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Takeaways: Silfverberg at Center

Line juggling, trade rumors, and a look ahead to the playoffs.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

1. Two games since the Olympics, and two wins. The first one, against the St. Louis Blues, was a tight defensive game, which isn't the kind of game the Ducks have built their lead atop the NHL upon. That's okay, and even a bit encouraging, because it shows that this team can hold down a one-goal lead for a long time against an elite Cup contender. The game against the Carolina Hurricanes was a little more typical for this high-flying Ducks team, and that includes the ugly third period.

2. Jakob Silfverberg can play center, and he didn't look half bad doing it between Teemu Selanne and Matt Beleskey. Thus the season-long rotation of moveable parts in the forward lines continues. This is a good thing. It takes some time to establish familiarity with new linemates, but once players know each others' tendencies, they don't forget them. The more players each forward is familiar with, the easier it will be for Bruce Boudreau to shuffle lines and get results in the playoffs, especially when he needs some instant offense.

3. As Brian Burke once put it, the trade deadline is one of two times of year when everybody loses their minds, the other being the beginning of the free agency period in July. If you've been looking around the internet recently, you might have seen Sami Vatanen's name here and there. I don't think anyone around here is too keen on trading the young offensive defenseman, and I shudder to imagine what an offer for him looks like. My guess is that he stays put, because he's simply too good and too cheap to give away for anything that's out on the market right now. Except maybe Thomas Vanek. Ooooh, Thomas Vanek. That is tantalizing, isn't it?

4. The playoff picture is beginning to come into focus, and more so in the West than in the East. The top three teams in both the Pacific and Central Divisions are all but certain, even if their ranking within the top three isn't, and the Minnesota Wild have a relatively firm hold on the first Wild Card spot. That leaves one playoff position remaining for Dallas, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Phoenix, and Nashville. If the Ducks can manage to hold down their conference lead, they will probably play one of those five teams. If either St. Louis or Chicago (or both) pass the Ducks, they will probably play Minnesota. If San Jose passes the Ducks, they will almost certainly play the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks, by the way, are only seven points behind the Ducks as of this writing, each with 20 games remaining (including two head-to-head). That's a difference of three wins and an overtime loss. Need any more motivation to keep winning?