With at least four teams vying for the Stanley Cup, the Metropolitan Division had a very active trade deadline. Who were the winners and losers?
The Metropolitan Division is currently the premier division in the NHL. With the top 4 teams in the East all residing in the Metro and the remaining clubs all still technically in the hunt, the division is the strongest in the league.
At this year’s trade deadline, the Metro arms race heated up even more. For more than a few teams, it is ‘win now’ mode. Big splashes were made for sure. There were also some missed opportunities. Here are the grades for each Metro team’s trade deadline.
The Canes have fallen off since mid-January and were the first team to determine their status as sellers at the deadline. They moved Ron Hainsey to Pittsburgh in exchange for AHLer Danny Kristo and a 2nd round pick in 2017. That’s a great haul for the veteran.
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Carolina also moved Viktor Stalberg to Ottawa for a 3rd rounder in 2017. That puts Carolina at 11 picks in this summer’s draft, which is the most of any team. Maybe more players could haven been moved and maybe there was a blockbuster that could have been made. All in all, it was solid deadline for the Canes. Grade: B+
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets remained mostly quiet at the deadline, making only one substantial move, shipping Dalton Stout out to New Jersey. In return, they got Kyle Quincey, which will help them provide veteran support on the back end. Grade B
New Jersey Devils
It has been a very forgettable season for the Devils. With the playoffs likely out of the question, New Jersey should have been looking to sell some of its older, more expensive pieces at the deadline. They were able to move out P.A. Parenteau, but for only a 6th rounder. They also moved out Kyle Qunicey for stout defensemen Dalton Prout. More could’ve been done. Grade C-
New York Islanders
New York has been pushing hard for the playoffs after starting very slow out of the gate. With that in mind, the Isles were very inactive at the deadline. At the same time, keeping the good chemistry going for a playoff push. Still, maybe some improvments could have been made. Grade C
New York Rangers
The Rangers still occupy the first wild card spot, but remain one the premier teams in the Eastern Conference. Like the other teams at the top of the conference, the blue shirts decided to bulk up their defensive depth. They gave up a 2nd and 3rd round pick for long time Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith. With limited cap room and a win now mentality, this move makes a lot of sense. Smith should fit in well with New York. Grade B
The Fly Guys are falling out of playoff relevance by the day. At the deadline, they needed something to stabilize the roster in order to keep pace and then some for the playoffs. On deadline day, they swapped Mark Streit for Valtteri Filppula and some late round picks.
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Both parties ideally acquire a veteran player looking for a change in scenery. Also, Streit is able to ganer at least some returns for Philly rather than he going for free to Vegas via the expansion draft. Will it be enough for Philly to get in? Probably not. Grade: B-
Before the deadline, the Pens were riddled with injuries on the blue line. GM Jim Rutherford acquired reinforcements in the form of veteran Ron Hainsey. An underrated player, Hainsey should shore up the holes for now. However, they probably paid more than market value for him. The addition of Mark Streit is was also a quality pickup.
Also with others loading up, Pittsburgh may feel like they missed an opportunity to really improve their team before the playoffs. In order to comply cap wise, the Pens also lost Eric Fehr to Toronto for little return. Grade B
The Caps took a look at the cards on the table and decided to go all-in. They acquired Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues for a pretty decent price. They somehow managed to trade a pick they don’t currently hold (2018 2nd round pick). The trade is complicated, but it sends a clear message. Washington is not playing around.
In such a competitive division, the Caps have solidified themselves as the elite of the group. Not only are they now the best in the Metro, they are probably the best on paper in the league. It is Cup or nothing. It isn’t often your team gets an opportunity to go all out, but the Caps jumped at the chance to. Grade: A