Welcome to the week of the 2022-23 NHL Trade Deadline. All trades with the NHL must be registered by 3 PM ET on Friday, March 3, 2023. As such, how a team is performing may guide their hand in terms of what they want to do. The top three of the Metropolitan Division is all but set to be the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers. The Rangers already added Vladimir Tarasenko and could add Patrick Kane soon. What will Carolina and New Jersey do?
In the middle of the division is a wild card race that involves three other teams in the Atlantic Division. The Washington Capitals have been on a slide and made a curious “selling” type trade in dealing Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to Boston. The Pittsburgh Penguins have had their GM booed by the fans and the head coach calling for a big trade. The New York Islanders made that big trade in getting Bo Horvat earlier this season. While they are far from safe, the Isles are currently in a wild card spot.
The division will be somewhat active for five out of the eight teams in this week (and the Atlantic Division wild card battlers). Carolina and New Jersey will hit the road for two-game weeks. Bizarrely, the Flyers have just one game to play. It is also the only game within the division, which is highlighted and in bold. Get ready for some new looks by this weekend at the latest.
Here is the week that was and week that will be for all eight teams in the division.
What Happened Last Week: Carolina just continues to roar. After sweeping last week, they sought to do it again. They hosted St. Louis on Tuesday and creamed them. Andrei Svechnikov had a first-period brace, Sebastian Aho scored in the second period to restore a two-goal lead after an early period Justin Faulk goal, and Seth Jarvis added a third period goal in a 4-1 win. No, this was not the game that led to the recent Craig Berube beef about his players; but it probably did not help. The good times kept rolling for the Hurricanes on Friday night when they hosted Ottawa. Frederik Andersen was great on Tuesday but Antti Raanta was perfect against the Sens. 32 shots, 32 saves for the shutout. Not that it was needed. Brent Burns and Jarvis made it 2-0 within the first seven minutes of the game. Martin Necas and Brady Skjei added more goals for the 4-0 romp of Ottawa. Surely, the Canes would just keep the W’s coming when they hosted Anaheim last night. The Ducks had other ideas. They decided to frustrate the Caniacs as much as possible.
Some numbers are important to tell the brief story of that game. Carolina out-attempted Anaheim 25-13 and out-shot them 13-7 in the first period. John Gibson stopped all of the shots. In the second period, Carolina out-attempted Anaheim 36-8 and out-shot them 22-5. Only that one of those five shots was a goal by John Klingberg late in the period. Gibson stopped everything else. In the third period, the Canes out-attempted the Ducks 29-9 and out-shot them 17-3. Except one of those three shots was by Jakob Silfverberg, who made it 2-0. Jesperi Kotkaniemi finally beat Gibson on the next shift to make it a 2-1 game. Troy Terry took another one of those three shots and scored to make it 3-1. Just over 90 seconds after that goal, Jesper Fast made it a 3-2 game. Anaheim threw everything and a kitchen sink at the Ducks. Gibson stood tall against 90 shooting attempts and made 51 saves total to preserve the lead. The Hurricanes finally lost their first game since February 11, a 3-2 regulation loss to the Ducks. And now the Devils are just three points behind them. Although Carolina has that all-important game in hand.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will get a little respite with a two game week. Granted, both are quite a bit away from Raleigh. The Hurricanes will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. The G-Knights are battling for first place in the Pacific Division. While hardly invincible at home, it will be a challenge. Carolina will have to avoid the trap on Deadline Day with a game in Tempe, Arizona. The Coyotes will likely sell more and want to “make up ground” to catch San Jose, Chicago, and Anaheim. Carolina is expected to help them out. The Hurricanes still remain in control of their own destiny and will still have a game in hand on New Jersey by next week. They just have to not squander those games and hope New Jersey does not win if they do waste those matchups.
Deadline Thoughts: Carolina has ~$10 million of cap space, extra mid round picks in the 2023 draft as well as all of their picks in 2024 and 2025 (and Philly’s second rounder in 2024), and some interesting young players to move. Carolina can make a big splash. Will they, though? Do they really need to?
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: The Devils ended this month with a four-game homestand. Right after beating Pittsburgh last Saturday, they hosted Winnipeg. It was an auspicious start with Mackenzie Blackwood getting beaten by a Cole Perfetti rebound and a Neal Pionk long shot - out of just six shots. He would be better from then on. Also: Dawson Mercer scored in between the two Jets goals to make it a 2-1 game. This was maintained for a third-period comeback. Fabian Zetterlund hammered a one-timer to tie it up, Miles Wood got enough of a Michael McLeod feed to beat Connor Hellebuyck for the go-ahead goal, and Mercer had that DAWG in him to get the empty netter for a 4-2 win. A fine win. Tuesday night saw the Devils host Montreal. The Canadiens exposed the weakside for three goals: a first period goal by Justin Barron, a second period goal by Johnathan Kovacevic, and a third period goal by Rem Pitlick. The killer was Nick Suzuki’s torching of Vitek Vanecek shortly after Kovacevic’s goal. While Jesper Bratt scored early, the Devils could not crack Sam Montembeault until Mercer put home a PPG rebound goal. It was a disappointing 5-2 loss. Would the Devils rebound?
It did not seem that way at first on Thursday night against Los Angeles. The Devils started well except a poor line change led to Anze Kopitar getting a breakaway. He scored for LA’s first shot on net. A turnover by Jack Hughes and a not-defended 2-on-1 rush led to Viktor Arvidsson putting home a rebound from a Kevin Fiala shot. But the Devils battled back from two goals down. Mercer set up Tomas Tatar for a late second period goal as the Devils kept the Kings to a minimum. In the third, Tatar set up Mercer for an equalizer. All looked fine until the final five minutes. A lost puck behind the net and a whole lot of puck watching saw Kopitar find Sean Durzi streak down the weakside for a go-ahead goal with under five minutes left. Was it all lost? No. Hughes found Nico Hischier in the right spot for a re-direction with just 39 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. In OT, Hughes hit the post, the Devils kept the Kings to a minimum, and Hamilton found, who else, Mercer for a one-touch OT winner. Would it be this dramatic on Saturday night against Philly?
Absolutely not. After a dreary first period where no one gave up a score, the Devils cracked open the scoring in the second period. An unassuming shot from the boards by Jonas Siegenthaler found its way past Samuel Ersson to make it 1-0. Later in the period, Siegenthaler broke up a zone entry and cleared the puck into a wide open space in the neutral zone. Jack Hughes took that puck, darted in, and beat Ersson for the highlight reel goal for his first goal since returning from injury. The Devils honored the 2003 Cup winning team on Saturday. Late in the second, there was a tribute to the Cup winning goal in 2000: Nico Hischier flung an Elias-like pass to Dawson “Dawgson” Mercer to make it 3-0 going into the break. The floodgates were open as Philly checked out of the game in the third period. Hischier torched Ersson with a high shot to make it 4-0 in the third. Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from distance past Nathan Bastian and Ersson just inside the left post to make it 5-0. Hughes styled and profiled with a spin move to set up a tap-in for Jesper Bratt for 6-0. A Kevin Bahl shot was tipped into the net by Bastian to make it 7-0. Philly gave the Devils problems earlier this season. On this night, the Devils were The Problem and the Flyers had no answer. Akira Schmid earned his shutout. The Devils won with the blowout, won their week at 3-1-0, and pushed to eight points ahead of the Rangers - and three points behind Carolina. A very, very, very good week for the Devils.
What’s Coming Up This Week: New Jersey is like Carolina in that they have just two games to play on the road this week. Unlike Carolina, these two games are far harder. The Devils will go to Denver to play the Avs on Wednesday night. Colorado has been charging up the standings and now occupy a playoff spot. I doubt we will see a one-goal game like their meeting in October. On the day of the Trade Deadline, the Devils will be in Las Vegas. The Devils have beaten them in January back in Newark, which is a plus. And Las Vegas is not so unbeatable at home. It will still be tough, if only because the Golden Knights have a far fiercer playoff fight than the Devils. Enjoy the short week. Their spot in second should be safe outside of the worst case scenario (Rangers sweep their week, Devils get zero points). The next three will be anything but short or safe.
Deadline Thoughts: I wrote about it here. And Jared’s posts for the last few weeks have been trade-focused. Timo Meier remains the hot name linked to the Devils. Then again, those rumors have included the thought that San Jose wants Dawson Mercer. A six-game goal streak and a massive amount of DAWG in him would make anyone want him - and the Devils to keep him. If not Meier, then who, though?
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers came back from their successful trip from Western Canada to host Winnipeg on Monday night. The Rangers had a seven-game point streak going and were playing a Jets team that lost to New Jersey the night before. Easy, right? Nope. New York did their best with a whopping 51 shots on Connor Hellebuyck. Problem was that the goalie stopped 50 of them. And that one shot that went in was well after Pierre-Luc DuBois (PPG, first period), Mark Schiefele (first period), and Kyle Connor (second period) scored. Vincent Trocheck got the lone goal. Schiefele added further insurance in a 4-1 loss for New York. So ended the point streak. On Thursday, the Rangers went to Michigan to play Detroit. The Red Wings were (and are) surging to stay in the wild card picture. The Rangers did make it more of a game. Andrew Copp scored in the first period and Trocheck scored in the second period to tie it up. Then Filip Zadina scored about two minutes after Trocheck’s score. Then Michael Rasmussen made it a 3-1 game late in the second. Then Filip Hronek scored on a power play, punishing a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Sure, there was an apparent melee at 11:45 but the Rangers suffered another 4-1 loss. Would they rebound on Saturday afternoon against an even more struggling Washington team? Would someone other than Trocheck score?
Second question first, yes. Specifically, Barclay Goodrow. Only that his goal tied up the game in the first period after T.J. Oshie opened it with a PPG. Then the bottom fell out for Igor Shesterkin - who has been struggling as of late - and the Rangers in the second period. Oshie, Tom Wilson, Sonny Milano, and Evgeny Kuznetsov provided the goals as Washington blew away the Rangers in the second period. With a 5-1 lead, it was consolation time. As well as time for Jaroslav Halak to replace Shesterkin. Chris Kreider got a PPG, Kuznetsov scored again in the third, and Kaapo Kakko got a last-minute goal for a final score of 6-3. A 6-3 loss. To a Capitals team that was reeling. New York has went from a point-streak of seven games with six wins to losing all three games last week. They are now eight points back of New Jersey with no games in hand. They are at least eight points ahead of the Islanders in fourth place. Will they get to rest and reset after this poor week?
What’s Coming Up This Week: Absolutely not. New York will get to enjoy a four-game week. First, they will host Los Angeles on Sunday. The Kings will have a day of rest in their favor as well as the incentive to stay in the playoff race. Surely, they will want to end their time in the tri-state area with five and not three points. Be careful, Rangers. This three-game losing streak could become a four-game losing streak real soon. On Wednesday, they will take on Philadelphia in the Flyers’ only game that week. The Rangers should get a result but it will not be easy for what could be a well-rested and prepared opponent. On Thursday, the Rangers come back to Manhattan to host Ottawa. Like the Flyers, this is a team the Rangers should try to beat as the Sens have little to play for. Like the Flyers, the Sens are nobody’s doormats (sometimes) and so the Rangers have to respect them. Lastly, the Rangers will go to the Rink of Visitor Losses: Boston. They will visit Boston for an afternoon game. It is a busy week. They can try to make up ground on New Jersey and stay ahead of the wild card mess. But an extended losing streak will only make this effort harder.
Deadline Thoughts: Patrick Kane was not happy when the Rangers traded for Vladimir Tarasenko and not him. It is rare for someone to be publicly disappointed they were not acquired in the NHL, but Kane is not your usual player. He has a no-movement clause, Chicago has nothing to play for, and he wants to go to Manhattan. And only Manhattan per Scott Powers. According to Mollie Walker at the New York Post, the laments have lowered his value enough that the Rangers may be able to add him. Somehow. The Rangers have to make some moves to clear enough cap space to add Kane, even with salary retention. They made a modest savings by sending Vitali Kravstov (talk about mis-developing a prospect) to Vancouver for Will Lockwood (reported to Hartford) and a 2026 seventh round pick on Saturday. More may need to be done and it will be tricky. Yet, I would have to think it happens by Friday given how insistent Kane has been about this trade. Of course, plans can change at any time. The Rangers added to their offense and seek to add even more. Question is: Will the defense and Igor Shesterkin be in good form by April? Maybe?
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: With so many more games played than the teams around them, it is important that the Islanders get results whenever they can. They cannot assume the teams around them will all lose those extra games. This also meant Monday’s game in Pittsburgh was huge as the Penguins have been directly challenging the Isles. It looked to be Pittsburgh’s game. Jake Guentzel scored in the first period. While Brock Nelson scored in the second, Jason Zucker’s power play goal made it a 2-1 game. Then Bo Horvat and Anders Lee flipped the script with goals just 1:41 apart in the third period. Ilya Sorokin locked it down. Nelson put home the empty netter for a huge 4-2 win. A result that helped the Isles move back to a wild card spot. On Wednesday, the Isles added to their point total in a home game against Winnipeg. It was a lower-event and less-dramatic game. Sebastian Aho scored in the first period, Nikolaj Ehlers scored a power play goal to tie it up, and Simon Holmstrom broke it in the third period. A 2-1 win is still two big points for the Islanders. A sweep of the week would give them some much needed breathing room over Washington and Pittsburgh.
Alas, Los Angeles had other ideas. Fresh off an overtime loss to the Devils, the Isles were rolled in a scoreless first period as they were out-shot 12-5. In the second period, those shots yielded goals. Phillip Danault, Arthur Kaliyev, and Gabriel Vilardi all scored within a six-minute time period for a 3-0 lead. The Islanders did mount a comeback effort. Noah Dobson made it possible with a PPG late in the second period. Adam Pelech made it a one-goal game with less than five minutes in regulation. But the shots were rare - it was 5-4 in the third period, 5-4 - and so the comeback fell short. The Isles lost 3-2. A 2-1-0 week is a good week. But given their position in the standings, they are going to wish they at least dragged that Kings game to overtime. They at least got the help to take the first wild card spot for this snapshot and sit in fourth place in the division.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Islanders will go away from Long Island for two games before returning home by the end of the week. The Isles will play in Winnipeg this afternoon. The Jets may want revenge for last Wednesday’s 2-1 loss. They are also a far better home team (20-9-0) than road team (15-14-1). It will be a challenge. Likewise when the Jets visit Minnesota on Tuesday night. The Wild are in a better position than the Isles, but they would want to avoid being dragged into the wild card in the West. The return home will be against Detroit on Saturday. Detroit has clawed their way into the wild card picture with a great run of form. The Islanders will have to hope that the Red Wings will cool off a bit by that game (they did just get wrecked by Tampa Bay on Saturday...) as they will try to take care of business at home. The Isles will have to keep getting results for their own sake. And get used to a lot of scoreboard watching. At least they are in a playoff spot today.
Deadline Thoughts: The team already added Horvat. They will also have about $7.7 million in cap space by the deadline. The Isles already shipped out 2023’s first rounder, but could still move a future pick(s). No one really knows what Lou does. He could do nothing. He could do quite a bit. With the Isles being in a wild card spot, it could change the thinking - or not at all.
What Happened Last Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins fell back in the wild card race with a good, old-fashioned losing streak. After getting beaten in a back-to-back, the Penguins hosted the Islanders on Monday. This game was important as it could cause a big swing in the division standings. That did happen - and for the Islanders. The Penguins went up early with a goal by Jake Guentzel and a Jason Zucker PPG put the Penguins back up after a second period goal by Brock Nelson. But the Pens collapsed in the third period. They conceded two quick goals to Bo Horvat and Anders Lee to go down 3-2. Nelson added an empty netter to secure a 4-2 loss. The frustration hit a tipping point on Thursday. Edmonton essentially dropkicked Pittsburgh in the throat. While Kris Letang scored first, the Oilers just made it a miserable night. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored PPGs in the first period for a 2-1 game at the first intermission. The second period yielded goals from Kailer Yamamoto, Devin Shore, Warren Foegele, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The third period featured a penalty shot for McDavid, who scored on it. Letang got a consolation PPG at the end. Still, the Penguins got ripped apart at home 7-2. The fans were chanting to “Fire Hextall,” referring to the GM Ron Hextall. Not the head coach, Mike Sullivan, who all but pleaded for Hextall to make a deal. The tension between the two is not new either. A four-game losing streak is usually not a season-killer but seeing the Penguins fall from a wild card spot to being three teams back by Saturday morning is a cause for major concerns.
Oh, the Penguins also played yesterday afternoon. They visited an equally tense St. Louis team. Winning would ease someone’s tension. It was far from an easy game. Pittsburgh brought the rubber to Jordan Binnington with a 21-shot first period. They scored no goals. And 23 seconds into the second period, Pavel Buchnevich beat Tristan Jarry to open the scoring. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin was able to tie up the game later in the period. The shots were more even but the Pens were attacking throughout the game. They struck gold when Marcus Pettersson scored his first legitimate goal of the season to make it 2-1 with less than six minutes left in regulation. Only for Justin Faulk to tie it up within the final three minutes and force overtime. Thankfully for the Black and Gold, Bryan Rust re-directed a pass to Bryan Rust at Binnington’s blindside. The Penguins won 3-2 in OT and finally ended their losing streak. The win was enough to move up to fifth place and take the second wild card spot ahead of idle Buffalo and Florida and a Detroit team that lost. By no means they are safe but perhaps the win will let everyone in Western PA cool down a bit.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins will get no break. The Penguins will return to PPG Paints Arena to host a very dangerous Tampa Bay team this evening. Hardly the opponent a team sliding for the last two weeks to face, but it is what it is. The Pens will go to Nashville on Tuesday, visit Tampa Bay on Thursday for a rematch, and play in Florida on Saturday in another big game for the wild card race. The Penguins still need wins to move ahead in this wild card picture. They will not come easy this week.
Deadline Thoughts: On Friday, Hextall did place Kasperi Kapanen on waivers, which will give them a little more breathing room. St. Louis, Pittsburgh’s opponents on Saturday, claimed him. This now means Pittsburgh has about $2 million of space to play with for the deadline. The Pens have picks they can move outside of their original third and fourth rounders for 2023 (they have New Jersey’s third in 2023). Will the Penguins make the move(s) they need to make to stop their slide and fight back up in the standings to salvage this season? This is a big week for Pittsburgh and especially Hextall. The fans are not fans of him. His head coach is seemingly not a fan either. Good luck, Ron.
What Happened Last Week: Washington lost all of their games last week after being the second team in the NHL this season to beat Boston in Boston this season. Would the Capitals get a win? Not right away. After getting waxed by Carolina in front of 60,000, they returned home to face Detroit. The Red Wings knew they needed to overcome Washington to move up in the wild card race. They took an early lead with Robert Hagg scoring his first of the season and Pius Suter scoring shorthanded after Dylan Larkin was thrown out of the game and given a major for cross-checking. Tom Wilson would score on that power play to make it close. But the Caps could not get much against Ville Husso until the third period - and Suter scored in the third on one of Detroit’s four shots. Husso shut it down and the Capitals lost 3-1 to continue their losing streak.
On Thursday, the Capitals hosted the lowly Anaheim Ducks. Surely, the Ducks would be beaten, right? Plus, Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup. T.J. Oshie scored a power play goal in the first period to open the scoring. Good, right? Then it was not good. Isac Lundestrom tied it up in the second. While Nick Jensen restored the least almost two minutes later, Troy Terry scored less than a minute after for a 2-2 game. Jakob Silfverberg made it 3-2 early in the third and John Gibson denied Washington all period long with 16 saves in the period alone. Derek Grant put home the empty netter to hand Washington their sixth straight loss at 4-2. Yes, Washington lost to Anaheim. The misery continued.
Washington hosted the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. Would a secure playoff team add to the current pain of the Caps? No. The first period seemed familiar. Oshie scored a PPG and the opposition tied it up minutes later. Barclay Goodrow, to be specific. What was different was the second period. The Caps dumped the deck on the Rangers in the middle frame. Oshie, Wilson, Sonny Milano, and Evgeny Kuznetsov all scored to make it 5-1 Washington going into the third period. They chased Igor Shesterkin and the third period was much more relaxed. Sure, Chris Kreider scored a PPG, but Kuznetsov scored later. A Kaapo Kakko goal within the final minute was just consolation. The Caps ended their long losing streak with a 6-3 win. The points moved them back into a tie-by-points with Buffalo, Detroit, and Florida. All of whom have tiebreakers - games played or regulation wins - over Washington. Better that than being behind them further.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Washington will go on the road for their next four games. Three are in this week coming up. They have another important wild card-based game on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. The Caps already have to hope Buffalo loses games, but the Caps really should try to beat the Sabres for their own playoff hopes. The Capitals will go to California after that trip for a stretched-out set of three games. Wednesday night will have Washington in Anaheim and they will be in San Jose on Saturday evening. Those are games that the Capitals really have to win as both opponents have nothing to play for and the Capitals do. That is their situation. Like Pittsburgh, they need points and now. At least their games on paper will be easier than Pittsburgh’s this week.
Deadline Thoughts: I would have thought the Capitals would want to be buyers by Friday’s deadline. Then they went ahead and dealt defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway to Boston for Craig Smith, Boston’s first rounder in 2023, Boston’s third rounder in 2024, and Boston’s second rounder in 2025. That is something that a seller would try to swing. Orlov played significant minutes for the Capitals and Hathaway was a regular too. They have some space to make a move, but I am less sure that they will make any to add to their roster. Which is odd to say for a team that is not that far out of the playoff picture, but their position is not favorable and the six-game losing streak hurt a lot. They did end it, but I do not know how much that changes management’s thinking by Friday.
What Happened Last Week: The Flyers continued their road trip into Alberta to start this week. Not that they were serious contenders for a wild card spot but they are basically spoilers at this point. On Monday, the Flyers visited Calgary and gave them fits. Travis Konecny scored to open the scoring; and the Flyers took a 3-1 lead going into the third period with Nicolas Deslauriers and Anthony DeAngelo sandwiching Mikael Backlund scoring. Calgary would come back and tie it up in the third with goals by Tyler Toffoli and Andrew Mangiapane. But Wade Allison broke that tie and the Flyers held on for a 4-3 win - a spoiler of Calgary’s run. On Tuesday, the Flyers visited Edmonton and did better than Pittsburgh would do on Thursday against Edmonton. But it was a losing effort. Noah Cates opened the scoring, but Tyson Barrie scored a PPG with three seconds left in the first period to tie it up. Owen Tippett put the Flyers up 2-1 in the second period. But Edmonton came back to win with a PPG from Leon Draisaitl and two goals from Connor McDavid for a 4-2 loss. The Seattle-Western Canada trip was disappointing, but it was not winless.
The Flyers returned home on Friday to host fellow a non-playoff team, Montreal. The Canadiens went up early on Carter Hart and never looked back. David Savard took advantage of a bad line change to open the scoring. Chris Tierney scored within the final seconds of the first period. Nick Suzuki “scored” a power play goal in that he put a pass to the front off Ivan Provorov for an own goal. Philly got on the board with an early third period goal by Tippett. Only for Jesse Ylonen to tip in a shot by Barron and Josh Anderson to score later on. Provorov got a consolation goal in the 5-2 loss to Montreal. Last night, the Flyers visited the Devils. The Flyers have given the Devils problems earlier this season and even beat them twice. This would be much different; the Devils would be The Problem. After a scoreless first period, the Devils cracked Samuel Ersson and it would just progressively worse for the squad. Jonas Siegenthaler scored from the boards from distance. Then Siegenthaler denied a zone entry, cleared a puck, and Jack Hughes took it to put Ersson on his personal highlight reel for a score. Then Nico Hischier hooked up Dawson Mercer with a killer pass to the front to make it 3-0 going into the third period. Philly seemingly checked out of the game at some point while the Devils made it rain goals. A top-shelf shot from Hischier; a shot to the inside of the left post by Dougie Hamilton that beat a screening Nathan Bastian and Ersson; a spin move by Hughes that set up Jesper Bratt for a tap-in; and Bastian tipping in a Kevin Bahl shot for the extra point after the touchdown the Devils dropped on Philly. The Flyers lost 7-0, ending a miserable back to back and a poor week at 1-3-0. They really do not have anything to really play for and this past week further cemented it.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia has just one game coming up this week. They will host the New York Rangers on Wednesday. They should be very prepared for that game. They should be well rested. They will continue to be without Travis Konecny, alas.
Deadline Thoughts: I do not think the Flyers were going to trade Konecny, but they certainly will not now with his significant injury. The Flyers have about $1.18 million to work with by the deadline. I would think they would want to move out some assets and try to pick up some more futures. If only to have more room to sign more players in the summer. Given that James van Reimsdyk is a veteran (33 years old) and a pending UFA, I would think he is going to be someone’s rental acquisition this week. Then again, he was held out of the Devils game with a possible injury, so who knows if that is possible.
Columbus Blue Jackets
What Happened Last Week: Columbus visited Arizona in a battle of the basement-level squads last Sunday. Arizona took a lead from a quick two goals from Travis Boyd and Nick Schmaltz in the first period. But they could not add to it and the Jackets came back. Boone Jenner cut the lead to one in the second period and Patrik Laine converted a power play to tie it all up. Overtime was needed and Barrett Hayton ended this to hand the Jackets a 3-2 loss. A point is whatever as they remained behind the Ducks for 32nd place. That Laine PPG would be the last goal they would score until Saturday. Columbus hosted Minnesota on Thursday and scored zero goals against Marc-Andre Fleury. 30 shots, 30 saves. Minnesota went up 2-0 in the first period thanks to Brandon Duhaime and Kirill Kaprizov and that was all that was needed. Columbus lost 2-0.
Yet, yesterday, Columbus took an early lead on Edmonton to get a goal. Specifically, Kirill Marchenko scored 1:14 into the first period for a 1-0 lead. That held up into intermission. Then everything went ludicrous in the second period. Columbus ran up the score to a 4-0 lead within the first six minutes of the second period. Boone Jenner scored a PPG, Marchenko scored again, and Laine scored to make it 4-0. Out went Jack Campbell, in went Stuart Skinner in net. Then Edmonton answered every single one of those goals within the next nine minutes of the period. Warren Foegele got it started, Leon Draisaitl punished an Erik Gudbranson high-stick with a PPG, Connor McDavid scored a shorthanded goal, and then McDavid scored at even strength. Absolute mayhem. But Columbus would breakthrough in the third period. A pair of goals from Jack Roslovic broke the tie and gave Columbus some more room. Despite the Oilers’ efforts with a 23-shot third period (!!!!), Joonas Korpisalo was only beaten once late by Zach Hyman. It made for a very tense finish, but Columbus held on for a 6-5 regulation win. A result that surely pleased a lot of Pacific Division teams.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus will not get any rest this weekend. They will go to Minnesota for an afternoon game today. I do not know what else the Jackets have in them after that 6-5 win over Edmonton but we will see soon enough. Then the Blue Jackets will go visit Buffalo on Tuesday night. I would expect several other fanbases hoping for a Blue Jackets upset. The Blue Jackets will spend Deadline Day preparing for a home game against Seattle. And then Columbus will visit Ottawa for a Saturday night game. It is a busy week wherein the season will wind down. The Blue Jackets have locked up last in the division and have the “lead” for last place in the league even with their three points earned last week. Do they want to avoid the possibility of moving ahead? Does it matter that much given that it is a draft lottery and the lottery has not been kind to the last place team in the NHL over the years?
Deadline Thoughts: Vladislav Gavrikov was held out of the lineup for a pending trade. Scuttlebutt was that the deal was to send him to Boston. Only for the B’s to go out and make a trade for Orlov and Hathaway. Columbus is left “holding the bag” on Gavrikov, who probably should be moved since he knows he was being dealt already. Only it could be for less since 31 NHL teams know that the Blue Jackets were effectively rebuffed. In other words, another ‘L’ for Columbus in a season full of them. Expect some selling off by Friday either way.
That was the twentieth Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. What do you expect to happen in this week of games coming up? Who adds and who subtracts by Friday? Can Carolina keep on winning? Can the New Jersey Devils keep ahead of a New York Rangers team that will play more games in this coming week? Will the Rangers enter (or avoid) a prolonged slump after going winless last week? Can the Islanders stay ahead in the wild card race despite a big games played disadvantage? Will Pittsburgh or Washington turn it around now that they won a game yesterday to end their slides? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the eight teams in the week that was and the week ahead in the comments. Thank you for reading.