Now that names like Derick Brassard and Michael Grabner are off the trading block, let’s take a look at some of the players most likely to get traded prior to Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline.
Most Likely Trade Candidates
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Out of all the players on the block or rumored to be available, Rick Nash could very well be the most likely to get moved by Monday’s deadline. Rangers management announced a few weeks ago that the team would be entering a rebuild to focus on the future of the club, and that familiar faces could be on their way out of New York. This could include people like fan favorite Mats Zuccarello, captain Ryan McDonagh and even goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has been the backbone of this Rangers club for over a decade. The fact that Nash’s name is in the mix is anything but surprising. In fact, a Nash trade is long overdue and has been a foregone conclusion for quite some time. The 33-year-old has been a disappointment since coming over from Columbus in 2013. His failure to produce in the playoffs made his massive $7.8 million cap hit especially burdensome, and New York missed its chance to move him a few seasons back. Now that his contract is about to expire, Nash will be moved as a rental, with New York likely to retain a good portion of his salary for the rest of the year. The fact that the Rangers have taken him out of the lineup for “precautionary reasons” is a clear indication that he will be moved by Monday one way or another.
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Erik Karlsson may be a superstar, but he is on his way out of Ottawa. As hard as that is to comprehend, it is going to happen. Whether it happens in the next few days or at some point this June remains to be seen. The relationship between Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and the Swedish defenseman has, apparently, reached a breaking point. The same might be said of the relationship between Melnyk and the Senators fanbase based on what some fans starting arranging after the news of the Derick Brassard trade broke earlier today.
— #MelnykOut Spencer Callaghan (@Senturion) February 23, 2018
This all comes less than a year after the Senators made it to double overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This team was one goal away from the Stanley Cup, and now it is being gutted and sold off for spare parts. Ottawa has already started tearing down the roster, trading Dion Phaneuf and Brassard for very little in return, and other deals are in the works.
Karlsson has one year remaining on a contract that carries a $6.5 million cap hit. He will require a hefty extension but is a franchise defenseman that any team would love to have on board. But not Melnyk.
The current rumor is that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in heavy trade talks regarding Karlsson; Karlsson would be a massive addition to an elite roster in Tampa that already has Victor Hedman on the blue line. It’s likely a third team would have to be involved, though, and Bobby Ryan’s name is being thrown around as an additional piece in a hypothetical three-way trade.
Hearing that third teams with cap space are now getting involved in Erik Karlsson trade talks to help facilitate a potential trade. Makes sense, especially if Bobby Ryan contract is involved and contenders don't have room for it.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 23, 2018
Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings
As the Detroit Red Wings find themselves seven points out of a wild card slot, it’s no surprise to know that defenseman Mike Green could be dealt as a rental. Rumors indicate that the Capitals have expressed interest in bringing Green back to town, with Alex Ovechkin even saying over the All-Star Game weekend that he would love to be reunited with Green in Washington. Green would make sense for the Caps given his rental status; his familiarity with the team/city and ability to help out on the second power play could give Washington more depth, though his injury history is still a concern. Currently, Green is dealing with a neck injury but has been practicing with the Wings. It seems as though there’s a lot of interest in Green from around the league, though Washington is looking less and less likely since the Capitals traded for two defensemen this week. Toronto is in the market for a defender, and Leafs head coach Mike Babcock clearly has a strong relationship with his former organization.
Patrick Maroon, Edmonton Oilers
Patrick Maroon is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season but could be on the move in the midst of a disappointing campaign for the Oilers. Despite reaching the second round of the playoffs last year, Edmonton has struggled since the start of the season, failing to play with any consistency and sitting towards the bottom of the Pacific Division for most of the year. Maroon’s production has declined this season, and he has not been the same player he was last year. To be fair, though, the only player on this Oilers team that has been consistently strong is Connor McDavid. Leon Draisaitl’s play has picked up significantly in recent weeks, but McDavid has carried this team all year with very little help. Maroon would like to stay in Edmonton, and the feeling from management is mutual. Though the two sides have had discussions about an extension, the Oilers’ limited cap room makes that a tricky subject. It’s possible Maroon could be traded as a rental and then re-sign with Edmonton this offseason. But considering the Oilers’ current situation, acquiring assets at the deadline could be one way to salvage what has been a disheartening year.
Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres
Evander Kane supposedly has been on his way out of Buffalo for over a year, though it’s probably going to actually happen prior to Monday’s trade deadline. The 26-year-old winger is having a solid season with 20 goals and 40 points in 61 games but was never a long-term fit with the Sabres. There are a lot of possible suitors for Kane, though Buffalo’s asking price is supposed to be quite high.
Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh may be the captain, but right now he is the captain of a sinking ship: the New York Rangers. Now that management has officially gone into “rebuild” mode, McDonagh is a very strong trade chip that the team can use to build for the future. His two-way ability and extremely team-friendly contract, which carries a $4.7 million cap hit through the end of next season, make him an appealing choice for many teams.
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs
James van Riemsdyk’s name has been in the rumor mill for quite some time. Now that his contract is almost up, he could be packing his bags very shortly. Despite the fact that the American winger has 25 goals and is on pace for the best regular season of his career, his ice time has steadily declined, and he seems to be out of the mix of Toronto’s long-term plans. That makes sense considering the team will have to devote a huge chunk of its cap to the future contract extension of Auston Matthews. Even with players like William Nylander in the rumor mill as well, there’s a very strong chance JVR will not be part of Leafs Nation moving forward. His expiring $4.25 million cap hit makes him a stellar rental, especially given his unique blend of size and skill as well as his willingness to to go to the net.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
Max Pacioretty has long been in the rumor mill and would be a fantastic trade chip for the Montreal Canadiens, who currently sit more than 10 points out of a playoff spot. With goaltender Carey Price sidelined with a concussion and Shea Weber out for the season, the Habs are likely done for the year. As such, several players could be on the move. Alex Galchenyuk is a name that has been bouncing around since this summer, but Pacioretty could be headed out sooner rather than later. He is having a down year but typically is a 30-goal scorer. His $4.5 million cap hit through the end of next season could bring in quite a haul for the rebuilding Canadiens.
Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jack Johnson reportedly requested a trade out of Columbus in January with the influx of young talent on the Blue Jackets’ blue line. The 31-year-old has seen his ice time reach a career low this season, and his future in Columbus is in doubt given the number of promising young defensive prospects in the organization. He would be a solid rental for a team in need of defensive depth.
Confirming report from @Aportzline that CBJ defenceman Jack Johnson has requested a trade. Interesting after listening to John Tortorella say how important #7 was to Jackets in 2nd half of season.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 13, 2018
Other Trade Candidates
- Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
- Thomas Vanek, Vancouver Canucks
- Chris Tanev, Vancouver Canucks
- Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens
- Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
- Mark Letestu, Edmonton Oilers
- Jammes Neal, Vegas Golden Knights
- Luke Glendening, Detroit Red Wings
Featured Image Credits: Karlsson (Gene J. Puskar-Getty Images); Green (Dave Reginek-Getty Images); Nash (Scott Levy-Getty Images)