February 27, 2017

NHL Metropolitan Division Trade Deadline Predictions

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year again where analysts and fans speculate on the most active day of the season in the trade front. It’s a fun subject to talk about because most of us turn into ‘fortune tellers’ and we assume our own predictions are best even though our knowledge is just based on pure speculation, just like the analysts you see on television. At this time, we can only speculate, and that’s what we’re going to do as the March 1st, 2017 trade deadline is fast approaching.

This season, there are more star players that are expected to be traded this season than in 2016. In 2016, most GM’s were in conservative mode as a lot of teams held on to their core of players only to let them go as free agents. This year it will be different. There are too many good players to pass up for a crucial Stanley Cup run.

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Carolina Hurricanes

Salary Cap: $15.6 million

What They Need: Draft Picks and Prospects

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Seller

The Hurricanes are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They have loads of cap space but they’re budget team, they have guys that they have to sign long-term soon, plus they can’t deal any of their core players away because they have to remain on the cap floor.

They have already dealt Ron Hainsey to the Pens and the only other guy they can deal away is Viktor Stalberg. He’d fit onto a team like San Jose, Anaheim or even Toronto but they won’t get much in return for him.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Salary Cap: $5.3 million

What They Need: Defensive Depth

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Neutral

It’s hard to tell what the Jackets need to improve on because they’ve been playing so well. Not too many people expected the Jackets to have a great season but they really are having a great season. Their weakest point in their game is the penalty kill but its not very at all. They’re PK is still in 12th place but their goals for, goals against and powerplay are all in the top 5. They could go for a top 5 or 6 defenceman like Kyle Quincey of the Devils. They could try to get Anthony Duclair off the Coyotes for additional scoring depth but the Blue Jackets are not desperate for anything at this point so they might lay low this deadline.

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New Jersey Devils

Salary cap: $6.7 million

What They Need: Elite Scorer

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Seller

I know it’s odd that the Devils would be a seller when they could acquire a guy like Matt Duchene off the Avs. The Devils have lots of picks to trade plus for Duchene plus they still have to trade off P.A. Parenteau and Kyle Quincey so they don’t walk into free agency without getting anything in return.

Watch for a couple of low key moves by the Devils at the deadline and perhaps a bid for Matt Duchene.

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New York Islanders

Salary Cap: $1.4 million

What They Need: Secondary Scoring

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Buyer

The Islanders are so close to a playoff spot that it almost doesn’t make sense for them to be neutral or sellers. After all, they climbed all the way back from last place in the Eastern Conference a couple of months ago.

While the numbers suggest that they need to improve their defence, they actually need someone good to play with John Tavares. Thomas Vanek played for the Islanders before and he had a lot of success playing there so the Isles could be a front runner in acquiring him. Other options include Radim Vrbata, Jannik Hansen and Anthony Duclair.

If the Isles want any chance to compete in a tight Eastern Conference, they have to get somebody to improve their team now or else they’ll fall behind in the standings very quickly.

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New York Rangers

Salary Cap: $1.4 million

What They Need: Defensive Forward

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Neutral

The Rangers are already a pretty good team. They have scoring, they have goaltending plus their defensive core is very balanced. A defensive forward would be a great addition to the team because they mostly offensive minded forwards. They could add Brian Boyle who plays a good 2-way game. Jannik Hansen is another good option for cheap. The Rangers will probably remain neutral as they have good chemistry amongst each other throughout their lineup but I wouldn’t rule them out in being a dealer either.

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Philadelphia Flyers

Salary Cap: $3.6 million

What They Need: Forward Retooling

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Neutral

Things have been quiet in Philadelphia on the trade rumour front but of course we can never rule anything out until it happens. The Flyers have been falling behind in the standings and were recently overtaken by the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers in the playoff race. They don’t have the punch like they did last season plus their defence is very inexperienced. If the Flyers were smart they’d trade Mark Streit for a pick or two but even he isn’t in trade discussions at this point. He still could be moved so far it looks like the Flyers are going to lay low.

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Pittsburgh Penguins

Salary Cap: $0

What They Need: Defensive Depth

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Neutral

The Penguins have made an early move by acquiring Ron Hainsey off the Hurricanes. They now have no more cap room so that might be it for trades for now. The Pens are #1 in scoring plus they’re sitting comfortably in a playoff spot so they don’t have to make anymore moves. They badly needed the depth Hainsey brings to the table as Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley are injured. Looking forward, the Penguins have a great chance of being a finalist again this year and Crosby is looking better now than he did last year.

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Washington Capitals

Salary Cap: $0.6 million

What They Need: Not Much

Buyer, Seller or Neutral: Neutral

There are no flaws in Washington’s game right now. They are 2nd in scoring behind the Penguins plus they’re #1 in defence. The Caps are close to the pay ceiling plus everybody on the team is playing well so it isn’t necessary to make any moves. Just like the Penguins, they look better than they did compared to last season despite having lower point totals than before. If this team just keeps doing what they’re doing, they’ll be just fine.

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