Evaluating The Notable Trades Before The 2021 NHL Trade Deadline
The New York Islanders acquired right-wing Kyle Palmieri and center Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for their 2021 first-round draft pick, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022 and minor league forwards A.J Greer and Mason Jobst.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils also retained half of Palmieri’s $4.65 million cap hit and half of Zajac’s $5.5 million cap hit. Both are due to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Zajac waived his no-trade clause to facilitate this deal.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello signals his club is all-in for the Stanley Cup this season. This move provides additional depth and experience to his forward lines for what could be another deep postseason run.
Palmieri was the prize here. A five-time 20-plus goal scorer who plays with an edge, he should fit in well with head coach Barry Trotz’s system. He won’t replace sidelined captain Anders Lee’s offense but his energetic style should be a good fit on either wing among the Islanders’ top-six.
Zajac, 35, is past his prime as a top-six two-way center but he should slot in somewhere on the Islanders’ checking lines. His leadership and experience should prove invaluable.
The Devils did well to get a first-round pick for Palmieri, even though it will be among the bottom third of the first round. Zajac’s declining value accounts for why they got a conditional fourth in next year’s draft. Greer and Jobst will likely head to the Devils’ farm team as they give more playing time to their promising youngsters for the remainder of the season.
SABRES SCRATCH HALL AS TRADE TALKS INTENSIFY
TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Buffalo Sabres deciding to hold Taylor Hall out of last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils indicates trade talks regarding the 29-year-old left winger are picking up. “Thing have intensified with a couple of teams,” said Dreger, adding it’s unlikely Hall will still be a Sabre by Monday’s trade deadline.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said sitting out Hall (and the New Jersey Devils doing the same with Kyle Palmieri) doesn’t mean anything’s imminent but more precautionary to avoid injury leading up to deadline day. He believes Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is considering a number of scenarios big and small before the deadline, including perhaps listening to pitches for Jack Eichel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall will be on the move by deadline day, it’s just a question of where and how much the Sabres can get for him. I doubt they’ll get a first-round pick. As for Eichel, that sort of trade happens in the offseason. Friedman feels Adams may be getting the lay of the land regarding what his captain’s trade value will be.
UPDATES ON THE LEAFS, BRUINS, FLAMES AND OILERS
TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski said recent reports have the Maple Leafs linked to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm. An industry source told Zwolinski the Leafs have been heavily scouting Los Angeles Kings right-winger Adrian Kempe. They’re also believed eyeing Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Salary cap space is a major consideration as the Leafs are among nine teams with less than $1 million in cap room.
THE ATHLETIC (stick tap to THE SCORE): Leafs GM Kyle Dubas told Pierre LeBrun the play of forward Alex Galchenyuk has somewhat lessened his club’s urgency to add a forward. He cited how well Galchenyuk has fit in on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander. Nevertheless, the Leafs GM is keeping his options open as the deadline approaches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempe, 23, carries a $2 million cap hit and is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s second among Kings scorers this season with 12 goals. Dubas has a trade history with the Kings but GM Rob Blake is under no pressure to move Kempe.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports rumors are swirling linking the Bruins to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to address their needs for a scoring winger and left-side blueline depth. The cost for Palmieri would likely be a first-round pick and a forward prospect.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also hears the Bruins linked to Palmieri and Hall but also heard they don’t think adding a rental player is a good idea for the cost.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giving up a first-rounder as part of the return for Palmieri makes sense only if the Bruins can re-sign him. Otherwise, they’re better off trying to find a winger with term remaining on his contract.
TSN: Frank Seravalli believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving could be open to doing just about anything as his club slips further out of playoff contention. A couple of teams could be interested in Treliving’s plans for Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan but deals like that typically happen in the offseason. Backup goaltender (and pending UFA) David Rittich is drawing some interest but things are quieter on lower-priced UFAs like Derek Ryan.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson doesn’t expect any blockbuster moves by the Flames at the trade deadline. He can see Rittich, Ryan and Sam Bennett getting peddled as potential rentals in exchange for mid-round draft picks. He anticipates a more significant shakeup in the summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big changes are likely coming for the Flames but we’ll have to wait until the offseason for those. Bennett, Rittich and Ryan are the most likely to be moved at the deadline.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector doesn’t expect any movement by the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline. The Oilers are capped out and deep into their long-term injury reserve. GM Ken Holland made most of his significant moves during the offseason.
LATEST ON THE BLUES, DUCKS AND KINGS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes St. Louis Blues forwards Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak could be on the move before the deadline. GM Doug Armstong isn’t shy about trading underachieving UFAs when his club is in playoff contention.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon believes Armstrong could become a seller if the Blues don’t reverse their fortunes soon. Hoffman could draw interest from teams seeking scoring depth such as the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs. Defenseman Vince Dunn could become a trade chip to restock their depth chart.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman turned into a big disappointment this season for the Blues. They might get a second-round pick for him at the trade deadline but his inconsistent play could make him a tough sell. Dunn would draw more interest but I don’t see him fetching a first-round pick. Maybe a prospect and/or a promising NHL-ready player.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks have had a few calls on Josh Manson. They still like the 28-year-old defenseman but given where they are in the standings and youth movement they have to listen. The Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets are among the clubs with interest in Manson but the Ducks’ asking price is a first-round pick and a top prospect.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Ducks are seeking players between ages 19 and 23 who are ready to play but they’re really hard to find. He wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights might kick tires on Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson won’t be moving at the deadline if the Ducks maintain that asking price. GM Bob Murray said he won’t move Getzlaf unless the Ducks captain asks to be traded. So far, there’s no indication that’s happening.
If Getzlaf waives his no-movement clause the Golden Knights are unlikely to land him. The Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson reports the flattened cap and a number of long-term contracts handed out in recent years limits what they could do at this year’s deadline.
NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers for Scott Laughton. There hasn’t been much contract extension talk regarding the UFA center. He can see the Pittsburgh Penguins with interest in the Flyers forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I think Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could look at moving Laughton to anyone except the Penguins.
The Colorado Avalanche have looked into adding a forward with an edge, a defenseman to replace what they lost in Ian Cole and sidelined Erik Johnson and a goaltender. They could be lurking on Kyle Palmieri.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending depth is their priority. They’d also like to add some muscle to their blueline. They’re already loaded with offensive depth up front.
Goaltenders to watch include San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg and perhaps some of the Carolina Hurricanes’ depth now that Petr Mrazek has returned from a fractured them. A wild rumor about the Hurricanes having an interest in Anaheim’s John Gibson was shot down by multiple sources.
The Florida Panthers have some decisions to make before the deadline. Do they carry goalies Chris Driedger and Spencer Knight? Add a scorer like Hall or Palmieri or add a defenseman. Sources say they want this season’s performance to be a multiple-year thing so they’re not going to rush into anything.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. The Lightning are capped out this season.
Analysis of the latest update to the TSN trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Frank Seravalli considers the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers among his shrinking list of firm buyers as the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline approaches.
Seravalli believes the Leafs seek a versatile left winger who can play throughout the lineup. He suggested the Nashville Predators’ Mikael Granlund, the New Jersey Devils Kyle Palmieri, the Columbus Blue Jackets Nick Foligno and the Vancouver Canucks Tanner Pearson as trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ surge into playoff contention could take Granlund out of the trade market. I still don’t believe the Blue Jackets will part ways with Foligno but you never know. Pearson’s been sidelined since March 17 with an ankle injury. With COVID-19 cutting a swath through the Canucks roster he’s probably unavailable.
Palmieri was held out of the Devils’ game on Sunday with the Washington Capitals as a precautionary measure. It’s believed he’ll be moved by the end of the week. Trade rumors link the 30-year-old winger to the Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and the Predators.
The Jets could seek a defenseman, preferably a rental. If the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm isn’t available, Seravalli suggested the Blue Jackets’ David Savard, the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Oleksiak, the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson, the Buffalo Sabres’ Brandon Montour or the Chicago Blackhawks’ Nikita Zadorov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Ekholm’s off the market. The Predators are playoff contenders, their reported asking price of three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) is very expensive, and the extra year on his contract means he’ll have to be protected by the acquiring team in this summer’s expansion draft.
Savard and Montour seem the more likely options here. The Stars are still chasing a playoff berth so I don’t see them moving Oleksiak. The same goes for the Blackhawks and Zadorov.
Sportnet’s Ken Wiebe also included Montour among five under-the-radar targets for the Jets. The others include the Ottawa Senators Mike Reilly, the Detroit Red Wings Patrik Nemeth, the Ducks’ Ben Hutton and the Devils’ Dmitry Kulikov.
The Islanders are expected to use their long-term injury reserve to find a replacement for sidelined winger Anders Lee. They’ve been linked to the Sabres’ Taylor Hall, as well as Palmieri and Foligno.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger reported there’s a sense trade talk involving Hall have escalated though not to the point where a deal could be imminent. Maybe the Isles are part of those talks.
Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has admitted he’d like to add a right-handed defenseman with term on his contract and a depth forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson, Buffalo’s Colin Miller and the New York Rangers Tony DeAngelo are the right-shot blueliners on Seravalli’s list with term on their contracts.
It’s believed the Colorado Avalanche could seek a backup goalie and a little more muscle on defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumor mill linked the Avalanche to Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and the San Jose Sharks’ Devan Dubnyk. The Sharks could be reluctant to part with Dubnyk while they’re fighting to get back into the Honda West playoff chase.
Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers and Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes are also on Seravalli’s list. I don’t see Kuemper moving when the Coyotes are holding down a playoff spot in the Honda West Division.
Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes Driedger’s availability depends on the deal. It’ll also depend on whether they have confidence in promising but inexperienced Spencer Knight filling the backup role as well as Driedger.
Seravalli also listed the clubs he considers secondary, or “soft”, buyers seeking specific needs:
Edmonton Oilers (right-shot depth center), Montreal Canadiens (defensive depth), Pittsburgh Penguins (depth center), Washington Capitals (experience goaltender), Tampa Bay Lightning (defensive depth), Boston Bruins (top-six winger and/or defensive muscle) and Vegas Golden Knights (center depth).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space explains why they’re “soft” buyers. In the Canadiens case, however, I wonder how Brendan Gallagher’s fractured thumb could provide some wiggle room to pursue another trade. If he’s out until the playoffs they’ll get $3.75 million in cap relief by placing him on long-term injury reserve.
Seravalli also pointed out the Blackhawks, Red Wings and Sharks are willing to offer up their cap space in return for assets to help facilitate trades.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, those three clubs are willing to take a bad contract off the hands of one of those soft buyers provided it’s packaged with futures like draft picks and/or prospects.
Seravalli also made a few significant changes to his list of players considered trade bait:
The Ducks’ Josh Manson debuts at No. 11,
Red Wings center Luke Glendening rose to sixth while Nashville’s Mattia Ekholm dropped to 10th. Ekholm’s teammate Granlund remains at No.7,
Devils defenseman Ryan Murray debuts at No. 17,
Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson drops from 19th to 25th, and
Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper debuts at 34.
The Devils hold Kyle Palmieri out of Sunday’s game as a precautionary measure, speculation over Johnny Gaudreau’s future with the Flames and some suggested trade targets for the Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PALMIERI TRADE COMING SOON?
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan reports the New Jersey Devils held winger Kyle Palmieri out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals as a precautionary measure with the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline a week away. This isn’t an indication a trade is imminent but his agent expects his client could be moved before the deadline.
Palmieri is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Devils and there’s a risk they could lose him for nothing to the UFA market in July.
This isn’t the first time the Devils have held a player out of the lineup prior to trading him. Taylor Hall was kept out for two games in December 2019 before being shipped to the Arizona Coyotes. Ben Lovejoy and Marcus Johansson were both healthy scratches prior to being moved before the 2019 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri is among the top trade targets ahead of this year’s deadline. He’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs in the rumor mill. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s moved before the end of this week.
Ryan pointed out the Devils’ other pending UFAs (Ryan Murray, Sami Vatanen, Dmitry Kulikov and Travis Zajac) were in the lineup against the Capitals. That probably tells us all we need to know about their trade statuses.
COULD GAUDREAU BE MOVED?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy speculates some big changes could be coming for the fading Calgary Flames at the trade deadline or at the 2021 NHL Draft in July. Johnny Gaudreau could be worth watching as an NHL source claimed the winger is in head coach Darryl Sutter’s doghouse.
The source suggested the Philadelphia Flyers could be a good fit for the Salem, New Jersey native. Gaudreau grew up cheering for the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary general manager Brad Treliving was feeling the heat from Flames fans following last year’s early playoff exit. Gaudreau was frequently singled out last fall by some Calgary pundits as a trade candidate.
The 27-year-old winger’s eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agent status combined with his declining stats suggest he won’t be a Flame for much longer.
Such a move, however, likely happens in the offseason when teams have more cap space and willingness to make big moves. Whether he gets moved to the Flyers (assuming they’re interested) is another matter. They could be more in the market for goaltending and blue-line depth.
SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins desperately need experienced defensive help with blueliners Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller sidelined by injuries. He suggested they target the Nashville Predators’ Mattias Ekholm, the Columbus Blue Jackets David Savard, the Devils’ Dmitry Kulikov, the Arizona Coyotes’ Alex Goligoski, or the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators reportedly seek three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) for Ekholm. He’s probably unavailable now given their recent surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes hold the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division
Manson has another year left on his contract plus a 12-team no-trade list. Injuries have also limited him to just 13 games this season. Savard and Kulikov seem more realistic options given their respective clubs’ position in the standings.
Another milestone for Alex Ovechkin, Kyle Palmieri withheld from Devils game, the Panthers sit atop the overall standings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin tied Brett Hull for the second-most career power-play goals in NHL history as the Washington Capitals held on for a 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin and Hull each have 265 power-play goals, nine behind all-time leader Dave Andreychuk at 274. Ovechkin is also at 725 career goals, six behind Marcel Dionne for fifth on the all-time list.
With 54 points, the Capitals sit two points up on the New York Islanders for first place in the MassMutual East Division. The Devils held winger Kyle Palmieri out of this game in anticipation of a potential trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on Palmieri’s situation in today’s Rumor Mill update.
The Florida Panthers moved into first overall in the NHL standings by blanking the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Panthers’ goaltender Chris Driedger made 32 saves for the shutout while captain Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist. The Panthers have 56 points and hold a two-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Discover Central Division while the Blue Jackets remain in seventh with 36 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The red-hot Panthers have won six straight games. Four of those victories came without top defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who’s out for the rest of the regular season with a fractured leg. The Jackets, meanwhile, have won just three of their last 10 games and are falling further out of playoff contention.
The Lightning, meanwhile, suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings, who picked up their first win in Tampa Bay since 2011. Second-period goals by Valtteri Filppula, Michael Rasmussen and Marc Staal powered the Wings to victory. The Lightning (54 points) sits one point ahead of the third-place Carolina Hurricanes.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, they edged the Dallas Stars 1-0 on a goal by Jordan Martinook. Goaltender Petr Mrazek kicked out 28 shots for the shutout in his first game since being sidelined by a broken thumb on Jan. 30. Stars coach Rick Bowness left the game following the second period and was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list following a positive test result. The Stars (36 points) remain five points out of the fourth and final playoff berth in the Central.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowness received his COVID vaccination in January. General manager Jim Nill is hopeful this was a false positive as it was what he called a “very low grade” of test result. Goaltender Anton Khudobin missed his scheduled start on Saturday following a positive test but he was removed yesterday from the protocol list after a subsequent negative result.
Third-period goals by John Tavares and Auston Matthews lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Calgary Flames 4-2. Matthews is now at a league-leading 25 goals on the season as the Leafs (53 points) open a six-point lead over the second-place Edmonton Oilers in the Scotia North Division. The Jets are tied with the Oilers with 47 points but the latter has more regulation victories.
A hat trick by Jakob Chychrun carried the Arizona Coyotes over the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 3-2. The Coyotes sit in fourth place in the Honda West Division with 41 points and hold a three-point lead over the St. Louis blues.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the number of Vancouver Canucks on the COVID-19 protocol list officially grew to 16 when Jalen Chatfield and Marc Michaelis tested positive yesterday. However, an NHL source claims more than 20 Canucks players and coaches have tested positive with some experiencing symptoms of the Brazilian P.1 variant.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Canucks family members are also contracting the coronavirus. He added the variant symptoms including vomiting, cramping and dehydration. However, a source told Postmedia the numbers vary and that it’s under 20. The source also said there haven’t been reports of severe symptoms, with most experiencing mild headaches, fever, fatigue and lethargy, with no reports of vomiting.
The training staff said few Canucks have had severe symptoms. Most are said to be feeling better, with just one player having had an IV administered.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping those symptoms remain mild and those infected make a swift and full recovery. The Canucks are likely to be shut down for at least two weeks by the league given their high number of infections. That’s how long the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils were sidelined following their respective outbreaks earlier this season.