The NHL trade deadline is approaching April 12th at 3 pm. It’s time to break down who will be buying and selling at the deadline in the Central Division.
As the Trade deadline sits only a week away, it’s time to take a look at the Central Division and figure out who is buying, who is selling, and who are the wild cards. As of April 5th, the top 4 in the standings are Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Nashville Predators. All four teams are missing pieces to make them true Cup contenders.
The most obvious buyers in the division have to be the top three teams, Florida, Tampa, and Carolina. Each is loaded with talent and missing one or two key pieces to make them true Cup contenders this season. Lightning fans should expect GM Julien BriseBrois to add extra depth on the blue line and get a new backup goaltender. As fans have seen all season neither of the backups to Andrei Vasilevskiy has much to bring to the table.
Panthers fans should look to see the Cats go out and add more depth at the blueline. Additionally, maybe look to find a top 9 forward who can add some scoring. As nice as the hat tricks from Noel Acciari has been, it may be unrealistic to expect continued scoring from him in the playoffs. Next, Carolina will be looking to add depth to their entire roster to help support the already good play.
The Central division has three most likely sellers this year featuring the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and Detroit Red Wings. Hawks fans may be upset or disappointed about not getting better. The front office made it clear not to expect much from the team this season. On top of not expecting Captain Jonathan Toews back for next season, look to see the Hawks make moves to get draft picks for the next two drafts and look to have a rebound in 2022-23. The Dallas Stars have been one of the most disappointing teams after such a great season last year.
They should try and retool their roster and look to start better in a full season. In addition to a late start due to covid, severe weather delayed the Stars start. Finally, the Red Wings have the steady leadership of Steve Yzerman. Fans can take comfort knowing the franchise is in good hands. As hard as the next two, maybe three seasons maybe, Detroit will draft well each year and bounce back. Like the Hawks, Detroit will be looking to make a statement.
The Central Division also holds two true wild cards this deadline: Columbus and Nashville. With Columbus falling off a cliff of late and the Predators’ recent tear claiming the fourth and final playoff spot. We see 2 teams with a very different momentum, were the season ended today. Columbus has a number of factors that make them interesting. With flashes of brilliance, they have the opportunity to put together a late-season run and make the playoffs.
Further, adding to the intrigue, coach John Tortorella is in the last year of his contract and there are questions circling over whether or not the team will bring him back. Lastly, the Predators for most of the season have been outside of the playoffs not showing any signs of life until recently. The question is do they feel like they can actually compete for the Cup this year or is it better to look to the future?
The Central division is on fire right now and there are plenty of unknowns to keep track of come April 12th, at 3 pm. With uncertain futures for coaches and teams, the deadline offers a glimpse into how much movement we may see this offseason. As the race for the Cup finals heats up, this Division has to ask if making moves and changing the locker room chemistry is the right move. Teams like Nashville on the rise should take caution before trading any locker room, guys.