The NHL’s 32 War Rooms have been active in the early part of 2022. The initial high-level meetings have been conducted between executives and their pro and amateur scouting staffs, charting a path toward the March 21 trade deadline, which is now less than six weeks away.
Marching orders are being formulated. With insight from team and league sources, here is a look at the top deadline objectives for each of the eight Metropolitan Division teams:
Primary Objective: Beef up the blue line
Briefing: There is no eye in this Hurricane, no glaringly obvious hole to fill. Carolina could enter the playoffs (currently as the top seed) as fare well. But GM Don Waddell stated the Stanley Cup is the goal, not just a deep run. To that end, the ‘Canes top four is well positioned, but with Ian Cole sitting out Tuesday as a healthy scratch, and up and down play from Ethan Bear, it is possible to improve. The thing is, Carolina doesn’t typically nibble around the edges. They swing big. They have been linked to John Klingberg. Jakob Chychrun makes sense. With their cap situation, any transaction would likely have to be dollar-in, dollar-out, and they have previously discussed the idea of moving Skjei. He could well be the odd-man out. Though Nieddereiter would also have value as a rental flip and Carolina could use those assets (and cap space) to find their difference maker in a year without their first-round pick to trade.
Pieces potentially in play: Brady Skjei, Nino Niederreiter, Jack Drury, Ryan Suzuki
Columbus Blue Jackets
Primary Objective: More hard working talent
Briefing: The Blue Jackets seem to have lost their indentity, lost their intensity, their character that has been a staple of the franchise for so many years. That doesn’t fall at the feet of coach Brad Larsen. They have been on the wrong end of too many lopsided losses this year and change seems to be in order. We’ve reported that Jack Roslovic, Max Domi and Joonas Korpisalo are in play. That the hometown boy Roslovic could be on the move in such short order after his trade from Winnipeg indicative of the larger problem; when Roslovic isn’t appearing on the scoresheet, he is often barely visible on the ice. Columbus had been one of the biggest pains to play against in the league and that simply isn’t the case any more. With a large qualifying offer due this summer for 12-goal scorer Patrik Laine, Roslovic might not be the only player from that trade who the Blue Jackets might be willing to move.
Pieces potentially in play: Joonas Korpisalo, Jack Roslovic, Max Domi, Patrik Laine