The bulk of the players moved during the NHL’s annual trade deadline tend to be those slated to become unrestricted free agents at season’s end.
This year was no different, as the notables included right wing Mark Stone, center Matt Duchene, and right wing Mats Zuccarello.
While most could be considered simply rental players for the 2019 playoffs, some could re-sign with their new clubs. Indeed, Stone quickly agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Washington Capitals inked defenseman Nick Jensen to a four-year deal after acquiring him last Friday from the Detroit Red Wings.
So, which of the other noteworthy rentals might re-sign with their new clubs?
Matt Duchene, Columbus Blue Jackets
With Artemi Panarin expected to depart this summer via free agency, the Jackets could use the salary-cap dollars that would’ve gone toward the talented left winger to invest in keeping Duchene in Columbus. The 28-year-old center is completing a five-year, $30-million contract with an annual average value of $6 million. If the Jackets are willing to invest over $9 million annually on a long-term deal, Duchene could stay put.
Mats Zuccarello, Dallas Stars
Zuccarello’s debut with the Stars was short-lived, suffering a broken arm in his first game. Still, the 32-year-old winger made a positive first impression, scoring a goal and collecting an assist. The Stars will be parting ways with free-agent Jason Spezza this summer and could attempt to keep Zuccarello in the fold if he plays well following his return in late-March. Given the absence of a state income tax in Texas, perhaps a two-year contract with the same annual average value ($4.5 million) as his current deal might be tempting.
Marcus Johansson, Boston Bruins
The Bruins expect Johansson to fill their need for second-line scoring depth for the rest of this season. While he has a concussion history, the 28-year-old winger is a skilled playmaker when healthy. The Bruins still put stock in promising young forwards such as Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork but a strong finish by Johansson could give them a reason to consider re-signing him. He might have to accept a deal similar to his current three-year deal with an AAV of $4.58 million.
Ryan Dzingel, Columbus Blue Jackets
Coming off a two-year, $3.6-million deal, Dzingel reportedly sought a five-year contract worth over $20 million from the Ottawa Senators. The 26-year-old left wing played his college hockey at Ohio State and could be amenable toward sticking with the Jackets.
Derick Brassard, Colorado Avalanche
It’s been a rough season for Brassard. Well-respected for his two-way play, especially in the postseason, the 31-year-old struggled to fit in with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was shipped earlier this month to the Florida Panthers before being acquired by Colorado on deadline day. Given the Avs’ need for experienced depth and leadership beyond their first line, Brassard could be just what the doctor ordered. He’s not going to get another five-year, $25-million contract but perhaps he might be receptive to a lesser deal if he fits in well with the Avalanche.