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Metropolitan Division Weekly Roundup: Trade Deadline Grades

The rosters are set for the stretch run heading toward the playoffs. Who fared well and who stumbled at the deadline?

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1. Carolina Hurricanes: 92 Points (42-12-8) C

It was disappointing to many that the Carolina Hurricanes weren’t aggressive at the deadline despite the messaging around the team over the last month. The Canes lost out on the big names and only made two smaller deals to improve team depth. Both deals were typical Canes’ deals at the deadline. They bought low on a young forward with team control and acquired a depth defenseman.

At least one deal has certainly been working out as of late with Shayne Gostisbehere quarterbacking the red-hot second power play unit. The acquisition is perfect and low-risk for Gostisbehere who can play sheltered third-pair minutes while also getting power play time. He is an offensive upgrade from Calvin De Haan on the third pairing but also provides insurance for an injury.

It can be frustrating that the Canes never make splash deadline moves and it seems like they are never willing to go all in. But it is also important to note that the Canes system is very unique in the league. Gostisbehere spoke after the Coyotes game about how different the terminology and structure are from everywhere else. Deadline adds have more challenges in Carolina which also reduces the chances for pieces to make a big impact.

Notably In: Jesse Puljujarvi, Shayne Gostisbehere

Notably Out: Nothing

2. New Jersey Devils: 88 Points (41-16-6) A+

The New Jersey Devils were able to win the coveted Timo Meier sweepstakes without giving up one of their top prospects. The Devils have one of the top prospect pools in the league and could have easily parted with one of them and not sold the farm, but they were able to hold out and it only cost them some prospects while brining back the top scorer on the market. He made his debut against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday and immediately made an impact with a goal.

The move was perfect for the Devils to be able to add an impact player that they have team control of this off-season and didn’t mix up their group at all. They have a great young core that is poised to have success for the next decade or more. They haven’t made the postseason since the 2017-18 season, so their ability to raise their game for the postseason is the great unknown for this team.

Notably In: Timo Meier, Curtis Lazar

Notably Out: Andreas Johnsson, Fabian Zetterlund

3. New York Rangers: 79 Points (35-19-9) B

The New York Rangers had one of the splashiest deadlines, acquiring two of the biggest names, Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane. However, both players are having down years and are on the wrong side of aging curves. Kane was rumored to have a nagging injury until he popped off for five goals in three games in what was likely an audition for the Rangers. So now we will see if they were just playing on bad teams or if the struggles are more indicative of their actual performance.

Granted if one of those players ends up playing at a high level, they will create matchup nightmares offensively. The Rangers have pushed all in in each of the last two years which has reduced their draft capital. They now only have five picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts. If they make the Eastern Conference Finals this year they will also lose an additional first-round pick in 2024 or 2025 bringing them down to just four picks. If the Rangers don’t see success soon they will find themselves in cap hell sooner rather than later.

Notably In: Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola, Tyler Motte,

Notably Out: Sammy Blais, Vitali Kravtsov, Julien Gauthier

4. New York Islanders: 74 Points (33-25-8) B+

The New York Islanders landed one of the biggest players at the deadline, centerman Bo Horvat. They brought him in early and also re-signed him to an eight-year $85 million contract. The early acquisition worked in favor of the Isles. They traded a single draft pick - a top 12 protected first-round pick - a middle-six winger in Anthony Beauvillier, and a prospect, Aatu Raty, who was one of the Isles’ top prospectswith an upside to be a middle-six player. That seems light compared to some other acquisition prices around the league.

The Isles were also able to acquire winger depth when they added Pierre Engvall from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Engvall is another middle-six type of player that fits the Isles mold. He’s not flashy and doesn’t score a ton of goals but he is tough to play against. He should fit in well. So at the end of the day, the Isles were able to revamp their top nine despite not having much cap or roster flexibility.

Notably In: Bo Horvat, Pierre Engvall

Notably Out: Anthony Beauvillier

5. Pittsburgh Penguins: 73 Points (32-22-9) D+

The Pittsburgh Penguins deadline was a head scratcher, for sure. They didn’t get noticeably better, but they did get older and less cap flexible. The Penguins are taking a gamble on Mikael Granlund who has a $5 million cap hit for two more seasons after this one. However, he is just one year removed from a 64 point season, his best since the 2017-18 season. This year though, he has nine goals and 27 assists. This could be due to the Preds overall downward trend, or it could be a legitimate aging curve.

Nick Bonino should improve the bottom line and replace Brock McGinn’s role. The Pens were able to shed McGinn to the Anaheim Ducks for Dmitry Kulikov and a third-round pick. McGinn is under contract for two more seasons at a $2.7 cap hit. The big problem now is the Pens have scratched P.O. Joseph in favor of Kulikov who has been one of the worst defensemen for the worst team in the league. During his time in Anaheim he has 42.1% Corsi and 37.8% Goals for. Both are the worst among Ducks defensemen.

Notably In: Mikael Granlund, Nick Bonino, Dmitry Kulikov

Notably Out: Teddy Blueger, Brock McGinn, Kasperi Kapanen (waivers)

6. Washington Capitals: 68 Points (31-28-6) A

The Washington Capitals did what the Flyers and other meddling teams fail to do way to often. They were able to trade players on expiring deals while they are still impact players to re-tool and get younger.

They flipped the assets they acquired from Boston to get Rasmus Sandin from the Leafs. Sandin is just 22 years old and has one more year until he is a RFA. The Leafs had to clear up cap for other moves and they were unlikely going to be able to sign Sandin after next season due to cap problems.

They now also have 11 picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts. The Caps won’t use all of those pick, they want to get younger and still be able to compete while Ovechkin goes for the record. They will be able to replicate what they did at the deadline. They will target cap strapped teams with RFA’s, and acquire their rights for picks. The Caps also made a couple of signings, they signed Nick Jensen to a three-year, $12 million contract and Nicolas Aube-Kubel to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million.

Notably In: Rasmus Sandin

Notably Out: Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, Marcus Johansson, Erik Gustafsson, Lars Eller

7. Philadelphia Flyers: 59 Points (24-29-11) F-

The Trade Deadline could not have gone worse for the Philadelphia Flyers. They came into Friday with the top ranked trade target (of who was actually left) according to TSN in James van Riemsdyk. JvR is a pending UFA who has nine goals and 14 assists and is just one year removed from a 24 goal season. He was also one of the only goal scoring wingers that was available at the deadline. Despite being rumored to be traded to the Detroit Red Wings, the Flyers were unable to find a trade partner. It was reported that there wasn’t as much interest in him as previously reported.

However, the history of Chuck Fletcher shows that he struggles to make deals when things are remotely difficult. Over the offseason, they were unable to clear space to sign Johnny Gaudreau who openly wanted to go to Philly. They also were unable to find a trade partner to take defenseman, Justin Braun. What they did do is get older and acquire two late-round picks. They clearly still don't have a direction.

Notably In: Brendan Lemieux

Notably Out: Patrick Brown, Zack MacEwen

8. Columbus Blue Jackets: 47 Points (20-37-7) B

The Columbus Blue Jackets were able to unload all of their pending UFA’s for a slew of draft picks. This includes, Vadislav Gavrikov who was finally traded to the Los Angeles Kings for the Blue Jackets’ asking price. They got the first-round pick that they wanted so long as the Kings make the playoffs. They have a 90% chance to make the playoffs according to The Athletic. They now have nine picks in the first three rounds of the next two drafts.

They were also able to unload the last year and a half of Jakub Voracek’s contract. Voracek only played 11 games last season and has a history of concussion issues and has likely played his last game. This will give them $19.4 million in cap space this offseason with 16 players signed. Columbus sees themselves as contenders since they have Gaudreau and Patrik Laine signed long-term. This cap space and extra picks could allow for the Blue Jackets to make moves at the draft and the start of free agency.

Notably In: Jonathan Quick (for one day)

Notably Out: Gustav Nyquist, Vladislav Gavrikov, Joonas Korpisalo, Jakub Voracek