The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and the Metropolitan Division was very busy. How did they all do? It's report card time.
Here's a look at how each team in the Metropolitan Division did and how things stack up with the deadline now in the rearview mirror.
NOTE: I am defining "deadline deals" as any trade in the month of February and I am also only including trades with a significant impact on the NHL roster.
- Acquired prospect Joey Keane from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Julien Gauthier
- Acquired forward Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forwards Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and prospects Eetu Luostarinen and Chase Priskie
- Acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for prospects Janne Kuokkanen, Fredrik Claesson and a fourth-round pick
- Acquired defenseman Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers in exchange for a first-round pick
Thoughts: Caroline robbed Florida. They gave up two players on expiring contracts and two mid-level prospects for a really good Trocheck who the Panthers soured on for some reason. That was one of the best trades of the deadline, but I am really low on what Carolina did overall because the big need for this team was goaltending and that was even before both Petr Mrazek and James Reimer got injured. The news Monday is that both goalies are out with "longer term" injuries and Carolina did nothing to address it, other than add two defensemen. When you look at what it took to pry Robin Lehner away from Chicago, it sure seems like that's a deal the Hurricanes could have gotten done if they had used the assets they gave up to acquire Skjei and Vatanen. Maybe when you win a game with a Zamboni driver in net, you begin to think defense is more important than goaltending.
Columbus Blue Jackets
- Acquired a seventh-round draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Markus Hannikainen
Thoughts: The injury to Seth Jones is a backbreaker. This team could not afford to throw assets around just to make the playoffs when there is no real hope of any deep run and it didn't really make sense to sell either considering what the team has battled through just to stay in contention. They were smart to stand pat.
New Jersey Devils
- Acquired prospect David Quenneville and a second-round draft pick from the New York Islanders in exchange for defenseman Andy Greene
- Acquired prospect Nolan Foote and a first-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Blake Coleman
- Acquired a conditional fifth-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forward Wayne Simmonds
- Acquired prospects Janne Kuokkanen, Fredrik Claesson and a fourth-round pick from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Sami Vatanen
Thoughts: The Devils got a pretty decent haul for what they were willing to part with. They are in a weird position where they are a few years into the rebuild meaning this is not exactly a strip it down scenario. New Jersey now could potentially have three first-round draft picks in 2020 and they still kept Kyle Palmieri.
New York Islanders
- Acquired defenseman Andy Greene form the New Jersey Devils in exchange for prospect David Quenneville and a second-round pick.
- Acquired forward J-G Pageau from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a conditional first, second and conditional third-round pick.
Thoughts: A fading Islanders team desperately needed to add some offense. Pageau is a really good player, but general manager Lou Lamoriello paid a king's ransom for him. Sure, they extended him, but that is still a high-price. Also, while Greene fills a need for defense in the wake of the injury to Adam Pelech, it sure seems like the Islanders could have used more of a puck-mover.
New York Rangers
- Acquired forward Julien Gauthier from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Joey Keane
- Acquired a first-round pick from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Brady Skjei
Thoughts: The Rangers had one goal at the deadline and that was to dump salary. They will have $7.5 million worth of dead space on the cap next season so saying, hey this team is close to a playoff spot, we can let it ride! was not really an option. Moving Skjei was a surprise as he is only 25 years old, but they had to do something after deciding to re-sign Chris Kreider.
- Acquired forward Nate Thompson from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick
- Acquired forward Derek Grant from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for AHL forward Kyle Criscuolo
Thoughts: The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the NHL so perhaps they made the right call by not making any major moves, but I don't think the additions of Grant or Thompson really make them that much better. If you think they were already better than Pittsburgh and Washington OK, then they made the right move with only minor tweaks. To me, I still see them as being a step behind both teams atop the division. The Flyers are red-hot right now, but in a seven-game series, I still give the edge to their Metro rivals.
- Acquired forward Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for forward Alex Galchenyuk, prospect Calen Addison and a first-round draft pick
- Acquired forward Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks for a third-round draft pick
- Acquired forwards Evan Rodrigues and Connor Sheary from the Buffalo Sabres for forward Dominik Kahun
Thoughts: The trade for Zucker was a great, great move. He is a top-line player and the fact that he is signed for another three years after this season takes the sting out of having to give up a first-round pick and a top prospect. But it is possible to tinker too much with a roster and that's what I think the Penguins did here. For a team that has dealt with so many injuries, they may not care about adding too many bodies, but the Penguins added four forwards in less than a month. What are the odds all four are able to fit seamlessly into the lineup?
- Acquired defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a second and a third-round draft pick
- Acquired forward Ilya Kovalchuk from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a third-round draft pick
Thoughts: The team needed scoring depth which Kovalchuk should theoretically provide, though his role in Washington will be much closer to what it was in Los Angeles than in Montreal. Dillon is a good, physical defenseman who makes the defense better, but the biggest hole on the roster was right defense and the Caps did not address that. If the team enters the playoffs with Nick Jensen or Radko Gudas playing a top-four role, what was the point?
And the winner is....
The Zucker deal makes them the team to beat from the division heading into the playoffs. They did more than they needed to on Monday and some of those deals will turn out to be busts. But overall, they bolstered their top line and look just as dangerous offensively even with the loss of Jake Guentzel. If they go on to win the Cup, the trade for Zucker will prove to be one of the pivotal moves of the entire season.
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