Power rankings: Life after the deadline …
Two weeks have passed since the NHL trade deadline, enough time to judge whether teams got a boost from acquisitions, have stayed the same basically or maybe slipped as result of being a seller. This week’s power rankings, which are updated every Tuesday, look at how each team has responded since the deadline.
1. San Jose Sharks (40-21-8, Previous: 2) – They’re a perfect 7-0 since the deadline when they added coveted defenseman Brian Campbell and veteran backup goalie Brian Boucher while subtracting young forward Steve Bernier. Campbell has scored in five of the seven games and averaged 24:29 of ice time, which is still 30 seconds less than he averaged in Buffalo. Boucher pitched a shutout in his only game.
2. Detroit Red Wings (45-18-6, Previous: 4) – The Wings are 3-1-1 since making the minor move to pick up Brad Stuart for depth on defense. The biggest boost Detroit has received since the deadline is the return to health of several blue liners – namely Nicklas Lidstrom – with more expected back soon.
3. New Jersey Devils (40-23-6, Previous: 6) – The Devils are 3-2-1 since adding veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador to their back end. Salvador has skated an average of 20:55 in five games, an increase by more than a minute while with St. Louis. He should be a good fit especially in the playoffs when physical play and intensity ratchets up another notch or two.
4. New York Rangers (37-24-9, Previous: 11) – The Rangers are 5-0-1 since the deadline, a continuation of a 13-game unbeaten streak (10-0-3) that began Feb. 9. New York focused on role players, plugging winger Fredrik Sjostrom (averaging nine minutes in six games) and defenseman Christian Backman (17 minutes in six games) into a lineup that was already set in terms of top-line regulars.
5. Anaheim Ducks (39-25-7, Previous: 1) – The Ducks are 4-2 since the deadline, although their more telling numbers are 24-10-3 since the return of Scott Niedermayer on Dec. 16 and 12-4-0 since the return of Teemu Selanne on Feb. 2.
6. Montreal Canadiens (38-23-9, Previous: 5) – The Canadiens are 5-2 since dealing Cristobal Huet to Washington and handing over the reigns of the No. 1 goaltending duties to 20-year-old Carey Price. It’s less about the age as it is about Price’s experience in big games and big events. Price, a technically-sound netminder, seems to save his best for when everything is on the line. His teammates are impressed with his calm demeanor and maturity, too.
7. Dallas Stars (42-25-5, Previous: 3) – The Stars are 3-3 since the blockbuster trade to acquire Brad Richards from Tampa Bay in exchange for regulars Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern and backup goalie Mike Smith, who is No. 1 with Tampa Bay. Richards provided an immediate spark with a career-high five points in his debut. He’s scored a goal and added three assists in the five games since while averaging 19:19 of ice time overall, five minutes less than while with the Lightning.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (39-24-7, Previous: 7) – The Pens are 4-3 since pulling one of the two major deals at the trade deadline. Marian Hossa lasted only 10 minutes of his first game after spraining his knee. The 29-year-old scoring winger is expected back this week. Large defenseman Hal Gill has averaged 17:22 in six appearances and forward Pascal Dupuis has scored a goal and added an assist while averaging 18:22 in six games. The biggest lift, though, was getting captain Sidney Crosby back in the lineup.
9. Calgary Flames (36-23-10, Previous: 10) – The Flames are 3-1-2 since the deadline, which came and went pretty quietly for Calgary. Instead, the Flames picked up physical defenseman Jim Vandermeer a week before the deadline as the team’s only move. Playing for his third team this season, Vandermeer has appeared in eight games for the Flames, and he’s averaged nearly 22 minutes per contest.
10. Ottawa Senators (38-25-7, Previous: 9) – The Senators are 2-4-1 since adding only Martin Lapointe at the deadline. They did subtract coach John Paddock. General manager Bryan Murray is trying to reprogram this team on the fly with very little time left in the regular season. Lapointe hasn’t had a lot of influence, scoring one goal and averaging only 11:31 of ice time in six games, which is three minutes more than he was getting in Chicago. He could shine in the postseason.
11. Vancouver Canucks (35-24-10, Previous: 14) – The Canucks are 3-2-2 since the deadline when all they did was add Matt Pettinger from Washington for Matt Cooke in an exchange of role-playing forwards. Pettinger has a goal and 11 penalty minutes during 13:26 of skating in his first seven games.
12. Colorado Avalanche (37-27-6, Previous: 13) – The Avalanche are 6-1 since the deadline when they aggressively added some familiar pieces in forward Peter Forsberg and defenseman Adam Foote along with Ruslan Salei. Foote, with the Quebec/Colorado franchise the first 13 years of his career, averaged 21:42 in five games while Salei skated an average of 19:38 on the backline in six. Forsberg has been another story. Or rather, the same old tired story. He’s nursing a sore groin now after battling ankle and foot ailments and has appeared in just three games.
13. Minnesota Wild (37-26-7, Previous: 8) – The Wild are 3-3-2 since adding tough guy Chris Simon, who has only appeared for an average of 7:40 in four games. It’s no surprise he isn’t playing more as Minnesota looks for answers to turn around a 0-2-2 streak.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (35-26-8, Previous: 15) – The Flyers are 4-1-1 since the deadline, a time in which they snapped a franchise-record 10-game losing streak just the night before. Philly picked up veteran forward Vaclav Prospal, who has added a goal and two points during 17:39 of ice time.
15. Boston Bruins (36-25-8, Previous: 12) – The Bruins are 4-2-2 since the deadline, a time in which they were the only Eastern Conference team that didn’t make a single deal. GM Peter Chiarelli said he liked his team just the way it was, of course what else was he going to say after making no trades? We’re wondering how much he liked his team when they lost 10-2 and 8-2 in the span of three games last week?
16. Carolina Hurricanes (37-29-5, Previous: 18) – The Hurricanes are 5-1 since the deadline. Despite the loss of Rod Brind’Amour to a torn knee ligament, Carolina is pulling away in the balanced Southeast Division. Tuomo Ruutu, acquired from Chicago at the deadline, had a goal and three points while averaging 17:44 per game in his first six, but it was pre-deadline pickup Sergei Samsonov who has made the biggest contribution with 12 goals and 24 points in his first 27 games with the Hurricanes.
17. Nashville Predators (35-27-8, Previous: 17) – The Predators are 3-3 since a basically quiet deadline, making only a minor deal to acquire forward Brandon Bochenski, who appeared in only one of the six games. Nashville is sitting on all kinds of cap space, and it’s assumed the Preds will be more aggressive in the offseason than they were at the deadline.
18. Chicago Blackhawks (33-29-7, Previous: 21) – The Blackhawks are 4-2-1 since the deadline when, thanks to the emergence of their youth, they were able to dish some veterans (Tuomo Ruutu and Martin Lapointe). The only player Chicago acquired at the deadline was forward Andrew Ladd, who had two goals and four points while averaging 15:33 of ice time in his first seven games.
19. Buffalo Sabres (32-27-11, Previous: 19) – The Sabres are 2-3-2 and still in the playoff hunt since trading top defenseman Brian Campbell. They received Steve Bernier from San Jose in addition to a first-round draft pick, and the physical forward scored goals on his first two shots with Buffalo. But he’s been quiet since with two assists and then out the last two games with a sore groin. Rookie Czech defenseman Andrej Sekera has picked up playing time in Campbell’s absence, skating more than 24:45 in three of his first four appearances since the deal.
20. Washington Capitals (32-30-8, Previous: 16) – The Capitals are 4-3 as their season-long battle from a 6-14-1 start to reach the postseason continues. Washington added all kinds of pieces. Veteran forward Sergei Fedorov didn’t have a goal but added two assists and averaged 16:50 in his first six games. Matt Cooke had a goal and three points during an average of 9:27 of skating and goalie Cristobal Huet is 2-2 while sharing the net with Olaf Kolzig.
21. Phoenix Coyotes (34-30-5, Previous: 20) – The Coyotes are 2-4 since the deadline, a time they used to deal players who were no longer in their plans (Fredrik Sjostrom, Josh Gratton, David Leneveu) for depth at forward in the person of Marcel Hossa and goaltending prospect Al Montoya from the Rangers. Hossa was scoreless, a minus-3 and averaged 13:24 of ice time in his first six games. Montoya remains in the minors.
22. Columbus Blue Jackets (31-28-11, Previous: 22) – The Blue Jackets are 2-2-2 since the deadline, when they were sellers instead of buyers. Columbus waived good-bye to captain Adam Foote and high-priced aging center Sergei Fedorov. The disappointment was their inability to get Brad Richards from Tampa Bay. The Jackets will be in a recruiting mode in the summer.
23. Edmonton Oilers (33-31-5, Previous: 26) – The Oilers are 5-1 since the deadline when they did absolutely nothing. Edmonton continues to get solid goaltending from Mathieu Garon, who unseated Dwayne Roloson for the No. 1 spot. The Oilers only faced one team in a playoff spot in their first six after the deadline.
24. Florida Panthers (32-31-8, Previous: 28) – The Panthers are 4-1-1 since the deadline, a time in which they picked up three veteran role players but have only received value out of one. Defenseman Karlis Skrastins averaged 21:37 of ice time in six games. Wade Belak has played sparingly, appearing for only 4:19 in his first six games. Chad Kilger has been suspended for the club. He’s tending to an undisclosed personal issue away from the team, and it’s questionable whether he’ll even play one game for the Panthers this season.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs (30-30-10, Previous: 23) – The Maple Leafs are 3-2-1 since the deadline, a period in which they are probably breathing easier and playing more relaxed. Toronto didn’t add anything but draft picks in exchange for letting go of Hal Gill, Wade Belak and Chad Kilger. Mats Sundin has five goals and 12 points in the six games since deciding against waiving his no-trade clause. He’s enjoyed three-point games in half of those games.
26. Atlanta Thrashers (30-32-8, Previous: 27) – The Thrashers are 1-2-4 since the deadline when, feeling forced to unload Marian Hossa, did pretty well in getting two players – Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen – along with prospect Angelo Esposito from Pittsburgh in exchange for Hossa and Pascal Dupuis. Armstrong had a goal and three points during an average of 19:01 of ice time while Christensen had a goal and two points in 17:53, both in the first six games.
27. New York Islanders (32-31-7, Previous: 24) – The Islanders are 2-5 since the deadline when they failed to add any offensive help to a goal-starved team. New York has scored one or fewer goals in five of the seven games since the deadline. The only player the Isles acquired, physical veteran defenseman Rob Davison from San Jose, averaged 17:28 of ice time in his first seven games.
28. St. Louis Blues (29-30-10, Previous: 25) – The Blues are 1-6 since the deadline when veteran defensemen Bryce Salvador and Christian Backman went out the door shortly after the team made a long-term financial commitment to Barret Jackman. The only player acquired – tough guy Cam Janssen – has yet to appear.
29. Los Angeles Kings (27-38-6, Previous: 30) – The Kings are 1-4-2 since the deadline. Los Angeles managed to only unload veteran defenseman Brad Stuart. Veterans Scott Thornton, Ladislav Nagy, Brian Willsie and Jon Klemm, all unrestricted free agents, are presumably playing their final games with the organization.
30. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-35-8, Previous: 29) – The Lightning are 1-5-1 since the deadline. They unloaded the best player available – Brad Richards – and while getting decent value in return, certainly have not done well since. The hope is for Mike Smith, the 25-year-old former backup to Marty Turco in Dallas, to emerge as a No. 1 goalie. He is 1-5 with 18 goals allowed in his first six appearances. Veteran checking center Jeff Halpern has been good offensively (three goals, six points) but a minus-2 while averaging 19:36 of ice time in seven games. Jussi Jokinen had one goal and three points but was a minus-8 in seven games.