The Atlantic Division is home to the best team in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning have been steamrolling the league since the beginning of the season. They are 15 points ahead of the next place team in the league standings. The rest of the division has three other groups. There are the teams that are comfortably in the playoffs. The teams that are still fighting for a playoff spot. Finally, the teams that are in full lose for Hughes mode.
Here is one trade each team in the Atlantic Division should make before Monday’s trade deadline:
- Tampa Bay Lightning- Acquire Wayne Simmonds- The argument could be made for the Lightning to stand pat because they are the best team in hockey by far. The team averages nearly four goals per game. But for fun let’s say they want to add a bit more offense to the best offense in the league. Wayne Simmonds could be a guy on their radar.
Simmonds on the season has 16 goals and 11 assists. He is of much use on the power play and would slot nicely into a role with the lightning on the right wing. His cap hit is $3.975 which will come off the books at the end of the year when he becomes a free agent.
A deal for Tampa may be tricky. They won’t have a first-round pick if they win the Stanley Cup due to a prior trade with the New York Rangers. However, Tampa will be looking to shed cap space for the offseason as they will try to lock up Brayden Point long term. Tampa definitely has the assets to pull off a deal, it’s just a matter of do they really need it.
- Boston Bruins- Acquire Wayne Simmonds – The Bruins have already begun making moves as we near the trade deadline. In acquiring Charlie Coyle on Wednesday night they brought in a piece to be that number 3 center they have been looking for. Now they turn their attention to finding another winger to help with the 2nd line.
We don’t need to rattle off Simmonds stats for the season again. But it is of note that he would be a great addition to play on the right side of the B’s second line next to David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Again, helps on the power play and is a winger that can score goals. Which is exactly what Boston is looking for.
They should target a guy like Simmonds mainly because he will cost less than a guy named Artemi Panarin. Besides that point, Simmonds hit free agency after this season and overall would help round out the Bruins Top-6.
- Toronto Maple Leafs- Acquire Nick Jensen- Nick Jensen’s name has shown up a lot recently and for good reason. He is a fit for a large number of teams. Toronto is a team that could use the help on defense and is has limited cap room. Which is why Nick Jensen makes sense.
The Leafs already made a trade for Jake Muzzin to help with the defensive core. Jensen would be another guy that could add value to the Leafs blue line. Jensen makes a mere $812,500 for the remainder of the season. He fits nicely into a top 4 role on the blue line and would help the Leafs who are one of the bottom teams when it comes to defense.
In a trade for Jensen, the Leafs may also look to shed salary as they gear up for what will be an interesting offseason for them. There are other options out there for the Leafs, but now since they are without a first-round pick they need to be careful about what they give up.
- Montreal Canadiens- Stand pat – I think it is fair to say that not many people thought the Canadiens would hold a playoff position near the trade deadline. In a similar way to the Blackhawks, they have a number of young guys who could help further the team in the upcoming years. They also are not trying to win now. It would be silly for them to make a big splash at the deadline.
Standing pat is a smart decision for Montreal. Mainly in the sense that they should be contenders in the near future. They have a few good pieces paired with a few promising rookies. Not to mention one of the best goalies in the NHL.
If they were to make a move, I could see the team taking on a bad contract in exchange for a prospect or higher draft picks. They have a lot of room in cap space that they may use to land a big free agent in the summer.
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- Buffalo Sabres- Acquire Andre Burakovsky – The Buffalo Sabres had success early in the season when they had that 10 game win streak. Now they sit 6 points out of the 2nd wild-card spot. So why would they want to add Andre Burakovsky? Well, the answer is fairly simple. The Sabres are very close to being a contender. Burakovsky is the perfect move that could pay off a few years down the road.
This only works with Burakovsky since he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. So say the Sabres were to acquire him. They would be able to extend him for the near future. Burakovsky has been underperforming this season. Only 17 points in 54 games. A change of scenery would be good for him and sending him to Buffalo wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Burakovsky may come at a fairly cheaper price than some may think. Buffalo could very well choose to do nothing at the deadline. A move for Burakovsky would be purely a move for the future and would have no impact on the team’s playoff chances this year.
- Florida Panthers- Trade Mike Hoffman – The Florida Panthers are well out of a playoff position and have already begun selling. As they look to the offseason and have their eyes set on Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky they may want to look at shredding some cap space. Mike Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau are prime candidates to be dealt.
Hoffman is under contract through next season with a $5.18 million cap hit. This season he has 26 goals and 23 assists for the Panthers in 58 games. He would upgrade any teams top 6. He can play both center and left wing and is an extreme power play weapon.
A trade for Hoffman might see a bit more than expected mainly due to the fact he is under contract for another year. The Panthers could very well keep Hoffman and trade Huberdeau who may command a larger return. Huberdeau is under contract for another 4 seasons after this one. The Panthers have decisions to make and they are not easy. But then again it’s not supposed to be.
- Detroit Red Wings- Trade Gustav Nyquist – Since the beginning of the season it was pretty well known that the Red Wings were going to be sellers come the trade deadline. Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist were thought to be their two biggest pieces to sell. You could really argue either of them to be on this list. But Nyquist may be the guy that gets the bigger return.
Nyquist on the year has 15 goals and 33 assists. He is on pace to eclipse the 20 goal mark for the 4th time in his career. Nyquist would fit nice in most teams top 6 and will be a steady contributor from the right side. Nyquist will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and has a $4.75 million cap hit.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland has made it clear what he would like in return for Nyquist. The question is will he actually get that. We will have our answer come Monday’s deadline.
- Ottawa Senators- Trade Matt Duchene –
UPDATE: Senators Trade Duchene to the Blue Jackets
The Ottawa Senators hold the worst record in the NHL. They are also in line to finish dead last. However, they do not hold their first-round pick this season. The Sens have a number of guys who could yield big returns including Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel. They have offered Stone an extension and have yet to hear if he accepts or not. The Sens shut down Duchene and he will not play until after the deadline. Which speculates that he will be traded.
On the year Duchene has 27 goals and 31 assists on the season. He is playing on Ottawa’s first line but he would play in the top 6 no matter what team he gets traded to. He would improve any team he joins and brings another scoring threat which is always good to have.
The Senators should be looking at a big return for Duchene. A first-round pick and a top prospect at a bare minimum. If they play their cards right the Sens could get a few teams in a bidding war for Duchene and could get one of them to overpay. Duchene already turned down a contract extension this season from the Sens. He appears he is on his way out of Ottawa and will join a contender in the next few days.
Cover photo credit: liveinthestands.com
Chris Bugajsky covers the Dallas Stars and the NHL for Full Press Coverage. Follow Chris on twitter @CBugajsky14.