Wild Wild West: The Trade Deadline's Impact On the Western Conference

xx yySenior Writer IMarch 5, 2009

Just like the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference had it's fair share of movers and shakers on Trade Deadline day.

There were a few more teams that stayed silent in the hours leading up to the deadline in the Western Conference, but two teams made more than enough moves to make up for that.

1. San Jose Sharks—93 points

Players Added

F- Travis Moen, D-Kent Huskins (From Anaheim)

Players Subtracted

F- Nick Bonino, G-Timo Pielmeier, and a conditional pick (To Anaheim)

The San Jose Sharks are one of the most powerful teams in the league. With Evgeni Nabokov in the pipes backed up by Brian Boucher, there's no need for a goalie. With six different players with 15 goals or more, they have the goal scoring ability up front along with the playmakers (six forwards with more than 40 points).

Defensively the Sharks have been tight, and the boys on the back end have been unafraid to jump into the rush.

When the playoffs hit though, depth is the word of the season. In Travis Moen and Kent Huskins the Sharks got just that—hard-working role-players who've had their taste of success with the Anaheim Ducks.

Without messing up the chemistry already in the Shark Tank, San Jose did a great job of adding to an already lethal team.

2. Detroit Red Wings—92 points

Players Added


Players Subtracted


You could argue that Chris Osgood is a player added thanks to his recent break to rehabilitate himself and get his game back on track.

That being said, many wondered if the Wings were going to go after a goalie this deadline. Well, with the available cap space and the best goalie available at the deadline coming from a divisional opponent with playoff aspirations, and being injured, it just didn't make sense.

Plus, they're the defending champs. They've got their depth, they've got top-end defenders, and electrifying scorers. If they're happy with what they've got, I guess the general public should probably take their word.

3. Calgary Flames—82 points

Players Added

D-Jordan Leopold (From Colorado), F-Olli Jokinen, 3rd Round Pick (From Phoenix), 4th Round Pick (From Columbus)

Players Subtracted

D-Lawrence Nycholat, D-Ryan Wilson, 2009 2nd Round Pick (To Colorado), F-Matthew Lombardi, F-Brandon Prust, 2009 1st Round Pick (To Phoenix), G-Kevin Lalande (To Columbus)

Before the clock had struck 1:00 Wednesday afternoon many were crowning the Calgary Flames as winners of Trade Deadline day.

Grab Olli Jokinen with the opportunity of putting him between Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri? Then the prospect of putting former-Flame Jordan Leopold on the back end with Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr? Seems like a solid day to me.

Although many are putting them in the same category as the Sharks, Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks, the Flames may be only slightly below the other Western powerhouses, and it may be the boat-load of injuries that hurts a bit of their depth and holds them back—but imagine if someone like Rene Bourque or Daymond Langkow can hit their stride for the playoffs?

Aside from a backup goalie that can grab them a few wins down the stretch though, the Flames have improved leaps and bounds, and can at least play those three teams tight for sixty minutes.

4. Chicago Blackhawks—81 points

Players Added

F-Samuel Pahlsson (From Anaheim)

Players Subtracted

D-James Wisniewski, Undisclosed Pick (to Anaheim)

In talking to a variety of people and sources, the Chicago Blackhawks were targeting another forward who could contribute some consistent offense to an already dangerous team.

While Sami Pahlsson isn't exactly an offensive dynamo, he does bring something with him that someone like Dominic Moore couldn't: Playoff experience and a Stanley Cup ring.

The 'Hawks were able to deal from a position of strength on the backend which is always a good thing and they were able to get tougher: It may not be very measurable, but the 'Hawks definitely improved today, if ever so slightly.

5. Vancouver Canucks—74 points

Players Added


Players Subtracted


The Canucks were the second Western Conference playoff team to not do a thing at the Deadline aside from re-upping with Alex Burrows.

While the addition of Ossi Vaananen the other day brings the 'Nucks defensive depth, it would've been nice to see the Canucks target another consistent offensive forward.

Given that Mats Sundin was just summoned West though, and Roberto Luongo has recovered from his mid-season injury though, Vancouver is 8-2-0 in it's last ten and is looking just fine, so that extra forward may just have been a luxury.

If you want to get technical though, I guess you could call Captain Mats (well not a captain anymore) their big "deadline" addition.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets—70 points

Players Added

F-Antoine Vermette (From Ottawa), G-Kevin Lalande (From Ottawa)

Players Subtracted

G-Pascal Leclaire, 2009 2nd Round Pick (To Ottawa), 4th Round Pick (To Calgary)

With Columbus becoming buyers at the deadline for the first time in their history, I figured it would be a busy day for the Blue Jackets.

In hindsight though, I'm glad it wasn't.

When teams get wrapped up in making the playoffs, we see them mortgaging off a lot of their long-term assets, for a lot of short-term gains.

Seeing Columbus acquiring another forward with the ability to put up big points when dropped into a talent-laden roster for a fairly minimal price (a goalie who's barely played this year and a second rounder), screamed reserved genius.

Congrats to the Blue Jackets—I may not be a fan but I'm certainly proud of them.

7. Edmonton Oilers—68 points

Players Added

F-Patrick O'Sullivan (From Carolina), F-Alex Kotalik (From Buffalo)

Players Subtracted

F-Erik Cole (To Carolina), 2nd Round Pick (To Buffalo)

While the Erik Cole experiment turned out to be an eventual failure in Edmonton, it certainly yielded some positive results. Not only did the Oilers acquire a young centre with great vision and playmaking ability in O'Sullivan, but they also were able to add free-agent-to-be Ales Kotalik who'll offer the Oil some flexibility down the wings.

Although it may not be a blockbuster trade, it is a deal that may help the Oilers hold onto that playoff spot this season, while keep them competitive years from now.

And who knows, maybe they could try Rob Schremp on O'Sullivan's wing?

Yeah, probably not.

8. Nashville Predators—68 points

Players Added


Players Subtracted


Well on the busiest day of the year, the Music City was characteristically quiet.

Granted the Predators usually pull off a minor move or two at the deadline, but this year, not a thing. The Preds have been hot lately rattling off five straight wins, and Ville Koistinen (who had recently been complaining about his ice time but playing a little more lately) has seemed to quiet down after a strong game against Detroit.

While various Leafs were rumored to be heading to Catfish City, no one did, but it may be the dynamic return of former-Leaf Steve Sullivan to this lineup that may be the biggest boost the Preds could've gotten.

Six points in two games for Sullivan? Maybe the Preds have that scoring winger they needed for most of the year. He just needed to get healthy.

9. Anaheim Ducks—68 points

Players Added

F-Nick Bonino, G-Timo Pielmeier, Conditional Pick (From San Jose), D-James Wisniewski, Undisclosed Pick (From Chicago), F-Erik Christensen (From Atlanta), F-Petteri Nokelainen (From Boston)

Players Subtracted

F-Travis Moen, D-Kent Huskins (To San Jose), F-Sami Pahlsson (To Chicago), F-Eric O'Dell (To Atlanta), D-Steve Montador (To Boston), F-Brendan Morrison (To Dallas-Waivers)

While Anaheim held on to the biggest name out there, deciding against dealing Chris Pronger, they certainly kept themselves busy.

The Dallas Stars helped the Ducks alleviate some cap space by picking up Brendan Morrison on waivers, while Travis Moen, Kent Huskins, and Sami Pahlsson are all gone meaning that there are three fewer unrestricted free agents for the Ducks to deal with come Summer time.

Wait, Kent Huskins makes four.

Of course that's been Anaheim's biggest problem (the coincidental free agency of about two thirds of their roster) lately, but with those exoduses and the addition of RFA James Wisniewski, the Ducks did alleviate a little pressure off of their blueline.

Erik Christensen's RFA status also means that his destiny can be controlled by Anaheim for the next few season with Petteri Nokaleinen and Boston U. product Nick Bonion offering some youth up front

An interesting aspect of this trade though?

The acquisition of goalie Timo Pielmeier. Some are thinking that Jonas Hiller could go the route of other recent Anaheim backups Martin Gerber and Ilya Bryzgalov this offseason and get a shot somewhere in the NHL as a starter.

Might Pielmeier be the next backup in line for J.S. Giguere? Maybe when get gets a bit older anyhow.

10. Dallas Stars—67 points

Players Added

F-Brendan Morrison (Waivers-From Anaheim)

Players Subtracted


The Stars have been back and forth, up and down, and anywhere in between this season.

Thanks to some injury concerns though, the Stars had limited assets to deal, and there wasn't much they could do.

If the Stars are going to make a late-season playoff surge, then some extra depth down the middle is definitely a plus, but it's mainly a lateral move for a team that can't assess where they're at thanks to a whackload of injuries and under-performances this season.

11. Minnesota Wild—65 points

Players Added


Players Subtracted


To be honest, there's not much to say about Minnesota.

Good on them for signing Backstrom to an extension, but bad on them for limiting it to just that.

Marian Gaborik is broaching the comeback waters, so maybe they could've tried to get something for him if he's not going to resign in Minny. Maybe they try to get a little more offense, maybe they look to get a younger defenseman, but if you want to be in the playoff hunt, you have to do something.

Especially when you aren't in the playoffs to begin with.

12. St Louis Blues

Players Added

D-Dany Richmond (From Pittsburgh)

Players Subtracted

D-Andy Wozniewski (To Pittsburgh)

Wozniewski was simply taking up ice time in the minors, so to send him for Pittsburgh for the once highly-touted Richmond is a win-win in my mind. The Penguins wanted defensive depth and they got it, while the Blues got another young defenseman who may not have had a fair chance to flourish (Dennis Wideman anyone?).

The Blues had no necessary deals to make at the deadline, as Keith Tkachuk seems to like the idea of staying in Saint Lou so much more than leaving. The Blues have plenty of youth up front and in the minors, plenty of it on defense, and Marek Schwarz still developing in the minors.

Maybe Richmond just needs to be put in the right situation and in St Louis, that's it.

After all, fourth time might be the charm.

13. Los Angeles Kings—61 points

Players Added

F-Justin Williams (From Carolina)

Players Subtracted

F-Patrick O'Sullivan, 2nd Round Pick (To Carolina)

To me, the Kings made a curious move in trading away Patrick O'Sullivan.

A talented young kid who can score twenty goals a season and set up maybe 40 or 50 others traded for a guy who's been on the IR twice this season? That's a little strange.

What Williams has to his advantage though, is the fact that he is only 27, and history is on his side with two 30-goals seasons before he got into injury trouble last season.

If Williams finds his stride in L.A. then he'll be a dangerous winger. If not, well the Kings have plenty of young talent in the system that can challenge him if he needs it.

14. Phoenix Coyotes—59 points

Players Added

D-Dmitri Kalinin, F-Nigel Dawes, F-Pert Prucha (From New York Rangers), F-Scottie Upshall, 2nd Round Pick (From Phoenix Coyotes), F-Matthew Lombardi, F-Brandon Prust, 1st Round Pick (From Calgary Flames)

Players Subtracted

F-Olli Jokinen, 3rd Round pick (To Calgary), F-Daniel Carcillo (To Philadelphia), D-Derek Morris (To New York Rangers)

The Phoenix Coyotes are in a position right now where they can take some chances on reclamation projects.

Derek Morris and Olli Jokinen had no intention of staying with Phoenix, so getting players such as Petr Pruch and Matthew Lombardi who have had their careers derail over the past few seasons and giving them a second chance could turn out to be a genius move, while both Brandon Prust and Nigel Dawes can bring some youthful exuberance plus a bit of an edge to the rink.

The loss of Daniel Carcillo will hurt because not only are you losing one of your best fighters, but a scorer as well. The only thing is, Carcillo seemed to be a lost cause because the more players they brought in to replace him as the fighter (The logic behind bringing in Todd Fedoruk and Brian McGratton), while if the 'Yotes can resign Upshall, they've got a player who can score 15-20 goals and play with an edge.

One of these days though, it'll come together for an entire season in Phoenix.

15. Colorado Avalanche—57 points

Players Added

D-Lawerence Nycholat, D-Ryan Wilson, 2009 2nd Round Pick (From Calgary)

Players Subtracted

D-Jordan Leopold (To Calgary)

While the Avalanche were able to alleviate themselves of one potential free agent, the fact that Ian Laperriere and even Ryan Smyth were still on the Avs roster come 3:00pm Eastern was a little disappointing to some.

While theres' no doubt the Avs could've done more at the deadline in an attempt to strengthen their standing in this year's draft, the Leopold deal wasn't a terrible one: A second round pick along with a bigger defenseman (Ryan Wislon is 6'1, 205 lbs.) who can dish some serious biscuit (It's been sixteen hours...I'm running out of things to write...but that means he had 122 assists in 2 OHL seasons), along with a serviceable but small depth blueliner (Nycholat) will help the Avs turn it around.

Taking a run at a goalie or a young, complimentary scorer to Paul Stastny may not have been a bad idea either though, seeing as Colorado has been missing a goalie since Patrick Roy retired.


Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with Bryan you can do so through his profile. You can also check out all of his previous work in his archives.