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The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 26, thats just 19 days away. There are four teams that we know will be sellers: Ottawa, Buffalo, Arizona, and Vancouver. There are three others that will also be sellers unless they go on some kind of long win streak between now and the deadline: Montreal, Detroit, and Edmonton. Then we have teams like Chicago, Florida, and the Rangers who will have tough decisions to make at the deadline about whether to try and sneak into the playoffs and face elimination in the first-round or trade away veteran players for prospects and/or draft picks. Lets take a look at some of the possible players from these teams that may be dealt this month.
Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson has let it be known that he might not want to play in Ottawa for the long term. Every NHL team would want him, but it will likely take quite a haul to pry him away. The problem is that trading a player of his caliber may be best done during the offseason. If you talk trade now, you are eliminating one-third of the league since the non-playoff teams arent going to make a big acquisition now. Ottawa may be better off waiting until after the season when all 30 teams can be in on the hunt. A player along the lines of Mike Hoffman may be more likely to be dealt.
Buffalo Sabres: I know weve heard that Robin Lehner could be on the trade block, but I just dont see this happening. First, its difficult for a team to get what they believe is equal value when they trade a goaltender. Second, its not like Lehner is a top-notch goalie. Third, most if not all playoff teams already have a goalie that is equal to or better than Lehner, so why would they want to give up valuable assets for what would essentially be a backup player? The player most likely to be dealt, and whom quite a few teams would want, is Evander Kane. He has slumped of late but that could be because he and everyone else knows its just a matter of time until hes renting a U-Haul.
Arizona Coyotes: This is a team that is always in sell mode. What I said above about Karlsson also goes for Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Hes having a subpar season but the longer the Coyotes hold onto him the less they will eventually get in a trade. Outside of Ekman-Larsson there just isnt much else that the Coyotes would be willing to deal, as most of their players are young and they will want to hold onto them.
Vancouver Canucks: The Sedin twins arent going anywhere. The organization is saying all the right things but really, they dont have a choice. An acquiring team would have to take on both players, have a need for both a center and wing, and the salary cap space to do so. Thats just too many moving parts and were not even talking about what kind of compensation the Canucks would want back in return. Thomas Vanek was signed late in the offseason for the sole purpose of eventually dealing him for a mid-round draft pick. Sam Gagner and Alexander Edler could also be on their way out here.
Montreal Canadiens: This organization is a mess. They cant trade Carey Price or Shea Weber and those two eat up a hefty percentage of the teams salary cap. They have crushed the value of Alex Galchenyuk by bad mouthing him in the press and jerking him around all four lines, but he still has value and should be moved. Max Pacioretty is the definition of someone who needs a change of scenery and could bring back the most of any forward likely to be dealt by the deadline. Perhaps they should strike while the iron is hot and deal Jeff Petry.
Detroit Red Wings: Mike Green could be an attractive piece for a team looking for a defenseman to quarterback their power play. There are also rumors going around that Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader could be on the trade block. Abdelkader is probably nothing more than a Top 9 forward for a contender but Tatar could be an interesting piece if they truly want to move him.
Edmonton Oilers: This team may be one of the more disappointing ones in the league. How can a team led by Connor McDavid be in danger of missing the playoffs? Veteran players like Michael Cammalleri and Kris Russell could be moved, but neither will bring back much in return. The team may move Patrick Maroon if they cant or dont feel like they will be able to re-sign him.
Chicago Blackhawks: It would probably take an awful lot for the Hawks to give up on the season and trade away their players; its just not in their DNA. Plus, its not like they are going to trade away players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, or Duncan Keith. They cant trade away underperforming players like Brent Seabrook and Brandon Saad. How much would they get for a Patrick Sharp? With such few assets to deal, they may just be better off hoping they can squeeze into the playoffs and perform some kind of miracle.
Florida Panthers: Another vastly underperforming team with so much young talent on the roster. They arent going to trade away a Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Evgenii Dadonov, or Aleksander Barkov. Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad are part of that nucleus as well. That really only leaves Radim Vrbata or a depth player like Micheal Haley or Alex Petrovic. There just isnt much there.
New York Rangers: Like the Hawks, it may be hard for the Rangers to admit that this season is over and trade away some of their assets, but they let it be known earlier this week that Rick Nash is on the trade block. That probably means that other veteran players like Michael Grabner and Nick Holden arent far behind. Lets face it, if they follow the plan that most expect them to follow, then pretty much anyone outside of Henrik Lundqvist can be had if the price is right.