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Trade Coverage

Trade Deadline primer for Metropolitan Division

NHL.com assesses team needs, assets, whether GMs are likely to buy, sell or stand pat

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The NHL Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 1, and the 30 general managers in the League have until then to decide if they are going to buy, sell or stand pat. NHL.com is taking a division-by-division look at where each team stands with less than a month to go before the deadline.

The Washington Capitals have charged to the top of the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference by going 16-1-2 in their past 19 games. But the Capitals will, of course, be judged by what they do in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and general manager Brian MacLellan has a tough decision to make about whether to stand pat or try to add more pieces.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers each have a solid hold on a playoff spot, and the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are in the hunt for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Here is a trade deadline primer for the Metropolitan Division:

NOTE: Salary-cap figures from capfriendly.com

 

WASHINGTON CAPITALS (36-11-6, 78 points)

 

Where they stand: First place in Metropolitan Division

What they need: An experienced depth defenseman, preferably with a right-handed shot

Pending UFAs: RW T.J. Oshie, RW Justin Williams, LW Daniel Winnik, D Karl Alzner

Pending RFAs: C Evgeny Kuznetsov, RW Andre Burakovsky, LW Brett Connolly, D Dmitry Orlov, D Nate Schmidt, G Philipp Grubauer

Projected cap space at deadline: $4.2 million

Current contracts: 44 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 5 (1, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Potential targets: D Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes; D Cody Franson, Buffalo Sabres; Brendan Smith, Detroit Red Wings

Potential assets: LW Jakub Vrana, LW/C Zachary Sanford

Biggest trade chip: Vrana, selected No. 13 in the 2014 NHL Draft, has 13 goals and 11 assists in 31 games with Hershey of the American Hockey League, but he has had trouble cracking the Capitals lineup the past two seasons. Vrana's chance probably will come next season, so it would take something special for MacLellan to consider giving him up.

2016 deadline: The Capitals made three trades near the deadline, each designed to add depth to a team that management believed was ready to compete for the Stanley Cup. The Capitals added Winnick, forward Ryan Bourque and defenseman Mike Weber, trading Chris Brown, Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick, a 2016 fifth-round pick and a 2017 third-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: MacLellan has been relatively conservative in his two previous deadlines as GM, eschewing the blockbuster trade for smaller depth moves. With the Capitals again at the top of the Eastern Conference, expect MacLellan to stick to depth trades if he makes any.

 

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (33-13-5, 71 points)

 

Where they stand: Second place in Metropolitan Division

What they need: Depth at center, an experienced backup goaltender

Pending UFAs: C/RW Sam Gagner

Pending RFAs: C Alexander Wennberg, RW Josh Anderson, C Lukas Sedlak, D Scott Harrington, G Joonas Korpisalo

Projected cap space at deadline: $9.1 million

Current contracts: 44 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 7 (1, 2*, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) * conditional pick

Potential targets: G Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets; G Keith Kinkaid, Devils; D Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes; D Cody Franson, Buffalo Sabres; D Brendan Smith, Detroit Red Wings

Potential assets: Korpisalo, G Anton Forsberg, LW Paul Bittner

Biggest trade chip: Sonny Milano, selected No. 16 in the 2014 draft, has gotten a taste of NHL experience each of the past two seasons. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is building for long-term success, but would he be tempted to give up one of his many young assets for the right return?  

2016 deadline: The Blue Jackets were not in playoff contention last season and did not make any trades near the deadline.

GM's deadline track record: This is the first time since 2014 that the Blue Jackets have been playoff contenders approaching the deadline. That year, Kekalainen traded forward Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings for forward Matt Frattin and two draft picks, and acquired defenseman Nick Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers for a draft pick. With the Blue Jackets in position to compete for the Stanley Cup this season and beyond, it appears unlikely Kekalainen will do anything that might shake up team chemistry.

 

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (33-13-5, 71 points)

 

Where they stand: Third place in Metropolitan Division

What they need: An experienced defenseman

Pending UFAs: LW Chris Kunitz, C Nick Bonino, C Matt Cullen, D Trevor Daley, D Chad Ruhwedel

Pending RFAs: LW Conor Sheary, D Justin Schultz, D Brian Dumoulin

Projected cap space at deadline: $0

Current contracts: 45 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7)

Potential targets: D Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues; D Johnny Oduya, Dallas Stars; D Fedor Tyutin, Colorado Avalanche; D Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes; D Ron Hainsey, Carolina Hurricanes

Potential assets: Draft picks, D Derrick Pouliot, G Marc-Andre Fleury

Biggest trade chip: Fleury, 32, has been a good soldier again this season, and GM Jim Rutherford repeatedly has said he wants to keep him and rookie Matt Murray to help in the Penguins' bid to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. In addition, Fleury has a no-movement clause and a modified no-trade clause. But if a trade gave Fleury a chance to play regularly and the Penguins the ability to upgrade their roster, Fleury and Rutherford would have to seriously consider it.

2016 deadline: The Penguins made three trades near the deadline. They added defenseman Justin Schultz, forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Matthias Plachta, and a 2017 seventh-round pick, trading forwards Matia Marcantuoni, Dan O'Donaghue and Sergei Plotnikov, as well as a 2016 third-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: Rutherford won't wait for the deadline if he finds a trade offer he likes. His trade for left wing Carl Hagelin last season (for forward David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening) came on Jan. 16.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS (33-18-1, 67 points)

 

Where they stand: Fourth place in Metropolitan Division, first wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: An experienced defenseman

Pending UFAs: None

Pending RFAs: C Mika Zibanejad, C/RW Brandon Pirri, LW/RW Jesper Fast, LW Matt Puempel, C Oscar Lindberg, D Adam Clendening

Projected cap space at deadline: $10.1 million

Current contracts: 45 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 6 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Potential targets: D Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes; D Johnny Oduya, Dallas Stars; D Fedor Tyutin, Colorado Avalanche; D Ron Hainsey, Carolina Hurricanes

Potential assets: Pirri, Clendening, LW Ryan Gropp

Biggest trade chip: Gropp, who was selected in the second round (No. 41) in the 2015 draft, is having a solid season with Seattle of the Western Hockey League with 15 goals and 28 assists in 45 games. The Rangers have some young depth at forward, but would they be willing to give up Gropp to acquire the help they need on defense?

2016 deadline: The Rangers avoided giving up a first-round draft pick last season when they got forward Eric Staal from the Hurricanes before the deadline (for forward Aleksi Saarela and two second-round picks).

GM's deadline track record: This will be Jeff Gorton's second deadline as GM, and he appears intent to hold on to New York's 2017 first-round draft pick. Because of past trades, including deadline deals for Martin St. Louis (2014) and Keith Yandle (2015), the Rangers haven't had a first-round pick since defenseman Brady Skjei in 2012.

 

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (26-21-7, 59 points)

 

Where they stand: Fifth place in Metropolitan Division, second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Forward depth, goaltending

Pending UFAs: C Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, LW Chris VandeVelde, D Mark Streit, D Michael Del Zotto, D Nick Schultz, G Steve Mason, G Michal Neuvirth

Pending RFAs: C/LW Roman Lyubimov, C Travis Konecny, D Shayne Gostisbehere

Projected cap space at deadline: $1.7 million

Current contracts: 46 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 10 (1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7*) * conditional pick

Potential targets: LW/RW Thomas Vanek, Detroit Red Wings; RW Radim Vrbata, Arizona Coyotes

Potential assets: Draft picks, Streit, Del Zotto, Mason, Neuvirth

Biggest trade chip: Gostisbehere, 23, was a Calder Trophy finalist last season but was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game Monday, and other teams surely have noticed. But even with the depth of defense prospects the Flyers have built up, it's difficult to imagine GM Ron Hextall trading Gostisbehere.

2016 deadline: The Flyers did not make any trades near the deadline last season.

GM's deadline track record: Hextall is in the same position as a season ago when he stood pat at the deadline, and the Flyers were able to get into the playoffs as the second wild card. He seems intent on remaining patient in rebuilding the Flyers rather than trying for a quick fix through a trade.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (23-18-10, 56 points)

 

Where they stand: Sixth place in Metropolitan Division, three points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Forward depth

Pending UFAs: C/RW Stephen Gionta, D Dennis Seidenberg

Pending RFAs: D Calvin de Haan, D Adam Pelech, G Jean-Francois Berube

Projected cap space at deadline: $7 million

Current contracts: 44 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 5 (1, 2, 3, 5, 7)

Potential targets: C Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes; LW/RW Thomas Vanek, Detroit Red Wings; RW Radim Vrbata, Arizona Coyotes

Potential assets: Seidenberg, G Jaroslav Halak, Berube

Biggest trade chip: C Ryan Strome, selected with the fifth pick in the 2011 draft, has yet to follow up on a breakout 2014-15 season when he had 17 goals and 50 points. It might be time for the Islanders to see what they can get for him and get some help for center John Tavares.

2016 deadline: The Islanders made two depth trades last year, adding forwards Shane Prince and Marc-Andre Cliche, as well as a seventh-round pick, and giving up forward Taylor Beck and a third-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: GM Garth Snow last made a big splash at the deadline in 2007 when he acquired forward Ryan Smyth from the Edmonton Oilers to help for the playoff push. With new owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky looking over Snow's shoulder following the firing of coach Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, there might be more pressure on him to qualify for the playoffs this season.

 

NEW JERSEY DEVILS (23-21-10, 56 points)

 

Where they stand: Seventh place in Metropolitan Division, three points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: A top-four defenseman, scoring forwards

Pending UFAs: RW PA Parenteau, D Kyle Quincey, D Karl Stollery, G Keith Kinkaid

Pending RFAs: C Jacob Josefson, C Sergey Kalinin, RW Beau Bennett, C Joseph Blandisi, RW Stefan Noesen, D Damon Severson, D Seth Helgeson

Projected cap space at deadline: $39.4 million

Current contracts: 46 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections:  8 (1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6)

Potential targets: None

Potential assets: LW Mike Cammalleri, Quincey, Kinkaid, Parenteau

Biggest trade chip: The Devils have 12 total picks in the first four rounds of the next two drafts and have plenty of salary-cap space to take on contracts. Those are their biggest assets.

2016 deadline: The Devils were conservative sellers last season because they weren't in a playoff spot but also weren't out of reach. They traded defenseman Eric Gelinas and forwards Lee Stempniak and Stefan Matteau to get forward Devante Smith-Pelly, a second-round draft pick, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: In his second season as Devils GM, Ray Shero is in a similar place to where he was at the deadline a year ago, and he appears ready to take a similar approach and collect more assets with the hope of doing something bigger again in the offseason (see: Taylor Hall trade). Shero traded center Vernon Fiddler, a pending unrestricted free agent, to the Nashville Predators on Saturday for a fourth-round pick.

 

CAROLINA HURRICANES (24-20-7, 55 points)

 

Where they stand: Eighth place in Metropolitan Division, four points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Scoring forwards, goaltending

Pending UFAs: LW Bryan Bickell, LW/RW Viktor Stalberg, C Jay McClement, C Derek Ryan, D Ron Hainsey, D Matt Tennyson

Pending RFAs: C Teuvo Teravainen, LW Brock McGinn, RW Ty Rattie, D Klas Dahlbeck.

Projected cap space at deadline: $70.2 million

Current contracts: 47 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 9 (1, 2, 2, 3, 3*, 4, 5, 6, 7) * conditional pick

Potential targets: LW Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche; C Matt Duchene, Avalanche

Potential assets: Draft picks, Hainsey, RW Lee Stempniak

Biggest trade chip: Defenseman Justin Faulk, 24, represented the Hurricanes in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game, but he might be expendable in the right trade for a scoring forward because of Carolina's depth of young defensemen, including Jaccob Slavin, 22, Brett Pesce, 22, and Noah Hanifin, 20.

2016 deadline: The Hurricanes were busy unloading players for assets at the deadline last season, trading forwards Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg, defenseman John-Michael Liles, and goalie Drew MacIntyre, and getting back forwards Aleksi Saarela, Anthony Camara and Valentin Zykov, defenseman Dennis Robertson, two second-round draft picks, a third-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and a conditional fifth-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: While rebuilding the Hurricanes, GM Ron Francis was a seller at the deadline the past two seasons and might also try to trade away a pending UFA or two this season. But Francis has made it clear he has plenty of salary-cap space and young depth and is willing to listen to offers for players who can help the Hurricanes now and long term.

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