Hockey Prospectus is taking a look at the NHL division by division and suggesting ways each team should tackle the forthcoming trade deadline. On Monday, we looked at the Atlantic Division. Yesterday, we addressed the Northeast Division. Today, it's the Southeast.
Feb. 27 marks the NHL's trade deadline, and every team in the league -- both the playoff-bound and those likely for 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.
The problem: Injuries to Mike Green and Tom Poti, combined with a tough year for players like John Carlson and Jeff Schultz, have left the Capitals a little exposed on the back end. Despite those issues, Washington could win the Southeast Division and find itself in a favorable first-round series. Barring a lot of struggling players turning things around immediately, some help on the blue line could go a long way toward helping the team first make the playoffs, then make a splash in them.
The fix: The Ducks' Toni Lydman has been playing tough defensive minutes for years, is signed to a reasonable contract that extends into next season and seems to have fallen out of favor in Anaheim of late. Before 2011-12, he hadn't been a minus player in seven seasons despite his defensive assignments, and he should give Dale Hunter one more option to ease the pressure on some of Washington's younger defenders. Lydman was a top-pairing defenseman with Lubomir Visnovsky in Anaheim last season and could be a long-term fit with Green when he returns from injured reserve.
The problem: One area the Hurricanes have struggled with in recent years is goaltending depth. Although the team has had promising youngsters behind Cam Ward, 25-year-old Justin Peters struggled last season and was replaced as backup by veteran Brian Boucher this season. Rather than solidify the position, Boucher struggled before getting hurt, while Peters has not done much to restore confidence in him. Behind those two is Mike Murphy, an undersized goaltender not projected by many to become an NHL starter. It's a group that could use some internal competition and another prospect with a chance of contending for the starting job down the road.