The Metropolitan division has carried many surprises so far this season and continues to do so as the season progresses. Half the division is either in a playoff position or is fighting for a spot. While the other half seem to be in full seller-mode for the deadline
Here is one trade each team in the Metropolitan division should make before Monday’s trade deadline.
- New York Islanders- Acquire Matt Duchene – The Islanders have been a major surprise this season. Currently being a top the Metropolitan division even after losing John Tavares in free agency. Now they sit in first place in their division ready for a playoff run. The question for the team is do they want to go all in on a guy like Artemi Panarin or Matt Duchene? Or go for one of the middle guys like a Mats Zuccarello or Gustav Nyquist.
The Isles could use a boost in the goal scoring department which is why they should go after Matt Duchene. They have been one of the teams linked to Duchene in recent weeks and they could definitely use his offensive production. Duchene has 27 goals in 50 games this season. Not to mention his 31 assists. He would give the Isles a great scoring threat down the middle and could bolster their offense to another level.
A trade between the Isles and Senators could work if the Isles would be willing to part with their first-round pick this year. They also have a number of prospects that they could throw in the deal to help it along. Getting a top goal scorer should be on the Isles radar and Duchene fits the bill..
- Washington Capitals- Trade Andre Burakovsky – Here is another weird situation for the division. The Capitals are by no means selling. But Andre Burakovsky has been thrown around the rumor mill as a guy that could use a change of scenery. So in this sense, the Capitals are buying by selling through Burakovsky.
This season Burakovsky is not playing up to expectations. He has seven goals and 10 assists in his 54 games played this season. Burakovsky has played up and down the Washington lineup but has spent most of his time on the 3rd and 4th lines. He is a restricted free agent at the end of the season and carries a $3 million cap hit for this year.
At the end of the day, the Capitals should package Burakovsky with assets in order to add some offensive or defensive depth to the team. What they get in return is up in the air because the Capitals are not linked to many names at the moment. But packaging Burakovsky with assets could get the Caps some depth at forward or some help behind the blue line.
- Pittsburgh Penguins- Acquire Nick Jensen- The Pittsburgh Penguin currently sit third in the Metropolitan division. They fall right in the middle of the league in terms of goals allowed and acquiring Jensen could sure up the blueline. In addition, the Penguins don’t have much cap room, so Jensen would be the ideal target for the Penguins.
Nick Jensen is having a fairly good year with the Red Wings. The right-hander is not much of a point producer but has 15 points in 59 games this season.
Jensen makes only $812,500 in the final year of his contract and will hit free agency this offseason. A very team friendly contract especially for Pittsburgh who does not have a ton of cap room. If the Penguins can make a deal for Jensen that should help bolster the defense.
- Columbus Blue Jackets- Trade Artemi Panarin- It is no secret that Artemi Panarin has been the biggest name in the rumor mill this season. Panarin is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and does not have much interest in a contract extension with the Blue Jackets.
Panarin has 67 points in 56 games this season. In those 56 games, he has 24 goals and 43 assists. He could instantly help any team that chooses to acquire him by slotting in as a first line winger. His cap hit is only $6 million which is very nice considering his point production.
Panarin holds a lot of trade value and the Blue Jackets are in a position where they could just miss out on the playoffs. If they decide to keep Panarin and they were to miss the playoffs then they would lose Panarin in the offseason for nothing. Which is why the Blue Jackets should play it safe and trade Panarin to another contender and in return get some assets and a player or two that could help the team this year.
- Carolina Hurricanes- Trade Micheal Ferland- The Hurricanes are in a position where they could be buyers and sellers. They currently sit one point out of the 2nd wild card spot and could very easily sneak into the playoffs. This should be a situation where they should buy, but by selling Ferland the Hurricanes can buy in the process.
Micheal Ferland is on one of the more team-friendly contracts this season. His cap hit is just a mere $1.75 million. He will hit free agency this offseason and will command a pay raise. One that the Canes do not want to give him. In 51 games this season Ferland has 33 points and is on pace to hit 20 goals in back-to-back seasons. He can play either wing position on any line. If there is one thing he has proven these past few years is that he can play with anybody.
The most ideal scenario would be for the Hurricanes to trade away Ferland to another team in return for a roster player that could help them this year. In the process, they either get another asset or give up one to get a bigger piece. That way you get a valued return for Ferland and don’t lose him for anything.
- Philadelphia Flyers- Trade Wayne Simmonds- This one has probably been the consensus pick since the beginning of the season. Despite the Flyers going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, they are still better off selling than trying to make a playoff run. The team has some good pieces in place for the future but Simmonds is not one of them which is why they should get something for Simmonds at the deadline.
Wayne Simmonds has played 60 games this season and has 16 goals to go along with 11 assists. He would be a great addition to most teams and would help a team upgrade at the right wing position. Simmonds is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. His cap hit is $3.975 million which is very team friendly.
Simmonds name has been thrown around in trade rumors all season. The Flyers should really get on the phone and try to find Simmonds a new home for the remainder of the season. If they trade him to the right team the Flyers may be able to get a first-round pick along with other assets for Simmonds.
- New York Rangers- Trade Kevin Hayes- The Rangers have a number of other players that they could deal. Mats Zuccarello, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Adam McQuaid are other candidates to be dealt. But Kevin Hayes is the guy that could get you the most in return. Which is why Hayes is the one Ranger that needs to be traded.
Hayes has played 50 games this season and has 14 goals and 28 assists. He can slot in to be a teams number two center and help with depth scoring. He carries a $5.175 million cap hit for the rest of the season before he hits free agency in the offseason. The Rangers had tried to lock him up long term but a deal was never worked out.
On the market the Rangers could probably get a first-round pick in exchange for Hayes. Especially if the Rangers decided to retain salary. The Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins are potential suitors for Hayes.
- New Jersey Devils- Trade Marcus Johansson- The New Jersey Devils are at the bottom of the Metropolitan division and are well out of a playoff spot. They have already begun selling when they dealt Brian Boyle to the Nashville Predators last week. They have a few pieces that they could decide to sell. The guy that would yield the biggest return would be Marcus Johansson.
This season Johansson has 12 goals and 15 assists in 48 games. He can play both center and wing and would provide some depth scoring to whichever team would like his services. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. His cap hit for the rest of the year is just above $4.5 million.
A number of teams have inquired about Johansson. If a deal were to be made expect Johansson to be dealt over the weekend opposed to the Monday of the deadline. Johansson’s value is up in the air, but the Devils could get a decent return for the 28-year old Swede.
Cover photo credit: doinow.com
Chris Bugajsky covers the Dallas Stars and the NHL for Full Press Coverage. Follow Chris on twitter @CBugajsky14.