DALLAS - MARCH 31: Left wing Steve Ott #29 of the Dallas Stars skates for the puck against Rob Blake #4 of the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center on March 31, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NHL's Pacific Division At The 2011 Trade Deadline: Rumors And Expectations

The Pacific Division is completely up for grabs and all five teams are considered buyers in this deadline market. SB Nation's Mike Chen takes a look at what to expect from the Sharks, Ducks, Stars, Kings and Coyotes in the next week.

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Anaheim Ducks At The 2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Rumors, Needs And Expectations

It’s been an up-and-down season for the Anaheim Ducks. When captain Ryan Getzlaf went out with a nasty sinus injury, all seemed lost. However, talented super-pest Corey Perry came to the rescue, along with some stellar play from Jonas Hiller, and the Ducks went from Western Conference also-rans to contenders for the Pacific Division title.

The recent move to get Francois Beauchemin addressed a desperate need for blueline depth, while gritty (and some would say dirty) Jarkko Ruutu fits the Anaheim mold. Of course, there’s always room for more, especially with Jonas Hiller’s recent battles with balance and fatigue, along with the not-so-impressive play of backup Curtis McElhinney.

Status: Buyer

Need: Stability in goal, secondary depth on both forward and defense.

Players On The Block: Todd Marchant ($1.125 million), Andreas Lilja ($0.6 million), Jason Blake ($4 million)

Prediction: A two-way depth forward could be in the mix, but the move to get a backup goaltender is a must.

Further Reading From Anaheim Calling

This story was written by Mike Chen.


Dallas Stars At The 2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Rumors, Needs And Expectations

Every team in the Pacific Division has been up and down, but it sure seems like every team except the Dallas Stars is trending up as the playoff race heats up. The Stars had a big lead for the division crown, only to see it evaporate as they went on an ugly losing streak.

With yesterday’s move to grab Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen, the Stars have tried to replace the offensive-defenseman hole that Sergei Zubov filled for many years. The move also clears potential cap space while GM Joe Nieuwendyk takes a run at keeping Brad Richards around past this summer. So that move is big-picture in many ways, leaving the immediate future open to this week’s results.

Status: On the bubble – another bad week and things get much uglier around the hyper-competitive Western Conference. Factor in an uncertain ownership situation and it’s as murky as Texas chili.

Need: Penalty-kill help, defensive depth

Players On The Block: Brad Richards ($7.8 million), Mike Ribiero ($5 million), Karlis Skrastins ($1.375 million)

Prediction: The Stars stay low-key following their big deal and add defensive depth for minimal roster movement.

Further Reading From Defending Big D

This story was written by Mike Chen.


Los Angeles Kings At The 2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Rumors, Needs And Expectations

Just like their Southern California brethren, the Kings seemed left-for-dead not too long ago. Now they’re back in the thick of things, both in the Western Conference battle and the race for the Pacific Division crown. The entire team has been streaky, with just about every player having moments of glory and disappointment.

GM Dean Lombardi is a pragmatist when it comes to contracts and cap space, and Lombardi also wants to build a tough "Canadian" style team. The role of scoring winger still hasn’t been fulfilled since the Kings lost out in the wacky Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes over the summer. With Jonathan Bernier rounding into form after playing behind Jonathan Quick all season, it might be time to move him for a top-line forward.

Status: Buyer

Need: Power play help, scoring winger

Players On The Block: Michal Handzus ($4 million), Alexei Ponikarovski ($3.2 million), Jonathan Bernier ($0.843 million)

Prediction: The Kings keep both of their goaltenders but get some depth on forward without making any blockbuster moves.

Further Reading From Jewels From The Crown

This story was written by Mike Chen.


Phoenix Coyotes At The 2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Rumors, Needs And Expectations

Every time we keep doubting the Phoenix Coyotes, they just continue to win – despite not having any players hitting the 20-goal mark so far. Dave Tippett’s disciplined, efficient system continues to win games, especially with Ilya Bryzgalov heating up.

The ownership situation continues to loom overhead, meaning that GM Don Maloney has to make tough, honest decisions regarding Phoenix’s large crop of upcoming UFAs. Even though Bryzgalov is part of that group, he’s probably the one UFA that’s absolutely safe from moving anywhere, especially with Phoenix currently in the lead for the oh-so-tight Pacific Division.

Status: Buyer and seller. With ownership still uncertain, asset management is extra important to the Coyotes.

Need: Blueline help to stabilize the penalty kill, scoring in any form, a power play specialist to boost a bottom-third extra-man unit.

Players On The Block: Radim Vrbata ($3 million), Scottie Upshall ($2.25 million), Vernon Fiddler ($1.1 million), Eric Belanger ($0.75 million), Ed Jovanovski ($6.5 million)

Prediction: Don Maloney probably doesn’t want to mess with his team chemistry (or whatever goals-for he has), but some lateral moves to get assets for UFA contracts seems to be in the cards.

Further Reading From Five For Howling

This story was written by Mike Chen.


San Jose Sharks At The 2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Rumors, Needs And Expectations

In January, the San Jose Sharks looked a shell of their former selves, unable to score goals, keep leads, or prevent the puck from going in. Following a six-game losing streak, the Sharks have been impressive and have sustained momentum for a few weeks.

With balance returning to the forward attack, GM Doug Wilson seems to have made his moves already by acquiring two-way forward Kyle Wellwood, tough guy Ben Eager, and two-way defenseman Ian White. That basically hit all of the marks on Doug Wilson’s checklist, and the only real question mark (on paper) seems to be a backup goalie to replace the injured Antero Niittymaki.

Status: Buyer

Need: Backup goaltending to play behind Antti Niemi, and whatever magic elixir can make this fantastic-on-paper group play to their theoretical potential.

Players On The Block: Devin Setoguchi ($1.8 million), Kent Huskins ($1.7 million), Niclas Wallin ($1.7 million)

Prediction: With most needs met with recent acquisitions, San Jose’s only activity will probably be to shed cap space to the Eastern Conference if they can find a taker for either Huskins or Wallin.

Further Reading From Fear The Fin

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