The 2017 NHL season has been one of surprise for some, and disappointment to others. Whether your team is struggling to stay alive, are the head of the division, or tanking, the trade deadline brings all of these teams together to create unique trades and this year, it looks like there may be potential for even franchise altering trades, something rarely seen in past circumstances.
With each of the upcoming scenarios being discussed, each should be taken for what they’re worth: theoretical scenarios. The chances of these happening are rarer than a Cleveland Browns winning season. But some of these players may be moved.
Note: The piece reflects the author’s opinions, and also, layout consists of an alphabetical breakdown, team by team, containing one trade (at least) per franchise.
The season has been an up and down year for the Ducks. Currently sitting at the middle of their division, I don’t foresee many changes for the franchise at this point. Many players are untouchable at this point in the year and it can be seen how close they really are to competing at the top of the Pacific. I think if anyone is moved it’s going to be playoff-savvy veteran Antoine Vermette and if he waves his NTC, defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
Trade: C Antoine Vermette to Vegas for conditional 3rd round pick in 2018
D Kevin Bieksa to Toronto for F Leo Komarov, 2018 7th round pick
Arizona yet again is at the bottom of the league, After smart, or seemingly smart moves on young-GM Chayka’s part, the team has fallen into yet another pit. With hope in the likes of D Oliver Ekman-Larsson and F Clayton Keller, the Coyotes have a brighter future at the least. Their moves may be small or large, but either way, they are clearly sellers regardless of what extent.
Trade: G Antti Raanta, F Max Domi, F Kevin Connauton to Pittsburgh for G Tristan Jarry, 2nd round pick in 2018, 3rd round pick in 2019
The Boston Bruins are back. The yearly powerhouse of the 21st century has returned to its glory and is arguably the best playoff-built team. With old talent and youth infused, the chemistry on the ice is something fans need to relish in. This team is special and can even get better (a scary thought). DeBrusk, Bjork, Heinen, Acciari, Carlo, McAvoy. These names are the future of the Boston hockey scene. So what changes can be made? Small things, for depth purposes really.
Trade: F Matt Beleskey (*no salary retained), 2018 1st round pick to Colorado for G Jonathan Bernier, F Nail Yakupov
The Sabres as a team shouldn’t be this bad, but in the new system of Phil Housley, the Sabres look dreadful at times, and in other cases quite good. The product in Buffalo is something fans are very critical of and as a result, the fans seem to collectively hate Housley’s defensive minded and goaltending oriented system, at least to what I’ve experienced. Many casual fans also don’t know the significant difference in the ways Bylsma and Housley coach. With these points established, I see the Sabres in a buying and selling standpoint, unlike many other teams. They have big contracts they need to rid themselves of, but also lots of talent they should retain.
Trade: F Evander Kane, 2018 2nd round pick to New York Rangers for D Brady Skjei
D Nathan Bealieu, C Ryan O’Reilly, LW Matt Moulson (retains $4 million) to Nashville Predators for F Austin Watson, D Ryan Ellis, 2020 3rd round pick
G Robin Lehner, F Benoit Pouliot to New York Islanders for G Kristers Gudlevskis, 2018 2nd round pick (CAL)
The Flames are at a very similar point as the Anaheim Ducks. Middle of the division, very competitive, but everything just isn’t there. A team with so much talent and promise that needs just one or two more pieces to complete the puzzle. That piece, a 3rd line forward to be exact.
Trade: 2020 2nd round pick, 2018 (FLA) 4th round pick to NYR for F Michael Grabner
The Hurricanes sit in the middle of the division and due to the competitiveness of their division really. However, the mid-card play can also be contributed to the subpar play, at best, of goaltender Scott Darling. The team needs more obviously, especially depth wise, but there’s not much they will do or are even capable of. If anything, a depth move, and not picks or prospects but a hockey trade (meaning player for player).
Trade: F Jeff Skinner, 2018 2rd round pick to Ottawa Senators for F Mike Hoffman, 2020 3rd round pick
It looks as if the Blackhawks of old have started their downward spiral. An off year for Joel Quenneville’s team, the Hawks will look to trade away pieces and be true sellers for the first time since the last collapse after their first Stanley Cup this century, back in 2010. So who will we see traded? It remains unknown, but here’s a guess…
Trade: F Patrick Sharp, D Cody Franson to Los Angeles for a 2019 1st round pick
F Tommy Wingels to Vegas for 2018 4th round pick (PIT), 2019 5th round pick (MTL)
Colorado is having a rocky year so to speak. The team is young and is in a critical rebuilding stage where there needs to be some minor tear down, but also just a bit of re-tooling. GM Joe Sakic is as unpredictable of a GM as we’ve seen in recent memory and with his short tenure, I guess we don’t know if they are true sellers. So, out of speculation, I expect them to do what I previously stated above in the Boston section, nothing more, unless they ship a Blake Comeau or a Varlamov if they want to change goaltending sooner than later.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The only team in Ohio, the Blue Jackets remain stealthy and under the radar as they always have since their joining of the NHL. With the likes of Artemi Panarin and Zach Werenski, among others, this team looked like a playoff team for the good part of the season until their scoring woes as of late. Almost a mirror of the collapse St. Louis has had. But what do they do to fix the problem? I argue that they will be high buyers and take risks like Jarmo Kekalainen did this offseason.
Trade: D Jack Johnson, 2018 1st round pick, F Sonny Milano, D Jacob Graves to Tampa Bay for F Vladislav Namestnikov, F Ondrej Palat, D Slater Koekkoek, F Carter Verhaeghe
The Stars are in an interesting situation this year. A competitive team throughout with distinct role-playing lines, the team overall is a challenging play but plagued with some serious injuries. Whether it be Martin Hanzal or Marc Methot, the team has key pieces missing considerable time. With them, Dallas could possibly be in the top two of the Central. Rocking the top line for now is Benn/Seguin/Radulov but behind them no line speaks largely of scoring talent. What I think they will do is take an easy trade deadline and wait for free agency to make big splashes.
Trade: D Dan Hamhuis, G Kari Lehtonen (retains $4.9 million), 2019 3rd round pick to Toronto for G Calvin Pickard, F Eric Fehr, F Josh Leivo, 2018 (SJ) 2nd round pick
Detroit Red Wings
This is a team I have been waiting for on this list. A team I believe will be by far the talk of the deadline. They are sellers, no doubt about it. And they have big guns which is all the more reason why they can do something special. Here’s my thought…
Trade: F Gustav Nyquist, D Mike Green, G Jimmy Howard to Washington for G Philipp Grubauer, D Brooks Orpik (no salary retained), 2019 2nd round pick, 2019 4th round pick, 2020 2nd round pick
Jeez, what happened to the Oilers? The team to beat with McDavid and others, has turned to a dismal team with very little chemistry. This has left Chiarelli in a bind with no clear direction in which the team will go. Though even I don’t know where to go, I think expelling some salary and lengthy contracts may help provide some help. Including the few rentals they do have. I do think though, that their trades will be at the draft, leaving much unanswered come February 27.
Trade: F Mark Letestu, F Mike Cammalleri to Winnipeg Jets for 2018 and 2019 4th round picks
F Patrick Maroon, F Ryan Strome to St. Louis for D Carl Gunnarsson, 2018 5th round pick
Dale Tallon is one of the best general managers in the entire sport of hockey. After a historic rebuild in Chicago, Tallon has turned Florida into an odd team with an uncertain future. When we doubt Dale though, he proves us wrong. With questionable signings over the past few years, he now has a predicament on his hands. What does Florida need to do to win? I don’t have that answer for you, nor do I know what they will be buyer/seller wise come the deadline. So here’s some “fantasy” thinking.
Trade: D Alex Petrovic, F Jamie McGinn, F Jace Hawryluk, 2019 1st round pick, 2020 3rd round pick to Philadelphia for F Isaac Ratcliffe, F Jori Lehtera, F Michael Raffl, and D Brandon Manning
Note: This may not be realistic value, but if I was GM Hextall I would take a look into this no doubt
Los Angeles Kings
The big boys in LA, the team so similar to Calgary and to Anaheim. Do I need to say more? Lots of pluses but what to add?
Trade: D Drew Doughty, F Trevor Lewis, F Adrian Kempe, 2019 2nd round pick to OTT for D Eric Karlsson, F Derick Brassard, F Ryan Dzingel, D Cody Ceci
Note: Blockbuster trade. Rarely happens. But boy is it fun to speculate big moves for the big city.
The Wild find themselves in a good spot standing wise and with a generally healthy team, they are still fighting for the playoffs. If Nino Niederreiter can come back from injury, as well as, Jonas Brodin, you have a complete team with true character. The problem is, they have too many roster spots, then again when was too much depth a bad thing (never?!?!)
Trade: F Matt Cullen, D Kyle Quincey to Pittsburgh for a 2020 3rd and 5th round pick
Sell sell sell!!! This is a fire sale in my eyes. In most fans eyes it seems as well. However, as we can see from history, the Canadiens are patient (arguably too patient at times). But that’s what you get with one of the best hockey cities and historic organizations in the NHL. Who will be moved, we know the only culprits at this point who are even discussed: Pacioretty, Weber, Plekanec, and some other depth guys.
Trade: F Mac Pacioretty, F Charles Hudon, F Tomas Plekanec, D Shea Weber to Philadelphia for F Wayne Simmons, D Shayne Gostibehere, F Scott Laughton, and 2018 1st round pick (STL)
Note: The earth-shattering deal I think makes sense for both organizations. Think Philadelphia has many great chips and can change that entire Metro division upside down in a single trade. They have that much power under their hands. Hextall, load the cannons!
Nashville sits atop their division and seems to have a tight hold to their spot. I don’t see them doing anything major by any means unless it was to further their push now and in the future, as well. With this being said, I think Nashville will be one of the only teams aside from New Jersey and Vancouver who don’t make a trade. Also, with that note, I will not have a New Jersey, nor a Vancouver headline. But if they made a trade like I suggested with the Sabres before, it would look along the lines of this too…
Trade: G Juuse Saros, D Alexei Emelin, D Jack Dougherty, F Craig Smith to OTT for F Bobby Ryan, G Mike Condon, and a 2018 5th round pick
New York Islanders
I think this next week will be the deciding factor on what happens with New York’s future. I’m not saying they ever will or ever should trade John Tavares, and I’m not trying to come up with value for him either. What I am suggesting is that these days will give shape to what happens with or without JT. What will happen, maybe one of these two blockbuster scenarios:
Trade: D Calvin De Haan, D Thomas Hickey, F Anders Lee, and F Jordan Eberle to Arizona for D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, F Max Domi, D Luke Schenn, and F Brad Richardson
F Joshua Ho-Sang, F Michael Dal Colle, D Ryan Pulock to Colorado for F Nathan MacKinnon
New York Rangers
Now back down to earth after a few huge trades, previously stated. The Rangers have sent a message to fans that players will be leaving. Names like Hayes, McDonagh, Miller, Nash, Grabner, and maybe even Skjei. I’m not sure the true game plan for this rebuild but I think each trade will have to be for the future. Here’s my thinking:
Trade: 2018 1st round pick, D Brady Skjei, F JT Miller to Buffalo for F Sam Reinhart, F Evander Kane, F Zemgus Girgensons, and a 2018 2nd round pick.
F Mats Zuccarello, D Marc Staal, D John Gilmour, 2018 2nd round pick for D Tyson Barrie, F Colin Wilson
The Sens seem like they want to jump ship on players sometimes, and at other times they seem like this team will never separate. The big trade earlier this year was a big sign as to how the organization felt and they obviously were hungry for Matt Duchene. Going forward, it seems logical they’ll trade one of Bobby Ryan or Mike Hoffman, but they may even trade Eric Karlsson. Who knows. But for now, I think they’ll honestly pass on all of the above and all previously suggested trades.
Now seeing how most teams will be shaping up, it leaves ten teams off the table in terms of who I’m covering. However, most of those teams were previously mentioned in other trades and I do believe that some of those deals could happen. Philly will play their cards and could do something big. Pittsburgh is going to be all in and want to acquire some scorer (Thomas Vanek? Rick Nash? Lee Stempniak?). San Jose will be super quiet. St. Louis will be power hungry and make multiple trades unless they can formulate a 6-man or multi-team trade. Tampa Bay WILL get one or multiple defenseman. Toronto may trade one of JVR or Bozak but will likely stick to their plan and be quiet. Vancouver will trade Vanek that’s it likely, unless they pull the trigger finally on Tanev. Vegas will make a few one pick for one player, or a player-for-player type deals. Washington will stick to the strategy used last year hoping that one adjustment will finally make the difference and win Ovechkin his first cup. And lastly, Winnipeg will contemplate trading Trouba, but instead will pull the trigger on a goaltender since Hutchinson, Hellebuyck, and Mason haven’t been stellar.
The Trade Deadline is always a mystery and as hockey fans and reporters, or writers, or whatever your title may be, we love the buzz. This year is a buzzing year and it may let us down, most years with this much buzz, the trades don’t happen. But rest assured readers, trades will happen, teams will win and lose, and in the end, there will be one winner of Lord Stanley’s prize.