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Metropolitan Division Weekly Roundup: Division’s Loading Up Ahead of the Deadline

Multiple teams in the Metropolitan Division have made blockbuster deals to bolster their rosters ahead of the trade deadline this week.

Anaheim Ducks v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

1. Carolina Hurricanes: 86 Points (39-11-8)

The Carolina Hurricanes acquired Jesse Puljujarvi in return for Patrik Puistola. The Canes get a winger who has struggled to finish but is an incredible forechecker. In other words, he fits the mold and Puistola was not rated among the Canes top 15 prospects according to The Athletic.

Puljujarvi has a $3 million cap hit this year and is a restricted free agent next season. The Canes still have team control and worst case can use Puljujarvi as a replacement for Jesper Fast next season in the same role, but hes seven years younger with a much higher upside. He has always been someone with high expectations but has struggled to meet them. What could help him is playing with multiple Finns and being in an easier market than Edmonton.

The Canes are still rumored to be on the market with $7 million in cap space. Jeff Marek reported that the Canes and Calgary Flames were in talks last night for a big move. The Canes only make moves for players with term so that really leaves Andrew Mangiapane or everyone’s favorite Elias Lindholm to come back.

2. New Jersey Devils: 83 Points (39-15-5)

The New Jersey Devils were able to get their guy this weekend. They pulled off the largest trade thus far into the season to acquire Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks. The trade was the largest in size with 13 pieces being involved between the two teams. The Devils ended up sending a 2023 first round pick, a conditional 2024 second-round pick, their fifth ranked prospect according to the Athletic, their 13th ranked prospect, and two NHL/AHL players. The second round pick can become a first if the Devils make a conference championship in this year or next year and Meier plays 50% of the games.

The move is great for the Devils who didn’t have to give up any top end talent in the NHL and did not have to give up their top prospects. Now the Devils still have $1.3 million in cap space they can use if they want to add more depth veterans. However, this offseason will be a tricky one for the Devils who have just 10 players signed for next season and $36 million in cap space. Jesper Bratt could end up being a good offer sheet candidate.

3. New York Rangers: 77 Points (34-17-9)

After the entire world reported that the New York Rangers were going to acquire Patrick Kane, it finally happened. The Rangers sent a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for the veteran winger. The second-round pick can be upgraded to a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025 if they make the Eastern Conference Finals. They also had to send a third-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes to help eat some of the Salary Cap. The return is better than what was rumored for Chicago who literally had zero leverage in this deal. Kane had a full no trade clause and would only waive to go to the Rangers.

The deal had been delayed due to cap constraints that got even tougher yesterday with the news that K’Andre Miller was suspended for three-games due to unsportsmanlike conduct. The incident happened in the first period of their game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, when he spat on Drew Doughty. He has apologized and said it was unintentional. With cap hits accruing daily and his still counting against the books and not playing, the Rangers were stuck with an additional contract hit. That forced the Rangers to wait until Tuesday night to officially submit the deal that was finalized last week.

4. New York Islanders: 70 Points (31-25-8)

The loss of Mathew Barzal loomed large for the New York Islanders, however they have performed well in his absence. The Isles lost Barzal on 2/18, but have gone 3-2 in that time which also included a 4-0 win against the Jets on Sunday. This has kept the Isles in the top wild card position in the East.

The Islanders also sent a third-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Pierre Engvall. Engvall has 12 goals and nine assists in 58 games played this season. The 26-year-old winger is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has a $2.25 million contract hit this season. The Isles still have just over $5 million in deadline cap space which is enough for Jean-Gabriel Pageau to return. If the Isles make any more moves it would be due to the team not expecting Pageau to return during the regular season.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins: 69 Points (30-21-9)

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a bit of cap relief over the weekend. They waived Kasperi Kapanen just one season into his two year $3.2 million AAV extension. He was claimed by the St. Louis Blue and now the Penguins will have just over $2 million in cap space at the deadline. The Penguins had been shopping Kapanen around this season but were unable to find a trade partner and would have likely had to send a pick to a team to also take the cap hit. Now they got the cap space for free.

The Pens are at a crossroads at the moment. They still sit out of a playoff position but they have previously made it clear that as long as they have Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin they will always make a push for the playoffs. However, this season Ron Hextal has made it clear that he doesn’t want to trade a first-round pick. With just $2 million in space and only wanting to spend mid-to-late picks, they won’t be in on any big deals.

6. Washington Capitals: 64 Points (29-27-6)

The Washington Capitals may have traded Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway, but it doesn’t signal a full sell-off. The Capitals have committed to staying competitive while Alex Ovechkin is chasing the goal record. The Caps trades were based around their pending free agents and getting younger. Instead of losing players for free in the summer they were able to acquire assets and use them in subsequent trades. The Caps have now made two blockbuster deals. First they sent Demitri Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins for three picks including a 2023 first-round pick.

Then the Caps turned around the Bruins 2023-first round pick and another expiring player in Erik Gustafson to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Rasmus Sandin. Sandin is a 22-year old defenseman with a $1.4 million contract hit. After the 2023-24 season he will be a restricted free agent. He led all Leafs regulars in possession with 53.85% Corsi and led all Leafs defensemen in expected goals rate with 57.73%. He hasn’t scored a ton with just four goals but he can move the puck and has 16 assists this season.

7. Philadelphia Flyers: 56 Points (23-28-10)

The Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella confirmed that the team will be selling this week. The team has been in limbo for the last few seasons refusing to sell and believing that they had actual chances to contend. It took an abysmal week to finally force the Flyers’ hands. They lost three of four games which includes a current three game losing streak. In their last three games they have been outscored 16-4. Since the All-Star break they have let up three or fewer goals just twice and are 2-7-1.

The big question now is “how far do they go?” They could just sell off players like James van Riemsdyk and Justin Braun who are pending UFA’s but neither have eye popping stats. Neither should receive top picks or prospects in return. They have been shopping defenseman Ivan Provorov, who would bring back significant returns. Provorov does have two more years with a $6.75 million cap hit and has shown to be a legitimate top pairing defenseman.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets: 46 Points (20-35-6)

The Vadislav Gavrikov saga has finally come to an end. He was traded along with Joonas Korpisalo to the Los Angeles Kings for Jonathan Quick, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick. The return seems light for the Blue Jackets. Gavrikov has had significant trade buzz for the last month or more. They also took on almost $4 million in cap in the swap of goaltenders. Just looking at the Kane deal, the Rangers sent a third-round pick to the Yotes just for retaining salary.

The Blue Jackets had two other minor transactions within the organization. They sent two players down to the minors, Yegor Chinakhov and Carson Meyer. Both are coming off of injuries and need conditioning stints. Chinakhov played in 30 games this season before getting injured and registered four goals and nine assists. His assignment in the AHL shouldn’t be long, they are trying to get the 22-year-old forward as much experience as possible.