1. Washington Capitals: 91 Points (42-13-7)
Winners of the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes at the deadline, the Caps sent their 2017 first round pick, a conditional pick, a 2019 conditional draft pick, Forward Zach Sanford, and former Carolina Hurricane Brad Malone for Shattenkirk and G Pheonix Copley. The deal is good for the Caps who are giving up a late first rounder, two small role players, and possibly a 2019 pick if they make it to the conference finals.
Shattenkirk has expressed interest in signing with the New York Rangers, so it is likely that the Caps will only have the defenseman for the remainder of the season and a playoff run. This deal is great for two reasons for the Caps. First, they acquire a top pairing defenseman who can quarterback the power play but is also able to shut down top talent. Secondly, it keeps Shattenkirk off of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the other team with strong interest who are the Caps’ most probable second round matchup. The Caps already won their first game with Shattenkirk along the blue line on Tuesday when they beat the Rangers 4-1.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets: 84 Points (39-16-6)
The Blue Jackets acquired two depth players yesterday, forward Lauri Korpikoski and defenseman Kyle Quincey. Neither move is close to a blockbuster as they sent a defensive prospect to the Stars for Korpikoski and defenseman Dalton Prout to the Devils for Quincey, but the moves were smart for a team that is close to the salary cap and doesn’t want to sell the farm for this season. Korpikoski and Quincey are both vets with multiple seasons of playoff experience.
The Blue Jackets are a fairly young squad with little playoff experience, so adding vets can help the team come crunch time in the playoffs. The Jackets have also done well all season with their current team; they didn’t need to add huge pieces to make the playoffs or to compete with the top teams, because they have already proven that they can do that. Another advantage of the deals made is that the team’s core will be together for the foreseeable future with Seth Jones, Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, and Zach Werenski all signed through at least the 2019-2020 season. There is no need for this team to do anything drastic now.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins: 84 Points (38-17-8)
Jim Rutherford said he wanted two defensemen and that’s what he got. He acquired his first last week when he sent a 2017 second round pick to the Canes for Ron Hainsey. He got his second yesterday when he acquired Mark Streit from the Flyers via the Lightning in a two-part trade by sending a 2018 fourth round pick to the Lightning. Streit and Hainsey will fill in for Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley who are both on IR for the next few weeks.
What will become interesting is that when those two are healthy again, the Pens will have eight defensemen on their roster. They will have some interesting decisions to make down the stretch and into the playoffs about who they want to start. The Pens are all but guaranteed a playoff spot, so it is interesting to see them give up a second round pick for a guy who could be a healthy scratch in the playoffs.
4. New York Rangers 82 Points (40-21-2)
The Rangers were involved in three trades, but only one of them is significant at the NHL level. The Rangers traded second and third round picks to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Brendan Smith. This move is essentially expected for the Rangers who are apparently allergic to second round picks: they have only had two picks in that round from 2013 to 2018.
The Rangers have been dealing with injuries on the blue line to both Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi which had them looking to add a defenseman at the deadline. When Shattenkirk was dealt on the 27th, the Rangers moved quickly on the 28th. Smith is a solid possession defenseman who ranked fourth on the Red Wings with a 49.22 cf%. His shots generated, shots concealed, and shot impact per hour are all of a top pairing guy. The only downside is his scoring is low at only five total points (2g, 3a).
5. New York Islanders: 68 Points (29-22-10)
Garth Snow stayed quiet at the trade deadline making no trades. This isn’t shocking because the team has been in flux and has quite the identity crisis this year. The Isles started out dreadful but have climbed to just one point out of the playoffs behind the Maple Leafs. The Isles don't have to make a decision on whether or not to mortgage the future for success this year or sell off current success for picks.
The Isles can keep their current group together to see the real identity of the team under Doug Weight. Now they don’t have to make any tough decisions until the NHL draft about their future. The one thing that was very interesting to see is that the Isles didn't trade goalie, Jaroslav Halak, who is currently in the AHL. Due to his age, Halak’s full salary of $3.55 mil counts against the Islanders cap. One thought is that New York could be keeping him for expansion draft insurance in case Thomas Greiss is taken by Las Vegas.
6. Philadelphia Flyers: 65 Points (29-26-7)
The Flyers front office must be happy with their current roster because they only made one trade and re-signed goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year deal. The Flyers were part of a three-team deal which saw them receive Valtteri Filppula, a 2017 4th round pick, and a conditional 2017 7th round pick for Mark Streit. The deal is smart for the Flyers as they acquire a forward and a pick for a defenseman who is likely to re-sign with the organization next season.
What is confusing about the Flyers’ inactivity at the deadline is that the team hasn’t been playing well. In their last 10 games, the Flyers are 3-6-1 and are unlikely to make the playoffs. The Flyers also didn’t trade Steve Mason who had some interest from Boston and Calgary who were looking for a backup goaltender. Instead, Ron Hextall took a page out of Ron Francis’s playbook by keeping one of the league’s worst goaltending tandems together for a little while longer.
7. New Jersey Devils: 62 Points (25-25-12)
The Devils dabbled in the trade market but could have made a much bigger splash. For all intents and purposes, the Devils are poised for a full rebuild but chose to keep almost all of their aging talent. The Devils were successful in trading both P.A. Parenteau and Kyle Quincey to the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets respectively. The Devils got a 2017 sixth round pick for Parenteau and Dalton Prout for Quincey.
The Devils didn’t have to sell the farm as they do have five picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft, which is weaker than previous years. They could be holding onto future rent-a-stars Ben Lovejoy, Mike Cammalleri, and Travis Zajac, for a better year’s draft. Until then the Devils are still third to last in the east and haven't sniffed the playoffs since November.
8. Carolina Hurricanes: 60 Points (25-26-10)
The Canes stayed pretty inactive at the deadline only trading two players, Ron Hainsey and Viktor Stalberg. Hainsey was dealt last Thursday to the Penguins for a 2017 second round pick and Stalberg was traded Tuesday to the Senators for a 2017 third round pick. Though GM Ron Francis got a good return for both players, it's tough to see the Canes stay pretty inactive. The biggest thought must be, why improve the team during the season when all they have to compete for is a draft position.
The Canes are going to have to make a drastic move over the draft because the current roster has proven that they aren’t capable of winning consistently. The Canes have a plethora of picks, 10 in the first three rounds, and a massive surplus of young defensemen that need to be traded for scoring talent and improved goaltending. If they are able to improve on these fronts, they can easily find themselves in the playoffs next year.
The first move that should be made is a trade for Matt Duchene and/or Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche seem adamant on their asking price, but the Canes have the pieces to make this move and they should. Prospects and picks are nice, but at a certain point, you need guaranteed NHL talent. Second, the Canes need to trade for a goalie. There are a couple options out there with Marc-Andre Fleury, possibly Steve Mason, and Ben Bishop will be a UFA this summer. Whether it’s one of these guys or another player, someone needs to be brought in to be a capable starter night in and night out.