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Metro Surprises: Capitals, Devils Big-Name Trades; Rangers Lose Goodrow

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin scores game winner

The NHL generally frowns on big news during the Stanley Cup Final, but with the elongated series lasting deep into June, teams are getting on with their off-seasons. And the NHL trade market brought the Washington Capitals together with a surprise dance partner, as the New York Rangers got free salary cap relief.

As reported to be a possibility, the San Jose Sharks claimed Barclay Goodrow off waivers from the New York Rangers. San Jose assumed Goodrow’s remaining three years with a $3.64 million cap hit.

San Jose finished with the worst record in the NHL and will draft Macklin Celebrini as the first overall pick in next week’s 2024 NHL Draft. Goodrow will add toughness and depth, though he scored just four goals this season. Goodrow does have a pair of Stanley Cup rings earned with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Goodrow, 31, began his career with San Jose in 2014-15, playing 60 games. In 2019-20, he was traded to Tampa Bay.

Capitals Trade

Last June, the LA Kings acquired out-of-favor center Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets and signed him to an eight-year contract with an $8.5 million salary cap hit. LA parted with Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, and a 2024 second-round pick in the trade.

The contract was almost immediately panned an overreach, and Dubois did not perform well in LA. He scored just 16 goals with 40 points in 82 games.

Just one year later, LA traded Dubois in a bad-salary swap with the Washington Capitals, getting back goaltender Darcy Kuemper. According to reports, neither side held back any salary.

Kuemper, 34, slumped this season with an .890 save percentage and eventually lost the Capitals’ starting job to Charlie Lindgren. He has three years remaining on his contract, which has an average annual value of $5.25 million.

Kuemper has a Stanley Cup ring after backstopping the Colorado Avalanche to the 2021 Stanley Cup.

Devils Trade

The New Jersey Devils became a Stanley Cup contender in one quick move. After a few months of attempts and perhaps one trade that was rumored to have been squashed by the top levels of the Calgary Flames management, the Devils got their goalie.

Wednesday, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald gave up young, big defenseman Kevin Bahl and the Devils’ 2025 first-round pick in exchange for 34-year-old goalie Jacob Markstrom.

This season, Markstrom posted a .905 save percentage behind the struggling Flames team and had a 23-23-2 record. The 6-foot-6 goalie has finished top five in Vezina Trophy voting twice, including as a finalist in 2021-22.

The Devils’ weak spot in 2023-24 was indeed goaltending as a group of goalies, including Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid, and Jake Allen, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens near the NHL trade deadline, failed to do the job.