The Blues traded defenseman Erik Johnson to the Avalanche for winger Chris Stewart last Saturday because of the rapid development of 21-year-old blueliner Alex Pietrangelo. St. Louis coaches were bothered by Johnson's lukewarm reception to coaching, and the club desperately needed a power forward.... The Stars are sinking in the Western Conference playoff race and might deal leading scorer (and potential unrestricted free agent) Brad Richards before the Feb. 28 trade deadline. Dallas cannot afford to lose him this summer without getting something in return.... If the surging Sharks make the playoffs, center Logan Couture should be named rookie of the year. He leads San Jose in goals (24) and the NHL in game-winning goals (eight).