The NHL’s trade deadline (3 pm ET on Monday, Feb. 26) is fast approaching. There’s growing expectation over which players could be on the move over the coming days.
Several noteworthy players have been frequently mentioned as potential trade candidates by the deadline. However, various factors (contract status, injury, and value to their team) could ensure they stay put for the remainder of the season. Here’s a look at the top players unlikely to move at the 2018 trade deadline.
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
The Senators’ lousy performance this season combined with Karlsson’s eligibility in July 2019 for unrestricted free agent status has kept the Ottawa captain’s name in the rumor mill. Last Saturday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said a couple of sources told him not to be surprised if Karlsson is moved by the deadline.
Trades involving superstars of Karlsson’s caliber usually take place in the off-season, rarely at the trade deadline. TSN’s Darren Dreger believes it’s unlikely the Senators will move their All-Star defenseman. Dreger’s colleague Bob McKenzie suggested the asking price could be as much as five, six or seven assets. That could be far too costly for potential Stanley Cup contenders at this point in the season.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens’ current season from hell has made Pacioretty a fixture in the trade-rumor mill. Like Karlsson, the 29-year-old left wing is eligible next summer for UFA status. With the Habs in need of a rebuild and Pacioretty a five-time 30-goal scorer, there’s ongoing speculation he could be on the trade block at the deadline.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, however, doesn’t appear to be in a rush to move Pacioretty. With his captain under contract through 2018-19, Bergevin can afford to wait until the offseason to find a suitable offer. The asking price could include a good young scoring center. Few teams have that type of available commodity at the trade deadline.
Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
The Rangers are definitely in sell mode and it’s believed they’re willing to entertain offers for McDonagh. Recent reports indicate the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have inquired about the 28-year-old Rangers captain.
McDonagh is a solid all-around defenseman who would make a great addition to any blueline corps. Like Karlsson and Pacioretty, he’s also eligible next summer for UFA status. In return, however, the Rangers could ask for a good young NHL player, a top prospect and a first-round pick. They’re unlikely to get that type of package at the trade deadline.
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
The Senators’ recent trade of Dion Phaneuf to the Los Angeles Kings in a multi-player swap involved absorbing part of Phaneuf’s $7-million annual salary-cap hit to facilitate the deal. That prompted the Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch to suggest they do the same thing with winger Bobby Ryan’s contract. On Tuesday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculated the Sens could ask teams with interest in Erik Karlsson to include Ryan as part of a discounted deal.
Ryan’s contract, however, is still a significant stumbling block. Cap Friendly indicates the 30-year-old winger is signed through 2020-21 with an annual cap hit of $7.25 million and also carries a modified no-trade clause. Even if the Sens picked up half his cap hit, his declining production and recent history of hand injuries further dampened his trade value.
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
The addition of Skinner earlier this month to TSN’s Trade Bait list raised some eyebrows. Suggestions of possible friction between the 25-year-old winger and Hurricanes coach Bill Peters appears to be behind his inclusion.
While anything’s possible, it’s doubtful Skinner’s going anywhere. The Hurricanes are currently jockeying for their first playoff berth since 2009. They’re unlikely to move one of their leading goal scorers at the trade deadline.