The NHL’s Feb. 25 trade deadline is just five days away. Here’s a look at some key issues worth watching in the lead-up to Monday’s 3 pm ET deadline.
Any return for Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene, right wing Mark Stone or left wing Ryan Dzingel must include a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion wants to replace his 2019 first-rounder, which he shipped to the Colorado Avalanche in the trade that brought Duchene to Ottawa.
Should the Columbus Blue Jackets trade left wing Artemi Panarin, they’ll want a scorer who can keep them in this season’s playoff race. Perhaps that’ll come in a return they get for Panarin, or maybe they can peddle whatever prospects and/or picks they get in that deal to another team for a player who can help them now. That might explain their rumored interest in Duchene.
With their acquisition of Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild, the Boston Bruins addressed their need for a third-line center. However, GM Don Sweeney could still be in the market for a second-line winger. Rumors have tied the Bruins to wingers like Stone, Panarin, Carolina’s Micheal Ferland and Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds.
Speaking of the Wild, GM Paul Fenton might not be done dealing before the deadline. There’s speculation over the futures of core players such as Jason Zucker or Mikael Granlund. Pending UFA center Eric Staal has also come up in trade rumors but his preference is to stay in Minnesota. He didn’t enjoy his previous experience as a rental player in 2016 and probably doesn’t want to go through it again.
The Winnipeg Jets’ first-round pick is believed in play in their search for a center or right wing before the deadline. However, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is supposedly reluctant to part with promising youngsters such as Sami Niku, Jack Roslovic, and Kristian Vesalainen for a quick fix. If so, that’ll adversely affect his rumored interest in Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Mark Stone.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile has a history of swinging significant in-season moves. While’s he’s already made a couple of depth acquisitions in gritty forwards Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod, one has to believe he’ll attempt to land a noteworthy player before the deadline. Rumors link the Preds to Ottawa’s Matt Duchene, Columbus’ Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello.
Speaking of Zuccarello, his improved performance in 2019 has prompted some Blueshirts fans to believe he’ll fetch a first-round pick. TSN’s Bob McKenzie, however, feels he’ll land a second-round selection. A desperate club that loses out on the bidding for some of the bigger names in the trade market could overpay for Zuccarello. Still, it’s best to keep expectations realistic.
Despite the Philadelphia Flyers’ improvement in recent weeks, it appears GM Chuck Fletcher will attempt to trade pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds. Pundits have suggested Boston, Tampa Bay or Toronto as possible destinations. Simmonds’ performance has suffered somewhat following pelvic surgery last spring but he remains well-respected for his toughness, leadership and two-way play.
Throughout this season, the Carolina Hurricanes were expected to trade a defenseman for a scoring forward or ship out winger Micheal Ferland rather than risk losing him to free agency. But the Hurricanes are now among the league’s hottest teams and challenging for an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. GM Don Waddell‘s mid-January acquisition of winger Nino Niederreiter provided a big boost to their offense. He could be reluctant to mess with their chemistry.
The Detroit Red Wings could move goaltender Jimmy Howard, right winger Gustav Nyquist, or defenseman Nick Jensen. Recent reports out of Detroit, however, suggest Wings GM Ken Holland could just as easily retain and re-sign all three. Unless someone’s willing to meet Holland’s asking price of a first-round pick, don’t be surprised if Howard, Nyquist, and Jensen remain with the Wings beyond the deadline.
Keep an eye on the Dallas Stars. GM Jim Nill is willing to bolster his scoring if it’ll improve his club’s chances to secure a playoff berth. They’ve been linked to Columbus’ Artemi Panarin and the Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello.
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently acquired Dale Weise and Nate Thompson to bolster his fourth-line. He’s unwilling to move his first-round picks or top prospects for rental players but has plenty of salary-cap space along with two second-round picks and three fifth-round selections in this year’s draft. If a seller waits too long to move a noteworthy player, Bergevin might swoop in. That’s how he landed Thomas Vanek for peanuts from the Islanders in 2014.