FanPost

Trade Deadline Performance Review --> FHS Ultimate Dynasty League

I'm proud to announce the very first Fantasy Hockey Scouts Ultimate Dynasty League General Manager Trade Performance Review!

Or the FHSUDLGMTPR for those who like awkwardly long acronyms...

Special thanks to Dio for helping me prep for this review.
Seeing as I'm not an owner in this league, Dio helped in getting me acquainted with the league's intricacies.

This league is fantasy hockey at its finest. Its GMs are fearless. The trade hotlines were so off the hook that Verizon was THIS close to sponsoring the league! The waiver wire has been picked through like a coupon stash in a stay-at-home-mom convention. And the prospect pool has been drained so deep that the next generation of Staal brothers have already been drafted...

The Trade Deadline was Sunday, March 10th at 5PM ET.
A total of 28 deals were agreed upon.
90%
of all GMs (18 of 20) made at least one deal.

Reviewing all the action, reminded me of how the NHL Trade Deadline used to be. Good on the FHS-ers for bringing back the glory days!

In a perfect world, we'd like to think that every trade we make improves our franchise. But in reality even the most cold hard calculated trades could turn glorious or hideous in the most unexpected ways. As our eyes jump straight for those blockbuster trades, keep a lookout for those potential bittersweet silent victories.

My summaries for each team will consist of a netted out synopsis of all players "in" and "out" along with the respective salaries exchanged and their impact on the team's cap for next season.

I've assigned each team a "State" according to my "State of the Franchise" section explaining where each franchise currently sits.

The bottom line will be my overall grade (A to F scale, no curve) for the GMs trades and how they improve their team based on its "State".

The scoring for this league is as follows: G, A, DEF, PIM, SOG, Blk, Hit, 2G+A, FO%, STG, W, GAA, SV%, SH.
Min. of 3 goalie starts req'd per week to be eligible for the G ratio cats.

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League Standings as of Mar 17 2013, end of games.

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ATLANTA FLAMES

Donnie Lambert

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 4

IN: Zybnek Michalek (Free Agent), Josh Harding (2 years @ $2.0M), 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick, 5th round pick.

OUT: R.J. Umberger (2 years @ $3.0M), Evgeni Nabokov (UFA), Jack Campbell (Farm), 5th round pick.

CAP: Shed $1.0M -- possibly $3.0M -- should Harding remain on IR.

Taking on Harding's contract shouldn't be seen as overly problematic. If he's healthy, he plays. If he's not, his cap hit gets iced on IR. Jack Campbell essentially returned a 2nd round pick (via a Craig Anderson deal sandwiched in between). Not bad, but it's possible that Atlanta may have given up on the former 11th overall pick a tad prematurely. Not sure what to make of the Umberger deal. He's having a down year, to be sure, but he has the skill to warrant his salary and then some.

The Flames did well to add three draft picks in this summer's Prospect Draft. Donnie will be studying hard before the prospect draft to make those pay off. Hopefully He'll handle those draft picks well and hopefully he's right on shipping out Campbell!

Overall, a bit mixed. See the note at the bottom of the review regarding "finishing a trade" and making those draft picks pay off.

GRADE: B-/C+

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BROOKLYN ACES

Mike Benedicks

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 1

IN: Roman Josi (2 years @ $1.5M)

OUT: Dennis Wideman (UFA)

CAP: Added $1.5M

Brooklyn sat on the sidelines until the day of the deadline when they negotiated a deal with league-leading Hamilton sending top rental rearguard Dennis Wideman out in exchange for young rising blue liner Roman Josi. Josi hasn't lit up the scoreboard like fellow sophomore Slava Voynov, however he has shown steady improvement including several multi point games and comes with a friendly cap hit for two more years. Look for Josi's points and blocks to give him good value in the future. No harm shipping out Wideman who's a UFA.

Overall, Nice work by the patient Aces who added a young player on the rise.

GRADE: B+

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CHILLIWACK ROYALS

JSuites

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 2

IN: Brad Richards (3 years @ $5.0M), Andrew Cogliano (Free Agent), 4th round pick.

OUT: Steve Downie, RW (2 years @ $3.5M), Lee Stempniak, RW (UFA), Matt Cullen (UFA), 3rd round pick.

CAP: Added $1.5M

No team in the UDL was decimated by injuries like Chilliwack was. JSuites must have ran over a litter of kittens during a drunken road rage on the way home from the whore house to deserve this. Whatever the case may be, the injury situation pretty much dictated that they would be sellers. Nonetheless, they were inactive until very close to the deadline when Dubai came a-knocking in need of cap relief.

Steve Downie has been on season-ending IR, so his salary will not count versus the cap this year meaning that Dubai effectively cleared $5M in space for their playoff run.

Chilliwack seemed more than happy to take Brad Richards off their books and off their roster. We have, however, some doubt as to whether Richards will produce enough to warrant his salary. He's having a bit of a down season. At 33 years old, with 3 more years on his contract, it's a legitimate question.

Despite their record of 35-65-12, this franchise is tagged "In-between a rock and a hard place" because of their injuries this year and their legit chance of becoming a playoff team next year.

TEAM: B-

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DETROIT VIPERS

Sheldon Dueck

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 2

IN: Joe Pavelski (2 years @ $5.6M), Sergei Gonchar (UFA), Joe Corvo (Free Agent)

OUT: Pascal Dupuis (2 years @ $3.5M), Jason Chimera (1 year @ $2.5M), Sheldon Souray (1 year @ 1.25M), 1st round pick, 2nd round pick

Detroit is going for it this year. A sort of quiet contender until recently they now sit in a virtual tie for 1st place in the Patrick. Moreover, they were the most aggressive within their division in taking action to improve.

Joe Pavelski is their prized acquisition. Though his yearly point total seems to plateau around the 60+ point mark, he remains youthful and dependable (streaks aside). This trade appears to be a "Sell high" on Dupuis and a "Buy low" on Pavelski. Time will tell, but Pavelski will have to significantly outperform Pascal Dupuis for this trade to be considered a success.

Gonchar was a solid short term addition. Especially with Karlsson now on the shelf. And Corvo, in theory, could make up for the loss of Souray. But dealing away both their 1st and their 2nd means they need a deep, deep playoff run to justify their moves.

GRADE: C+

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DUBAI MIGHTY CAMEL

Clinton Pope

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 2

IN: Milan Lucic (2 years @ $6.5M), Steve Downie (2 years @ $3.5M), Drew Stafford (1 year @ $3.5M), Lee Stempniak (UFA), Brent Seabrook (2 years @ $4.7M), Brian Elliott (1 year @ $4.4M), 3rd round pick.

OUT: Brad Richards (3 years @ $5.0M), Tyler Ennis (3 years @ $4.1M), Kyle Okposo (2 years @ $2.5M), Kevin Bieksa (2 years @ $3.5M), Mathew Dumba (Farm), 2nd round pick.

CAP: Added $7.5M.

Dubai was involved in two of the biggest deals to go down. Yes, that's right, all those players were exchanged in just two trades. Currently sitting in 4th place in the somewhat sleepy Smythe, the Mighty Camels executed two bold moves right at the deadline.

In the process, they paid full value and took on more salary than any other team in the UDL. Moreover, they also parted with a pair of significant future assets: multicat D prospect Matt Dumba and their 2nd round pick.

In the final analysis, we are not so sure that Lucic, Stafford, Stemniak and Seabrook upgrade Richards, Ennis, Okposo and Bieksa enough to warrant the prices paid. Esp. not at the additional cost of a blue chip prospect and their 2nd round pick.

Currently "In-between a rock and a hard place", the Mighty Camel's could jump up the standings with better goaltender performance. It's possible the trade of Roberto Luongo (in the NHL) could spark better goalie stats for his team. It's possible the acquisition of Brian Elliot could help them in the near future, but it's more likely that his 2011-2012 stats were the product of the team in front of him. And since he's not exactly considered a "franchise goaltender" in St. Louis, time will tell if acquiring him was a flop.

GRADE: C

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HAMILTON TIGERS

Cam Collingwood

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 6

IN: R.J. Umberger (2 years @ $3.0M), Matt Cullen (UFA), Vaclav Prospal (UFA), Christian Ehrhoff (1 year @ $4.2M), Dennis Wideman (UFA), Craig Anderson (UFA), Filip Forsberg (Farm), Ben Scrivens (Farm), Brian Dumoulin (Farm)

OUT: Shane Doan (1 year @ $4.3M), Andrew Cogliano (Free Agent), Kris Letang (1 year @ $7.9M), Roman Josi (2 years @ $1.5M), Josh Harding (2 years @ $2.0M), Matt Fraser (Farm), Kevin Connauton (Farm), 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick, 4th round pick

CAP: Shed $8.5M

It should come as no surprise to FHS readers that Hamilton is the current frontrunner in the UDL. Not only do they have the lead in the race for the President's Trophy, they were able to simultaneously:

A) add key pieces for their title run while
B) shedding a prodigious amount of salary and
C) substantially upgrade their farm system.

No GM is supposed to be able to do all three of those things at the same.
With only 1 year left on Letang's contract, this was a great time to deal him.

There is the matter of dealing away their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks, however, Forsberg, Dumoulin, and Scrivens -- should more than offset this. Cam has essentially used those draft picks to get the prospects he wants, rather than waiting for the next prospect draft.

Overall, a virtuoso performance by the wily veteran.

GRADE: A+

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HANNOVER TURTLES

Elliot Lui

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 0

GM Elliot Lui reportedly slept through Deadline Day.

Not trading at the trade deadline is like not doing your homework the day your SUPER HOT teacher hands you a pile of nudie magazines and says "STUDY HARD, YOU'RE GET'N A POP QUIZ TOMORROW!"

GRADE: F

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KAMLOOPS BLAZERS

Greg Cundari

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 0

Unlike Hannover, Kamloops worked the lines pretty hard for a few weeks prior to Deadline Day. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. We don't have all the details of what the Blazers considered, but we trust their judgment--especially given that they kicked a lot of tires.

Though the Blazers are within playoff reach, the franchise state of "In-between a rock and a hard place " reflects my fear of this team becoming playoff fodder (aka, out in the first round). My best advice is to hold onto your core assets while focusing on rounding out your depth & prospects. Sadly, that's quiet possibly the hardest thing for a GM to do (which might be why the trade talks came up empty).

GRADE: C

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KANSAS CITY SCOUTS

Andrew Black

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Playoff tickets and popcorn**

Trades: 2

IN: 2nd round pick, 4th round pick

OUT: Tyler Bozak (1 year @ $1.25M), Dustin Penner (Free Agent)

CAP: SHED $1.25M

Kansas City was a clearly-defined seller, and although they weren't tremendously active, they did improve their positioning for next season. It will be interesting to see how well they are able to replace Bozak's production after only clearing an additional $1.25M in space. We think that's a pretty tall order, but one that can be filled. The 2nd round pick is a significant plus.

Bottom line is to make those draft picks pay big for the future!

GRADE: B

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LAS VEGAS ICE DICE

Mark Harding

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 3

IN: David Moss (UFA), Matt Beleskey (Free Agent)

OUT: 3rd round pick

CAP: No change.

You may be wondering how that adds up to 3 trades. Well, first Las Vegas traded a 3rd round pick for a 4th and a 5th. Then, in separate deals, they traded the 4th for Moss and the 5th for Beleskey. No major moves, but the type of small tweaks that can put a contender over the top without giving up much in future years. Bonus points for the creativity to envision splitting the 3rd rounder into two picks and then executing on that vision by converting them into helpful pieces of the puzzle for the Ice Dice.

Time will tell on Beleskey as he has some potential to score. To up his production he'll have to make some big jumps on his team's depth chart. In the mean time he gets other categories outside of goals and assists which makes him a good depth forward.

Overall, grabbing a few depth forwards is nice for a franchise who's state is "Light the lamp".

GRADE: B

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LINKOPINGS HOCKEY CLUB

Brad Allen

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 5

IN: Martin Hanzal (2 years @ $1.75M) Peter Mueller (3 years @ $2.0M) Mike Cammalleri (UFA) John Carlson (3 years @ $4.6M) Erik Johnson (2 years @ $3.0M) Corey Potter (Free Agent), Matt Fraser (Farm), Kevin Connauton (Farm), Dustin Tokarski (Farm), 1st round pick.

OUT: Drew Stafford (1 year @ $3.5M), Derick Brassard (1 year @ $1.5M), Wojtek Wolski (UFA), Christian Ehrhoff (1 year @ $4.2M), Filip Forsberg (Farm), Ben Scrivens (Farm), 3rd round pick, 5th round pick.

CAP: Added $2.15M

Lost in the shuffle is that Linkopings did a blockbuster deal with Hamilton to acquire Kris Letang and then several weeks later dealt Letang to the Sparta Warriors. We didn't like the side receiving Letang on either occasion, but for the most part that "netted out" for Linkopings.

Acquiring a 1st round pick in the upcoming UDL Prospect Draft was well done, and we like Carlson and his contract, but the loss of over $2M in cap space and the loss of Forsberg, who could be a superstar in a couple years, stings a bit.

GRADE: B+

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MACON WHOOPEE

Kyle LeSouder

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 1

IN: Chris Stewart (UFA), 3rd round pick

OUT: 1st round pick, 5th round pick.

CAP: no change

Is anyone hotter than Chris Stewart right now? CStew is playing at a 40 goal pace and provides good peripherals, but the 1st round pick -- even with a 3rd coming back -- is a bit of a risk. In the UDL, the "Frozen Four" (ie, the four semifinalists) are not eligible for a Top 4 pick in that year's Prospect Draft. If Macon executes on it's plan to make a deep run in the playoffs -- and there is no reason to doubt them as they have consistently been ranked in the Top 2-3 teams from the get-go -- the value of that 1st rounder is reduced significantly. And, of course, their chances of making a deep run are improved by adding a player of Stewart's caliber.

With Stewie near point per game this year and two years ago, it makes you wonder if last year's performance (30 points in 79 games) was the outlier. While St. Louis continues to fire on all cylinders, so does Stewie and so will Whoopee.

GRADE: B+

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MONTREAL WANDERERS

TJ Weltzer

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 1

IN: Alex Steen

OUT: Chris Stewart, 4th round pick

CAP: no change

The Wanderers had a big hole at LW and they filled it well by adding Steen. They threw in a 4th rounder to grease the skids after projecting that they would only have room on their farm for their top 3 draft picks. Assuming they have planned accurately, that's a nice touch.

Because Stewart has more of a history of hits and PIMs than Steen, goals are worth more than assists, and a 4th round pick is worth more than nothing, TJ may have given up more value than he received.

GRADE: C

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ODESSA JACKALOPES

Master of Puppets

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Playoff tickets and popcorn**

Trades: 1

IN: 5th round pick

OUT: Matt Beleskey

CAP: no change

No much to see here. Mostly hand-sitting for the Jackalopes. Their GM took a "wait and see" approach with so many new variables. On the one hand, you cannot blame him. On the other hand, you do.

Though the Jackalopes' roster is fluttered with some good "names", the statistical performance just isn't there. This should be a sign to sell! If the selling doesn't commence this coming summer, let it commence next season as soon as there are two unsuccessful & unproductive weeks in a row.

GRADE: D

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QUEBEC REMPARTS

Diomedes7

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 10

IN: Ryan O'Reilly (3 years @ $4.3M), Jonas Brodin (Farm), Tyler Toffoli (Farm), Andrey Vasilevski (Farm), and 1st Round pick.

OUT: Mikhail Grabovski (2 years @ $3.0M, Alexander Steen (UFA), David Moss (UFA), Sergei Gonchar (UFA), Marek Zidlicky (UFA), Zybnek Michalek (Free Agent), Tomas Vokoun (Free Agent), Alex Stalock (Farm), and 5th Round pick.

CAP: Added $1.3M.

Quebec was one of the most active teams leading up to the deadline and participated in a total of 10 trades with 10 different teams.

Most of the veterans they dealt were on expiring contracts. Clearly, they were looking to get younger. The prospects they landed are quite good, although not without question marks. For Brodin it's his offensive ceiling. For Toffoli it's whether he can adapt to the speed of the NHL game. And for Vasilevski it's whether or not (and if) he can develop into a full time NHLer. Nonetheless, all are attractive additions, and make the Remparts farm system one of the best in the UDL.

Ryan O'Reilly was the lone established player added to their roster. O'Reilly is on a somewhat pricey $4.3M/year contract which has another 3 full years on it. He's excellent on faceoffs and has some scoring upside, but he doesn't provide much in the way of peripherals. The best thing that could have happened to O'Reilly was getting moved out of Colorado by way of offer sheet or trade. But because Colorado matched the offer sheet we'll see O'Reilly in an Avalanche jersey for a while longer.

Overall, the massive amounts of UFA losses is very "manageable" with the depth left on Dio's team. Considering the solid prospects and the 1st rounder, this squad looks even better for the future while still having a shot at winning this year. Does make you wonder though what this team could do had they kept, say, Stewart and Gonchar.

Grade: A-

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SAN DIEGO GULLS

Jay Meyer

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Playoff tickets and popcorn**

Trades: 6

IN: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3 years @ $7.4M), Henrik Zetterberg (2 years @ $5.4M), Tyler Ennis (3 years @ $4.1M), Pascal Dupuis (2 years @ $3.5M), Kyle Okposo (2 years @ $2.5M), Derick Brassard (1 year @ $1.5M), Wojtek Wolski (UFA), Adam Larsson (3 years @ $3.0M), Kevin Bieksa (2 years @ $3.5M), Sheldon Souray (1 year @ $1.25M), Tomas Vokoun (Free Agent), Mathew Dumba (Farm), 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, 5th round pick.

OUT: Corey Perry (3 years @ $8.5M), Milan Lucic (2 years @ $6.5M), Joe Pavelski (2 years @ $5.6M), Jason Chimera (1 year @ $2.5M), Milan Michalek (UFA), Brent Seabrook (2 years @ $4.7M) , Erik Johnson (2 years @ $3.0M), Ryan Whitney (3 years @ $1.5M), Joe Corvo (Free Agent), Corey Potter (Free Agent), Sami Salo (Free Agent), Brian Elliott (1 year, $4.4M), Tyler Toffoli (Farm), Dustin Tokarski (Farm), 3rd round pick.

CAP: Shed $4.55M

We like that the Gulls were able to clear significant cap space. That will make them a player in the auction that is free agency, however, we are not fans of acquiring a lot of "soff" players at the expense of multicat studs like Perry, Lucic, and Seabrook. I'm not sure I understand the acquisition of Tomas Vokoun seeing as he's most likely not in this franchise's big picture.

You cannot fault for the team for lack of activity or of panache, however, when it is all said and done, the end result is like that old U2 song, "Running to Stand Still."

GRADE: C-

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SHEFFIELD STEELERS

Alex Razor

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 1

IN: Marek Zidlicky (UFA), 2nd round pick

OUT: Jonas Brodin (Farm), 4th round pick

CAP: No change.

This is a great example of a "tweak" trade that helps a team in playoff contention. Adding a sneakily productive defenceman rental in Zidlicky + getting a 2nd round pick was excellent value on the unproven Brodin. Though he's very young, Brodin isn't looking to produce many stats anyways so getting some statistical production for him is a plus.

GRADE: B+

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SPARTA WARRIORS

Roy Kvatningen

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 6

IN: Corey Perry (3 years @ $8.5M), Shane Doan (1 year @ $4.3M), Tyler Bozak (1 year @ $1.25M), Milan Michalek (UFA), Kris Letang (1 year @ $7.9M), Ryan Whitney (3 years @ $1.5M), Evgeni Nabokov (UFA), Jack Campbell (Farm), 4th round pick, 4th round pick, 5th round pick.

OUT: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3 years @ $7.4M), Henrik Zetterberg (2 years @ $5.4M), Peter Mueller (3 years @ $2M), Martin Hanzal (2 years @ $1.75M), Vaclav Prospal (UFA), John Carlson (3 years @ $4.6M), Adam Larsson (3 years @ $3.0M), Craig Anderson (UFA), Brian Dumoulin (Farm), 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick.

CAP: Shed $700k

Sparta was the most ambitious of all teams in what they did via trade. The brought in a pair true superstars in Kris Letang and Corey Perry and improved their farm system by the addition of Top 10 goaltending prospect Jack Campbell. They also put themselves in a good position for next campaign as both Shane Doan and Tyler Bozak have another year on their contracts. And they offloaded the suboptimal contracts of Ryan Whitney, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Adam Larsson. Additionally, they cleared $700k in cap space. That's the good stuff.

On the less appealing side, they traded 90% of the value of their draft picks in this year's UDL Prospect Draft. On Deadline Day, a GM from a different team was overheard saying, "It's like Sparta is allergic to high draft picks." Moreover, they gave up high value multi-year contracts in Henrik Zetterberg, Martin Hanzal, and John Carlson while taking on a bad one in Ryan Whitney (a buyout may be necessary, and while it wouldn't be prohibitive, it would erase the modest cap space that had otherwise created).

Overall, they positioned themselves well for the 2013-14 season. The problem comes in subsequent years, but we suppose GM Roy Kvatningen will ford that stream when he comes to it. He has proven himself more than capable in pulling off blockbuster trades.

GRADE: B+

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UPPER CANADA PATRIOTS

Mark Hillier

STATE OF FRANCHISE: In-between a rock and a hard place**

Trades: 3

IN: Dustin Penner (Free Agent), 5th round pick

OUT: Mike Cammalleri (UFA)

CAP: No change

Upper Canada put Cammalleri on the block in early February and was finally able to move him at the 11th hour on Deadline Day. We are not sure though how, for a team with playoff aspirations, Dustin "Pancakes" Penner will be an upgrade over Mike Cammalleri.

This squad has several solid players to build its franchise around; however, not enough was done to improve the team for the near future years. This squad is looking like either playoff "fodder" or a playoff "near miss". It's possible a good move could have been (and still could be) declaring a short rebuild stint and trading Ryan Getzlaf for two arms and a leg (in terms of value). Getzlaf, age 27, still has boatloads of fantasy value and should be shopped accordingly. Worst case, you keep him and try to build around him.

GRADE: C-

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WOLFSBURG GRIZZLY ADAMS

James Neeson

STATE OF FRANCHISE: Light the lamp**

Trades: 2

IN: Mikhail Grabovski (2 years, $3.0M), Alex Stalock (Farm), 3rd round pick, 3rd round pick.

OUT: Ryan O'Reilly (3 years, $4.3M), Andrey Vasilevski (Farm), 4th round pick, 5th round pick.

CAP: Shed $1.3M.

Wolfsburg swapped a 4th and 5th for a 3rd, and the rest of the action you see above was the result of one trade.

GM James Neeson is a Maple Leafs fan and knows Grabovski well. His $3.0M cap hit is certainly very good value. And he cleared a fairly significant chunk of cap space going forward. With that savings he should be able to pick up a good 3rd line forward or outbid other teams on a more of a core type player.

The big question for them will be Ryan O'Reilly. If he goes on to become a star, Wolfsburg may regret this trade. In the near term though it's hard to say he lost much. Though Grabovski will produce some depth quality stats, his production has plateaued with no big upside coming anytime soon.

Parting with Andrey Vasilevski was costly, but Alex Stalock is getting some action with San Jose in the big league so Wolfsburg clearly wanted help sooner rather than later.

Though they're just a rock's throw away from the division lead, I see something missing from this team before they are a true cup contender. Another tweak or two could have helped. And it's possible there was more to be desired in return for the players he shipped out.

GRADE: C

*"Free Agent" indicates that the player was acquired via FAAB and is therefore eligible to be re-signed for 1-2 years at the GM's discetion. Each team has the ability to extend up to two Free Agents per season.

**"State Of Franchise" indicates this franchise's "State" for the present and near future. The States are as follows:

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Anything less, would be uncivilized - Your franchise is primed and ready for a big win. Making the post season is a given. Winning a round or two is as easy as ordering a cup of coffee. Your only fear is the combination of your core players having an "off week" and your opponent's having an "on week". Make tweak trades as opposed to "overhaul" trades to round out your depth so you can absorb a few key players having off weeks during the post season.

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Light the Lamp - Your franchise has the ability to win now and in the near future. It may take a fully healthy squad and a good bounce or two, but it's in the cards. Many teams will fall into this category. Tweak trades are best. But you still lack that one big weapon somewhere on your roster. Consider all your options when looking to fill that void. Focus on trades that help you win now, and still help you over the course of the next couple years so you can keep your winning window alive for as long as possible.

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In-between a rock and a hard place - Your franchise is on the cusp of being a playoff team and out of the picture. This state is critical because the GM must make a gut check and determine if his team has what it takes to win. If not, all trades must be made for the future of your franchise. You must accept that fact that even if you make the playoffs you're a long shot at best. Whatever you do, do not be the NHL's Calgary Flames! They have been in this state for years and have set themselves up with one of the worst prospect pools/active roster combinations in the league! Actually, if you Google "Calgary Flame's GM" you may even see this picture! Moral of the story, if you're in this state, don't be afraid to sell a key asset whose stat production will decline within the next 5 years. Try to set yourself up as a dominating team at some point x years from now.

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Playoff tickets and popcorn - These aren't locker room keys nor are they backstage passes. They're bleacher seats. There's nothing wrong with being in this state if you're making moves to improve your franchise's future! Have no shame. Don't be afraid to discretely advertise your assets and get some behind closed doors bidding competition between other GMs. Sell all assets that don't fit your team's long-term future, and make sure to sell them while they have value. Try to set yourself up with a dominate team some point x years from now. In the free agency auction, target players who will have good trade value so you can set yourself up with some long term assets.

My number one piece of advice for guys who traded assets for draft picks is to finish your trades. If you've traded players for draft picks, your work is far from done! Don't think that you're entitled to drafting better players just because you have two 1st round picks and another GM has zero. Scouting is critical at this point, especially if you're rebuilding and relying on good prospects to come into your system. Put the research in and make good decisions. Be that GM that makes other GM's say "I traded a draft pick that became <insert good player here>, what was I thinking!?!?"

Feel free to let me know in the comments section if/why/how you think I'm off base and/or provide your own analysis of any team(s) you like. Show us your chops!

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