10 off-season acquisitions helping their teams get into the playoffs

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

There has been no personnel move during this season, at or before the trade deadline, that has had as much impact, immediate or otherwise, as the Minnesota Wild scoring Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes.

Dubnyk, who has appeared in every single game since coming to Minnesota, has taken the Wild from a team on the brink of losing their season to the hottest team in hockey. Bringing in Dubnyk could make Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher the GM of the Year at the end of the season.

However, most roster constructing is done during the summer as teams look to rebuild or supplement existing pieces in their chase for the Stanley Cup. As such, these are the 10 off-season acquisitions, either through trade or free agency, that are paying off as teams enter the stretch run and battle for playoff position.

Honorable mention goes to the coaching tandem of Barry Trotz and Mitch Korn, who have made the Washington Capitals a team to be feared come the postseason and turned Braden Holtby into a brilliant backstopper. Read more

Ryan Kesler got crushed by former teammate Zack Kassian

Jared Clinton
Zack Kassian (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

For three seasons, Zack Kassian and Ryan Kesler were teammates. However, after an offseason trade sent Kesler to Anaheim, they became division rivals. Monday evening, Kassian gave his former teammate a taste of what it means to be on the receiving end of Kassian’s crash and bang style of play.

Early in the first period, Kesler had his head down to locate and battle for a loose puck with Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev trailing him closely. Before Kesler could get his head up to make himself aware of his surroundings, Kassian was there to put him on his back: Read more

Corey Perry robbed by Eddie Lack’s split-legged toe save

Jared Clinton
Eddie Lack (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

At 6-foot-4, 187 pounds, Eddie Lack has a bit of a size advantage on most NHL goaltenders. That doesn’t make his toe stop on Corey Perry any less impressive, however.

With Anaheim attacking on the power play early in the second period, the puck got worked around to newly acquired Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski. Wisniewski spotted Perry wide-open in front of the net and delivered a perfect tape-to-tape pass, which Perry likely should have been able to tap in to tie the game. Instead, Lack’s toe saved the day: Read more

Henrik Sedin breaks 900 points, still probably underappreciated

Ryan Kennedy
Henrik Sedin (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The good people of Vancouver may have championed some questionable heroes in the past (Todd Bertuzzi, Swollen Members, etc.), but you can’t knock their love for the Sedin twins. With Henrik Sedin notching career point No. 900 and beyond Tuesday night in a loss to San Jose, it is once again time to ponder when the rest of the hockey world will catch up.

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Prospect Hot List: Thomas Chabot is burning up the draft charts

Thomas Chabot grabs the puck (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Though a lot of draft choices were moved at the NHL trade deadline, not a lot of prospects changed addresses. Dallas got a couple mid-table guys from Detroit in the Erik Cole deal, but the big prize was Maxim Letunov. The smart and skilled Russian went from St. Louis to Arizona, though he’ll hit up Boston University first. Here’s a look at some of the other players making noise in the prospect world.

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THN Trade Deadline preview: Pacific Division

Jeff Petry (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks may be running away with the division title, but it’s the recent surge by the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings that is the story right now. Following eight straight wins, Los Angeles has gone from the outside looking in to nipping at the heels of the Vancouver Canucks for second place in the Pacific.

And if the wild-card race wasn’t tight enough in the Western Conference with the play of the Minnesota and Winnipeg in the Central, San Jose and Calgary only a breath back of the Wild for the final wild-card berth.

At the bottom of the table sits Edmonton, set for yet another year of building for the future, and Arizona, shedding weight in favor of a youth movement in hopes the team can become a consistent contender in the near future. Both squads have players that are ready to move, and it could end up being they are dealt within the division. Read more

Vancouver’s playoff drive now depends on Eddie Lack

Ryan Kennedy
Eddie Lack (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

There is no doubt that the Western Conference playoff race is going to be a dogfight down the stretch, particularly since a couple of elite teams are still vying for a foothold. The Vancouver Canucks are in a good place right now, holding down second place in the Pacific, but with starter Ryan Miller out weeks with a lower body injury, the crease is now property of Eddie Lack.

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Tom Sestito and Canucks cut ties, team looks to move him

Jared Clinton
sestito

Two days into the New Year, the Vancouver Canucks put Tom Sestito on waivers. He was then demoted to the Utica Comets on Jan. 3. Now, less than two months after being sent to the AHL, the Canucks organization and Sestito are going their separate ways.

The Canucks announced yesterday that Sestito, 27, has been removed from the Comets roster and, “will not play for either club for the remainder of this season.” In the release, the Canucks announced Sestito will continue receiving his $750,000 salary. Read more