Rangers and Devils are ready to overturn the storm
This year’s NHL trading deadline has turned the Metropolitan Division into a dogfight.
New Jersey Devils and New York Ranger sitting behind the department leader Hurricane Carolina but both teams have built a more formidable playoff lineup, especially with the moves they’ve made ahead of the league’s March 3 trading deadline.
The Hurricanes have been at the top of the table since December 20 and finished first last season but have struggled to advance deep in the knockout stages. In the 2021 knockout round, they were knocked out in the second round by Tampa Bay in the second round of five games, and the next year they were defeated by Rangers in the same round in seven games.
What has recently tripped Canes in the knockout stages is scoring and scoring. Over the past two seasons, Carolina’s combined goal difference has been negative 2. In the second round alone, it dropped to minus 12. Against Rangers last year, the Hurricanes scored just more than twice in a single campaign. seven games and conceded more than two goals four times.
Both teams behind Carolina are strong in at least one of the areas the Hurricanes have historically lacked and have bolstered their rosters by the deadline.
On Sunday, Devil buy forward Timo Meier from San Jose Sharks for a blockbuster package that includes players, prospects, and picks.
Meier, 26, joins stars like Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier in a young and explosive Devils squad looking to reach the knockout stages for the first time since the 2017-18 season. Meier is the top name in the trade this season and, to add insult to injury, was heavily tied to Carolina prior to trading with New Jersey.
The Devils have also received above-average scoring from Vitek Vanecek, who posted 2.37 GAA and 6.0 above expectations.
Earlier this month, the New York Rangers put into forward Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis Blues and is expected transaction for the Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is close to the deadline. The addition of two all-time snipers to the preloaded roster that includes Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin gives New York much-needed scoring depth to advance to the knockout stages.
Rangers also have defending Vezina Trophy champion Igor Shesterkin between the pipes. Shesterkin has struggled in recent times but remains among the league leaders in wins, goals conceded on target and wins per substitute.
With the current NHL knockout format, the Hurricanes can avoid the Devils and Rangers in the first round if they hold out and win the division but will have to face the winner of the New York-New Jersey series. in the second round. That could cause trouble for Carolina.