The Vancouver Canucks resisted the temptation to make another trade prior to Wednesday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, but it wasn't easy.
"There comes a time when it is really difficult to resist the pressure to do things that, in the short term, are high-risk and, in the long-term, are total risk," Canucks rookie general manager Mike Gillis said. "I occasionally felt today that perhaps we weren't on top of every situation.
"We were looking at very specific areas, and it is hard to resist the urge to try and get involved all over the place in these other things."
Gillis resisted the temptation because the Canucks have played its finest hockey of late, streaking up the Western Conference standings with 11 wins in their last 13 games.
Vancouver is ranked fifth overall — four points up on the Columbus Blue Jackets — and preferred to stand pat rather than rent a skater for the stretch drive.
"There was nothing that was out there that was a big upgrade on what we currently have," Gillis said.
After the Calgary Flames upgraded with forward Olli Jokinen and defenceman Jordan Leopold, reports indicated the Canucks were making a play for Florida Panthers defenceman Jay Bouwmeester.
Gillis acknowledged that he spoke to Panthers GM Jacques Martin, but the asking price was too steep.
"I asked him what he needed in return, He told me and it was undo-able," Gillis said. "It was a brief discussion and it didn't go any further."
Gillis had $2.5 million US in salary cap space to work with, even though he is paying free-agent forward Mats Sundin $5.626 million US this season.
'We feel like we're a playoff team'
Sundin has posted six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 22 games since he signed Dec. 12, and, not surprisingly, Roberto Luongo is fully recovered from the groin injury that shelved him for 24 games.
With Sundin and Luongo rounding into form, with Alex Burrows re-signed at $8 million US over four years, with Jannick Hansen expected to return from a finger injury in two weeks and with the recent acquisition of defenceman Ossi Vaananen on waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers, the Canucks look ready to make their playoff push.
"Based on the last month, we feel like we're a playoff team here and we feel like we're strong and we have depth," Gillis said. "We didn't have that pressure to try and get into the playoffs at this point and we didn't have injury pressure."
The Canucks also have seasoned performers waiting in the AHL wings, with forwards Alex Bolduc and Jason Krog playing well up front for the Manitoba Moose and Nathan McIver and Nolan Baumgartner doing likewise on defence.
"We talked to a number of teams about a number of [trade] possibilities, but giving up second-round picks for players that weren't long-term players was something that I agreed and decided not to do as long as eight months ago and I wasn't going to change today," Gillis said.
"Second-round picks were the flavour of the month and they went for players that are short-term players, either to teams trying to recover from injuries or trying to get into the playoffs."
Conversely, Vancouver is healthy and comfortably positioned in the playoff race.