• 02/21/2012, 07:01PM ET

Take a non-playoff team (as of February 21, 2012) and improve them through realistic moves.

Atro SYB (6-4-1) vs OJ Simpson (40-9-3)

I'll be working with the Lightning. A team with 103 points last year that plowed through the playoffs to the Conference Finals, taking it to 7 games against Boston, is looking up at the playoff teams in the Eastern Conference this year. Not far from an excellent season, just a few changes could get them back in it. The 1st and most obvious improvement: Goaltending.

Garon. He's just not good. If you're gonna start your 2nd stringer this many times, you need a better 2nd stringer. .903 save % so far this year, and similar/worse numbers for the journeyman going back a decade. He needs to be traded. Lots of good young goaltending out there you can get, but one that comes to mind is Matt Hackett in Minnesota. They need help all over the place in Minny, but they really need to get their goals scored per game average up, as they're 2nd to last in the NHL right now in that category. Gotta keep that Stamkos line together in Tampa, though, so Teddy Purcell fits the bill here. Purcell and Garon for Hackett. With Hackett, every season brings a lower GAA and a higher save %. At 22 years old, a fine upgrade over Garon and some hope for the future.

Next: Roloson. You suck too.

Hackett has a total of 3 NHL games played. In the first move of your GM career, do you really want to trade a 2nd line player (who's actually played some 1st line time) for a unproven rookie goalie?

I'll go with Anaheim.

1st move: Trade (C) Saku Koivu & 4th round pick (3rd round if I must) to Maple Leafs for (D) Cody Franson

Koivu's contract is up, so let's get rid of him now as a rental for something. Toronto has an extra D-man they are shopping.

2nd Trade (RW) Selanne to any contender willing to give us draft picks

Selanne's contract is up and he might retire anyway. Trade him to a contender for as much as we can get.

3rd Trade (LW) Jason Blake, 1st rounder & 2nd rounder to CBJ for Rick Nash. Throw in anything extra if needed

4th Trade (RW) Bobby Ryan, 3rd round attained from Canucks last year to Montreal for Kostitsyn & Pacioretty

5th In the off season, sign the best (C) available. Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Hudler or Mikhael Grabovski are the main targets.

Thru trade or expiring contracts, payroll $ is not a worry with my moves.

Lines and rebuttal next!

Do I want to trade a 2nd liner for an unproven goalie? Yes. You've heard of Mike Smith, right? 7th best save % in the NHL right now? Traded to Tampa from Dallas with a save % hovering at the .900 mark for Brad Richards, 2nd liner in a 3-for-2 deal. Worked out very well for both teams, so I'll defer to the hockey minds that put that together.

Roloson. Worst save % in the NHL, and not much better since 06. Time to go. Finishing a 1-year deal and not very tradeable, so we're looking for a team that needs a backup G who can afford a draft pick or minor league player, bearing in mind Tampa needs depth at D. My pick here is Columbus - Mason is just as bad a G as Roloson with half the success. Following the "change of scenery" philosophy, Roloson goes to CBJ for minor leaguer Anton Blomqvist, a 21-year old 6'6 physical D with 100 pro European games played already. Call up the impressive Tokarski to split time with Hackett and you've got no commitment as opposed to taking on a 1-way contract while still possibly missing the playoffs.

By the way - these are REALISTIC moves we're looking for. Old man Blake and picks for Nash? Make sure Howson is good and drunk when you send that over.

Why on Earth would CBJ want Rollie? Why would they give up a prospect for a guy set to retire? Get Howson drunk!

Blake, Selanne & Koivu are all expiring contracts. I wouldn't sign them at the end of the year anyway, so we might as well get something for them (well I'd sign Selanne, which I could still do even if I trade him).

Toronto needs help down the middle and would give me a young d-man in return. ANH has only 4 d-men signed past this year, so I'll gladly trade a UFA for a 2nd pairing d-man in his 20's.

CBJ trading Nash is realistic. He wants out now. I give them Blake for $$ reasons but what CBJ really wants are picks and prospects. I'll give it to them. If they want more than a 1st & 2nd rounder, I'll give it to them. The Ducks have multiple picks they've acquired from other teams, as well as their own. 9 picks in the first 4 rounds.

As for Mike Smith, he is having a good year in PHX. But he was mediocre in Dallas. Byrzgalov was awesome in PHX and sucks now in Philly. It's a product of the system that makes goaltending easier in PHX. You can't take young inexperienced goalies, throw them in Tampa and say "unproven goalies do well for other teams."

So far I have revamped the goaltending by casting off old, failing Gs and infusing it with promising young ones via trade and call-up. As this topic demands, they have been REALISTIC moves, value for value, rather than the unlikely idea of trading old fading players for top-line guys. In doing so I have also instilled the D with a well-regarded prospect. But Tampa???s D still needs youth and speed. 1/2 of their starting Dmen are 31+ and it shows. So while the 31-year-old Dman Bergeron is still showing some nut with 24 points, let???s get him to a team who needs veteran D depth now that has young D to spare.

TOR, clinging to the playoffs, and better only than sinking TBL and CBJ in GAA, needs some D. Bergeron gives them a boost, and they have young D to spare. 3 of their top prospects are D, and the one for TBL is Korbinian Holzer. The 24-year-old German is a reliable shut-down D, and would fill TBL???s needs while Bergeron helps keep TOR in the playoff hunt without his acquisition depleting TOR???s defensive prospects. Still top 10 in GPG, G and D have been Tampa???s problem this year, and with 2 new young Gs and and 2 new D on the ice, they stand to improve where they currently fail.

The Leafs already have 8 d-men on their NHL roster. They also have some vets back there (Phaneuf, Komisarek, Liles).

Why would they trade a top prospect for a 9th NHL defensemen?

So far you've "revamped" the goaltending by acquiring 2 rookies with no NHL experience and getting 1 prospect. You've done nothing to make them NHL competitive and you have no guarantee that any of the 3 players you took can make an impact.

The biggest problems facing the Lightning are defense and scoring. Adding a rookie d-man won't fix that, unless he has a year like Tyler Myers did in his rookie campaign (unlikely). Do you really want to throw a rookie goalie into the fire without a strong blue line in front of him?

Any goalie would get lit up playing for the Lightning right now. You're going to blow the kid's confidence they'll both just struggle.

I've sacrificed a lot of young picks or talent to get Nash, but it's worth it. I can win now AND my guys are still young enough to win going forward.

Nash can jump up right away with Getzlaf and Perry.

My 2nd line would be Pacioretty, Kostitsyn and Grabovski/Hudler.

ANH would finally have some talent after their first line.

February 21, 2012  07:28 PM ET

Nice topic Atro.

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February 21, 2012  08:32 PM ET

Someone must have helped him! :)

lol this is the hockey toruney final

February 22, 2012  12:50 AM ET

Nice topic Atro.

Thanks. It's mine. lol

Good luck guys. Congrats for making the finals

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February 22, 2012  11:59 AM ET

They have Hockey in Ar-Kansas?

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February 22, 2012  02:17 PM ET

27 year old forward with 42 points, second in the league in shots on goal, traded for a 38-year-old forward with 10 points? "Throw in anything extra if needed?" Oh it's needed. I don't understand the Koivu for Franson thing either. Why would the ducks trade a guy fourth on the team in goals, third in assists with 21, 32 points and FIRST on the team in plus/minus for a guy with 4 goals, 15 assists, 19 points and a minus 4? And then throw a third-rounder on top of it? Good money after bad.

U gonna argue the TD down here?

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February 22, 2012  02:35 PM ET

i'll do the Lakers

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