As the NHL season is continuing to progress, all fans are very excited to see what their teams do during the trade deadline. In the upcoming weeks, we will be able to clearly see which teams will be definite buyers and sellers and who most likely will end up traded. This time of year is normally one of the most exciting ones because we are given a major shakeup of the league. However, when big trades are made they do not always meet expectations and can often go down as busts. For example, although Kevin Shattenkirk is a very talented player and did fairly well with the Washington Capitals after the trade, it ultimately was a failure because they failed to win the Stanley Cup. At the end of the day, most deadline deals do not pan out with rentals.
With that said, in this article we will be looking at ten potential surprising deals that may happen this trade deadline and five obvious ones that should. The majority of players on this list are rentals. Others are superstars who have been in the rumour mill. If these moves were to go down, it would create a lot of publicity for the league and completely change each teams’ fortunes. Each move would be extremely beneficial, in theory, to the receiving teams. On paper they would be getting a player who would help their depth needs. Some players on this list are also legitimate franchise players who have been discussed in trade talks as well.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at ten surprising NHL deals and five that are obviously going to happen!
15 Blindside Trade: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins To New Jersey Devils
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is one of the lone bright spots of the Edmonton Oilers this season and is finally playing like a true first overall draft pick. Now, that is not to say that Nugent-Hopkins was a bad player before, but he was not as offensively successful in recent years. With RNH finding his game and his value at the highest it has ever been, this could ultimately lead him to be traded.
When looking at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it is important to note that his cap hit is at $6 million. With the Oilers handing Connor McDavid his massive extension, it is extremely likely that the Oilers will need to clear out salary soon. Although losing a star player like Nugent-Hopkins would be tough, it could land them solid assets. The Devils would make perfect sense because they have good prospects and are contenders this season.
14 Blindside Trade: Oliver Ekman-Larsson To Boston Bruins
As previously stated in the previous section, the Arizona Coyotes are terrible and will most likely be trading away a lot of their veterans fairly shortly. With that said, it is not hard to believe that the Coyotes may look to move their top player, Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Ekman-Larsson is going to be an unrestricted free agent soon and they cannot afford to lose him for nothing.
So, with that said, the Coyotes should look to trade him now before his value decreases as his contracts continues to pass. Ekman-Larsson would be an excellent addition for the Boston Bruins because he could be their new top left-handed defenseman and decrease Zdeno Chara’s workload. All in all, this could lead the Bruins to becoming legitimate contenders.
13 Obvious Trade: Tomas Plekanec To San Jose Sharks
During the prime years of his NHL career, Tomas Plekanec was one of the top players on the Montreal Canadiens and he should always be respected for that. Plekanec has thrived in the NHL because he is a very solid two-way forward who is an effective passer. Although Plekanec’s play has fallen off a bit because of his age, he still is someone who has value.
Tomas Plekanec is in the final year of his contract and with the current state of the Montreal Canadiens, it is extremely likely that he will be traded. The San Jose Sharks are a team that could definitely use a player like Plekanec because they need offensive help down the middle. Plekanec could provide them with another veteran and could help them be stronger contenders.
12 Blindside Trade: James van Riemsdyk To Minnesota Wild
As hard as it may be for Toronto Maple Leafs fans to hear, James van Riemsdyk may need to be traded before he becomes a free agent this summer. JVR is such an important piece to this Maple Leaf roster because he provides them with strong leadership and a lot of grit. His net presence is arguably the best in the entire league, so losing him would be tough.
Yet, with James van Riemsdyk becoming a free agent, he is a player that you cannot lose for nothing. He has far too much value and could net them a top tier defenseman that they desperately need. The Minnesota Wild seem like the perfect location for this to be met because, they need offensive help and have a surplus of defenders. It is a win-win more both teams.
11 Blindside Trade: Tyson Barrie To Detroit Red Wings
The Colorado Avalanche are surprisingly doing fairly decent this season, but with them in a full rebuilding phase, this may need to change. The Avalanche have a handful of stars on their roster who have been in the rumour mill numerous times and that could lead to another trade from them. Tyson Barrie is the player on the roster who most likely will be traded.
Tyson Barrie has been on the trading block since last season and surprisingly is still a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Barrie is still young enough that he has an abundance of trade value and this could make the Avalanche willing to let him go. The Detroit Red Wings should look to bring him in because he could be their new franchise defenseman and help them through their rebuild.
10 Obvious Trade: Evander Kane To Los Angeles Kings
Evander Kane is the hottest player on the trading block right now and will definitely be moved by the Buffalo Sabres by the trade deadline. Kane is having a breakout season this year and that is excellent news for the rebuilding Sabres club. Although Kane has been linked to having behavioural problems, there will be many teams looking to have him as a rental.
The Los Angeles Kings have been linked to Kane all season and it is easy to believe that he will end up there. The Kings are a team that want to now and are willing to rid of their younger assets to have it happen. Kane is a perfect fit for the Kings because he is not only a solid goal scorer, but he also provides a lot of grit on the ice. Expect to see Kane in Los Angeles very soon.
9 Blindside Trade: Henrik Zetterberg To Washington Capitals
Henrik Zetterberg has had an outstanding NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings and will forever be loved by the franchise. Zetterberg was one of the main reasons why the Red Wings won the cup back in 2008 because he was arguably their best offensive player. With the Red Wings currently in a rebuild, a potential Zetterberg trade could very well happen under specific circumstances.
Henrik Zetterberg has made it perfectly clear that he does not plan on completing the final five years of his deal and will retire before it expires. This very well enhances Zetterberg’s trade value because it means that his term will be shortened and possibly at a significant rate. The Washington Capitals could be a perfect fit for them and could even help land him another Stanley Cup.
8 Blindside Trade: Wayne Simmonds To St. Louis Blues
The Philadelphia Flyers are such a hot and cold type of team, but at the end of the day, it is apparent that they are not playoff contenders and that they should start their retooling phase. The Flyers have a strong crop of younger players, but veterans like Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds are getting older and their contracts are not very secure. Simmonds seems like the guy who could be traded first.
Wayne Simmonds is an extremely hard decision to make because he is one of the best players on that roster and is extremely tough. Simmonds provides a great sense of security for the Flyers team and is one of the scariest players in the NHL. Yet, his contract will be expiring not too long from now and the Flyers should trade him when his value is at its highest. The Blues would make a lot of sense because they could use some grit, since David Backes left them.
7 Obvious Trade: Antti Raanta To New York Islanders
Antti Raanta is in a pretty abysmal situation right now because he is the starting goalie for the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes have had one of the worst seasons in their franchise history and that is saying something looking at how poorly they have been. Yet, even with the Coyotes so terrible, Raanta has put up fairly decent numbers and that could interest some teams.
Antti Raanta has only one year left on his deal and could provide any contending team with a solid backup or even starting goalie for the playoffs. The New York Islanders would be a perfect destination for Raanta because they need a reliable starting goalie and they have a solid roster all together. A deal for Raanta could enhance their chances of being a contender as well.
6 Blindside Trade: Rasmus Ristolainen To Edmonton Oilers
The Buffalo Sabres are having another terrible season this year and it has been noted that a yard sale of their top players is likely to happen. It has been reported that the Sabres are even listening to offers on their top young defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen. Although it seems unlikely that the Sabres would want to move Ristolainen, the possibility is still there.
Rasmus Ristolainen would be an excellent fit for the Edmonton Oilers because, as their record shows, they are not very sound defensively. Ristolainen could end up being the franchise defenseman for the team and a solid supporting cast member for Connor McDavid. The Buffalo Sabres seem to be in an irrational mindset right now, so this trade could very well happen, even if it is not the right move for Buffalo.
5 Blindside Trade: John Tavares To Montreal Canadiens
John Tavares is another step closer to becoming a free agent this summer as he still does not have an extension with the New York Islanders. Although the Islanders are showing signs of progression, Tavares may very well decide to move on from the club, if he does not receive what he believes he deserves. So, is there potential in John Tavares trade by the trade deadline?
It may be a hard answer to hear for Islander fans, but the answer is yes. The Islanders simply cannot lose John Tavares for nothing because he is a franchise player and one of the bests in the league. The Montreal Canadiens may be aggressive enough to acquire Tavares and lock him up to extension before he hits the open market. Although they are struggling, they are desperate for change now.
4 Obvious Trade: Tyler Bozak To Pittsburgh Penguins
It seems inevitable that Tyler Bozak will be moved by the Toronto Maple Leafs by the trading deadline because his minutes have fallen off immensely and he is set to be a free agent after this season. Bozak is a completely different case than James van Riemsdyk because he is not necessarily needed anymore and his loss would not be as significant.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been linked to Tyler Bozak since the start of the season because they need a solid third line centre with the departure of Nick Bonino. Bozak would make an excellent addition to their lineup because he is incredibly gifted on both sides of the ice. Although Bozak is not necessarily a superstar, he could become an integral piece to the Penguins’ depth.
3 Blindside Trade: Erik Karlsson To New York Rangers
The Ottawa Senators are a completely different hockey club this season and are one of the worst ones in the entire league. The Senators’ management has made it clear that they are looking to trade away their veterans and start a rebuilding phase. One person on their roster that very well could be moved is Erik Karlsson, as challenging as it is for Senator fans to hear.
Erik Karlsson has openly stated that he is looking for top dollar pay when he becomes a free agent and with the Senators being a small market team, it may not be plausible. With that said, the Senators will have to move Karlsson if they cannot afford him. The New York Rangers seem like the perfect place for Karlsson because they are contenders and have a lot of money coming to them in the near future.
2 Blindside Trade: Max Pacioretty To Calgary Flames
Over the past few years, there has been speculation over whether or not Max Pacioretty is on the trading block. Now, as recent as last week, it became evident that Pacioretty very well could be on the move and that the Canadiens are shopping him. The Canadiens are unhappy with the way the team has been playing and feel as though a major shakeup must be done.
Although the Canadiens are listening to offers on Max Pacioretty, it is very hard to determine if a move is definite. Yet, when focusing on this moment, it appears that the Canadiens are looking for a new team identity. Max Pacioretty very well could find himself traded by the deadline or even the offseason. The Calgary Flames seem like the perfect destination for him because they need another elite forward to solidify themselves as contenders.
1 Obvious Trade: Thomas Vanek To Tampa Bay Lightning
Thomas Vanek is having an absolutely fantastic year this season, yet he is completely under the radar because of his age. Vanek is one of the main reasons why Brock Boeser is as successful as he is this season. Yet, with only one year remaining on his deal and the Canucks continuing to fall out of contention, Vanek very well should be traded yet again this trade deadline.
Thomas Vanek is an all offence type of player and one team that seems to love that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are having an unbelievable season this year and very well could be the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. Vanek would slot perfectly onto their roster because they strive for goals on all four lines. This would be a low risk, high reward move for Tampa.