Atlantic Division teams fill needs at 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

Marc Giordano was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Seattle Kraken. Giordano won the Norris Trophy in 2019 as the NHL’s top defenseman while playing for the Calgary Flames and is expected to fill a top-four role.

Claude Girouxa forward with 900 points (291 goals, 609 assists) in 1,000 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers, joins a Florida Panthers team that already boasts top-tier forwards like Jonathan Huberdeau, Alexander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. Veteran defenseman Ben Chiarot, acquired from the Montreal Canadiens, will play valuable minutes while Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is recovering from a lower body injury. Ekblad is from week to week.

The Boston Bruins, who needed help on their blue line, traded defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks to move the puck and immediately signed him to an eight-year, $52 million contract.

And the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning bolstered their forward depth by trading for wings. Brandon Hagel Chicago Blackhawks and Nick Paul Ottawa Senators.

It was the perfect example of one-upmanship in the NHL. One team makes a move, the next tries to improve it. Or so it seems.

“It feels like a big arms race in the Atlantic and everyone is trying to get that extra edge no matter what,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Monday. “Sometimes taking advantage doesn’t matter and sometimes the advantage is going out and getting players. Seems like everyone in the Atlantic has decided it’s time to go get some guys.

“It should make for a fun last 20 games of the year and an exciting (Stanley Cup) playoff.”

Amusing? Perhaps for the Atlantic Division team that survives the first two rounds of the playoffs. For others, having accumulated skills for the stretch race and the playoffs, failing will bring its share of agony and disappointment.

And what is arguably the strongest division in the NHL, there will be pain.

Keep this in mind: Florida (No. 3), Tampa Bay (No. 4), Toronto (No. 8) and Boston (No. 9) were each in the top 10 in the most recent NHL Super 16 rankings. .com. Given that the four augmented rosters were already solid, it will be a fierce race the rest of the way.

The Lightning, with their back-to-back titles, hold the edge in championship pedigree, and Cooper has learned that it takes a combination of hustle and muscle to win the Cup. Hagel adds offensive flair, having scored 21 goals in 55 games with the Blackhawks, and Paul is known for his grit along the boards that creates space for his teammates.

“We’ve identified what we think we need to race,” Cooper said.

The Panthers, Bruins and Maple Leafs probably feel the same way.

Florida, which has made the playoffs three times in the last 20 seasons, has the most NHL goals (254) and the fewest losses (14) in the division. His success was noticed in the League by players like Giroux, who waived his no-trade clause to join the Panthers.

“When you watch this team, it’s fun and the players see it and want to be a part of it,” Florida general manager Bill Zito said.

Boston was looking for defensive help for much of the season and made a big move by landing Lindholm, who scored 222 points (57 goals, 165 assists) in 582 career games with Anaheim.

“You have a player in Hampus who is going to help us impact our team not just now, but moving forward,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. “To sign him in an area where we thought we could help our group, even though they played well.”

Toronto also filled a need on its blue line with the acquisition of Giordano, who scored 532 points (149 goals, 383 assists) in 1,004 NHL games with Seattle and Calgary. The 38-year-old reunites with the Maple Leafs defenseman TJ Brodiehis former partner with the Flames.

Defensive depth was a priority for Toronto and comes at the perfect time after general manager Kyle Dubas said on Monday that the defender Rasmus Sandin will be out “for the foreseeable future” with a knee injury. Dubas added that chasing a top defenseman was the plan even before the other Atlantic Division contenders made their move.

“Certainly you go into every season, every trade, knowing that you’re competing against these other teams and you can expect every team to do everything they can to improve,” Dubas said.

The Maple Leafs did not acquire another goaltender, however.

Discussions with the Blackhawks regarding the goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did not materialize and Fleury was traded to the Minnesota Wild. Jack Campbell came out with a rib injury and there is no timetable for his return. Petr Mrazekwho is 10-6-0 with a 3.48 goals-against average and .884 save percentage, cleared waivers Monday. Erik Kalgrena rookie, started the last three games, his first career NHL starts, and is 2-1-0 with a 2.32 GAA, .930 save percentage and one shutout.

Goaltending is where the Lightning and Panthers have the playoff advantage; Andrei Vasilevsky helped Tampa Bay win the Cup the past two seasons. Sergei Bobrovsky won 30 games with the Panthers this season and played in 41 NHL playoff games. Campbell played seven.

As for the Bruins, they are navigating uncharted waters. Their tandem of guardians Linus Ullmark and rookie Jeremy Swayman has never started a postseason game in the NHL, a reality that Sweeney says doesn’t intimidate him at all.

In such a tight division, you can’t be. And he knows it.

“You have two goaltenders going into the overtime run and the playoffs for the first time,” Sweeney said. “Let’s get in the saddle.

In the Atlantic Division, it should be a wild ride.

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