumors start again. Now we can once again deal in reality for a change.

    That reality is where the real trades sent players. Certain players will make an impact on their new-found teams. They may not be super-stars but some will add a dynamic to their new homes that was previously missing.

    Teams in need of scoring punch got that too. However, quite shockingly no big goalie trades were made i.e.—no Khabibulin or Nabokov trades.

    Due to the re-shuffling of the deck for certain teams, the NHL's playoff picture will be reshaped.

    Allow me to present the seven players who will enact said reshaping.

Samuel Pahlsson

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    Samuel Pahlsson, is a checking forward that gives the Canucks more depth on their third and fourth lines.

    He's not a big goal scorer but gives the Canucks some of what they are missing from departed Raffi Torres with his hitting ability.

    Also, Pahlson is a reliable faceoff man, winning 51.1 percent of the draws he's been asked to take.

    This is a player that should give a team like Vancouver a sort of low-gear burst they need to get ahead in the Stanley Cup race.

Johnny Oduya

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    Johnny Oduya isn't quite an elite defenseman, yet he gives the Chicago Blackhawks some much-needed depth on the blue line.

    He won't register much on the scoring sheet or give them a bump in the hit department, but he will eat up minutes and move the puck well.

Andrei Kostitsyn

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    Andrei Kostitsyn will give the Nashville Predators the scoring depth they need heading into the playoffs.

    Being reunited with brother Sergei may also enhance his scoring touch. Kostitsyn is a natural 20-goal scorer and that shouldn't change in Nashville.

Hal Gill

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    Hal Gill bolsters an already juggernaut of a blue line. By the title you can tell I'm not done with Nashville.

    The Predators are quickly becoming not only a legitimate contender but a Stanley cup favorite.

    Gill is known for his postseason shutdown performances against the likes of Sidney Crosby. If opposing teams can get their top lines away from Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, there is still Hal Gill to deal with.

Nicklas Grossman

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    Nick Grossman is a quick fix to a maligned Philadelphia defense corps plagued by the absence of team captain Chris Pronger.

    Unable to acquire a Chris Pronger type player, Paul Holmgren did the next best thing—he replaced him by committee.

    Grossman gives the Flyers another much needed stay-at-home-type defenseman they didn't quite have with rookie defensemen Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson.

Pavel Kubina

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    Pavel Kubina was stage two in the Pronger-less repair plan for the Flyers.

    He isn't much of a skater but he has a blistering shot from the point, something the Flyers still lacked even with the addition of Grossman.

    Kubina isn't quite the leader Pronger was but he does have Stanley Cup-winning experience. Something none of the other Philly defensemen have.

Jeff Carter

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    Maybe if LA was the original destination for Carter last summer, a rescue mission would not have been necessary to get Carter out of hiding.

    Now that he's reunited with Mike Richards perhaps that frown really will be turned upside-down.

    Carter still is a potent scoring threat with 15 goals in 39 games, impressive considering he was on the league's worst team all season.

    Despite his perceived shortcomings, Carter will add a boost to the struggling Kings offense and push them into playoff contention.

Paul Gaustad

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    Most likely the crown jewel of the trade deadline, Paul Gaustad may have been the final piece to putting Nashville over the top.

    The Predators overpaid for Gaustad by sending a first-round pick, but does it matter if they win it all this year?

    Imagine how great a story that would be.

    No, he won't blow up the goal lamp for Nashville, however, Gaustad is a faceoff, penalty-killing-machine that now—in addition to an impregnable defense—makes Nashville a virtual wall.

    Not only are they impervious defensively, but now you have guys like Gaustad, Gill and Weber, all over 6'4'' inches tall and are physical powerhouses.

    In fact, Nashville only has five players under six feet tall. Even their goalie, Pekka Rinne, is 6' 5''!

    So once you get a shot past the behemoths blocking you, there is still a Vezina-caliber Goliath awaiting your attempt.

    Such a physical team will wear down opponents over the course of a seven-game series.

    Gaustad is the final piece to that puzzle and will spark Nashville to great things this spring!

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