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Western Conference Report Card

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Western Conference Report Card
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Ryan Dadoun grades the Western Conference after Wednesday's trade deadline

After all the trade activity on Tuesday, it was reasonable to assume deadline day would be quiet. That’s obviously not how it played out.

The deals involving Marian Gaborik, Jaromir Jagr, and Jarome Iginla over the last 7-10 days just scratches the surface of what transpired during the 2013 trade deadline period. Below is a look at how each Western Conference team did in the trades that took place over the last two weeks.

Click here for Corey Abbott's grades on the Eastern Conference.

Anaheim Ducks

Added: Matthew Lombardi, Harry Zolnierczyk

Lost: Brandon McMillan, Jay Rosehill, Jeff Deslauriers

When you’re a clear Stanley Cup contender, do you make a big splash and risk disrupting the chemistry that’s got your team this far or do you add a complimentary player who will provide you with some depth for the playoff grind?

The Ducks chose to do the latter and it’s hard to fault them for it. Lombardi isn’t a game changer, but he’s a decent bottom-six forward who’s not too far removed from his glory days. Given the cost was McMillan, who has struggled to earn a permanent spot with the Ducks over the last three years, it wasn’t a bad pickup.

Grade: B

Calgary Flames

Added: Two first-round picks (one conditional), a fifth-round pick, Mark Cundari, Kenneth Agostino, Ben Hanowski and Reto Berra

Lost: Jay Bouwmeester, Jarome Iginla, Blake Comeau

The Calgary Flames are the toughest team to evaluate. After last year’s deadline I criticized them for staying stagnant and simply allowing their tradable assets – like Iginla to age and thus deteriorate in value – despite the fact that their franchise had been stuck in the mud for years.

Flames GM Jay Feaster has since validated those types of criticisms by admitting that he "should have had the intellectual honesty even earlier and said this isn't working."

So did he end up costing his team by not acting sooner and maybe getting a higher price for Iginla last year? Perhaps, but at the same time, we have the benefit of hindsight and while Feaster will ultimately be judged on everything that’s happened, for the purposes of this article we’re narrowing our scope to what he did over the last few weeks.

In that regard, he has to be given credit. While he might be hesitant to call what he’s doing rebuilding, the Calgary Flames have made some tough choices that should ultimately benefit them in the years to come?

Grade: B+

Chicago Blackhawks

Added: Michal Handzus, Kirill Gotovets, Maxime Sauve

Lost: A fourth-round pick, Philippe Paradis, Rob Flick

Like the Anaheim Ducks, the Blackhawks have been great all season and they similarly decided not to mess with that. Their only noteworthy addition was Handzus, who should help them in an area of significant need--the faceoff circle.

Grade: B

Colorado Avalanche

Added: A fourth-round pick in 2014, Tomas Vincour

Lost: Ryan O'Byrne, Cameron Gaunce

The Colorado Avalanche are well on their way to missing the playoffs for the third straight season and fourth time in five years. So just based on that alone, you would think they would have made some significant trades. But really, what could they do?

Their core players are still young and signed through at least 2013-14. One of the few exceptions, Milan Hejduk, is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. They could have still made a trade for the sake of

shaking things up, but there’s something to be said for keeping a young core intact and letting them grow and learn together.

Ultimately if they’re going to make a major move, it will probably involve firing Joe Sacco, but that’s not what the trade deadline was about.

Grade: B-

Columbus Blue Jackets

Added: A third-round pick, Marian Gaborik, Blake Comeau, Michael Leighton, Patrick Killeen

Lost: A fifth-round pick, a sixth-round pick, Steve Mason, Derek Dorsett, John Moore, Derick Brassard

The Blue Jackets finished last in the NHL last season, traded Rick Nash…and now they might make the playoffs. Much of that is thanks to Sergei Bobrovsky, but it still comes as a surprise.

Columbus’ acquisition of Gaborik is one they probably wouldn’t have made if they were out of the playoff hunt, but at the same time it’s not specifically for this season. Gaborik gives them what they lost with Nash--a man who can be face of the franchise and an offensive leader.

He’s struggled this season with the Rangers, but the change of scenery should help. Ultimately, Gaborik might even be considered the winner of the trade frenzy from a fantasy perspective.

They also managed to get Leighton and a third rounder for Mason. It’s like the Flyers felt so bad about how the Jeff Carter trade worked out that they’ve been letting the Blue Jackets win trades ever since.

Grade: A

Dallas Stars

Added: Two second-round pick (one conditional), fifth-round pick, Kevin Connauton, Joe Morrow, Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, Cameron Gaunce

Lost: Third-round pick, Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy, Tomas Vincour

The Dallas Stars refused to trade Brad Richards in 2010-11. The result was that they missed the playoffs anyways and he signed with the New York Rangers. With that in mind, this time around the Stars dealt Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow, and Derek Roy before they had a chance to leave as unrestricted free agents this summer.

The return wasn’t breathtaking for the most part, but they got some decent prospects and a couple high picks for their troubles. For a handful of players that were in danger of walking soon, it’s hard to fault them.

Grade: A

Detroit Red Wings

Added: A conditional seventh-round pick

Lost: Kent Huskins

The Detroit Red Wings typically takes a cautious approach to everything they do. In a way you can look at them as the ying to the Philadelphia Flyers yang.

In a league with a salary cap and where prospects are hard to replace, it’s easy to see the logic in the Red Wings’ strategy. However, from a short-term perspective, some of their major competitors in the race for a playoff spot – the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets in particular – got better while they remained stagnant.

Grade: C+

Edmonton Oilers

Added: Jerred Smithson, Garrett Stafford, Kale Kessy

Lost: A fourth-round pick, Tobias Rieder, Dane Byers

The Oilers had some pieces they could potentially sell – Ryan Whitney and Nikolai Khabibulin come to mind – but they decided to remain quiet. The Oilers are in the race for a playoff spot and they don’t want to hurt their chances.

The Oilers took building through the draft to its extreme. They have a core in place that, with the right group of complimentary players, could contend for the Stanley Cup in a couple years. They don’t need to sell veterans for picks at this point, not when it could rob their young players of some post-season experience.

Grade: B

Los Angeles Kings

Added: Robyn Regehr, A fifth-round pick

Lost: Two second-round picks, Davis Drewiske

The defending Stanley Cup champions significantly upgraded their defense with the acquisition of Robyn Regehr. Fantasy owners might not care about him due to his lack of points, but he’s a stay-at-home defenseman capable of logging top-four minutes. That's a big deal for a team that's been trying to get by without blueliners Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Wild

Added: A fourth-round pick, Jason Pominville, Jeff Deslauriers

Lost: A first-round-pick, a second-round pick, Matthew Hackett, Johan Larsson

Two high picks and two solid prospects for Pominville – that’s a lot to give up. At the same time, Pominville is an accomplished forward in his prime and signed through the 2013-14 campaign, so an argument could be made that he justifies the high price tag.

Pominville gives the Minnesota Wild another great top-six forward to compliment a team that already had a healthy amount of offensive depth. It looks like he’ll start his tenure with the Wild on a line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise, which is great news for Pominville’s fantasy owners.

Grade: B+

Nashville Predators

Added: A conditional sixth-round pick, Filip Forsberg

Lost: Scott Hannan, Martin Erat, Michael Latta

Erat is a reliable forward who is good for about 50-60 points during a full campaign. He’s 31 years old and signed to a reasonable contract through 2014-15. It’s clear he’s not an insignificant loss to the Preds, but at the same time getting Filip Forsberg in return made this a great trade for Nashville.

Forsberg is a versatile forward who has been compared to Corey Perry by scouts. Washington took him with the 11th overall pick in 2012, but he would have gone higher if teams hadn’t favored defensemen in the early part of the draft. In fact, Forsberg was just the third forward taken in 2012. When it comes to prospects, nothing is certain, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Forsberg is regarded as one of the Predators’ top forwards in a few years.

Grade: A

Phoenix Coyotes

Added: A third-round pick, a seventh-round pick, Matthew Clackson, Tobias Rieder, Brandon McMillan

Lost: Steve Sullivan, Raffi Torres, Matthew Lombardi, Joel Rechlicz, Kale Kessy

The Coyotes parted with a few veteran forwards and didn’t really get anything exciting in return. That’s not to say they were deadline losers – it’s not as if Sullivan, Torres, or Lombardi warranted high prices.

As we approached the deadline, there was plenty of speculation surrounding Keith Yandle. He might still be traded, but the Coyotes will wait until the summer to do so. What they get for that deal will impact the franchise far more than anything they’ve done off the ice over the last few weeks.

Grade: C+

San Jose Sharks

Added: Four second-round picks (two conditional), a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick, Scott Hannan, Raffi Torres

Lost: A third-round pick, a conditional sixth-round pick, Ryane Clowe, Michal Handzus, Doug Murray

The Sharks managed to get plenty of value for players they might have lost anyways as unrestricted free agents over the summer. Then, given that they are still in the playoff race, they went out and got Hannan and Torres for a fraction of what they picked up.

It’s hard not to like how the Sharks handled things in recent weeks. They’ve added a ton of draft picks without significantly hurting their present club.

Grade: A+

St. Louis Blues

Added: A seventh-round pick, Jay Bouwmeester, Jordan Leopold

Lost: A conditional first-round pick, a second-round pick, a condition fifth-round pick, Mark Cundari, Reto Berra, Wade Redden

Clearly the St. Louis Blues think their time to compete for the Stanley Cup is now, even if they aren’t a lock to even miss the playoffs. The Kings proved that a good team can win the Cup even if they struggled during the regular season and it looks like the Blues took that lesson to heart.

The Blues significantly bolstered their defense at a cost to their future. To be fair though, Bouwmeester is signed through 2013-14 and Leopold is 32, so he could serve them for many years if he’s re-signed. So the Blues didn’t exactly put themselves in an all-or-nothing position.

Grade: B+

Vancouver Canucks

Added: Derek Roy

Lost: a second-round pick, Kevin Connauton

The Canucks have needed help up the middle all season and Derek Roy certainly provides that. With four goals and 22 points in 30 games this season, Roy is a big boost to a team that’s struggled offensively in 2013.

They weren’t able to trade Roberto Luongo, but that’s a tough contract to move given its length and the Canucks likely didn’t feel any urgency, given that Luongo provides them with an excellent fallback option should Cory Schneider falter or get injured in the playoffs.

Grade: A-

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