NHL Trade Deadline: A Look at Which Teams Are Buying and Which Players Could Be On the Move
The NHL trade deadline got off to an early start when the Montreal Canadiens acquired veteran center Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres. This was the first big name off the list as the trades quieted and the rumors began to ramp up. The New York Islanders then made the next move by acquiring forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils for two prospects and two draft picks, so now, it’s time to break into the rumors.
In the Central Division, the Florida Panthers are unexpectedly leading, but they would like to add at the deadline. The Panthers have been quiet on the rumor front but have been brought up with the likes of Brandon Sutter and Vince Dunn. The Panthers could realistically trade goaltender Chris Driedger and in return receive the defenseman Dunn to replace Aaron Ekblad.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings are going to be selling off assets at the deadline after disappointing seasons. Columbus will most definitely trade defenseman David Savard for a good return and are rumored to be shopping Nick Foligno, Riley Nash and Michael Del Zotto as well. The Red Wings are no stranger to selling, and they would be wise to shop goaltender Jonathan Bernier and Luke Glendening for decent returns.
The East Division likely has the top four playoff teams set, and those teams should focus on improving their rosters. The Washington Capitals have been linked to goaltender Devan Dubnyk and aforementioned forwards Glendening and Nash. The Capitals could realistically trade a second- or third-round pick for Dubnyk to help solidify the goaltender situation and add a veteran presence.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to try to add a depth piece at the deadline, and their options are Scott Laughton, Anthony Mantha and Sam Bennett. A realistic trade could look like this: Mantha to the Penguins for defenseman Juuso Riikola and a third-round pick.
The Boston Bruins need scoring and defense. They could realistically try for Rickard Rakell for a scoring forward, and on defense they could look to Alexander Edler as a defenseman. A trade for Rakell might see prospect Oskar Steen and a first-round pick leaving town, and a trade for Edler might require a mid-round pick.
The Buffalo Sabres are an absolute dumpster fire this season and should blow up the roster. They should try to trade away everyone that is not named Rasmus Dahlen or Dylan Cozens—though the Jack Eichel trade should wait until the offseason.
In the North Division, the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Jets and Canadiens will all make the playoffs barring a collapse. The Toronto Maple Leafs are all over the place in rumors, as they have been in on forwards, defensemen and goaltenders. A trade that would make sense would be acquiring Taylor Hall from the Sabres for prospect Rodion Amirov and a second-round pick.
The Winnipeg Jets would ideally like to add an impact defenseman, and potential targets are Josh Manson, David Savard and Nikita Zadorov. For Manson, the Jets might have to give up a first-round pick and prospect Dylan Samberg.
Finally, the Oilers are looking to add a depth forward, and that could come in the reinforcement of Sam Bennett. Bennett has been stellar in the playoffs and can provide exactly what the Oilers need to get over the hump. A realistic trade between the Flames and Oilers would be Sam Bennett for defenseman Ethan Bear.
In the Pacific division, the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild will all likely make the playoffs. The Avalanche need a backup goaltender or a depth winger. A goaltender they could target is Bernier of Detroit, and a possible trade might send the Red Wings a third-round pick.
The Golden Knights are very cap-strapped and cannot afford a big addition to the roster. A logical move here would be landing depth forward Marcus Sorenson from the Sharks for a fourth-round pick. This would make sense, as Sorenson played under current Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer in San Jose.
The Wild have the potential to make the biggest splash of the deadline in acquiring a forward with term on his contract, and that would be Johnny Gaudreau. Likely headed back to Calgary would be one of the first-round picks that Minnesota owns, alongside forward Marcus Johansson and prospect Calen Addison.
Now let the trade deadline madness begin.
James Morrison is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Second-year / Broadcast Journalism