Pittsburgh Penguins: A-
The Penguins didn’t do a lot at the trade deadline, but they made one good move and one great move.
Pittsburgh’s first move was to acquire defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional seventh-round pick. It’s nothing crazy for the Pens, but it adds a left-handed defenseman for further down the road as a depth option.
The big move was the acquisition of forward Rickard Rakell. The 28-year-old comes over from the Anaheim Ducks and brings a style of play that suits the Penguins. Pittsburgh surrendered a pair of roster players in Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon to get Rakell, but those departures are worth it to bring in a player of this caliber.
This deal enables the Penguins to fill a hole at the top of the lineup without losing a key piece of the existing roster. It was a simple yet effective deadline for the Pens.
Washington Capitals: C-
Washington was able to add a couple of forwards to the roster, but that wasn’t the top priority for the Caps.
What the Capitals needed more than anything was an established goaltender. Unfortunately, Washington will have to proceed with the combination of Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. Vanecek has played well recently, but the Caps now have to rely on that to be maintained for 2-3 months.
I don’t dislike the roster in D.C., but my concerns all season have been that when Alex Ovechkin is not at his absolute best, the support around him is good but not great. I look at the Penguins, a team that is in a very similar position to the Caps in terms of their championship windows, and it seems like one had a significantly stronger trade deadline than the other.
The Capitals will once again be in the postseason, but I don’t believe that the team did enough to earn its first playoff series victory since 2018 in Las Vegas.
With the trade deadline in the books, the race for the postseason is on. Did your team do enough to contend for Lord Stanley’s Cup?