Grading NHL Trade Deadline Performances: Metropolitan Division

Tyler Motte, New York Rangers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Tyler Motte, New York Rangers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Carolina Hurricanes: A

The Carolina Hurricanes made only one trade at this year’s deadline, and it was to acquire forward Max Domi from the Blue Jackets.

Domi, a former first-round pick, brings tremendous upside to Raleigh. His best season came in 2018-2019 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens when he set career-highs in goals (28), assists (44), and points (72).

This deal provides the Canes with another scoring threat that does not come at the expense of any key members of the team. It also paired well with the club extending forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Monday.

Carolina did not dominate the trade deadline in the way that the Florida Panthers did in the Atlantic Division, but its lone trade was one of high quality that keeps the Hurricanes near the top of the list of contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Columbus Blue Jackets: C+

Like the Hurricanes, the Blue Jackets participated in one trade and then called it a day. No players were brought into the Ohio capital, while Domi was the only player to leave.

What I like about this strategy is that Columbus didn’t buy into some far-reaching idea that it could compete for a postseason berth. In 2019, the Jackets were in a similar position to that one they find themselves in this season, as the team’s ceiling was a playoff appearance, and there was no realistic opportunity to win a title.

In that instance, the Blue Jackets threw caution to the wind and went all-in. Seeing that they did not repeat the same mistake this season is great. With that said, the franchise didn’t do much in terms of improvements for next season.

I’m not convinced that this club is as good as it’s played this season, which makes me feel like there should have been more selling in Columbus. Time will tell whether or not this was a missed opportunity to acquire draft capital.

New Jersey Devils: C-

The Devils made a pair of minor moves, but they did nothing of substance at the trade deadline.

Most of New Jersey’s pending free agents are young players that the team will hope to bring back. That, combined with the fact that teams were not interested in defenseman P.K. Subban, meant that the Devils didn’t have many players to trade.

Still, this team has underachieved yet again in the 2021-2022 campaign, and the path forward seems unclear. Yes, this is still a young team, but the Devs spent some big money in free agency that has yet to pay dividends, and now the draft capital is nothing special for a club that figures to need picks in order to continue rebuilding.