Ultimately, the Penguins only made a single move this trade deadline. Jeff Carter is the lone addition. It has its risks because of his age, but it also has its potential. Carter has played mostly right wing this season and the team can certainly use some help there. The news today on the injury front wasn’t great per Ron Hextall.
So the Tanev thing is a little bit of a surprise. I thought he would find his way back before the season ended. Carter, while not the same kind of player as Tanev at all, can help fill the void of having an NHL caliber player in his place.
I thought Kapanen would have been the last one back, but it appears he is two weeks off and will be the first one back. Evgeni Malkin *should* make his way back before the playoffs, but it doesn’t sound like there will be a lot of season left when he does. I hope he can get enough game action so he can get back in a groove. It took a while for him to find his groove this season and just when he was reaching peak Geno he suffered his injury.
As for Carter he is on his way to Pittsburgh already and should be at practice tomorrow. He will be in the lineup for Thursday’s game against… the Flyers. Go figure.
I think what the Penguins have done to stay where they have in the standings has been impressive given the injuries. I don’t necessarily disagree with Hextall, but I also think it should be tempered. The Penguins have been playing some of the worst teams in the league lately. I think they can win or lose against any team in the division in the playoffs. I think when you get to the final four (if they can) you are dealing with an entirely different level of team. You’ll start to see teams like Tampa Bay, Carolina Vegas, and Colorado depending on who makes it out of the division. Even a team like Toronto is fairly strong. For the Penguins to make a run they are going to have to be close to completely healthy and that is… well I think it is wishful thinking because it is the Penguins.
As for other teams in the division the Boston Bruins bought low on Taylor Hall and I think it is a great move. They only paid a 2nd round pick and Anders Bjork. Hall’s NMC certainly played into the limited market. He seemed to want to go to Boston and good for him. This might be the first time Hall has actually played on a decent team. He deserves it. This season has been horrible so far, but the underlying numbers are kinder to Hall than the boxscore has been. Ralph Krueger was awful and sucked the life out of every talented player in Buffalo. Just look at how things are going in the past two weeks to see a big difference. The Bruins were struggling to score outside of their top line. Hall is going to help there.
The Bruins weren’t the only team making big moves. The Capitals made a blockbuster deal at the buzzer. They acquired Anthony Mantha for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a first round pick, and a second round pick. I think Mantha fits the style of play the Capitals like playing, but I think Jakub Vrana would fit on literally any team in the league. Vrana is really good and is pretty much a wash value wise with Mantha. The Red Wings did great here. I’m not sure the Capitals are improving much while giving up some significant draft capital to make what seems like a lateral move.
The only thing I can think of is that Mantha is cost controlled making 5.7M until 2024 while Vrana is a pending RFA this year and one of the best 5v5 goal scorers in the league
So here is the rundown of acquisitions by teams in the East Division
Islanders: Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, Braydon Coburn
Bruins: Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar
Capitals: Anthony Mantha, Michael Raffl
Penguins: Jeff Carter
Now all that’s left is to see what the matchups are going to be.
Thanks for reading!