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Trade Deadline Report Card: Islanders did nothing, earn top grade in Metro Division

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Trade Deadline Report Card: Islanders did nothing, earn top grade in Metro Division

The NHL trade deadline can completely change the landscape of the league. The deadline came at 3 p.m. on Monday with a flurry of trades as teams tried to best position themselves for a playoff run or for the future.

The Capitals made two trades earlier in the week in acquiring both Carl Hagelin and Nick Jensen, but how do they stack up in a tight Metropolitan Division race after the deadline? Here’s a look at the moves each team in the division made.

One note first: I am considering trades that took place on Feb. 1 or later as “deadline trades.” They do not have to be limited only to deals made on Monday.

Here are the grades:

Carolina Hurricanes

Key additions: Forward Tomas Jurco

Key subtractions: Forward Cliff Pu

Grade: B+

The Hurricanes are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Only one team in the entire league has earned more points that Carolina since Dec. 31. Messing with a roster while it is hot can be an easy way to mess with a team’s chemistry. Plus, this team looks to be ahead of schedule. There’s no reason to sell off assets so I like what they did by deciding to ride the hot hand and for not trading away Micheal Ferland.

The only reason they get a B+ instead of an A is because Carolina traded away Cliff Pu in their only trade of the day on Monday for another minor league forward. The Hurricanes acquired Pu, along with a second, third and sixth round draft pick in the trade package with Buffalo for Jeff Skinner. That was an awful trade then and it doesn’t look any better now after trading away the lone player they acquired in that deal.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Key additions: Forward Matt Duchene, forward Ryan Dzingel, defenseman Adam McQuaid, goalie Keith Kinkaid

Key subtractions: Forward Anthony Duclair, 2019 lottery-protected first-round draft pick, 2019 fourth-round draft pick, conditional 2020 first-round draft pick, 2020 second-round draft pick, 2021 second-round draft pick, 2022 fifth-round draft pick

Grade: C

I am very torn on the Blue Jackets. Columbus is all-in and they let everyone know they were all-in by bringing in two highly skilled forwards in Duchene and Dzingel and then continuing to give out draft picks like candy for McQuaid and Kinkaid.

Did they get better? Yes. You can’t really argue that they didn’t. The problem is Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Both players are on the last year of their contracts and neither are expected to return to Columbus. Already facing the prospect of losing their top two players, the Blue Jackets now also blew their future apart by trading away practically all of their draft picks. As of now, Columbus has only a third and a seventh-round pick for the 2019 draft.

So a team that has never won a playoff series in franchise history is poised to lose its top two players next season and decided to trade away a ton of draft picks for one last run. I can’t argue that Columbus didn’t get better, but faced with choosing between the present or the future, the Blue Jackets didn’t just choose the present, they torched their future.

New Jersey Devils

Key additions: Defenseman Connor Carrick, 2019 second-round draft pick, 2019 third-round draft pick

Key subtractions: Goalie Keith Kinkaid, forward Marcus Johansson, forward Brian Boyle, defenseman Ben Lovejoy

Grade: B

Sell! Sell! Sell!

The Devils did a decent job unloading their assets, but they hardly pulled in a king’s ransom. Sometimes you can rob a team that gets nervous at the deadline looking for something to add, but New Jersey just didn’t have top quality players to sell and was hurt by the fact that a lot of the top trade targets went all the way up to the deadline.

New York Islanders

Key additions: None

Key subtractions: None

Grade: A

Even though the Islanders are in first place of the Metro Division, they are very much ahead of schedule. No one expected them to be this good this early.

Does anyone really see New York as a serious Cup contender? I don’t. Sure, the Islanders could have used a sniper to add some offensive punch, but I would not sell off any future assets just to bolster a roster I feel is overachieving.

Don’t mess with your future. This roster brought you this far, let’s see how far they can go.

New York Rangers

Key additions: Forward Brendan Lemieux, 2019 first-round pick, 2019 second-round draft pick, 2022 conditional fourth-round draft pick

Key subtractions: Forward Mats Zuccarello, forward Kevin Hayes, defenseman Adam McQuaid

Grade: A-

New York got a pretty good return for their top players, but now seems like it would have been a good time to move Henrik Lundqvist and it doesn’t sound like that was ever really on the table. He has a no movement clause and if he won’t waive it, this is obviously moot, but he’s 36-years old and the team is in a full rebuild…except for its best player who absolutely is not the goalie of the future. What would teams like Calgary or Edmonton be willing to give up for a guy like Lundqvist? This seems like a missed opportunity.

Philadelphia Flyers

Key additions: Goalie Cam Talbot, forward, Ryan Hartman, defenseman David Schlemko, forward Byron Froese, conditional fourth-round draft pick

Key subtractions: Forward Wayne Simmonds, Forward Dale Weise, defenseman Christian Folin

Grade: C-

Simmonds was considered to be one of the top prizes of the deadline. The Flyers reportedly wanted a first-round pick and a prospect for him. They settled for Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick.

Part of the problem was that he had a modified no-trade clause and, per multiple reports, would not waive it for a deal with Calgary. That limited the Flyers in what they could do somewhat, but it really seems like they got burned by waiting until the last minute to deal him.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Key additions: Defenseman Erik Gudbranson, forward Nick Bjugstad, forward Jared McCann

Key subtractions: Forward Derick Brassard, forward Riley Sheahan, forward Tanner Pearson, 2019 second-round draft pick

Grade: D+

Pittsburgh needed to get rid of Brassard and they turned that into a decent return. They needed to get rid of Pearson and get some defensive depth, but was Gudbrandson and minor-leaguer Chris Wideman really the best they could do? The obsession general manager Jim Rutherford has in making his team more physical led to Pittsburgh trading away a first-round(!!!) draft pick and Oskar Sundqvist for Ryan Reaves and a second-round pick last year.

To put it mildly, Gudbranson has not been good during his tenure in Vancouver. Pittsburgh is not just fighting to contend for a Stanley Cup, they are fighting just to get into the playoffs this year. Was Gudbranson really the best they could do to improve their defense? It doesn’t seem like it. If this team is really all in, which they always claim to be with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, there were better options for them to pursue to make the defense better. Sure, they added a body, but I am not sure they got any better because of it.

Washington Capitals

Key additions: Defenseman Nick Jensen, Forward Carl Hagelin

Key subtractions: Defenseman Madison Bowey, 2020 second-round draft pick

Grade: B+

The Caps went for the low-key moves in much the same way they did last season. Jensen is a right-shot that gives the team some depth and some options on the blue line, which has not been nearly as good this year as expected. Hagelin, meanwhile adds speed and both players should help the Caps’ penalty kill that ranks 23rd in the NHL.

However, Andre Burakovsky was a player they likely needed to be dealt. It is somewhat surprising he remains in Washington. His qualifying number for next season is high and his play has always been inconsistent. He is playing well right now, but there are 19 games left in the regular season. Will he still be playing well in April? That would require much more consistency from him than we typically see.

Other Stanley Cup contenders:

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning sat out this year’s trade deadline and why not? They are the by far the best team in the NHL. There’s no reason to tinker with this roster.

Calgary Flames

The Flames were conspicuously absent from any of the trade buzz as they made no moves, though there were rumors that they were looking into players like Simmonds. Like the Islanders, Calgary is a team that is way ahead of schedule in terms of how good they are this season. Unlike the Islanders, however, the Flames look like legitimate Cup contenders and it would not have hurt to try to add to this roster, especially a goalie given this teams’ questions in net.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks are really starting to hit their stride and added forward Gustav Nyquist to the mix. Considering how long it took this team to gel, adding a new player is a concern, but adding Nyquist on the forward lines is a lot different than adding Erik Karlsson to a defense than already had Brent Burns. The Sharks look like an even more dangerous team now, though goaltending remains a concern.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins had one goal for this trade deadline and that was to add depth scoring. I am not sure if Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson are enough of a boost to get them past teams like Tampa. Nyquist would have been a really good fit here.

Toronto Maple Leafs

It was a quiet month for Toronto as the Leafs made a few minor moves, but nothing significant. Their big trade came back in January with the addition of Jake Muzzin. There is some concern that this team has too much finesse and can be pushed around which is a problem with a first-round matchup against Boston likely on the horizon, but there’s no sense in giving up assets for a tough guy defenseman or forward just to be a healthy scratch in the playoffs.

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets know their time is now and may be a bit nervous about their recent struggles as they were very busy on Monday. The biggest move of the day for Winnipeg was the addition of Kevin Hayes who is expected to play second-line center. This marks the second straight year the Jets have given up a first-round draft pick for a rental, which is never a smart move in my book. Still, I believe this is the team to beat in the West and the addition of Hayes makes me even more confident.

Nashville Predators

The Predators claimed one of the top prizes of the deadline with Simmonds and they did it for cheap, giving up only Hartman and fourth-round pick. Simmonds’ production has steadily dropped off from year to year and he may not have much left in the tank for a long playoff run, but Nashville has looked off lately and needed a big move to keep up with the Jets.

Vegas Golden Knights

The biggest name to move on Monday was Mark Stone and he was claimed by Vegas. To some surprise, it did not take a first-round draft pick to get him. Part of the package headed to Ottawa, however, is prospect Erik Brannstrom who is widely considered one of the top prospects in the world. It will be interesting to see how he develops. Vegas is essentially locked into third place in the Pacific meaning they will face San Jose or Calgary in the first round. Either series would be a daunting task for the Golden Knights so they needed a player like Stone to bolster their roster. This is a big-time addition for Vegas and Stone is expected to sign an extension to remain in the desert.

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NHL, NHLPA finalize protocols for the 2020 postseason

NHL, NHLPA finalize protocols for the 2020 postseason

At long last, the NHL and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) have agreed on the protocols under which the season can formally resume. The news was first reported Sunday by TSN's Bob McKenzie. The details of a new CBA that has been negotiated as part of the NHL and NHLPA's efforts to bring back hockey, however, is still being finalized. Hockey cannot resume until both the protocols for 2020 and the new CBA memorandum of understanding are ratified by the league's board of governors, the NHLPA's executive committee and a full membership vote by the players.

The full details of the protocols have not been formally released, but aspects have been leaked over the past week as both sides inched closer to an agreement. As expected, any player will have the option of opting out of Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (resumption of the season) without penalty, but the player must notify the team by July 7.

Teams will also be limited to 30 skaters in Phase 3 with an unlimited number of goalies. In Phase 4, that number goes down to 28 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies so presumably this should not be an issue for most teams. It does, however, allow two extra players in case a team is caught off guard by a player opting out.

In addition, Frank Seravalli reported players' families will be allowed to join the players for the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final which will take place in Edmonton. Elliotte Friedman also reported there will be significant punishments for individuals who try to leave the bubble.

The league formally paused its season on March 12. Since that time, the remainder of the regular season was canceled and the postseason re-structured to include 24 teams. Two round-robin tournaments will take place among the top four teams in the East and West to determine seeding while the remaining teams will all play a best-of-five play-in round. From there, the playoffs will begin with all four remaining rounds being a best-of-seven and with teams being reseeded after each round to determine matchups.

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Remembering the highlights of each of the Capitals' American players

Remembering the highlights of each of the Capitals' American players

The Capitals have a superstar Russian, an incredible Swedish center, a Canadian netminder, but the team also boasts several American players as well. On the 4th of July when American celebrate the birth of our nation, lets put down the barbecue, apple pie and fireworks for a few minutes to remember some of the top highlights from each of the team's Americans.

Travis Boyd: 4 goals for Hayden

In Feb. 2018, Boyd turned hardship into an inspirational moment. While with the Hershey Bears, Boyd's daughter, Hayden, developed a serious infection and had to go to the hospital. Boyd went with her on a Sunday and did not leave until Friday morning to prepare for that night's game, a game in which he would score four goals.

John Carlson: The golden goal

Carlson has numerous highlights from his career with the Caps, but on Indepence Day it seems only fitting to look back at his biggest goal for his country. Carlson represented Team USA in the 2010 World Junior Championships which was hosted by Canada that year. USA made it all the way to the final where the played the host nation. Tied at 5 through regulation, Carlson scored the golden goal off a 2-on-1 as he caught the goalie leaning anticipating the pass.

Nic Dowd: Historic penalty shot

In Game 5 of the Caps' series against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019, Nic Dowd was slashed by defenseman Dougie Hamilton while he was in alone on goalie Petr Mrazek. Dowd was awarded the first penalty shot of his career and he delivered, dekeing right to open up Mrazek's pads and tucking the puck through the 5-hole. In addition to being his first penalty shot goal, the goal was also Dowd's first-career playoff point.

The goal also had some historic significance for the team as it was Washington's first ever playoff penalty shot goal.

RELATED: 2003 NHL REDRAFT

Garnet Hathaway: Shows his toughness against the Rangers

On Oct. 18, the Caps hosted the New York Rangers and it proved to be an pretty epic night for Hathaway. He was knocked out of the game in the second period with a broken nose after a big hit from Jacob Trouba, came back in the third, drew a cross-check, fought Brendan Smith (again, with a broken nose), the Caps scored on the resulting power play and Hathaway returned to score the empty-netter.

That’s a pretty unbelievable game.

Nick Jensen: Assisting on goal No. 700

Jensen has been with the Capitals for about a year and a half, but he will forever be linked to the team's greatest franchise player thanks to one assist.

Against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 22, Jensen grabbed a loose puck behind the offensive goal line and sent it back behind the net to keep the offensive cycle going. That allowed Evgeny Kuznetsov to find Alex Ovechkin who scored career goal No. 700.


T.J. Oshie: T.J. Sochi

Who could forget about Oshie's incredible performance at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi?

Playing against Team Russia, USA leaned heavily on Oshie in the shootout. He would score four times on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky as USA walked away victorious.

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