Metropolitan trade deadline grades: Who got better?

Claude Giroux

Another trade deadline has come and gone and the Metropolitan Division was very active. Here's a look at each team's moves and how they fared overall.

Carolina Hurricanes

Trades: Acquired forward Max Domi from the Columbus Blue Jackets and defenseman Tyler Inamoto from the Florida Panthers for forward Egor Korshkov (to Florida) and defenseman Aidan Hreschuk (to Columbus). Florida also received a sixth-round draft pick from Columbus.

Grade: B-

Domi is a good player with a high offensive upside. While Carolina is the top defensive team in the league, it has slipped down to 11th in goals for per game. The Hurricanes added an impact player as all the teams around them loaded up at the trade deadline and they did so without having to move a roster player. In that sense, this move made sense.

On the other hand, Domi is statistically awful defensively so you have to wonder just how well he will fit into Carolina's style of play. Sure, he has high offensive upside, but he also has just one goal in 31 games. How much of an upgrade offensively is he really?

This is a gamble that could pay off, but I am not sure it is one Carolina needed to make.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Trades: Acquired defenseman Aidan Hreschuk from the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Max Domi and a sixth-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers in a three-team trade.

Grade: B-

I'm ultimately just not impressed with this return for Domi. They traded away a decent forward and retained half his salary and still could only recoup a third-round pick. Domi was not part of this team's future and was on an expiring contract so good on them for at least getting something for him, but this seems pretty low for what was ultimately a seller's market this year.


New Jersey Devils

Trades: Acquired goalie Andrew Hammond from the Montreal Canadiens for forward Nate Schnarr

Grade: B+

The Devils are at a point where they are neither buyers nor sellers so they elected not to do much of anything at the trade deadline. Doing nothing is a reasonable option at the trade deadline and one that more teams should utilize.

New York Islanders

Trades: None

Grade: B+

The Islanders did nothing and I don't hate it. It really feels like their season was just a collection of bad situations that all came together to lead to the team's implosion. There's no reason to make any grand conclusions on what that means for the team going forward.

Are there some contracts the team could have shed? Sure, but overall I do not believe the Islanders needed to force anything.

New York Rangers

Trades: Acquired forward Frank Vatrano from the Florida Panthers for a fourth-round draft pick

Acquired defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round draft pick

Acquired forward Nick Merkley from the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Anthony Bitetto

Acquired forward Tyler Motte from the Vancouver Canucks for a fourth-round draft pick.

Acquired forward Andrew Copp and a sixth-round draft pick from the Winnipeg Jets for forward Morgan Barron, two conditional second-round draft picks and a fifth-round draft pick.

Grade: B

The Rangers are ahead of schedule because Igor Shesterkin is having an incredible year. Overall, however, New York is not as good as Shesterkin has made them look. That put them in a position where they needed to add (because a hot goalie can take you far), but also should not mortgage the future when the process towards building a contender seems to be working well. I feel like the Rangers straddled that line reasonably well here.

None of these trades are the big "swing for the fences" type of deal some expected the Rangers to make to vault themselves into contention, but nothing New York did was a dramatic overpay either. Adding so many players can bring its own complications as it means taking out players who helped you get to this point. That will require some work from head coach Gerard Gallant to make all the pieces fit together. For the most part, however, the Rangers improved and it did not cost an arm and a leg to do it.


Philadelphia Flyers

Trades: Acquired forward Owen Tippett, a first-round draft pick and a third-round draft pick for forwards Claude Giroux, Connor Bunnaman and German Rubtsov and a fifth-round draft pick.

Acquired a third-round draft pick from the New York Rangers for defenseman Justin Braun.

Acquired a third-round draft pick from the Edmonton Oilers for forward Derick Brassard.

Grade: C-

The Flyers had one of the top assets to trade in Giroux and ultimately got a fairly lackluster return for him. Sure, the fact that Giroux wanted to go to Florida may have contributed to the low return, but it feels like Philadelphia could have and should have gotten more.

If you add in the Rasmus Ristolainen extension and the fact that a team that has been as bad as the Flyers this year still thinks it can rebuild on the fly and this looks like a really bad trade deadline for Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Trades: Acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Acquired forward Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks for forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, goalie Calle Clang and a second-round draft pick.

Grade: A-

The Penguins made one of the most notable moves on the day by adding Rakell. He is not a player who drives play but has proven himself to be a strong complementary piece to a star center from his time with Ryan Getzlaf. Now Rakell is expected to line up with Evgeni Malkin giving Pittsburgh a formidable offensive attack. All it cost them was two players on expiring contracts, a goalie prospect they probably would not have used with Tristan Jarry being only 26 and a second-round pick.

Washington Capitals

Trades: Acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the Seattle Kraken for forward Daniel Spong, a fourth-round draft pick, a sixth-round draft pick 

Acquired forward Johan Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2023 third-round draft pick.

Grade: B

A Caps team currently in a wild card spot added two solid pieces at a fairly decent price. Washington addressed one need in adding middle-six and depth offense, but did not address another by not taking a goalie. The path to the Cup in the East is brutal and the Caps did not break the bank to add players who may not even be able to help them avoid an early exit, but they did still get better.

It may not have been a great deadline, but it certainly does not look like a bad one either.