Evaluating The Notable Trades Before The 2021 NHL Trade Deadline
The Hurricanes and Islanders move into first place in their respective divisions, Viktor Arvidsson tallies a hat trick for the surging Predators, Alex Ovechkin reaches another scoring milestone, the Blackhawks and Panthers swing a five-player deal, the Canucks re-sign Tanner Pearson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes took over first place in the Discover Central Division by blanking the Florida Panthers 3-0. Alex Nedeljkovic had a 24-save shutout performance, Sebastian Aho collected his 300th career point and Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (57 points) sit one point up on the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
A four-goal first period powered the Lighting to a 6-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan McDonagh scored twice and Yanni Gourde collected four assists for the Lightning, who lost captain Steven Stamkos in the third period with an undisclosed injury. No update was provided on his condition. The Jackets made defenseman David Savard a healthy scratch as a precautionary measure ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. The Lightning and Panthers are tied with 56 points but the Lightning hold second place in the Central with a game in hand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Savard sits atop TSN’s Trade Bait list. This move means the blueliner could be playing elsewhere by Monday’s 3 pm ET deadline. Jackets captain Nick Foligno is also on TSN’s list but he played in this game, which suggests he could be finishing the season with the Jackets barring a significant trade offer before Monday.
Viktor Arvidsson tallied a hat trick as the Nashville Predators crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1. The Predators (45 points) have won nine of their 10 games and hold a four-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth place in the Central.
Meanwhile, Chicago fell to the Dallas Stars 5-1 as Roope Hintz had a goal and three assists. The Stars sit three points back of the Blackhawks.
The New York Islanders took over first place in the MassMutual East Division by edging the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on a shootout goal by Brock Nelson. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac were held scoreless in their first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. With 56 points, the Islanders are two points ahead of the second-place Washington Capitals.
Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist while rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman kicked out 31 shots for his second straight win. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 266th career power-play goal to move into second place on the all-time list. The Bruins (48 points) opened a six-point lead over the Flyers for fourth place in the East Division.
Kris Letang and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins romped to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. The Penguins (52 points) moved to within two points of the second-place Capitals.
Third-period goals by Devin Shore and Jesse Puljujarvi gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Mike Smith turned aside 39 shots for the win as the Oilers (52 points) hold a one-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the Scotia North Division. Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the game with an undisclosed injury.
Winnipeg, meanwhile, doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 38 stops and Kyle Connor collected two assists. With 43 points, the fourth-place Canadiens are eight back of the third-place Jets.
Two power-play goals by Pavel Zacha carried the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich each had a goal and two assists.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks acquired forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman, prospect forward Henrik Borgstrom and a 2021 seventh-round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move is in line with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s stated willingness to use his cap space to absorb a bad contract if the return comes with a promising young player. Connolly’s contract isn’t onerous for the Hawks ($3.5 million annual average value through 2022-23) but it was for the Panthers as the veteran winger fell out of favor in Florida.
The prize for the Blackhawks is Borgstrom, a promising young forward who struggled to crack the Panthers’ lineup. He could have a better chance to establish himself as an NHL regular with the retooling Blackhawks as they transition toward younger players.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have cleared cap space for perhaps another move or two before Monday’s trade deadline. Cap Friendly indicates they have $16.4 million in trade deadline cap space. I’ll have more about the Panthers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TSN: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is unavailable until next week because of a lower-body injury.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is recovering from an upper-body injury. However, he’s expected to miss the club’s next two games.
THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture (lower body) remains questionable for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed winger Tanner Pearson to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $3.25 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing received mixed reviews among pundits and fans on social media. It’s not because Pearson’s a bad player or that the contract is an overpayment. He’s become a dressing room leader and a good second-line winger.
Critics, however, point to other depth signings by Canucks GM Jim Benning (Sven Baertschi, Sam Gagner, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Jake Virtanen) as cap dollars poorly invested when young stars like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will soon be in need of significant raises. They fear the Pearson signing will further squeeze the Canucks cap space, leaving little room for other moves once Pettersson and Hughes receive their new contracts.
NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jacob MacDonald received a two-game suspension by the department of player safety for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman on Wednesday.
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.
Check out the latest on the Bruins, Jets, Capitals, Sharks and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa rated each option, including the potential cost of acquisition. His list was published on Friday before news emerged of the COVID-19 variant sidelining a number of Canucks, including Edler. Regardless, Edler enjoys living and playing in Vancouver and has shown no willingness to waive his no-movement clause in the past.
Ekholm’s probably no longer available due to the Predators’ surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes jockey with the Blues and Sharks for the final playoff spot in the Honda West.
Palmieri or Rakell could provide a boost to the Bruins’ offense but the asking price for either guy could get expensive, especially for Rakell with a year remaining on his contract. I don’t see the Devils parting with Wood. The 25-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and probably still fits into the Devils’ plans going forward, whereas Palmieri is slated to become a UFA this summer and could price himself out of New Jersey.
The Bruins options could be going the bargain rental route with Nash, Ryan, Reilly, or Merrill. Neither of those guys, however, will significantly improve Boston’s roster.
RECENT JETS, CAPITALS AND SHARKS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently speculated the Winnipeg Jets are worth watching at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. He felt they could make a move to bolster their defense. However, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff cautions finite resources such as cap space and currency to make trades could make it difficult to find the right fit.
LeBrun believed Mattias Ekholm would be a perfect fit on the Jets blueline. However, a Predators source told him last week the club doesn’t face the same urgency to sell as it did several weeks ago. LeBrun suggested Columbus’ David Savard or Anaheim’s Josh Manson as other options worth considering.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff already made one significant trade this season, shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick. LeBrun feels he could strike again.
Savard could be the best choice. Cheveldayoff has a recent trade history with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the asking price won’t be anything close to the reported three assets (including a first-round pick and top prospect) the Predators want for Ekholm. Manson’s been hampered by injuries this season, carries a 12-team no-trade list and could be reluctant to waive it.
Tarik El-Bashir recently examined some potential low-cost rentals for the Washington Capitals to add depth at center. He suggested Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula and Columbus’ Riley Nash. El-Bashir also didn’t rule out Calgary’s Sam Bennett.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund and Haula could be unavailable given the Predators’ aforementioned surge in the standings. Bennett seems a more likely trade chip with each passing day but could too expensive for the Capitals. Glendening seems the most affordable option but other cap-strapped contenders seeking depth at center (hello there, Edmonton Oilers) could come calling.
LeBrun also reported the San Jose Sharks have told teams it has cap space to rent for an asset or two. They have around $6 million available and LeBrun suggested they could become the third team in a complicated cap deal to facilitate a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are also rising in the West Division and fighting for a playoff spot. That could affect GM Doug Wilson’s willingness to rent out some of his cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is referring to the Panthers’ search for blueline help after Aaron Ekblad was sidelined by a fractured leg for the remainder of the season.
Despite his defensive flaws, DeAngelo’s offensive abilities and puck-moving skills would draw attention from clubs seeking blueline depth. However, the young rearguard’s personal baggage, including his clash with a teammate in January that ended his tenure with the Rangers, has also dampened his trade value.
No April Fool’s pranks here as we examine the latest notable changes to TSN’s trade-bait list in the NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Frank Seravalli moved Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard into the top spot on his NHL Trade Bait List. Savard’s teammate, Nick Foligno, also moved up two spots into fourth on the list as the Blue Jackets struggled to remain in playoff contention in the Discover Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next week or so should determine if the Jackets become sellers by the April 12 trade deadline. Savard seems more likely to move than Foligno as it’s believed the Jackets hope to sign their captain to an extension before free agency opens in July.
Seravalli doesn’t believe Predators general manager David Poile has pulled his players from the board but he could prefer giving his club the opportunity to prove they’re playoff-worthy before the trade deadline. Granlund was believed to be a primary target for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who could be forced to consider other forward options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ recent improvement is also bad news for teams like the Boston Bruins who may have had an eye on Ekholm or Granlund. Like the Leafs, they could end up having to find other trade targets.
Granlund’s status as a pending UFA makes him a more likely trade candidate than Ekholm, who has a year remaining on his contract. The Predators’ rumored asking price of three assets for Ekholm (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) would’ve also turned off some potential suitors.
New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri moved up into the second spot on the board ahead of Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall. Palmieri’s $4.65 million cap hit would be easier to move than Hall’s $8 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could agree to absorb up to half of Hall’s cap hit if it would facilitate a trade that fetches a healthy return including a first-round pick.
NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss recently made the case for the Bruins to pursue Palmieri, citing his five 20-plus goal seasons and his improved production in recent games. The winger is a pending UFA and it’s been reported contract talks have stalled between his reps and Devils management.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Contenders seeking checking line depth are drawn to Glendening’s faceoff skills and penalty-killing experience. It’s believed Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland could have an eye on the pending UFA center.
Seravalli added Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger at No. 12 and Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton at No. 16. The Panthers signing top prospect Spencer Knight could give them the flexibility to move Driedger as he’s is a potential expansion draft target. The Flyers, meanwhile, face a decision with pending UFA Laughton, who’s a versatile two-way forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Panthers will trade Driedger while they’re jockeying with Tampa Bay and Carolina for the top spot in the Discover Central Division. They can always wait and trade him in the offseason before the expansion draft. As promising as Knight is, he has no NHL experience right now. Laughton’s future in Philadelphia could depend upon where the Flyers are in the standing by the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The struggling Blues could turn into sellers if they drop out of contention by the deadline but I still think GM Doug Armstrong sees himself as a buyer.
Armstrong could attempt to use Dunn as a trade chip to add a scoring forward. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He carries a $1.875 million cap hit and surfaced in trade rumors earlier this season following a stretch of poor play.
Bennett could hit the block if the Flames fail to gain ground in the Scotia North Standings. His agent raised eyebrows around the league in late January by claiming his client wouldn’t object to a change of scenery. He could soon get his wish.
The Canucks would probably love to move Virtanen but his poor performance combined hurts his trade value. So does his contract, for while he carries a $2.55 million cap hit next season he’ll earn $3.4 million in actual salary.