NHL Metro Division Notebook: Entering the Trade Deadline
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NHL Metro Division Notebook: Entering the Trade Deadline

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NHL Playoff race

With the NHL Trade Deadline just a day away … teams in the Metro Division are looking to make some moves to better their team. Columbus in particular has already starting adding pieces. As well as Washington and Pittsburgh. What do the other teams do that are in contention for playoffs. While teams at the bottom are selling off UFAs for future assets to help with the rebuild process. Let’s go inside this week’s Metro Division Notebook to where teams stands entering the Trade Deadline.

NHL Metro Division Notebook: Entering the Trade Deadline

New York Islanders – The New York Islanders remain in first place on the eve of the NHL Trade Deadline. The Islanders stumbled a little bit during their road trip through Western Canada. Losing two of three games and only picking up three of four points is a little disappointing. Good on the Islanders for ending the road trip with a win. Their cushion in the Metro Division is only two points now. New York’s goaltending is holding up really well. So as the Islanders enter the stretch run, the Islanders will ride the combination of Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss. General Manager Lou Lamoriello will look to add something to this team. The Islanders signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for the rest of the season. Look for another move to be made.

Washington Capitals – The Washington Capitals were on a six game road trip before coming home to play the Rangers. The road trip didn’t go exactly as planned as the Capitals went 3-3. Washington got some nice wins over Toronto and San Jose. However, the Capitals lost against some weaken teams in Anaheim and Buffalo. During the week, the Capitals made some news. First the Capitals put Stanley Cup hero Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers. What a roller coaster this kid was on. He goes from being a vital piece to not on the team in a years time. Next the Capitals traded for Nick Jensen from Detroit. Following the trade, Washington signed Jensen to a four year contract extension. Also the Capitals added veteran winger Carl Hagelin from the Kings to help with scoring. He will be great on the penalty kill with his speed.

Columbus Blue Jackets – One team that was extremely busy prior to the trade deadline was the Blue Jackets. First Columbus traded for Matt Duchene. Then the Blue Jackets traded for Duchene’s teammate Ryan Dzingel on Saturday night. It appears the Blue Jackets are going all in this season to win the Stanley Cup. Not to mention that Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen continues to shop Artemi Panarin prior to the deadline. However, the Blue Jackets will not trade Panarin unless the team receives draft picks, a prospect, and a player that can help the team now. With Sergei Bobrovsky playing so well including recording back to back shutouts, it appears he might be staying in Columbus for the foreseeable future.

Best of the Rest:

Carolina Hurricanes – These “Bunch of Jerks” are sitting in the second wild card spot as they past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the standings. After a tough loss to the Rangers, the Hurricanes went on the road to win Florida and Dallas. Justin Williams is a great asset for this team. Not only did he score two goals, including one off his face, but he has kept the atmosphere fun. The Hurricanes are playing with house money. It will be interesting to see what the Hurricanes do with Michael Ferland at the deadline. Will he stay or will he go? One thing is for sure, the combination of Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen are not going anywhere. These two players are playing well for Carolina. Even with Ferland on the board, do the Hurricanes make a move to put them over the top?

Pittsburgh Penguins – The Penguins are on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. One thing the Penguins are looking for is consistency. All season long, the Penguins have been so inconsistent. This inconsistency is why the Penguins are in the position they are in. The inconsistency starts with their goaltending. Can Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith get the job done? Another thing Pittsburgh will need is a defenseman at the trade deadline. With Jamie Oleksiak being traded back to the Stars earlier in the season, the Penguins need some defensive depth. Reason being the Penguins will be without the services of Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, and Brian Dumoulin. All three players are injured and will be out of the lineup for a period of time. The problem will be who do they get?

Philadelphia Flyers – All season long, the Philadelphia Flyers made it known Wayne Simmonds was on the trade market. As the team started to win and inch closer to the playoffs, there were some that believed that Simmonds might not move. However, the Flyers are sticking to their guns as word has circulated that Wayne Simmonds played his last game as a Flyer. That game was the Outdoor Game in Philadelphia against Pittsburgh. In that game, Philadelphia rallied to defeat the Penguins. In other significant news the Flyers will be without Carter Hart for the next 10 days. With Hart out of the lineup, Brian Elliott came up from the AHL, after his rehab stint, to become the starter. Let’s see the Flyers turn to Talbot during Hart’s absence too.

New York Rangers – Even though the Rangers are not mathematically out of the playoff race, the team is clearly sticking to their rebuilding plans. Case in point, the Rangers held out Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, and Adam McQuaid agains the Devils. Prior to the game all three players were in the lineup against the Wild. However, McQuaid left the game during the first period and never came back. Soon after the game was over against New Jersey, the Rangers traded Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars. While Zuccarello was a fan favorite, the Rangers got some value for him. Say the Rangers signed him to an extension, nobody would have argued it was a bad move. As for Hayes and McQuaid, there is definitely interest from teams. Look for both to move on Monday.

New Jersey Devils – The Devils are clearly in the mode of selling their players off for assets. During the week, the Devils sat players Marcus Johansson and Ben Lovejoy in a game against Ottawa. Right before the Devils played the Rangers on Saturday, New Jersey sent Lovejoy to Dallas for Connor Carrick and a third round pick. Carrick is still a very young defenseman that will see a lot of minutes with the Devils. He is developing nicely and if the Devils do decide to keep him could be a backbone of the defense. It appears Johansson will be on the move as he was a healthy scratch against the Rangers. The destination is unknown, but he could give the Devils a nice return. It such a shame that his time in New Jersey was marred by injuries because he is good fit in New Jersey.

Read More:

NHL Metro Division Notebook: Three Teams for Two Spots

Photo Credit: By Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing the NHL Notebooks, Behind Enemy Lines, and Daily Links segments for Murphys Hockey Law and Boston Hockey Now an affiliate of National Hockey Now. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey as one coach put it "he is the student of the game. When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim coaches a local high school team in New Jersey. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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