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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

CASEY | Eastern Conference Teams Emerge Big Winners From NHL Trade Window


CW: This article references sexual assault. Please refer to the end of the article for on- and off-campus resources. 

As we near the National Hockey League’s (NHL) trade deadline and big names come off the board, one thing has become clear: the Eastern Conference’s top teams have gone from good to great.

A Scoring Winger For New Jersey

On Sunday, Feb. 26, the New Jersey Devils acquired winger Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks. At 26 years old, Meier is probably the most valuable player to be traded at this year’s deadline. After making his NHL debut with the Sharks in the 2016-17 season, Meier has excelled at combining size with skill. Meier creates and sustains offense by maintaining puck possession while capitalizing on the chances he gets.

Meier provides New Jersey with the kind of scoring talent they lost when Johnny Gaudreau unexpectedly signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets instead of the Devils over the summer. The Devils have only made the playoffs once in the last decade, but do not let their lack of postseason experience fool you — they are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. 

The Devils’ top-two lines are among the NHL’s best at creating scoring chances relative to their opponents, and they will only improve with the addition of Meier. It is hard to imagine that Jack Hughes could get even better than he already is, but adding Meier to his line might just do the trick this year.

@SanJoseSharks/Twitter | The New Jersey Devils acquired winger Timo Meier to bolster their roster.

Special Center Depth for Toronto

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ General Manager Kyle Dubas has built one of the most talented center cores in the NHL after acquiring former St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly, who has a resume that speaks for itself. The 32-year-old led the Blues to a Stanley Cup in 2019 and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player during the playoffs, along the way. 

In that same year, he also won the Selke Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s best defensive forward. Before his departure from St. Louis, O’Reilly recorded 12 goals and 19 points through 40 games this year, and he has already notched 3 goals and 5 points in four games with the Leafs since the trade.

O’Reilly’s instant impact is encouraging for Toronto, especially considering that he is coming off of a broken foot

Dubas didn’t stop after O’Reilly, though. He also acquired defensemen Luke Schenn, Erik Gustafsson and Jake McCabe along with bottom six forward Sam Lafferty. Dubas’ activity before the deadline reflects a belief in the current core and a desperation to finally avoid a first round exit. 

Revamped Top Six for New York

It was no secret that the New York Rangers’ General Manager Chris Drury wanted to take a big swing at the deadline. Insiders reported for weeks that Drury wanted to make a move for a scoring winger; Meier, Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane were all on the table to some degree. 

Drury acquired Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 9 along with defenseman Niko Mikkola. Then, on Feb. 19, Drury orchestrated a reunion between the Rangers and Tyler Motte, an effective two-way fourth liner. 

These two transactions depleted the Rangers’ salary cap space and seemed to block the team from making additional splashy moves due to financial constraints. However, that turned out not to be the case. After Kane publicly expressed frustrations when news of the Tarasenko trade broke, the Rangers ultimately acquired the winger from Chicago on Feb. 28.

Kane has undeniable talent; he is one of the best — if not the best — American-born players to ever play on NHL ice. However, questions about his character continue to blemish his reputation. 

In 2009, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct after a taxi driver accused Kane of physically assaulting him. In 2010, Chicago’s former video coach allegedly sexually assaulted former prospect Kyle Beach, and though Kane denies it, Beach said he believes that everyone in Chicago’s locker room knew about the abuse when it occurred and did not speak up 

In 2015, a woman accused Kane of rape, and while he was never charged, it is important to consider that law enforcement makes an arrest in only about 5% of rape cases.

Sports are part of our culture, and we should be questioning what we are giving up by letting people like Kane represent it. Sure, Kane makes the Rangers’ top six one of the league’s best, but at a much more significant cost than the draft picks or prospects New York sends to Chicago. 

Playoff Implications

The Eastern Conference has found itself in an arms race; each improvement from one team pushes others to improve. Good teams are going to lose early, and the team to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals is going to have a long and hard path along the way, potentially making for one of the most exciting and unpredictable playoff seasons in years. 

Erin Casey is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. Breaking the Ice appears online and in print every three weeks. 

On-campus resources include Health Education Services (202-687-8949) and Counseling and Psychiatric Service (202-687-6985)); additional off-campus resources include the D.C. Rape Crisis Center (202-333-7273) and the D.C. Forensic Nurse Examiner Washington Hospital Center (844-443-5732). [If about clerical assault: Individuals can also report sexual misconduct by a Jesuit by contacting the province’s victim advocate at [email protected].] If you or anyone you know would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination or other medical care — including emergency contraception — call the Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. (202-742-1727). To report sexual misconduct, you can contact Georgetown’s Title IX coordinator (202-687-9183) or file an online report here. Emergency contraception is available at the CVS located at 1403 Wisconsin Ave NW and through H*yas for Choice. For more information, visit

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