9 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Here are the teams that helped themselves the most during the leadup to Wednesday's trade deadline, according to USA Today:

1. St. Louis Blues: They upgraded their goaltending with Ryan Miller and added a playoff pit bull in Steve Ott. General manager Doug Armstrong paid a heavy price, giving up Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, a prospect, a first-round pick in 2015, and third-round pick in 2014 that could become a first-rounder. The Blues were already among the Stanley Cup favorites, but this move could make them co-favorites with the Chicago Blackhawks.

2. New York Rangers: The Rangers gain immediate help by acquiring Martin St. Louis, a speedy dynamic scoring wizard who seems like a perfect fit for coach Alain Vigneault's up-tempo offensive attack. St. Louis will be reunited with his former Tampa Bay Lightning teammate Brad Richards. The Rangers are a much more dangerous offensive team today.

3. Florida Panthers: Acquiring Roberto Luongo was an important statement for the Panthers to their fans and younger players. He remains among the NHL's top goalies and was very popular during his earlier time in Florida, plus he wanted to play there. The cost was better than reasonable. Goalie Jacob Markstrom has potential, but he has been slow to develop. Shawn Matthias is good role player. Plus, the Canucks are paying 15% of Luongo's salary. The Panthers were also able to re-sign Brad Boyes and added Brandon Pirri from Chicago.

MORE: Luongo trade a stunner

4. Montreal Canadiens: Nobody had projected the Canadiens landing scorer Thomas Vanek. The price of Sebastian Collberg and a second-round pick was reasonable, given Vanek's ability to be a difference-maker. They also picked up Devan Dubnyk as insurance in net. The Canadiens have significantly upgraded their offense.

MORE: Vanek dealt to Canadiens

5. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings have a roster designed to win playoff series, but they needed scoring help. GM Dean Lombardi acquired speedy Marian Gaborik, presumably to play with Anze Kopitar. They gave up Matt Frattin, a conditional second-round pick and a third-rounder to add a dynamic presence. Gaborik was a disappointment with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but this move is a good roll of the dice because he has the ability to score a goal a game in a playoff series.

MORE: Gaborik joins Kings

6. Minnesota Wild: The Wild want to be more than a team that has to win every game 2-1, and Matt Moulson was considered among the top scorers. Cody McCormick also came in the deal. The day before, the Wild landed Ilya Bryzgalov as their hedge bet against the medical issues their goalies have been experiencing.

MORE: Moulson goes to Wild

7. Anaheim Ducks: Presuming Stephane Robidas is ready soon, he is the highly competitive force the Ducks need on defense. Plus, GM Bob Murray picked up two draft picks for Viktor Fasth. The only question fans might have is why Murray didn't add a scorer to replace Dustin Penner.

8. Washington Capitals: Penner's consistency is an issue, but he could bolster the Capitals. He's a potential linemate for Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Don't forget that Penner has won a Stanley Cup with two different teams. The Caps also added Halak to upgrade their goaltending.

9 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://kare11.tv/1id9ZJI