With the trade deadline being on February 29th, this article is the second of a four part series of where I preview what each team needs, where they stand, and what they could acquire or move. The order of teams will go by where they stand in the standings. For February 21st, the Atlantic goes as follows:
1. Florida Panthers
2. Boston Bruins
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Ottawa Senators
6. Montreal Canadiens
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Florida Panthers have been extremely impressive this year, in terms of performance. Being led by veterans like Jarormir Jagr on offense; captain Willie Mitchell on defense; and Roberto Luongo, plus the inclusion of youngsters like Alex Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Aaron Ekblad, this team had gelled nicely into a talented club. The pressure is now on general manager Dale Tallon to either make a move or stand pat.
What They Need: More Offense, Depth Defense
Who Could Be Moved: Brandon Pirri
Who Could Be Acquired: Andrew Ladd, Eric Staal
After a very strange summer for the Boston Bruins, this turnaround has been sparked by pending UFAs. This summer, the Bruins dealt Milan Lucic to LA and Dougie Hamilton to Calgary; however; they got production this year from Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson. The Bruins seem to be in limbo for what they could do at the deadline, as rumors are out there they could buy and sell.
What They Need: Top 3/4 Defenseman, Youth, Depth Forwards
Who Could Be Moved: Loui Eriksson
Who Could Be Acquired: Kevin Shattenkirk, Sami Vatanen
The Tampa Bay Lightning seem to be having a down year in contrast to last, and there is doubt in regards to the future of their franchise. The Bolts made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, and are in a dogfight to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning have yet to sign Steven Stamkos; and have to eventually deal with Jonathan Drouin, who is suspended indefinitely after refusing to play in an AHL game.
What They Need: Top Four Defenseman, depth forwards/defense
Who Could Be Moved: Jonathan Drouin
Who Could Be Acquired: Kevin Shattenkirk, Jacob Trouba, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen
The Detroit Red Wings are still in the playoff picture, which could make it 25 consecutive years that this team qualifies for the postseason. This team has aging pieces and at the same time young pieces that are gelling after being together for a long time because of the management of Ken Holland, the general manger of the Detroit Red Wings.
What They Need: Quality Offense, Depth Defense
Who Could Be Moved: Kyle Quiency, Jimmy Howard
Who Could Be Acquired: Steven Stamkos, Eric Staal, Loui Eriksson
The Ottawa Senators made the playoffs last year after an unbelievable performance by backup goaltender Andrew Hammond. This year, an older goaltending duo of the Hambuglar and Craig Anderson and a young Senators team are fighting to make the playoffs. They are led by defenseman Erik Karlsson, who is 3rd in the league in points with 65 points in 60 games. Earlier this month, they made a big move with divisional rivals
in Toronto, where they acquired Dion Phaneuf, the former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, and Colin Grenning, and a 2017 2nd round pick.
What They Need: Top 6/Top 9 Forward, Bottom-Pairing Defenseman
Who Could Be Moved: Patrick Wericoch
Who Could Be Acquired: Sam Gagner, Jonathan Drouin, Andrew Ladd
After having the greatest start in franchise history, the Montreal Canadiens' season has gone down the toilet because of a season ending injury to goaltender Carey Price. With Price in the net this season, the Canadiens are 10-2-0. The rest of the season has been under .500 with him out. What they do fall on the general manager as Mark Bergevin is not faulting coach Michel Thereien yet.
What They Need: Goaltending Depth, Quality Offense, Depth Defense/Offense
Who Could Be Moved: Dale Weise, Tom Gilbert, Ben Scrivens
Who Could Be Acquired: Radim Vrbata, Andrew Ladd, Eric Staal, James Reimer
The Buffalo Sabres are still rebuilding after ridding themselves of tragic era of former general manager Darcy Reiger. Buffalo has been in the Top 10 of recent drafts, picking up the likes of Rasmus Ristalonen (2013), Sam Reinhart (2014), and Jack Eichel (2015). This summer, they made big moves in acquiring Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn from the Colorado Avlanche; and Robin Lehner and David Legwand from the Ottawa Senators. Being the bottom 10 of the league again means they will be sellers for the deadline.
What They Need: Defensive Depth, Draft Picks
Who Could Be Moved: Jamie McGinn, Mike Weber, David Legwand, Josh Gorges, Chad Johnson, Tyler Ennis, Brian Gionta
Who Could Be Acquired: Draft Picks, Prospects, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin
The Toronto Maple Leafs are tanking and rebuilding, even after hiring hockey greatness in head coach Mike Babcock and general manager Lou Lamerillo. This season, they have moved Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa; today Shawn Matthais to Colorado for Colin Smith and a 2016 4th round pick; and Richard Panik to the Chicago Blackhawks. This summer, they moved about 12 players- Greg McKegg, Brad Ross, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, Jamie Devane, Taylor Beck, Matt Finn, Christopher Gibson, Carter Verhaeghe, Tom Nilson; and Phil Kessel. They got back Zach Hyman, Micheal Grabner, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kappen, and a potential first round draft pick of 2016.
What They Need: Top Prospects, Depth Prospects, Draft Picks
Who Could Be Moved: Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, Nick Spaling, Colin Grenning, James Reimer, Brad Boyes, PA Parenteau, Roman Polak, Peter Holland, Jonathan Bernier, Joffrey Lupul, Matt Hunwick, Daniel Winnik, Nazem Kadri, James van Reimsdyk, Mark Arcobello, Richard Clune, Martin Marincin, Jake Gardiner, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Stephen Robidas,
Who Could Be Acquired: Draft Picks, Prospects, Steven Stamkos,
What are your thoughts on the Atlantic Division? What do you think of the trade deadline? Who will be moved? Who makes the playoffs? Who will miss? Who will win the lottery?
Enjoy Hockey Day in America. More to come…