- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Well, there are more than a few Western Conference teams that had their nose out of joint when the Predators were able to bring back the Russian sniper from overseas without NHL waivers and about four weeks past the NHL trade deadline. No matter to the Preds, who have welcomed his goal-scoring ability. He's fit in well in this return to Nashville and you can count on some big goals here in the postseason.
He has fit in like he's been there all along. Acquired from Dallas in February, Grossmann has played important defensive minutes in a top-four, shutdown role. He missed the last week of the regular season recovering from a lower-body injury.
"There's no question he's a welcome addition to the back end, just based on the injuries we've had back there," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told ESPN.com on March 30. "To get a guy like this, he's a hulking man. We've paired him with Braydon Cobourn and we play them against the best players on opposing teams on a nightly basis. There's no question that ties into our success that we've had. Grossmann's presence back there is felt from a defensive and physical point of view on a nightly basis. When you can send him out there against a Malkin or a Stamkos or a Tavares, he's done a really nice job. He provides such a big presence for us back there."
Mired in 30th place overall in scoring most of the season, GM Dean Lombardi was under incredible pressure to do something before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, and he did just that in dealing for sniper Jeff Carter from Columbus. Now, it's not as if Carter has single-handedly cured the Kings of their scoring woes, but it's as if his addition calmed everyone down in the Kings' forward group. And more importantly, slotting Carter in with former Flyers teammate Mike Richards on the second line allowed all the pieces to balance out in their top-six group with a re-energized Dustin Brown meshing with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams on the top line. Carter's acquisition had a domino effect, and a good one.
Acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 17, the former third overall pick (2007) has fit in nicely on a second line with Daniel Alfredsson. The trade gave Ottawa a much-needed second-line center and brought balance to their top-six forward group.
Dealt by Winnipeg to Chicago at the trade deadline, Oduya filled a void in Chicago's top-four group, playing big minutes since coming over. Really, since Brian Campbell was dealt last offseason, the Hawks were struggling to replace those minutes. Oduya is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so he may end up being only a short-term fix but, for what the Blackhawks needed right now in these playoffs, he was an important addition.
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