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Trade deadline: How it impacts teams' playoff picture

2/26/2008 - NHL

All of the events leading up to the NHL's trade deadline are shot through the prism of the future.

For many teams, it's the immediate future (what did a team do to arm itself for the coming playoff wars?). For other teams, the future is further in the distance (how well did they arm themselves for future battles?).

Here's the post-deadline look at the playoff picture and whether teams are trending up, trending down or merely treading water. (Teams listed in order of the NHL standings heading into Tuesday night's action.)

Eastern Conference

• New Jersey Devils: One minor move to shore up the blue line with the addition of Bryce Salvador. Hey, if it's not broke. Trending up

• Ottawa Senators: Added veteran winner Martin Lapointe. Unless he can shake some sense into goalie Ray Emery, Lapointe's impact will be minimal. Trending sideways

• Carolina Hurricanes:
Added underachieving, oft-injured Tuomo Ruutu for Andrew Ladd. Maybe the Hurricanes get lucky. If not, no harm, no foul. Trending sideways

• Pittsburgh Penguins: Let's see. They got Marian Hossa, the most talented forward on the market, a useful penalty killer in Pascal Dupuis and a big defenseman in Hal Gill. Not a bad day's work. Trending up (way up)

• Montreal Canadiens: Gave up their starting netminder and didn't add anyone else. Curious, very curious. Trending down

• New York Rangers: Didn't get the puck-moving defenseman they wanted, but did add a little depth up front in Fredrik Sjostrom and Josh Gratton. Trending sideways

• Boston Bruins:
Did nothing. Is that enough? GM Peter Chiarelli better hope so. Trending sideways

• Philadelphia Flyers: Acquired Vaclav Prospal on Monday night to shore up the scoring. It might not be enough though. Trending up (slightly)

• Buffalo Sabres:
Didn't let Brian Campbell go for free. That's good. Had to trade him. That's bad. Got Steve Bernier and a first-round pick. That's good. May miss the playoffs. That's bad. Trending sideways

• New York Islanders: Didn't give up much (Marc-Andre Bergeron, Chris Simon), but didn't get anything, which means they'll inexplicably hang around the playoff picture for awhile longer. Trending sideways

• Washington Capitals: Got goaltending in Cristobal Huet, veteran scoring in Sergei Fedorov and a new gritty nuisance in Matt Cooke. Should get the adrenaline going in Washington. Trending up

• Toronto Maple Leafs: Given that interim GM Cliff Fletcher's mandate was to move pieces and start the rebuilding process in Toronto, getting two fifth-round picks and a second- and a third-round pick constitutes a monstrous flop. Trending down

• Florida Panthers:
The Panthers continued their trend of not really doing anything but shuffling the deck chairs on their slowly sinking ship. Brought in Chad Kilger and Wade Belak (did they just make those deals because the Leafs were already in town?) and Karlis Skrastins, while sending out Ruslan Salei. Same result: bye, bye, playoffs. Trending down

• Atlanta Thrashers:
Got excellent value for Marian Hossa, but failed to move other pieces like Bobby Holik and Mark Recchi. Already looking ahead to next season. Trending up (slightly)

• Tampa Bay Lightning:
Jay Feaster did a pretty darned good job in a pretty difficult situation. He got the defenseman he absolutely had to have – Dan Boyle – locked down for six more years. He got good value for the forward he had to trade, Brad Richards. Maybe got a goaltender for the future in Mike Smith and will now turn his attentions to extending Vincent Lecavalier's contract. Not bad considering the mess they might have been in Tuesday. Trending up

Western Conference

• Detroit Red Wings:
Picked up Brad Stuart from Los Angeles to add defensive depth, the one area that cost them in last season's Western Conference finals against Anaheim. The Wings have to get healthy, though, or none of this will matter. Trending sideways

• Dallas Stars:
Picked up a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner in Brad Richards and a more than capable backup netminder in Johan Holmqvist. Look out Anaheim, look out Detroit. Trending up (way up)

• Calgary Flames:
Sometimes you look at your team long enough and just don't want to mess around with it. That was GM Darryl Sutter's view. We'll find out in early April if he needs glasses. Trending sideways

• Anaheim Ducks:
We were a bit critical a year ago when GM Brian Burke didn't pull the trigger on a deadline deal outside of bringing in Brad May. This season, he added more depth with Marc-Andre Bergeron and backup netminder Jean-Sebastien Aubin to complement the recent return of Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer. We trust Burke knows what he's doing. Trending up

• San Jose Sharks:
GM Doug Wilson added one of the top defensemen available in Brian Campbell to address one of the team's most glaring weaknesses. Of course, we lauded the Sharks a year ago for adding Bill Guerin and Craig Rivet and they still spit the bit in the second round. Trending up

• Minnesota Wild:
Added Chris Simon to up the mayhem quotient should the Wild play Anaheim again in the first round. Still doesn't look like a Cup contender. Trending sideways

• Vancouver Canucks: Failed to land Brad Richards or any other scoring forward to help lessen the load on the Sedin twins. Swapped Matt Cooke for Matt Pettinger. The Canucks are no further ahead than they were at the end of last season, the start of the season or the beginning of this week. Is that good? Trending down

• Nashville Predators: The Preds weren't expected to do much, but did add Brandon Bochenski and Jan Hlavac in late deals to provide a little depth up front. Sometimes those late deals come in handy. Trending up

• Phoenix Coyotes:
No surprise the only deal Coyotes GM Don Maloney made was with his former club, the New York Rangers. Still, Maloney managed to get goaltending depth in Al Montoya and a forward who might some day be something in Marcel Hossa. Trending up

• Colorado Avalanche: Having signed Peter Forsberg on Monday night, the Avs added depth along the blue line in the form of Ruslan Salei and Adam Foote, who returned from Columbus. A lot of "ifs" and "maybes" in that Avs lineup. Trending up (in a 1990s sort of way)

• Columbus Blue Jackets:
Rookie GM Scott Howson ignored the temptation to buy a couple of rental players to try and squeeze into the playoffs and added some draft picks and prospects for the future. His challenge will be in the offseason. Trending up

• St. Louis Blues:
The Blues cleared some roster space by moving Bryce Salvador and Christian Backman, but really didn't get much in return (Cam Janssen and a fourth-round pick, respectively). Trending sideways

• Chicago Blackhawks: GM Dale Tallon didn't land the big fish he wanted (Richards or Forsberg), but he cleared the players that didn't fit long-term (Ruutu and Lapointe) and added another tough young player in Andrew Ladd. Trending sideways

• Edmonton Oilers:
The Oilers were silent on deadline day. Trending sideways

• Los Angeles Kings:
GM Dean Lombardi didn't move as much baggage as he'd hoped. Oh, well. There's always the offseason. Trending down

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.