Last year at this time the talk was all about the bodies that were flying around the Western Conference, as there were a couple big moves that shook the world. Colorado airlifted Rob Blake in from Los Angeles on their way to the Stanley Cup at the cost of Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, Jared Aulin and David Steckel. The Kings used the first two players to get themselves to the Conference Finals. St. Louis traded a bucket of youth for Keith Tkachuk. San Jose landed Teemu Selanne. This time however, most of the fireworks happened in the East. That said, there was still enough wheeling and dealing to go around. Here is the second part of this two part series, this time focusing on the Western Conference. Each team is given a mark 1 through 10 with 10 being excellent. In case of a tie, the teams are listed in alphabetical order.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
What They Got: Jaroslav Spacek, Jamie Allison, 2003 2nd , 4th Round Pick
What They Lost: Lyle Odelein, Jamie Pushor, Blake Sloan
Synopsis: Talk about bang for the buck. BJ’s hockey boss Doug Maclean sure did it up right this time winning the coveted Golden Cigar Award for the Western Conference. He didn’t have many cards he could play thanks to Marc Denis’ untimely injury, but the one’s he had he played with aplomb. He dealt away a pair of rearguards and a role-player and in return got back a pair of rearguards and two good picks in a deep 2003 draft. True, both Spacek and Allison haven’t shown as well as they have been billed but who better than Dave King to polish them
What They Got: Tom Fitzgerald, Lyle Odelein
What They Lost: Jaroslav Spacek, 2003 2nd, 4th Round Pick, Future Considerations
Synopsis: They needed depth at center and they needed another stay at home defender. Kudos to GM Mike Smith, he went out and got both and the only player he gave up off of his active roster to do it was the forever frustrating Spacek. That said, losing two of your top four picks in a deep 2003 draft have got to sting at least a little. Still, at the time (Steve Sullivan’s injury non-withstanding) the right moves to make.
What They Got: Mike York, Bobby Allen, 2002 4th Round Pick
What They Lost: Tom Poti, Rem Murray, Sean Brown
Synopsis: The Oil needed a second line pivot who could set the table in the worst way and they look to have gotten their man in Mike York. What’s more he comes relatively cheap and is a stand-up guy in the locker room. True, it cost them Tom Poti and jack of all trades Rem Murray, but Poti has been on his way out for a while. Additionally, they picked up prospect Bobby Allen for sometimes scratch Sean Brown from the Bruins. A good days work for GM Kevin Lowe.
What They Got: Jere Karalahti, Petr Smrek, Jukka Hentunen, D.J. Smith, Marty Wilford, 2002 4th Round Pick, 2003 4th Round Pick, Future Considerations
What They Lost: Cliff Ronning, Tom Fitzgerald, Marc Moro, Richard Lintner, Cond. 2003 Draft Pick
Synopsis: The Preds, who are for all intents and purposes out of the playoff race, off-loaded some of the battle hardened vets for youth and draft choices. True to his normal methods, GM David Poile went after defense first getting Jere Karalahti from L.A. before taking a flyer on Jukka Hentunen. Petr Smrek also bears mentioning here. The two big names to leave Nashville were Cliff Ronning and Tom Fitzgerald and while their leadership might be missed there are plenty of candidates for their ice time.
What They Got: Darius Kasparitius
What They Lost: Ville Nieminen, Rick Berry
Synopsis: Avs GM Pierre Lacroix knew what needed to be done and went out and did it. In the process he made sure he had a package that was better than any one of several teams that may have been in the running for this year’s marquee defenseman. Be that as it may, it seems like, to these eyes anyway, the Pens got the better end of the deal. Not by much mind you, but they did. If the Avs win the Cup again, the overpayment was worth it, if not…..?
LOS ANGELES KINGS
What They Got: Cliff Ronning, Ted Donato
What They Lost: Jere Karalahti, 2003 4th Round Pick
Synopsis: Give GM Dave Taylor credit. He identified a need and filled it. Cliff Ronning is the second line playmaker this club so desperately needs if it is to compete with the powers of the Western Conference and he’s battle tested as well. The price of Jere Karalahti, more a project than a prospect, and a draft pick that could get bumped up depending on Ronning’s signing a new deal with L.A. is what makes this a dicey proposition though. Taylor could look a genius in two years. He could also look a fool.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
What They Got: Ray Ferraro
What They Lost: Ted Donato, 2002 4th Round Pick
Synopsis: A center, a center, my kingdom, or at least whatever I can scrounge up after blowing most of my assets on Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight, for a center. That must have been what Blues GM Larry Pleau was thinking after Weight hit sick bay. To his credit, he probably got the one player that made the most sense for his team. Ferraro still has enough juice to give it one more shot, wasn’t going to cost him much, and will easily slide into the second line when his big guy gets back. Still some goaltending would have been nice.
What They Got: Jason Arnott, Randy McKay, 2002 1st Round Pick, Cond. 2003 Draft Pick
What They Lost: Joe Nieuwendyk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Benoit Brunet
Synopsis: The new kid waited until everyone else got into the pool to make a splash and then dropped the perfect cannonball, soaking the lot. This Nieuwendyk-Arnott trade was the biggest of the deadline swaps and one that will be looked at by a good many people. It says here however, that Dallas wins this one and that’s not easy to do against Lou Lamereillo. Be that as it may, the fact that Armstrong couldn’t move Belfour, who could be a distraction, counts against him here
What They Got: Greg Crozier
What They Lost: Darryl Laplante
Synopsis: Thanks to a batch of injuries down the middle and on the blueline couldn’t really do much on deadline day. Over and above that however, with the team where it is now in the standings would it have hurt to move out a veteran or two and pick up a promising youngster or a draft pick or two? Not only would this have made sense from a team building standpoint it also would have opened a couple of roster spots for late season look-sees. Could have done more.
DETROIT RED WINGS
What They Got: Yuri Butsayev, 2002 3rd Round Pick
What They Lost: Jiri Slegr
Synopsis: GM Ken Holland waited and he waited and he waited some more. And the more he waited the more defensemen he saw being dealt from under his nose. Both Darius Kasparitius and Lyle Odelein went to conference rivals before Detroit picked up the booby prize in Jiri Slegr. Even then, they overpaid. It seems that the lack of depth in the system and draft picks to deal from may have finally caught up with Mr. Holland
ANAHEIM MIGHTY DUCKS
What They Got: Marc Moore, Ben Guite, Bjorn Melin, Future 3rd Round Pick
What They Lost: Marty McInnis, Dave Roche, Bert Robertsson
Synopsis: It’s not like the Mighty Ducks didn’t have anything that other teams wanted. There were several teams looking for help in the middle and on the blueline and Anaheim could have offered up any one of Steve Rucchin, Keith Carney, or Jason York and gotten a fairly good return on them. Let’s be honest. This team is at least two years away from contending for a playoff spot. These players should have been moved for youth and weren’t. Only the McInnis deal saves GM Pierre Gauthier here.
What They Got: Blake Sloan, Cond 2003 Draft Pick
What They Lost: Jukka Hentunen, Jamie Allison
Synopsis: When analyzing what Calgary GM Craig Button did in the days leading up to the trade deadline you have to ask yourself, did these moves put the Flames over the top as far as getting into the big dance? If the answer is no, and in this case it is, you have to ask yourself did these moves set the team up for a better future? Here the answer is muddy at best. They created a bit of roster space but chances are the conditional pick is a 5th or worse. This team needed a shot of adrenaline. It got a cup of coffee. Decaf.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
What They Got: Nothing
What They Lost: Nothing
Synopsis: On one hand do you dare tinker with a team who has spent much of the season in first place in its division? On the other, do you dare not especially when the two clubs closest to you went out and improved themselves? That San Jose GM Dean Lombardi apparently believes in what he’s got on hand. But he’s had that three year’s running and it hasn’t done the trick yet. The time to make a move on the trade market was this week. Either one of Andrew Cassels or Marc Savard could have put this team over the top.
What They Got: Darcy Hordichuk, 2002 4th, 5th Round Picks
What They Lost: Kirill Safronov, Ruslan Zainullan, 2002 4th Round Pick
Synopsis: Memo to Wayne Gretzky: Now that you’ve cleaned house by moving Keith Tkachuk and Nikolai Khabibulin promote Cliff Fletcher to Head Door Greeter and get him as far away from Player Personnel as possible. This deal has all the markings of the ‘Draft, Schmaft’ theory of management the Silver Fox followed when he stripped the Toronto Maple Leafs pipeline bare after obtaining Doug Gilmour. Run away now Wayne. Run far away.
What They Got: Nothing
What They Lost: Nothing
Synopsis: Nothing ventured, nothing gained? Vancouver head honcho Brian Burke might tell you, nothing ventured, nothing lost either. Truth of the matter is he’s fooling himself. This team needed another blueliner and it had the depth at forward to land one. They didn’t need to part with any key ingredients up front to get a rearguard but the fact of the matter is nothing got done when it needed to. Thanks to Burke falling asleep at the switch, Bryan Helmer will have an NHL job for another couple of weeks.