As an Oilers blogger, it’s rare you write about the NHL playoffs, so in the vein of something different, here’s a summary of what the major contenders did to their roster out here. We know Chicago, Los Angeles, Colorado, Anaheim, Dallas and San Jose were active, whereas Nashville and St. Louis were not.
So, for those of us Oilers fans killing time until we see our own team in the playoffs, here’s your scorecard for the teams who changed their roster:
Chicago: They picked up Andrew Ladd as a top-6 winger, and Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise as bottom-6 improvements, making their forward core very deep. There were rumors they were looking for more defensemen, but they settled for adding Christian Erhoff. They did add Tim Jackman as an AHL depth piece who may be a call-up for the playoffs as well. Overall, a solid few deadline days for Chicago, and we know their top-4 on D can eat minutes.
Los Angeles: They picked up Rob Scuderi in the Erhoff deal, who’s a better fit and knows their system, consider him the new 7th defenseman here. To bolster their forward corps, other than the previous Vincent Lecavlier deal, LA also added Kris Versteeg, As well, in the Lecavlier trade, they also picked up Luke Schenn. Overall, a bit more defensive improvement than Chicago, with a bit less offensive boost.
Anaheim: The Ducks had earlier acquired David Perron as a top-6 addition, and then added Ryan Garbutt as a bottom-6 player. In an effort to add further scoring, the Ducks landed Brandon Pirri at a low price, hoping he could re-discover his scoring chance, and added Jamie McGinn as a Middle-6 winger. This led to the Oilers being able to obtain Patrick Maroon, as Anaheim needed room to slot in Pirri and McGinn. Neither of them are elite scorers, but both are able to put up 20 goals in the league and are valuable depth players. No change to the defense here, which may lack an elite player, but has solid depth all the way through.
Nashville: They picked up Corey Potter, the guy who used to be a defenseman for the Oilers. That was about the extent of their big moves.
Minnesota: In a bid to get back in the playoffs, Minnesota went big and picked up David Jones from Calgary, also shedding Backstrom’s contract in the process. About it here also.
San Jose: They did some earlier shopping, adding a bottom-pairing defenseman in Roman Polak and a bottom-6 forward in Nick Spaling, and then added some insurance in net by landing James Reimer. Nothing too extravagant for the most part.
St. Louis: They picked up our AHL goaltender as a backup in case their backup needed a backup. So, basically, they did nothing today.
Dallas: They really needed help on the back end, and gave up far too much to land Kris Russell, who is either a solid top-4 defenseman, or barely a bottom-6 guy, depending on how much you believe in advanced stats. Either way, it was a drastic overpayment, hope for their sake it pans out.
Colorado: Naturally, for a team everyone feels needs defense desperately, Patrick Roy went the other way, picking up Shawn Matthias as a bottom-6 depth piece, Mikkel Boedker in a deal to replace Alex Tanguay in the top-6, and then finally picking up a bottom-pairing defenseman for a cheap price in Eric Gelinas.
So, where does this leave things? Chicago and LA still look like the most dangerous teams in the West, with Anaheim picking up some unheralded pieces who might help address their scoring. Colorado improved on offense while ignoring defense (it’s like they’re managed by MacT), Dallas overpaid badly to get something resembling a defenseman, San Jose did a few reasonable additions (at a higher price also), and St. Louis and Minnesota spun in circles while repeating “We’re good teams, honest”.
If you want to place your bets on the Big-3 of Anaheim (always a bridesmaid), LA or Chicago, go ahead. The rest, nothing to see here folks, the big-3 continue their unholy reign.