The NHL Trade Deadline is a little over a week away. As a result, the rumor mill around the league is beginning to heat up. General managers determine which players they can acquire to help their respective franchise make a post-season push. Along with this, divisional races in both conferences are beginning to take shape as teams fight for playoff seedings.
Back with our weekly stock up, stock down article, the Calgary Flames remain the hottest team in the game. They are fresh off a 4-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champs in the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday Night. In addition, Daryl Sutter’s group has won seven of their last ten games to open up a five-point cushion in the Pacific Division. Furthermore, the Carolina Hurricanes are also continuing to roll.
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Stock Up: Calgary Flames
The hottest team in the NHL right now, the Flames, are continuing to string together victories. They defeated the Colorado Avalanche in overtime before beating the Edmonton Oilers in the battle of Alberta. Victors over the Lightning on Thursday, the team was led by winger Johnny Gaudreau.
Putting together one of the best performances of his NHL career, the pending unrestricted free agent recorded a hat trick to bring his season total up to 23. One of the deepest rosters in the game, Tyler Toffoli, has also been excellent for the group after they acquired him from the Montreal Canadiens. The 29-year-old winger has racked up five points in his last five games, including a pair of goals against the Oilers, playing alongside Andrew Mangiapane and Adam Ruzicka.
Stock Down: Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers are now sitting outside the Western Conference playoff race. They are currently one point back of the surging Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot. Beginning to struggle on special teams, the group has converted just one of their last nine chances with the extra man. Furthermore, they have also allowed 12 goals when shorthanded over the previous ten games.
The team also continues to undergo problems in goal. They have been unable to get any consistency between the pipes all year long. Without Mike Smith, as he remains out with an illness, Mikko Koskinen has played well in spurts. However, if general manager Ken Holland wants to make a run, the longtime executive must be looking to upgrade the position at the trade deadline.
Stock Up: Boston Bruins
Sticking right at the feet of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins are just four points back of them for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Beginning to surge since the end of February, Don Sweeney‘s group has won three of their last four and eight of their last ten. Led by the play of their outstanding trio in Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak, the team has also seen a resurgence from winger Jake DeBrusk.
Reportedly asking the franchise for a trade at the beginning of the season, the 25-year-old has scored four goals during his previous six contests. In the market for depth scoring at the trade deadline, if the duo of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark can hold up down the stretch, Boston can make noise.
Stock Down: Detroit Red Wings
Losers of three in a row, the once red hot Red Wings are beginning to sink lower and lower down in the Atlantic Division. This is because they are struggling to keep the puck out of the back of their net. The group has allowed 33 goals over their previous six contests. Having back-to-back nights to forget over the last week, goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic has allowed 12 goals over his previous two starts, including seven to the lowly Arizona Coyotes.
Along with this, the group has struggled to get secondary scoring from players lower down in the lineup. Filip Zadina has just one goal during his last ten contests, while Sam Gagner has gone scoreless in his previous five. A fun young team with the emergence of their two rookies in Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, Detroit remains a few years away from truly competing in one of the toughest divisions in hockey.
Stock Up: Carolina Hurricanes
Arguably the most consistent group in the league, the Hurricanes continue to rack up victories and bank points. They are currently sitting just two points back of Colorado in the race for the President’s Trophy. Victors over the Avalanche on Thursday night, the group played one of their most impressive games of the season.
Stifling their high-flying group of forwards, backup goaltender Antti Raanta stopped all 36 shots he faced in a shutout performance. Continuing to be one of the best defensive clubs in hockey, Rod Brind’Amour and company sit first in the league in goal allowed per game with just 2.39 surrendered per contest. Furthermore, they are allowing just 29 shots on net a matchup while killing penalties at an 88 percent clip.
Stock Down: Nashville Predators
An interesting club to monitor before the trade deadline, the Predators, continue to hang on to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Treading water over their last five games, the group continues to be one of the streakiest teams in the league. They lost to the Seattle Kraken before rattling off three straight wins over the San Jose Sharks, Stars, and the Anaheim Ducks.
Guided in goal by their outstanding young netminder in Juuse Saros, Roman Josi is also enjoying another Norris Trophy caliber campaign. However, with sniper Filip Forsberg‘s name beginning to pop up on the trade block, longtime general manager David Poile must decide what to do with the pending unrestricted free agent sniper.
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