NHL Notebook: Post NHL trade deadline prompts new 2024 Stanley Cup favourites and Maple Leafs Mitch Marner day-to-day with injury 

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
4 months ago
On Friday, the entire NHL community took a deep breath when the clock winded down, marking the end of the NHL’s Trade Deadline.
Whether teams filled gaps in depth situations or continued to secure high-end talent on their rosters, this year’s deadline showed plenty of eagerness from general managers across the league, bringing excitement to fan bases all over the league’s landscape.
Now that it is over, everyone’s attention has turned back to finishing up the regular season and the rising excitement with the postseason on the horizon. 
For Daily Faceoff contributors, this means new favourites emerged for which team may be next to host the Stanley Cup after everything from the deadline has been processed. 
Getting 50 per cent of the votes from Scott Maxwell and Steven Ellis was the Vegas Golden Knights and their new “evil empire” to be the next team favoured amongst contributors to win it all.
Vegas has undoubtedly stacked their roster during the deadline, making them even more of a threat in postseason contention. Due to the injury of captain Mark Stone, plenty of cap space was opened up for them after they had placed the forward on the long-term injured reserve.
The Golden Knights brought in Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals, a 29-year-old winger who has had successful seasons in the past, a top-four blueliner after acquiring Noah Hanifin from the Calgary Flames – who just so happens to be having one of the best years of his career – and of course Tomas Hertl from the San Jose Sharks, complimenting and stacking their depth at centre even more. 
“The Cup can’t be won on paper,” said Maxwell. “But the Golden Knights might be the biggest on-paper Cup contender we’ve seen in the cap era, or very close to it.”
However, with the Carolina Hurricanes acquiring one of the most discussed players during the trade deadline countdown, Jake Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Gould believes Carolina could hoist this year’s Cup.
Although Guentzel isn’t joining the Hurricanes lineup just yet due to an upper-body injury that has kept him sidelined since February 14th, his return in new colours will be nothing less than exciting as he’s a two-time 40 goals scorer that will create an immediate impact in Carolina’s top-six. 
The Hurricanes also traded a third-round pick to acquire Evgeny Kuznetsov from the Capitals. Amid a fallout in Washington that landed him with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, his return to the NHL has him viewing it as a last chance to perform on the big stage.
“I love the Western Conference arms race,” said Gould. “But I wonder if those teams might tucker each other out in the playoffs. It’s Carolina’s time.”
Finally, Matt Larkin opted to favour the Dallas Stars following their trade deadline performance. 
Dallas already boasts a strong core with Jason Robertson, Miro Heiskanen, Jake Oettinger, and Rope Hintz, along with veteran depth with players like Jamie Benn and Matt Duchene. However, Dallas secured one of the biggest fish in the trade deadline pond, acquiring Chris Tanev in a three-team trade with the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils.
With the addition of Tanev, the 34-year-old defenceman has become one of the game’s strongest shutdown blueliners and is sure to positively impact the Stars’ backend and the entire team in general as Tanev has been known to be a role model on his previous teams. 


Maple Leafs Mitch Marner day-to-day with injury 

On Saturday, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe announced that forward Mitch Marner would be day-to-day with a lower-body injury, leaving the team with a “big hole to fill.”
The forward suffered the injury during the club’s loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday when he took a shot in the second period, twisting his right leg in the process. Marner finished the game but stayed back during Toronto’s road trip to Montreal to be evaluated by team doctors.
“Everyone has an important role on this team. Obviously, he’s a leader on our team and plays heavy minutes and the kind of guy you play in any situation,” said Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies.
“Big hole to fill, but hopefully he gets healthier soon and he can come back. I mean, it’s just another challenge for our depth guys — and, honestly, everyone — to step up and just play their role to win us this hockey game.”
Due to Marner’s absence, Keefe blended lines ahead of Saturday’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens.
William Nylander and Tyler Bertuzzi will be on the wing for Auston Matthews; John Tavares will centre a line with Max Domi and Calle Jarnkrok, with Knies and Bobby McMann as the wingers for David Kampf.
The Leafs’ newest acquisition from the Minnesota Wild on trade deadline day, Connor Dewar, will center on the fourth line with Pontus Holmberg and Ryan Reaves as the wingers.
Marner has scored 25 goals and 76 points throughout 62 games this season.
The forward has played a crucial role on both special teams units and leads Toronto forwards in ice time with an average of 21:20. Even with the challenge of an injury, Marner is still on pace to secure his fourth 90-point season since the Maple Leafs drafted him fourth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

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