Evaluating the postdeadline West

Kings get big help in Dustin Penner for their playoff push

Updated: February 28, 2011, 10:12 PM ET
By E.J. Hradek | ESPN The Magazine
Dustin PennerJames Guillory/US PresswireDustin Penner makes Los Angeles even stronger.

The Western Conference race has been as close as anything we've seen in league history. Just several days ago, for example, the entire Pacific Division was separated by just two points. That's ridiculous.

The chase for the final six playoff spots figures to go right to the bitter end. GMs throughout the conference have been seeking any edge they can find. Some made moves while others decided to stand pat. There were others (Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk) who were forced to make some real tough decisions.

Here's my take on how deadline day went down in the wild, wild West.


Detroit Red Wings
It was a quiet day in Hockeytown. GM Ken Holland has been relatively happy with his strong roster. The Red Wings didn't have much cap space to make a deal, so they watched from the sidelines. They won't be doing that in the playoffs. If they can stay healthy, the Wings could win another Cup.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.