NHL Trade Deadline
Separating the sellers from the buyers is one of the first steps prior to the NHL trade deadline. We’re about five weeks away, and the landscape is becoming clearer as some teams drop out of the playoff race and others looks to get an edge over the competition.
Here are five buyers and five sellers as we look ahead to March 21.
Seller: Montreal Canadiens
Less than a year after a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens have replaced their general manager as well as head coach, and several players could be next.
The next era in Montreal will be built around Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, but pretty much everyone else is on the table. Including Christian Dvorak, the guy they traded their 2022 1st round pick to acquire in a reaction move after the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet.
Thank goodness that pick is top-ten protected.
Players likely to be moved: Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot.
Buyer: New York Rangers
Before Jeff Gorton began overseeing Montreal’s rebuild, he guided the Rangers through that same process.
They’re now one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this regular season, and when you have an elite goalie like Igor Shesterkin, you have a good chance of carrying that success into the playoffs.
Vitali Kravtsov is looking for a change of scenery, and the Rangers have some attractive assets that can be used to land a big fish.
Potential targets: Jacob Chychrun, J.T. Miller
Seller: Seattle Kraken
Things haven’t gone as planned for the expansion franchise, and Seattle’s first trade deadline is a prime opportunity to accumulate some draft picks and prospects for the future.
The Kraken have several players that could be floated as attractive rentals on the trade market, and this team could look very different next season based on all the pending free agents.
Players likely to be moved: Mark Giordano, Jared McCann
Buyer: Colorado Avalanche
Colorado is already seen as a Cup favorite, and their chances could be well boosted by making some noise prior to the trade deadline.
One area ripe for improvement is in net, and perhaps Marc-Andre Fleury can follow in a fellow Quebec-born goalie in order to take this team to the next level.
Potential targets: Fleury, Claude Giroux
Seller: Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes are going to be playing in a college rink for a few years, and will likely remain as close to the salary cap floor as possible.
If you’re willing to trade a player like Jacob Chychrun – whose contract is quite team friendly – then anyone is on the table.
Arizona already has EIGHT picks in the first two rounds of the 2022 draft, and will welcome as many more as they can get.
Players likely to be moved: Chychrun, Phil Kessel,
Buyer: Boston Bruins
With Patrice Bergeron’s future somewhat cloudy due to a recent head injury and pending free agency, there’s only so many more kicks at the Cup left for the current iteration of the black and gold.
The needs here have been clear for a while: top four defenseman and a second-line center, and perhaps even a scoring winger. (A Kessel reunion would be fun!)
The Bruins have yet to replace the likes of Torey Krug and David Krejci, and GM Don Sweeney is likely to continue the trend of being fairly active prior to the trade deadline.
Potential targets: Chychrun, Giroux, Tomas Hertl, Hampus Lindholm
Seller: Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have a tendency to be up and down on a yearly basis, and this is very much a down year. So much so that long-time captain Claude Giroux could be talked into waiving his no movement clause in order to be moved to a contender.
That would mark the end of an era in Philadelphia, and is certainly a possibility after running mate Jakub Voracek was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer.
Players likely to be moved: Giroux, Rasmus Ristolainen, Martin Jones
Buyer: Calgary Flames
This team might need to go for it this season because there’s some big decisions to be made with some key players this summer.
Johnny Gaudreau is playing some of the best hockey of his career and will be an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, Matthew Tkachuk will be a restricted free agent and is currently the team’s highest paid player with a cap hit of $7 million.
If the Flames can’t afford to keep both, they might as well add now and make the most of the current roster.
Potential targets: Tyler Toffoli, Giordano, Rickard Rakell
Seller: Chicago Blackhawks
It’s been a nightmare season in Chicago both on and off the ice. The Blackhawks need a clean slate on many levels.
Fleury is almost certain to be moved – a lot of teams would love to add the reigning Vezina Trophy winner for a Cup run. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both have one year remaining on their twin $10.5 million deals, so perhaps they’re a year away from being moved out.
A first round pick in return would be handy, seeing as theirs has been conditionally sent to Columbus in the Seth Jones trade.
Players likely to be moved: Fleury, Dylan Strome, Calvin De Haan
Buyer: Florida Panthers
The Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs are the only two non-expansion teams yet to win a playoff round in the shootout era. Florida is as good a team as any this season and have a real shot at going all the way, especially with Sergei Bobrovksy playing at a high level.
Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes the Panthers are in “go-for-it mode” and will be major players at the trade deadline.
A 1996 Cup Final rematch between Florida and Colorado would be fun, eh?
Potential targets: Chychrun, John Klingberg