1. Nashville Predators – The perennial sellers finally made a stand and became buyers adding shutdown defenseman Hal Gill and veteran forward Paul Gaustad. Also held on to both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter (for now) to allow team to make deep postseason run.
2. Vancouver Canucks – The bridesmaid from last year just got tougher by adding rugged winger Zack Kassian and ’07 Cup winner Sami Pahlsson. Team also is hitting stride since January and looks very much stocked up for another run at the Cup.
3. Boston Bruins – The B’s reloaded with some veteran help with forward Brian Rolston and defenseman Greg Zanon. They are solid in goal, on the blueline, have the forwards, and still are the defending champs. They have all the tools needed to make it a two-peat and come out of the clouded Eastern Conference.
Honorable Mentions: Colorado Avalanche landed grit and skill in Steve Downie, Daniel Winnik, and T.J. Galiardi and still can make postseason, Tampa Bay trims fat and acquires draft picks while not hurting current team.
1. Los Angeles Kings – Added Jeff Carter but gave up a first round pick and offensively gifted defenseman Jack Johnson to do it. Can Carter help awake the worst offense in the league for the Kings in time to make playoffs?
2. New York Rangers – One of the leaders in the Rick Nash sweepstakes didn’t add anyone except fighter John Scott. No doubt this team is talented but will they be able to score enough in playoffs and will they regret not trading their soul (and lots of young talent) to get Nash?
3. Anaheim Ducks – After being billed as sellers not more than a month a go, the resurgent Ducks are making an unprecedented run at the Playoffs. They did not blow up their team but will they be able to overcome the deficit in the last 20 games of the season because of it?
1. Rick Nash – This one was a no brainer. The most sought after commodity at the trade deadline stayed put and now, whether it’s his fault or not, has to deal with the wrath of angry fans due to the trade rumors. Oh, and he’s still on the worst team in the NHL in Columbus and will be watching the playoffs once again from his couch.
2. St. Louis Blues – The surprise team of the year laid an egg at the deadline. Though they still continue to overachieve in the standings, they didn’t add any depth to their roster for a playoff push and dealt away their goalie of the future (Ben Bishop) for only a 2nd round draft pick.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs – No go-to goalie added. No depth added to their forwards. Still slumping currently. Crowd chants for Coach Ron Wilson firing were finally answered. Early prediction: the Leafs will once again be watching the playoffs from the outside.
Honorable Mentions: Flailing Washington Capitals make no moves and still have underachieving Alexander Semin on roster, Carolina Hurricanes give Tuomo Ruutu ridiculous contract and fail to add hope for next year.