Dynasty Hockey League

Western Conference Trade Deadline Primer

In this trade deadline primer, it’s safe to say that the Western Conference is playing out relatively close to what most thought with only a couple of outliers. The final few playoff slots likely will not be determined until the last few days of the season and those slots depend on moves and how revamped rosters gel.

Anaheim – presently sit in 13th and should be positioned as a seller looking to move veterans, especially those on expiring contracts. Pieces such as Soderberg, Vanek and perhaps even Skinner could be moved as the GM looks collect picks, prospects and cash. Better days are ahead as we believe the Ducks are closer to contender status than most others.

Calgary – although an early season success, the Flames sit at 10th in the conference and are quickly sliding down the standings. Given that the GM looked to transition to a contender by exploring the trade market this past off-season, he was outmaneuvered by a few Eastern Conference GMs who expediting their rebuilds via the trade market. I think this strategy will be readdressed in the upcoming offseason. Even though the GM is marketing Tuukka Rask as being available, given his projected ratings and that the only other option is Matt Murray of the 0.899 save percentage, I think it might be prudent to keep Rask. With a few good offseason moves, the Flames could be a contender as soon as next season if they acquire a few veterans and use their present cash balance.

Chicago – make no mistakes, the 11th seeded Blackhawks are listed as sellers but given that this is the GM’s first trade deadline here, I expect several other savvy GMs to try to acquire controllable pieces for futures. The roster is close to being a contender and have some nice pieces to build around – they just lack depth. Future depth can be acquired by moving Trochek, Neal, Ryan, and seeing if a market develops for Byfuglien and then using the returns to maneuver trades in the offseason. Rumours have Galchenyuk, Gostisbehere and Rittich available if the returns are right but with controllability on the side of each of them, it will be harded to move any of them.

Colorado – hovering around the top of the conference all season, the 2nd seeded Avs should be buyers looking to strengthen a fugly defense. To do so will cost them picks as they possess a relatively barren prospect pool after being a contender for as long as I can remember. Solid team that could roll and perhaps be a player for Byfuglien.

Columbus – with a full-on tank in process, the GM will continue to trade anything of value – well, almost anything. Currently the league’s lowest team in regards to points, we will bet money on Josh Anderson and his $2.25M salary for soon to be low 60 ratings not to be moved unless the asking price drops significantly. As someone who rebuild from scratch, seldom does this SIM reward the bottom team via the draft lottery. Any trade this team does make should be for cash returns given the wealth of prospects they currently possess.

Dallas – the biggest surprise of the season in my humble opinion, Dallas sit atop the conference and are doing it as a result of the depth of their roster. This team should look to improve its defense – another Byfuglien suitor perhaps – but to truly be taken serious, they need to do something about the goaltending tandem of Koskinen and Mrazek. With a projected bank roll of $60M, an above average prospect pool and 6 picks in the next two drafts, it will be interesting to see what Dallas does.

Detroit – not as deep as Dallas but a very balanced team with far superior goaltending, the 7th seeded Red Wings (tied with LA) should make the post-season. I have no idea what this team should do at this junction other than seek more balance by moving a centre to left wing or acquiring a depth left winger at the trade deadline.

Edmonton – a recent lukewarm streak has moved the 14th seeded Oilers down in the lottery odds and is proof that you can’t tank unless your goaltenders absolutely suck ass. Dubnyk just isn’t bad enough. This trade deadline should see Edmonton explore the market for Toffoli and Stepan as both will be past their primes before the Oilers contend again.

Los Angeles – another of the most balanced teams in the West, LA have overcome a horrible start to now find themselves within the playoff dance tied for the 7th seed. Defensive depth is likely the biggest need for this team as a collection of aging veterans are keeping them competitive but are likely not enough to provide success over the rest of the conference. As this team lacks cash and picks, we expect LA to float a few offers around to acquire top-end defense for a collection of the “top prospects in the world”.

Minnesota – this is a team I personally would not mess with as they reside 3rd overall but own the best goal differential in the west and are perhaps the most balanced team in the league. If the price is right, go get a better option for a bottom 6 centre and perhaps left wing. That’s nitpicking over weaknesses and I’d just hold tight.

Nashville – sitting in 4th and have been trending upwards recently. Nashville should be a deadline buyer in order to strengthen their bottom-pairing defense and add a better option at centre for either the 2nd or 3rd line. Depending on the piece coming back, Nashville should not hesitate to move prospects such as Liljegren and/or Vesalainen in order to optimize their core while it’s peaking.

St. Louis – what you see is what you get as the 6th seeded Blues are unlikely to improve unless they move an upper tier prospect or two to improve on the goaltending as Jack Campbell is not the solution. The other holes in this lineup – bottom line centre, left winger and dman – can all likely be filled from waiver claims.

San Jose – the Sharks, currently seeded 5th, round out the teams in the west that should improve their goaltending in order to stand a chance to represent the Conference in the finals. Outside of the slipping Pekka Rinne, this is an extremely balanced team that has the right mix throughout the lineup to win the west. San Jose have cash, picks and an adequate prospect pool to make a move or two at the trade deadline.

Vancouver – holding down the 12th seed and being a contender for the Epic Failure, the Canucks believe they are snake bitten is close games. If that’s the case then the law of averages should prevail over the course of the remaining season and the Canucks should climb up the standings and challenge for the post season. Or perhaps they just need time for this balanced roster to mature – especially Jordan Billington – knowing that better days lay ahead in the near future.

Vegas – just on the outside looking in, the 9th seeded Golden Knights have a game in hand on the two teams tied in the standings just 2 points ahead of them and this is what makes the rest of the season exciting in the west. The best moves for Vegas might be to do nothing but save cash in order to re-sign Crosby as it is expected that several other GMs will covet him come free agency. I’d suggest cutting ties with Thomas Hickey and Andrew Cogliano in order to find roster depth improvements relatively cheaply.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login