The NHL’s annual trade deadline is 3 pm ET on Monday, Feb. 24. Here’s a look at the latest speculation involving the biggest names on the market as the big day approaches.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
Kreider’s unrestricted free agent status in July has made him a fixture in the NHL trade-rumor mill. While the 28-year-old left wing was linked to several clubs, including the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche, the New York Post‘s Larry Brooks reports the Rangers’ preference remains to re-sign him before the deadline. Failing that, they could shop him to the highest bidder.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
One of the greatest playmakers in NHL history, the 40-year-old Thornton told The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz he found it tempting to accept a trade to a Stanley Cup contender. Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reports the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Tampa Bay Lightning are on his shortlist of destinations. Recent buzz out of Boston has the Bruins looking into bringing back Jumbo Joe. Their recent acquisition of Ondrej Kase, however, could put a damper on that talk.
Tyson Barrie, Toronto Maple Leafs
Having struggled this season since joining the Leafs last summer, the 27-year-old defenseman recently surfaced in trade chatter. On Friday, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes expressed interest in Barrie. The Leafs could peddle him in a one-for-one swap for a blueliner, or trade him for assets that can be flipped to another club for an established rearguard.
Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils
The Devils’ trading Andy Greene and Blake Coleman last week stoked conjecture suggesting Palmieri could be next. The 29-year-old right-winger has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.65 million and an eight-team no-trade list. NorthJersey.com’s Abbey Mastracco reports Palmieri was linked to the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins, though the latter’s Friday acquisition of winger Ondrej Kase could take them out of the trade market.
Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks
As their playoff hopes fade, the Blackhawks are expected to shop pending UFAs such as goaltender Robin Lehner and defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Saad also recently surfaced as a trade candidate. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston believes the 27-year-old winger could be available for the right price. He’s signed through next season with an annual average value of $6 million. Perhaps a contender with cap space and young assets, like the Colorado Avalanche, might target the 27-year-old Blackhawks winger.
Sami Vatanen, New Jersey Devils
With the Devils in rebuild mode, the 28-year-old defenseman could be the next player out the door before the deadline. NJ.com’s Chris Ryan recently listed the Hurricanes, Leafs, Flames, and Florida Panthers as the most likely trade destinations for Vatanen.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Montreal Canadiens
The 36-year-old left-winger rescued his NHL career with the Habs following his contract buyout with the LA Kings. While his offense has declined of late, he could be a fall-back option for clubs that fail to land Kreider or Palmieri. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Canadiens are having contract extension talks with Kovalchuk’s agent, but they’re also listening to trade offers.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators
Having shipped defenseman Dylan DeMelo to the Winnipeg Jets last week, there’s growing anticipation the Senators could also ship out Pageau. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Senators are still engaged in contract-extension talks with the center’s representatives. If the Sens put him on the trade block, LeBrun believes the Philadelphia Flyers could be interested, though they’re not willing to part with their first-round pick.