Article by: Zach Henley
With the NHL Playoffs being just one month away, the trade deadline was extremely busy. 12 of the current 16 playoff teams were involved at the trade deadline. The leading teams from each conference were quiet as others around them tried to improve come playoff time. One of the many surprises this season are the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders. Both teams are coming off mediocre seasons and not making the playoffs last year. This year however, Carolina has already matched their win total from last year, and the Islanders have two more wins than their total win count last year. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all this year has been the Calgary Flames, where their current standings have the Flames claiming the number one seed in the western conference, a massive improvement from being the eleventh seed last season.
With most of the league only having 16 and 17 games left, the playoff push is in full effect. Two of the hottest teams in the league right now are the Carolina Hurricanes and the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix trails Minnesota by two points for a spot in this year’s playoffs. Carolina currently holds the three spot in the eastern conference playoff standings. Another hot team in the league is the Philadelphia Flyers. They’ve won two straight and over their last ten games, they’ve gone 7-2-1. Right now, they are five points behind Montreal for the last spot in the playoffs. The Flyers traded their long-time forward Wayne Simmonds to the Predators for forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth round pick in the 2020 draft. This move shows that the Flyers want to make the playoffs, and change the culture around the team. They knew they could get compensated for Simmonds because he is still a very talented player that could help any organization.
A couple key games coming up later this month that could affect the playoffs are the matchups between the Penguins and Capitals, the Stars and Jets, and the games for the Coyotes, Blue Jackets and Flyers as they look to go and carry their momentum into the playoffs.
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