We're back and as an added bonus for today's look around the Central, we'll be talking trades. Every single team in the division has made a move of some kind within the last couple of weeks minus the Wings, and we'll be giving our take on not only the teams' weeks but also any moves they made. Let's get right into it.
Season Record: 34-23-6, 74 Points (2nd in Central, 6th in West)
The Skinny: The Blackhawks have won 5 straight games to get themselves back into a playoff position, but still sit 10 points behind the Wings.
The Hawks big roster move this week was the re-signing of Brent Seabrook to a 5-year extension, ensuring the Hawks will go even longer without being able to afford any quality depth players.
Trade: The Hawks were not active, and the only move they made was done out of necessity. They picked up Chris Campoli from the Senators for Ryan Potulny and draft picks going each way. This move will likely not have a ton of impact, as it was only done because the Hawks lost Jordan Hendry for the year to a knee injury.
Season Record: 32-23-8, 72 Points (3rd in Central, 10th in West)
Skinny: Remember when the Preds were hot on the heels of the Wings for the division? Going 4-5-1 in your last 10 while the rest of the conference starts to heat up is going to drop you pretty quickly.
The Preds snapped a 4 game losing streak with a win over the surging Blue Jackets on Sunday, a game that had some nastiness at the end when Shea Weber was hit by R.J. Umberger right at the end of the game. Could we see a rivalry brewing? (Short answer: who cares? It's Nashville and Columbus).
Trade: The Predators did not make a move on deadline day, and the only trade they made was to bring Carrie Underwood's husband to Nashville in order to further her career.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
Season Record: 31-24-6, 68 Points (4th in Central, 12th in West)
Skinny: The BJs are certainly not going down without a fight, having won 7 of their last 10 games. In that time, they've beaten the following teams: Red Wings, Blackhawks, Predators, Stars, Penguins and Coyotes. That's pretty impressive.
The BJs are in the thick of the playoff race in the West, still within spitting distance of that 8th and final spot. Of course, getting in for the BJs would likely mean a first round matchup against either the Canucks or Wings, a series that might be tough to swallow for BJ fans.
Trade: The BJs were not that active on the trade market, but they did make one move yesterday, trading perennial underachiever Rostislav Klesla to the Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto. Upshall will give them some scoring depth and Lepisto is a solid puck moving defenseman, and the only roster player they gave up was Klesla who never developed into the number one d-man they thought he would when they drafted him.
St Louis Blues:
Season Record: 28-25-9, 65 Points (5th in Central, 13th in West)
Skinny: Talk about a schizophrenic team. The roller coaster continues as they lost 4 of their past 5 games after winning 3 straight. The Blues are going to struggle to make the playoffs (you heard it here first: they are not making it), and losing to all the teams you're chasing is not the way to make up ground (even my lousy education taught me that).
The Blues put Ty Conklin on waivers, prompting an official "Conk Block" watch on whether someone else would pick him up.
Trade: The Blues have been pretty active, trading away Eric Brewer (their captain), Erik Johnson (their former #1 overall pick), and Jay McClement (possibly their best defensive forward depending on who you read) already. In the last 24 hours, they sent Brad Boyes (former 40 goal scorer) to Buffalo for a draft pick and Brad Winchester (worth a bag of pucks) to Anaheim for a draft pick. It's pretty obvious the Blues are shedding players to restart their rebuilding or retooling or redecorating or whatever they are doing down there.