1 Trade Deadline Move for Each Metropolitan Team

With the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline right around the corner, I will discuss one move each team should make by division. In this piece, we will be kicking off the series with the Metropolitan Division. When noting that six out of these eight teams are expected to be buyers, it could very well be the most entertaining division to pay attention to at the deadline. Alas, let’s get started.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Trade Vladislav Gavrikov

The Columbus Blue Jackets have the fewest points in the NHL and are set to be major sellers at the deadline. Vladislav Gavrikov is their biggest trade target, so their primary objective must be to move him before the deadline passes. This should not be an issue for the Blue Jackets at all, as the 6-foot-3 defenseman is garnering interest from several teams like the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Los Angeles Kings.

Vladislav Gavrikov Columbus Blue Jackets
Vladislav Gavrikov, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With Gavrikov being a top-four defenseman with size, it is quite likely that the Blue Jackets could land a first-round pick and notable prospect for him. This is especially so if an extension is agreed upon as a part of the deal. In 52 games this season, the 27-year-old has three goals to go along with 10 points.

Philadelphia Flyers: Trade James van Riemsdyk

Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Philadelphia Flyers were expected to be among the league’s worst teams. Although they have been exceeding expectations a bit this season, they are still eight points away from the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. As a result, they will be sellers, and James van Riemsdyk is their biggest rental candidate because of it.

van Riemsdyk has shown this season that he can still be an effective middle-six winger, as he has nine goals and 22 points in 35 games. Although he has not been dominant, his experience and ability to provide solid secondary scoring is making him an intriguing trade candidate. Elliotte Friedman reported that the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets are expressing interest in him. Thus, the Flyers have a decent chance of landing a strong return for the 2007 second-overall pick.

New York Islanders: Add Top-Six Left Winger

The New York Islanders already made a monstrous splash when they acquired Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks. Although they started hot after landing him, they now have lost three straight games. This is not ideal, as they are currently fighting for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Yet, with the Horvat trade, they have shown that they plan to be buyers. As a result, their next major need is to add a top-six left winger.

Bo Horvat New York Islanders
Bo Horvat, New York Islanders (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At the time of this writing, the Islanders have been playing veteran winger Josh Bailey on the first line with Horvat and Mathew Barzal. Bailey just does not produce at the level of a top-six forward anymore, as he has six goals and 21 points in 53 games played. As a result, it would be wise for the Islanders to add another top-six left winger to their group before the deadline passes. Some options available on the trade market include Timo Meier, Tyler Bertuzzi, Ivan Barbashev, and van Riemsdyk.

Washington Capitals: Add Left-Shot Defenseman

Like the Islanders, the Washington Capitals are fighting for a playoff spot. It has been a year of mixed results for the Capitals, as they have a 28-22-6 record and have won just four out of their last 10 games. As a result, they would be wise to browse the trade market, and one area where they could use a jolt is the left side of their defensive group.

Related: 6 Dark Horse Trade Candidates at 2023 NHL Trade Deadline

Thankfully for Washington, there is no shortage of left-shot defensemen currently available on the trade market. Some strong candidates for them to consider include Jakub Chychrun, Shayne Gostisbehere, Joel Edmundson, Jake McCabe, Mattias Ekholm, Dmitry Kulikov, and Gavrikov. Whether they add a top-four defenseman or a bottom-pairing defenseman, it has the potential to be a good move for Washington.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Add Top-Six Winger

The Pittsburgh Penguins are aiming to extend their consecutive playoff streak to 17 years. Right now, they are in a good spot to do so, as they are ahead of the Capitals and Islanders while having multiple games in hand over both of them. However, if they truly want to cement themselves as legitimate contenders for the postseason, it would be wise for them to acquire a top-six winger before the 2023 Trade Deadline passes.

Kris Letang Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate a goal (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Yet, for the Penguins to do this, they are going to need to move salary out. As a result, players like Jason Zucker, Teddy Blueger, and Kasperi Kapanen could be potential forwards that they aim to move to free up some cap space. Ultimately, the Penguins could use a top-six winger on either side, so some options for them to consider pursuing include Brock Boeser, Max Domi, Kevin Labanc, Meier, and Bertuzzi.

New York Rangers: Add Left-Shot Defenseman

The New York Rangers have already made their major move when they acquired Vladimir Tarasenko earlier this month. Although there has also been some speculation about them being a possible landing spot for Patrick Kane, I think they should focus instead on acquiring another left-shot defenseman before the deadline passes. This remains the case even with them adding depth defenseman Niko Mikkola.

The Rangers have the potential to make a run for the Stanley Cup this spring, so they should be aiming to boost up their roster even further. When looking at potential options for them to consider, I see Gavrikov as the defenseman whom they should go all-in for. However, other solid options include Gostisbehere, McCabe, and Kulikov.

New Jersey Devils: Add Timo Meier

When it comes to the New Jersey Devils, I believe that they should be aiming to add one specific star winger to their group by March 3 – Timo Meier. It has been confirmed that the Devils are interested in Meier, and he is exactly the kind of star that they could use for the playoffs. This is because he is not only offensively dominant, but he also plays a very heavy game in the process.

Timo Meier San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After years of struggling, the Devils also sport the prospect pool that could be enough for them to land Meier. Although they are unlikely to move Luke Hughes or Simon Nemec, Alexander Holtz stands out as a prospect that the San Jose Sharks would likely love to get their hands on. However, they would also need to include their 2023 first-round pick and a young forward like Fabian Zetterlund to help make this move go through.

Carolina Hurricanes: Add Second-Line Center

The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the best teams in the entire league, but they certainly could use some help at the center position. After losing Vincent Trocheck through free agency this past offseason, the Hurricanes have had trouble finding a legitimate replacement for him at second-line center. Paul Stastny and Jesperi Kotkaniemi have not worked well in the role, so adding a 2C is essential for Carolina. With that, they have money to work with due to Max Pacioretty being out for the rest of the season.

Ryan O’Reilly and Jonathan Toews stand out as two excellent options for the Hurricanes to consider. Both of these captains have made been available due to this pending UFA status and their teams struggling, so the Hurricanes should consider making a push for either of them. One other option that also could make sense is Montreal Canadiens center, Sean Monahan. Perhaps even Detroit Red Wings star Dylan Larkin could be a possibility if he waives his full no-trade clause.

Nevertheless, it will be fun to see what these Metropolitan Division teams do at the 2023 Trade Deadline from here.