A look towards the NHL’s trade deadline
With the March 1st NHL trade deadline fast approaching, we’ll look at names big and small which could move to a new team.
If the Colorado Avalanche kept their current pace for the rest of the season, and every other team stopped playing right now, they would only get to 29th place in the league. They are absolutely terrible, and desperately in need of defense. One of these three under 26 years of age top line capable forwards could be on the move to a contending playoff team in need of some extra scoring. This of course would need to be in exchange for a young, promising prospect, an established young NHL defenseman, and a 1st round pick. The Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens are said to be in on the Matt Duchene sweepstakes.
Jarome Iginla (COL)
Another Avalanche forward, who is aging and not doing much in the way of offense for them this season. However, he could be moved to a playoff contender in exchange for a pick or two if a team is in need for a skilled depth forward. The Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers love trading for aging players at the deadline, and could both be targets for the Avs and Iginla.
Ben Bishop (TBL)
It’s been rumored for awhile now that Andrei Vasilevski can be the number one goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Which would make Ben Bishop a big waste of $5.95 million a year for the team. The issue is, Bishop will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season which makes it difficult for anyone who isn’t just using him for a playoff run to take him. You can guarantee Bishop will be traded by the deadline, but to who? The Edmonton Oilers have nothing outside of Cam Talbot and could look for him as an established reliable goaltender, but would they be willing to part ways with the many forwards they’ve been rumored to want to trade for a rental goalie? Tampa Bay may need to sweeten the deal to get Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Calgary, Arizona, and Buffalo all may be willing to take Bishop if they can guarantee getting him signed. Other rental destinations may be Dallas, or even St Louis who may look to have a sort of 1A 1B goalie situation heading into the playoffs.
Thomas Vanek (DET)
Thomas Vanek has performed above anyone’s expectations with the Detroit Red Wings this season. However, it looks like it will be the first season in 25 years that the Red Wings are not in the playoffs. Vanek has scored 12 goals and 20 assists in 40 games at 33 years old, which could make him a valuable sell-high piece for the Red Wings at the deadline. Look for Vanek to move to Boston, Tampa Bay, or Buffalo in exchange for a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)
The Penguins said as soon as Fleury gives the word that he is alright with being traded, he will be. With rookie goaltender Matt Murray looming over him and leading the team to a Stanley Cup last year, Pittsburgh will want to trade him before he’s taken from them in the expansion draft. Fleury is less likely to move than the other players mentioned, but if the Penguins were interested a home could be found for Fleury with multiple teams across the NHL. Fleury could go to Dallas in exchange for picks/prospects together with Niemi or Lehtonen. Lehtonen has only one year left on his contract and could be easily disposed of after being Murray’s backup for awhile.
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)
This one has been a rumor for years now, but with the Blues currently playing much worse than in seasons past, could this be the year they pull the trigger? The offensively gifted defenseman can man the power play and help any team in need from the back end and with Robbi Fabbri out for the season, this may be the year. Look for him to be sent to New Jersey, New York (Rangers), or Boston. Fabbri’s injury could mean on top of picks, the Blues look for depth scoring from one of these teams.
Darcy Kuemper (MIN)
This is just me spitballing, I have no actual proof. Minnesota signed goaltender Alex Stalock to a 2-year contract extension as he currently plays for their AHL team. To do that as the deadline approaches gave me the thought, do they want Stalock to back up Dubnyk to let Keumper go for picks/depth? Maybe, probably not; but if it does happen, I’ll be the only one who called it.
Martin Hanzal (ARI)
There are a few teams in playoff contention lacking help at the center position. Hanzal could be their answer if they’re not looking to pay the steep price for Matt Duchene. The 29-year-old center man is capable of playing top line and power play minutes and has 10 goals and 9 assists this season with one of the worst teams in the league. Destinations for Hanzal could be Montreal or Toronto.
P.A. Parenteau (NJD)
Parenteau is part of the mediocre New Jersey Devils squad who have a chance to make the playoffs, but will not make it past the first round. Parenteau has provided depth scoring for 7 different teams in his career, and has proven himself at times to be capable of playing top six minutes. He could be the perfect rental player for a team looking to make a run in need of some scoring help, as he has been many times before. His low trade cost and cap hit under 2 million would be ideal for a team like the Ottawa Senators.
Radim Vrbata (ARI)
Vrbata is 35 years old playing for one of the worst teams in the league and will inevitably be let go from the team before they are ever a playoff team. Vrbata has 35 points in 51 games played this season, and with a cap hit of only 1 million, he could be a useful right winger on a playoff team in need. He could be moved to a team like Chicago or Pittsburgh who have no cap space and always need extra forward depth for their playoff push.
Brent Seabrook (CHI)
The Chicago Blackhawks defenseman will most likely not be moved at the deadline, but the possibility is there. Seabrook has a long, expensive contract with the Blackhawks, but if they would like to sign anyone else (Panarin) for any significant amount, someone like him or Hossa will get the boot. Chicago’s top defenseman is Duncan Keith and past him anyone is expendable. The most expensive player who is not imperative to their success being removed would help the team maintain their younger talent while continuing to win. Seabrook may be that guy. Boston is a possible relocation for the defenseman.
The Oilers have offense. Two of their four 1st overall picks since 2010 have already been moved (Hall, Yakupov), and Connor McDavid isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The Oilers would most likely be willing to part ways with either 26 year old Eberle or 23 year old 2011 1st overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. RNH has not played top minutes after the Oilers acquisition of Lucic on top of McDavid and Draisaitl. He has just 11 goals and 15 assists in 55 games this season, and could be useful to a team looking for a second line centerman. Eberle, while better than Nugent-Hopkins has also not been top notch, which again has to do with not being given the top line minutes with McDavid. Eberle has a slightly better 11 goals and 21 assists on the year, and could be a solid first line right winger on any team in need. The Oilers will undoubtedly be looking for a young, talented defenseman to be included in a deal for these two. Teams who could be interested include Philadelphia, Ottawa, or Montreal.
All or none of these players may or may not be moved before the trade deadline. We’ll just have to wait and see what another most likely uninteresting trade year in the NHL will look like by March 1st.