On Thursday, the Dose covered the bombast and excitement of the East’s side of the trade deadline. It only makes sense to cover the bases for the West today, then, although most teams on that side lacked much in the way of steak or sizzle. (In fact, it will only cover a chunk of this column, as I’ll also look a bit at debuts for various trade deadline acquisitions.)
Indeed, the biggest stories out West seem to revolve around moves that weren’t made. I think you probably know where I’m going with this, especially since Thursday only reinforced the conference’s most-cited “loser” storyline.
VAMPING ABOUT VANCOUVER
Normally, Roberto Luongo’s Twitter shtick is about self-effacement. Aside from when Tim Thomas is involved. But not last night, as he fired off three amusing takes about ex-allies.
The former Vancouver Canucks goalie couldn’t help but make fun of his former team (and duo partner Eddie Lack) as the Dallas Stars eventually generated a 6-1 pummeling that couldn’t come at a worse time for the Canucks. The game even featured a less-than-ideal premiere for Jacob Markstrom, who allowed Tyler Seguin’s hat trick goal (Seguin capped an outstanding five-point night with that tally).
While plenty of people will beat up on New York Islanders GM Garth Snow for a shaky return on Thomas Vanek, the Isles haven’t dealt with the multi-season soap opera that has devolved in Vancouver. The bottom line is that the Canucks are now a pitiful 1-10-1 in their last 12 games and seem to be crumbling under John Tortorella’s (mis?)direction.
I still feel like Lack is worth watching - it’s generally not been his fault, although he struggled at the Heritage Classic and last night, along with in possibly a few other recent instances - yet it’s undeniable that this was a little disconcerting. I'm not really as worried about Ryan Kesler being pouty as other people are. If he made that trade request early in the season, then that means he's been producing nicely even if he's not 100 percent happy with the situation. I mean, let's face it; not many players are happy when they're playing for Torts in the first place.
In case you're wondering, Kesler had a solid game (-1, zero points, two PIM, one SOG and four hits) while Shawn Matthias had an intriguing debut with seven SOG but a Florida-like -2 rating. The other situation to watch for Vancouver is that Zack Kassian was ejected for a boarding hit on Brenden Dillon and could see further discipline from the NHL.
Here’s a rundown of some of the other noteworthy West teams, whether they were notably inactive or productive.
-- The Kings grabbing Marian Gaborik is one of the best moves of the deadline, generating by maybe the best GM in the sport. The two-time 40+ goal scorer wasn't able to garner a point in his Kings debut on Thursday. That doesn't mean he didn't make an impact, however; Gaborik generated three SOG and received ample power-play time (4:36 of his 16:38 time on ice came on the man advantage).
With a 78 percent ownership rate, you're unlikely to grab a guy who's clearly getting first-line minutes so far.
-- Meanwhile, the Kings’ opponent in Winnipeg … did nothing. As usual. You know what they say: “If it’s barely functional, don’t … wait, what, you still aren’t making any changes?”
-- Minnesota hasn’t given us a taste of what’s in store yet, but they made some nice moves themselves. As I already said, I don’t even really know what to say about how Ilya Bryzgalov will fit into the goalie gumbo that also includes Darcy Kuemper, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.
Matt Moulson has made a pretty compelling argument that he is just a natural goalscorer, whether he’s lining up with John Tavares or Cody Hodgson. From the sound of things, he’ll start off on a line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle while there's the top line of Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville. Suddenly a fairly top-heavy team has a top-six that can stack up with most of (if not all) the league's best.
-- Ryan Miller has won his first three starts as the St. Louis Blues’ new goalie, so that investment looks pretty nice right now. (Especially for fantasy owners who grabbed Miller in leagues where he was still buried value-wise by the lack of wins in Buffalo.)
All that being said, when you look at the outstanding talent levels at the top of the West, I believe the Blues blew a chance to grab a dynamic scorer. They’re in a great position to grind out wins - especially when they’re protecting leads - but what if they need a goal? Alexander Steen has been a nice story, and increases his credibility with each goal, yet I wonder if they could have added one more piece to take some pressure off of him.
(That’s not to say St. Louis lacks any other options, but when you stack them against what San Jose, Chicago and Los Angeles has to offer, well …)
-- Ultimately, a disappointing deadline for the Ducks. It’s great that they got a little something for Viktor Fasth and that Stephane Robidas came cheaply, but failing to land a solid forward is a letdown. Even a Michael Cammalleri would have been a nice addition, but it was not to be.
-- As far as the rest of the West goes: *exaggerated yawn*
QUICK HITS FOR THE EAST
Both Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan looked great in their respective Tampa Bay Lightning debuts (Stamkos as captain, Callahan with his game with the team in general), but the Buffalo Sabres beat the Bolts 3-1. Stamkos had a -1 rating along with five SOG and two hits. Callahan also went -1 while collecting four SOG and four hits … So far, not so good for Dustin Penner. He has gone without a point in both of his first two games as a member of the Washington Capitals. (It’s not really a big surprise that he only has two combined SOG as he hasn’t been the greatest peripheral guy, though.) … The Red Wings’ dire situation could indeed be David Legwand’s gain, as he’s getting temporary top line duty. It didn’t work out too well in his first game, however, as he went pointless and had a -2 rating. Thomas Vanek and Martin Erat weren't able to score in their debuts, either. So it seems like it was a deadline of significant instant gratification, but not of instant fantasy returns ... OK, this is cheating because he's in the West, but what a run by Nathan MacKinnon. (Yup, that's all I've got. Pretty in-depth analysis there, eh?)