How the NHL’s trade deadline shapes the East Division’s playoff race

Boston has the biggest advantage with its key acquisition, Taylor Hall, and they will need it to improve. The former league MVP has had tough times this season, scoring two goals in 37 games. It is not for lack of effort. Hall’s custom scoring chance production this season is similar to his 2017-18 MVP campaign in terms of even scoring odds per 60 minutes, including those from the slot or the fold. He just doesn’t get any jumps, resulting in a career-low shooting rate of 1.5 percent with consistent strength and a total of 2.3 percent.

Hall converted his overall chances to 10 percent for his career, which is a massive drop. If he’s lucky with the puck, he’ll wear a Bruins sweater instead of the Sabers, his former team. And there would be the much-needed second rankings that Boston was looking for. He met with the new club on his first night.

The Bruins also added Curtis Lazar and defenseman Mike Reilly. It still might not be enough. At the start of the weekend, Boston had a three percent chance of winning the division. It was two percent the day before the close of trading. Given that Boston would face the same teams in a division title quest as it did in the first two rounds of the playoffs, it could still be an uphill battle for the Bruins.

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Pittsburgh only made one transaction as of the reporting date and paid the lowest price. Jeff Carter was added by sending a pair of mid-round picks to Los Angeles over the next two years. Carter and Penguin’s general manager Ron Hextall are pretty familiar – Hextall was a talent assessor with the Philadelphia when the Flyers designed Carter in 2003 and assistant general manager of the Blue Jackets when Columbus bought Carter from the Flyers in 2011 – and Hextall should have a good look at it have how to get the most out of the 36 year old veteran.

Carter is at his best, causing chaos in front of the net, a perfect complement to Sidney Crosby’s game of finesse and another presence on the net front to take some of the pressure off Jake Guentzel. Carter has 21 shots within 10 feet of goal this season, making him the league’s 15th melee shooter. Only six of these other 14 skaters have scored more goals than Carter (he has four) on these strokes.

The Islanders bolstered their top six and added some mid-depth after losing to Captain Anders Lee to a torn ACL last month. New York gave up a first round selection, a conditional selection in the fourth round and two AHL players to secure right winger Kyle Palmieri and center Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders also acquired veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn from the Ottawa Senators for a seventh round selection. Coburn offers defensive acumen and championship experience (he won the 2020 trophy with Tampa Bay) for New York’s blue line.

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Coach Barry Despite now has some flexibility with his squad and Av from the Detroit Red Wings for wingers Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik, one selection for the first round in 2021 and one selection for the second round in 2022. Vrana and Panik both fought for it to earn Ice Age under coach Peter Laviolette and it seemed like a change of scene would do both players good. Mantha had 11 goals and 10 assists in 42 games for Detroit that year and MacLellan turned down the thought of receiving Mantha, and later Michael Raffl, from the Philadelphia Flyers in response to some of the other additions made by them previously division counterparts.

General Manager Brian MacLellan acquired right wing Anthony Mantha from the Detroit Red Wings for wingers Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik, a draft pick for the first round in 2021 and a pick for the second round in 2022. Vrana and Panik each fought to be under coach Peter Laviolette deserving Ice Age, and it seemed like a change of scene would do both players good. Mantha had 11 goals and 10 assists in 42 games for Detroit that year. The capitals were also acquired by Michael Raffl from the Flyers, who is to act as depth player in his new team.

How much an upgrade Mantha offers over Vrana is up for debate. Once you’ve normalized for the Ice Age, Vrana has scored more goals, points and scoring opportunities per 60 minutes of Ice Age with consistent strength, both this year and in the past three years, than Mantha. Mantha, a 6-foot-5, 234-pound forward, scored a goal in his first game with the Capitals Tuesday night and added an assist. On Thursday he added another goal against the Buffalo Sabers, showing that he should give the squad a sizable winger with good hands.

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“We want to take a step here and do another run,” said team-mate TJ Oshie on Tuesday morning. “I’m personally very happy that the deadline has passed. Now we can concentrate on preparing our team for playoff hockey.”

Washington needs to focus quickly. You’re the favorite to win the division but not quite a suspension. According to Hockey Reference playoff predictions, the results of which are based on 1,000 simulations of the rest of the season, capitals have a 44 percent chance of winning the East this season, followed by islanders (30 percent) and penguins (25 percent) . It is the only division with three teams that have at least a 20 percent chance of winning the division by the end of the year.

Additional coverage from Samantha Pell.