Western Conference Deadline Report (Part 2)

The NHL trading period is now over and teams have either added pieces for a playoff run or a rebuild. Lets take a look at how teams did with their February trades, including the NHL Trade Deadline. The playoff grade deals with how the addition will impact a playoff run, while the fantasy grade deals with offensive addition and long term potential.

LOS ANGELES KINGS – The Kings added a big power forward by the name of Dustin Penner. He is a 6-foot-4, 245 pound forward who knows how to score goals. Playing alongside a playmaker like Anze Kopitar could prove to be a lethal combination. Penner still has one more year left on his contract so the Kings should see a big year from Penner next season. PLAYOFF GRADE: B FANTASY GRADE: A-

MINNESOTA WILD – The Wild made two minor moves acquiring Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen. Penner is having a career season in the AHL scoring 35 points but will likely never score more then 20-25 points a season in the NHL. Lehtonen is another player who has had some success in the AHL with back-to-back 20 plus goals season and will develop into a third line NHLers who chips in 35 points a season. PLAYOFF GRADE: D+ FANTASY GRADE: D+

NASHVILLE PREDATORS – Nashville traded for Mike Fisher early in February. Fisher is a great addition, as he will bring leadership to the Predators and is a strong two-way center. Fisher will likely see an increase in production as he is now living closer to his wife. The ex-Senator is a consistent 45-50 point player who could top 60 points next season. PLAYOFF GRADE: B+ FANTASY GRADE: B

PHOENIX COYOTES – The Coyotes added Rostislav Klesla and Dane Byers. Klesla never developed into the offensive defenseman as he was scouted but he has become a solid, shutdown defenseman.  Klesla enjoys hitting people and can play big minutes for the Coyotes. The biggest issue with Klesla has been injuries as he has played in only 60 games during the last two seasons. Once Ed Jovanovski gets healthy the Coyotes will have one of the best defensive groups in the NHL.  Byers is a gritty third or fourth line player with some offensive skill. PLAYOFF GRADE: B FANTASY GRADE: C

SAN JOSE SHARKS – The Sharks made two minor moves on top of trading for defenseman Ian White. White is with his third team this season but lucky for him he has moved up the standings with each move.  White is an offensive defenseman who should solidify the Sharks second power play unit. White will see his first NHL playoff action this season but playing on a veteran team like San Jose should make it easier on him. PLAYOFF GRADE: B- FANTASY GRADE: B

ST. LOUIS BLUES – This was suppose to be the year that the St. Louis Blues took their game to the next level after several years of rebuilding, however it didn’t work out that way. St. Louis traded away three roster players for more draft picks and traded away their first overall draft pick from the 2006 draft. It hasn’t been all about working the rebuild as the Blues added Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. Stewart is a hulking, power forward who has already made an impact with the Blues, scoring six goals and eight points. Shattenkirk is an offensive defenseman in the mould of Brian Rafalski. So another year with no playoffs but this team is on the verge of being a powerhouse! PLAYOFF GRADE: Will miss playoffs FANTASY GRADE: A+

VANCOUVER CANUCKS – Vancouver’s fourth line has been a revolving door of players, only Tanner Glass has been the constant on that line. The Canucks went out and added two players who will solidify their fourth line. Chris Higgins is a player who can play on any line and he will push Mason Raymond for his spot on the second line. Higgins scored 20 or more goals in three straight seasons proving he can score but the injury bug has hit him hard over the last three seasons. Maxim Lapierre could have the biggest impact of any player added to a Western Conference team. Lapierre is a player built for playoffs as he plays gritty and will get under the skin of opposing teams top players. PLAYOFF GRADE: A+ FANTASY GRADE: B-

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