Trade deadline fixes: Northeast
Senators need defensive depth, plus fits for Bruins, Habs, Leafs and Sabres
Hockey Prospectus is taking a look at the NHL division by division and suggesting ways each team should approach the forthcoming trade deadline.
April 3 marks the NHL's trade deadline, and every team in the league -- both the playoff-bound and those likely headed to the draft lottery -- has needs to address. To prepare for the final flurry of transactions, we're going team by team to see which players could help fill some holes on contenders or provide some foundational stability for teams building for next season and beyond.
One statistic you'll come across in the analysis below is GVT, the main player-valuation metric used by Hockey Prospectus. For a detailed explanation of GVT, click here. All numbers here are accurate as of the morning of March 25.
The Northeast Division features five teams, four of which are likely to make the postseason. Boston is the standout and the second-best team in the East (behind only Pittsburgh), but the other three -- Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto -- could move into the conversation with the right deadline deals. With April 3 approaching, the Northeast will be a buying division, with nearly all of the clubs (minus Buffalo) believing that this could be their season. Here's how the Northeast teams can optimize their rosters at the trade deadline for the final push:
The problem: The Senators' ability to safely remain in playoff position despite injuries to Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson and Jason Spezza has been nothing short of incredible. That said, they still need help on the defensive end. The Sens are allowing the second-most shots on goal in the NHL and could use a big, tough, stay-at-home defenseman to block shots and throw his weight around. Ottawa's goaltending has been one of its strengths, and with Anderson coming back, it could be argued that it has three above-average netminders. A decrease in shots faced, even if by just a few per game, could help make the Senators a more serious threat come playoff time.