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NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Atlantic Division

As we get closer and closer to the highly anticipated NHL Trade Deadline, our team here at We Live For Hockey is going to go through each division, with deadline primers. With many teams in the mix of rumours and some just merely out of the playoff picture, moves are expected to be made.

Alright, now we are going to get started with the Atlantic Division. This division is really interesting. It holds a few teams who have been involved with plenty of rumours within the past few weeks. The teams are in order of their standing in the division as of Monday, February 13th.

Montreal Canadiens | 31-19-8, 70 points| 1st Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Top-Six Forward, Puck Moving Defenseman

The Montreal Canadiens are definitely buyers at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. GM Marc Bergevin has been rumoured in many trades in these past few weeks. With Brendan Gallagher coming back, there isn’t as much of a need to pick up a forward, but the defenseman is a must. With Kevin Shattenkirk open to becoming a Montreal Canadien, I think you look at that and say, ‘we’d like to have Shattenkirk.’ You have a Shea Weber in his prime, a Carey Price that’s at a $6.5 million cap hit for another season, plus Galchenyuk and Radulov both need extensions after this season. The need to win is for sure there in Montreal. Whether or not it’s time to pull the trigger, well that’s up to Marc Bergevin.

It looks like a tough cap-squeeze ahead, although a top-six forward, preferably a centre upgrade would be nice. There’s a lot of risk involved with picking up another top-forward, as you have some big contracts coming up next season. Maybe picking up a Matt Duchene? With Colorado in the midst of the worst season they’ve had in awhile, they’re definitely looking to sell off. Plus, he is set to make $6 million for another year after this. The Canadiens have some assets to trade, as the wealth in goaltending prospects could be exploited. One thing you can for sure give Bergevin credit for, is the ability to keep his farm system afloat and looking good.

** And there it is, the Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien. Firing Claude Julien will be a serious mistake that Bruins management will want to take back, especially after playing against him. GM Marc Bergevin just proving time and time again, that he is willing to do what it takes to win. Great job by management.**

So, I guess we will see if the Canadiens go out and make another big splash this year. They’ve struggled for a few months, achieving the 23rd best record in the NHL since mid-November, it’s just not good enough. There’s a lot of promise on this team and I expect a move for either a top-six forward or a defenseman.

Potential Targets:

Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Kevin Shattenkirk, Patrick Sharp, Martin Hanzal, Brian Boyle

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Alexander Radulov, 30, $5.75 million
  • David Desharnais, 30, $3.5 million
  • Brian Flynn, 28, $950,000
  • Andrei Markov, 38, $5.75 million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Alex Galchenyuk, 23, $2.8 million
  • Sven Andrighetto, 23, $650, 000
  • Nathan Beaulieu, 24, $1 million
  • Nikita Nesterov, 23, $725,000

Ottawa Senators | 29-18-6, 64 points| 2nd Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Top-Six Forward

The Ottawa Senators are the most consistent team in the Atlantic this season. They’ve been really good, and have a solid roster mix of both forwards and defenseman. Injuries haven’t been much of an issue for the Senators this season, the only thing is their goaltending. With Craig Anderson being away from the team, to be with his wife, they relied on Mike Condon. Who has been arguably strong this year, plus when Anderson came back after his absence with a shutout.. that is gold. He is a true champion and I wish nothing but the best for him and his family in this tough time. Nevertheless, these Sens are running a real good system this season under head coach Guy Boucher.

They could for sure use another top-six forward, preferably a winger at the deadline. Someone to compliment the second line, as the first line of Hoffman-Turris-Stone has been incredible this season. This team is a buyer for sure, but whether or not they go out and make a big splash is another question. With the level of consistency they’ve been having all year, it will be hard to see them just make a big move. They acquired Wingels from the Sharks to replace MacArthur, but it’ll be interesting to see if they acquire another top-six winger to compliment their second line.

The Senators have a consistency that some may think isn’t worth tinkering with. But if a deep playoff-run is imminent, management may think bolstering their top-six group of forwards is the right call. Rumours have been all around Curtis Lazar lately, and he could provide value for a package deal to upgrade the forward-core.

Potential Targets:

Matt Duchene, Patrick Sharp, Radim Vrbata, Thomas Vanek, Martin Hanzal, Brian Boyle

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Tommy Wingels, 28, $2.45 million
  • Chris Neil, 37, $1.5 million
  • Chris Kelly, 36, $900,000
  • Tom Pyatt, 29, $800,000
  • Marc Hagel, 28, $605,000
  • Mike Condon, 26, $575,000

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Curtis Lazar, 22, $894,167
  • Jean-Gabriel Pageau, 22, $900,000
  • Ryan Dzingel, 24, $750,000
  • Fredrik Claesson, 24, $700,000

Boston Bruins | 29-23-3, 64 points| 3rd Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Reliable Backup Goalie, Stay-Home Defenseman

The Boston Bruins have won two games in a row behind coach Bruce Cassidy. Fans thought management was delusional for firing Claude Julien. It’s not his fault they have a goalie who is absolutely overworked and a slightly-weak defensive core. It is a tough situation right now in Boston. They have a great crop of forwards and an overwhelming offensive attack, but it will come down to the back-end. They need someone to relieve Tuukka Rask of his ridiculous workload. There’s also a need for another stay-home defender in front of him. Trading Hamilton to the Flames left a bit of a whole on the back-end. But when they drafted Brandon Carlo, Bruins fans knew that he was the future on this blue line. He is showing a lot of promise this year, as possibly one of the best d-men drafted through the Bruins system.

The Bruins, if to have another run at a Stanley Cup, need a reliable goalie behind Rask. Right now, their backups are horrible. A couple weeks ago there was only one win that came from a goalie whose name isn’t Rask. I’ll give credit though, where credit is due. Bruce Cassidy has done an incredible job with this Bruins in the couple games he’s been behind the helm. Now is the real challenge, after winning their first two games with him as the coach, they face a bye week. It’s a great first test for coach Cassidy, so we will see his bag of tricks.

Regardless, the Bruins have to make a few smart trades this deadline. If you’re management, you don’t trade Brandon Carlo. You have to get better without sacrificing your future assets. A good backup goalie and a stay at home defenseman would solidify the Bruins to be a contender in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Potential Targets:

Jhonas Enroth, Ondrej Pavelec, Jonathan Bernier, Zbynek Michalek, Karl Alzner, Fedor Tyutin

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • John-Michael Liles, 36, $2.00 million
  • Dominic Moore, 36, $900,000
  • Zac Rinaldo, 26, $850,000

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Ryan Spooner, 25, $950,000
  • David Pastrnak, 20, $925,000
  • Austin Czarnik, 24, $817,500
  • Tim Schaller, 26, $600,000
  • Joe Morrow, 24, $800,000

Toronto Maple Leafs | 25-18-11, 61 points| 4th Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Depth at Center, Depth Defenseman

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for some depth at the center position. This season they have been alright, probably surprising some people. The additions of Matthews, Marner and Nylander have proved to change the entire outlook of the franchise. If the Leafs stick to the plan, they will soon be the next dynasty in the NHL. Young talent in Toronto has provided nothing but promise for management and fans. After getting a look at a bit of their play, the Leafs need a defenseman. Problem is, they’re rumoured in looking to acquire Kevin Shattenkirk. They shouldn’t do that, because knowing the price of picking up Shattenkirk at the deadline, it will contain some big pieces. It’s not worth it for the Leafs to pick up Shattenkirk and then have him walk after the season to sign elsewhere.

There has been rumours surrounding Brian Boyle and the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is realistic. Would probably work out well for the Leafs to pick him up also, as he would bring good depth to the center position. Regardless, the Leafs have a good grasp on their future and it really isn’t worth it to jeopardize some of it for a potential rental in Kevin Shattenkirk. Brian Boyle is a name though that could soon be in a Leafs jersey. There is also a chance that if they thought they were playoff-contenders to pick up Jarome Iginla as a good mentoring piece. Iggy is a really experienced player that if was convinced Toronto could win, would go there.

We all know how good of a GM Lou Lamoriello is. If anything will be done by Toronto this trade deadline, it will be done to better the team now and in the future. Watch out for the Leafs though, as they look to be a dark horse if they make this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Potential Targets:

Brian Boyle, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jarome Iginla, Johnny Oduya

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Ben Smith, 28, $675,000
  • Stephane Robidas, 39, $3.00 million
  • Roman Polak, 30, $2.25 million
  • Matt Hunwick, 31, $1.2 million
  • Curtis McElhinney, 33, $800,000
  • Brooks Laich, 33, $3.55 million
  • Colin Greening, 30, $1.7 million
  • Milan Michalek, 32, $3.05 million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Zach Hyman, 24, $900,000
  • Connor Brown, 23, $686,667
  • Nikita Zaitsev, 25, $925,000

Florida Panthers | 24-20-10, 58 points| 5th Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Depth 

The Florida Panthers are in a pretty good situation coming into the final stretch. They got Barkov and Huberdeau back after there was some question their seasons were over, plus there is now a real good coach on the market. Honestly, it makes the most sense to have Claude Julien end up in Florida. This team has incredible young talent, being set up for a possible dynasty. I say give Claude Julien the reigns of the youngsters. Okay, so beyond that, this team is in a tough spot due to injuries. This team is good, plus we now get to see the Huberdeau-Barkov-Jagr line again.. awesome!

If the Panthers play well and keep scoring as they are, they could end up in a playoff spot. This team has the ability to get there, the only question is can they overcome the mediocre start to the season due to injuries? We will have to wait and see. Although, this team doesn’t need much, they could pick up maybe a depth piece or two. It will be interesting to see, coming into the Expansion Draft, what they do with forward Jaromir Jagr. If they protect him and leave a guy like Nick Bjugstad unprotected, it’s hard to say what will happen. But as it stands right now, the Panthers are in a pretty good position, with not needing a whole lot at the trade deadline.

Potential Targets:

Dustin Brown,  Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Jaromir Jagr, 44, $4.00 million
  • Shawn Thornton, 39, $600,000
  • Jakub Kindl, 30, $2.04 million
  • Reto Berra, 30, $500,000

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Greg McKegg, 24, $700,000
  • Michael Sgarbossa, 24, $600,000
  • Mark Pysyk, 25, $1.125 million
  • Alex Petrovic, 24, $1.05 million

Tampa Bay Lightning | 25-24-7, 57 points| 6th Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Seller

Needs: Draft picks

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in a tough situation. GM Steve Yzerman is known for being crafty. He’s well experienced in trading assets and getting returns that will help his team in the future. The Lightning are looking towards the future, not this season. Their biggest trade chip is definitely Ben Bishop, who should bring in a fairly sized return. As we look at the state of this team, the deal would be for future assets like picks and prospects.

There’s no need in Tampa taking on assets that will help for this season, it’s just not their year. Better off waiting till next year, after the Expansion Draft and having a healthy Steven Stamkos. It makes sense for the Lightning to trade Bishop, as they already have the goalie of their future, in Andrei Vasilevskiy. Ben Bishop could be a difference maker for a team in the midst of a cup run in mind. The only downside about trading for him, is that he will be a UFA after this season. Yzerman will find a way to make the most out of the trade chips he has this season, to help build this team to continue to contend in the future.

The Lightning have a busy offseason ahead, as a lot of their core is due for a contract extension. It will be interesting to see how management makes it all work under the salary cap.

Potential Targets:

None

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Brian Boyle, 32, $2.00 million
  • Luke Witkowski, 26, $575,000
  • Ben Bishop, 30, $5.95 million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Tyler Johnson, 26, $3.33 million
  • Ondrej Palat, 25, $3.33 million
  • Jonathan Drouin, 21, $894,167
  • Andrej Sustr, 26, $1.45 million
  • Jake Dotchin, 22, $616,667

Buffalo Sabres | 23-23-10, 56 points| 7th Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Seller

Needs: Draft picks

The Buffalo Sabres will be selling at this year’s trade deadline. After a sub-par start to the season, it looks like they will again look to acquire young, future assets. They have a few trade chips, the best one being defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. For teams that can’t get or afford a top defenseman on the market, he is like Kevin Shattenkirk, with a cap hit of only $4.33 million. GM Tim Murray is known to be a dealer, getting assets and draft picks for players. He did a lot of it last year and we may in fact see it again this season. They have some assets in Brian Gionta, Girgensons, Foligno, Kulikov and Franson.

It will be interesting to see what they do, as the playoffs are a bit out of reach this season. Even though the team wasn’t good this year, their future looks bright in Buffalo. Jack Eichel and Evander Kane have a growing chemistry that looks to be something incredible brewing. Regardless of their record this season, the Buffalo Sabres are like the Maple Leafs.. it’s a marathon, not a race.

Potential Targets:

None

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Brian Gionta, 38, $4.25 million
  • Cody McCormick, 33, $1.5 million
  • Dmitry Kulikov, 26, $4.33 million
  • Cody Franson, 29, $3.325 million
  • Taylor Fedun, 28, $600,000
  • Anders Nilsson, 26, $1.00 million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Marcus Foligno, 25, $2.25 million
  • Zemgus Girgensons, 23, $1.15 million
  • Johan Larsson, 24, $950,000
  • Robin Lehner, 25, $2.225 million

Detroit Red Wings | 22-24-10, 54 points| 8th Atlantic

Buyer/Seller? Seller

Needs: Cap space

The Detroit Red Wings‘ playoff streak of 25 consecutive seasons could very well end this year. Playoffs seem out of the question for this team, as they’ve had a hard time adjusting without star forward Pavel Datsyuk. The main point of emphasis this trade deadline for the Wings is to shed some salary. Signing the few important RFA’s this offseason is a big must for this Red Wings team. Not only to keep the stability and core for the future of this team, but to eventually get back to the standard of winning Detroit is used to. Regardless of what they do this deadline, Thomas Vanek looks like the biggest trade chip in Detroit. His 33 points in 41 games this season, compared to last season’s 41 in 74 games is a big step up for a team looking for an offensive boost.

This year will be completely different for Ken Holland, as he’s never had the experience of being a ‘seller’.

Potential Targets:

None

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Thomas Vanek, 33, $2.6 million
  • Steve Ott, 34, $800,000
  • Joe Vitale, 31, $1.16 million
  • Drew Miller, 32, $75,000
  • Brendan Smith, 28, $2.75 million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Tomas Tatar, 26, $2.75 million
  • Tomas Jurco, 24, $900,000
  • Andreas Athanasiou, 22, $628,333
  • Xavier Ouellet, 23, $715,000
  • Nick Jensen, 26, $587,500

And there it is! The NHL Trade Deadline Primer for the Atlantic Division. Stay tuned for the other three divisions, as we work our way towards the March 1st Trade Deadline.

Coleton MacDonald
The Founder of Weliveforhockey.com
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