The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching and every fan cannot wait to see what their team does. Each season, this day is easily one of the most important of the season because it truly shapes each team’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup. Normally we see at least one major deal every year that is truly a game changer and that always gets a lot of attention. This past season’s big trade was when Kevin Shattenkirk was traded to the Washington Capitals. Yet, as we saw through that deal, not every trade ends up being a total hit. The Capitals failed to win the Stanley Cup again and rid of quality assets for a player who left them for a division rival. So with that said, there is always a gamble with each trade, but still, it’s exciting.
With all that stated, in this article we will be looking at eight trades that would be a huge mistake for the team trading them and seven smart moves that will likely happen. It is important to note that the players on this list have all been listed in trade rumours at some point. It is likely that each player could very well end up traded at some point. The NHL is a league that is full of surprises when it comes to the deadline day, so this year could end up being a real humdinger. No matter what ends up happening, the anticipation for the day is always extremely fun.
Nonetheless, let’s look at eight trades that would be a huge mistake and seven that would be extremely smart.
15 Huge Mistake: Oilers Trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The Edmonton Oilers are having a very bad season this year and that is an alarming sign for the squad. After an outstanding turnaround year last season, the Oilers are now back at the bottom of the Western Conference. It is easy to believe that the Oilers will end up turning it around fairly shortly, but this year has been a complete bust thus far.
There have been numerous rumours saying that the Edmonton oilers are listening to offers on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but trading him would be another huge mistake for them. Nugent-Hopkins is having a career year for the club and is starting to play like a true first overall draft pick. The Oilers need to be wise and keep him for as long as they can.
14 Smart Move: Rangers Trade Rick Nash
The New York Rangers have made too many poor decisions when it came to their roster and now they are suffering this season. Although there still is a chance that they will make the playoffs, the likelihood of them winning the Stanley Cup is extremely low. With that said, they should look to potentially move some of their veterans.
There have been reports that the New York Rangers are willing to trade Rick Nash for the right price. This would actually be beneficial for the Rangers because Nash is no longer the same player he once was and is expendable. The Rangers should look toward the future now and trade Nash instead of losing him for nothing. It could net them some solid assets.
13 Huge Mistake: Canadiens Trade Max Pacioretty
The Montreal Canadiens are pretty fed up with the roster that they have so it will not be surprising if they move away some of their core players soon. The Canadiens have absolutely failed this season and it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to turn around the damage that has already been done.
He has been struggling this season and he has yet to bring much success to the city with his captaincy. Yet, trading him would be a monumental mistake because it would be ridding them of a big piece of their future. The Canadiens are still in a “win now” mode. They should focus on bringing in more talent with the money they have, rather than selling their few good players. If he would be traded, New Jersey seems like a place he would like to go, as they have plenty of cap space and are a team on the rise while being near his hometown.
12 Smart Move: Canucks Trade Thomas Vanek
Even if the Vancouver Canucks are able to stay playoff contenders as the year goes on, they are going to be sellers no matter what happens. There is no way that the Canucks are going to end up having a deep playoff run, so their best bet is to sell and pick up as many assets for the future as possible. Thomas Vanek will be one who will be traded for sure.
Thomas Vanek has quietly been having an outstanding year this season and is showing signs of his former self during his prime. Vanek has been a great addition for the locker room because of his leadership and ability to help the youngsters find their offensive potential. The Canucks should trade him shortly so they can maximize the return they get for him.
11 Huge Mistake: Flames Trade Sam Bennett
The Calgary Flames are starting to really pick up their play and are looking like one of the top teams in the Western Conference right now. Although a Stanley Cup championship is most likely not going to occur this season, there is a lot to look forward to with this club as they continue to get better. They just need to trust their system.
There have been a few trade rumours that Sam Bennett may be dealt by the Calgary Flames, but that would be a big mistake. Bennett is starting to play very well, after starting the year in a horrible fashion. Yet, Bennett is still young enough to display the talent he had in juniors with the big club. He has far more of a tenacious edge now and the Flames should keep that.
10 Smart Move: Canadiens Trade Tomas Plekanec
The Montreal Canadiens have truly fallen off this season and it is incredibly depressing to see. This year was supposed to be a big year for the Habs and many thought that they would end up winning their division easily. Yet, the Canadiens now most likely will not be making the playoffs and are in need of a major retooling. If they want to win with Carey Price, they must do this.
The Montreal Canadiens will most likely be sellers and one player they will end up moving for sure is Tomas Plekanec. Plekanec has been a very solid player for the Canadiens over the years, but he definitely is slowing down due to his old age. The Canadiens should move him to a contender so they can get a few picks. It will be a win-win for everyone involved.
9 Huge Mistake: Avalanche Trade Gabriel Landeskog
The Colorado Avalanche are having a fantastic turnaround season after having one of the worst ones in the history of the league. The Avalanche already have more wins at the halfway point of the season than they did in the entirety of last year. There is a lot of hope in Colorado now and it appears that they are doing a good job in their rebuilding phase.
With all that said, it would be a huge mistake for the Colorado Avalanche to trade Gabriel Landeskog at the trade deadline. Landeskog has been in the rumour mill since last season and it is likely that teams will be calling for his services. The Avalanche need to avoid the temptation of trading him because he has been one of their top players this season and is back to being a star.
8 Smart Move: Canucks Trade Erik Gudbranson
The Vancouver Canucks are starting to drop a lot of games and this is exactly what many thought would happen. The Canucks are still fresh into their rebuilding phase and have a lot more issues they need to fix before they are at the top again. There is a lot for Vancouver fans to look forward to with young prospects like Brock Boeser, but they will continue to struggle for now.
Erik Gudbranson is a player who will absolutely be traded at this year’s deadline and it will be a great move for Vancouver. Although he is an effective defensive defenseman, he simply does not fit into the system there and has seen limited play time. The Canucks need to acquire assets for him because he will be a free agent at the end of the season. All in all, it will benefit the Canucks.
7 Huge Mistake: Senators Trade Erik Karlsson
Ever since the Matt Duchene deal, the Ottawa Senators have completely fallen off and are in the running for the first overall pick of this year’s draft. This is the complete opposite of where they were last year when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Senators definitely need to make a major retooling and trade away some of their veterans.
There have been reports that the Ottawa Senators are listening to offers for Erik Karlsson, but that cannot happen. The Senators cannot trade their franchise player unless they are absolutely sure that he is not willing to come back later on. The Senators need to make more of an effort to sign him to an extension, rather than just trade him. Nothing they would get back would be enough.
6 Smart Move: Blue Jackets Trade Jack Johnson
The Columbus Blue Jackets are still one of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division this season and that is a great sign for the squad. The Blue Jackets have always been an up and down team, but it is wonderful to see that they are showing consistency. This team very well could get them their first playoff round win in the playoffs and potentially more.
Yet, they will be a very active team this trade deadline because they want to win now. It has been confirmed that Jack Johnson has requested a trade from the team so he can receive more playing time and up his free agent value. It would be smart for Columbus to make this deal because it will increase locker room morale and they should respect Johnson’s wishes after all he has done for them.
5 Huge Mistake: Maple Leafs Trade James van Riemsdyk
The Toronto Maple Leafs are finally a contender in the NHL yet again and the fans are loving every minute of it. For years, the Maple Leafs have been stuck in countless rebuilding phases and each time, it led to even more failure. Yet, with young stars like Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews leading the way, the Maple Leafs are starting to look like potential champions again.
There have been reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to move James van Riemsdyk for a top-4 defenseman, but that remains unlikely. If JVR had more than this year left on his deal, it would make a lot of sense. However, JVR’s value has definitely decreased because of this. Also, they should keep him because of his net presence and ability to score strong goals.
4 Smart Move: Maple Leafs Trade Tyler Bozak
It is absolutely apparent that the Toronto Maple Leafs have outstanding forward depth on their roster and it is what is leading them to success. The Maple Leafs have drafted forwards exceptionally well and have grown them into superstars already. With that said, there are other players on the roster who have seen significant dips in their playing time because of this.
The player who most likely will be dealt by the Toronto Maple Leafs this trade deadline is Tyler Bozak. Bozak has been a fan favourite for the club since coming here and was one of their top players during the dark times. Yet, it is apparent that it is time for him to go because his contract is expiring and his playing time has completely dropped. They should get something for him because there is no chance he is back next year.
3 Huge Mistake: Penguins Trade Kris Letang
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been pretty inconsistent this season and are showing signs that they will not three-peat this year. The main issue with the Penguins is that they seem to be off defensively and obviously, that will lead to more losses. If the Penguins want to win the Stanley Cup this season, they need to make a few trades to help their roster.
There have been reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins are listening to offers for Kris Letang. This would be a monumental mistake for the Penguins to make because Letang is their best defender and still an elite player when he is healthy. This is the type of trade that will end up setting the Penguins back and they cannot do that with the star talent they have.
2 Smart Move: Sabres Trade Evander Kane
Will the Buffalo Sabres ever turn it around and be a decent hockey club? The Buffalo faithful have been forced to watch the Sabres play abysmal hockey for years now and there still has yet to be any positive signs. Besides Jack Eichel, no one is safe from this team and the time for the Sabres to make changes is now. Their rebuilding process with this roster has failed.
The Buffalo Sabres have a great asset in Evander Kane and lucky for them, he is having a career year with the club. Teams will desperate enough to bring him in because he could very well be the player that helps carry a contender to the Stanley Cup. The Sabres will be the clear winners of this deal because he would be a rental to any team.
1 Huge Mistake: Islanders Trade John Tavares
The New York Islanders are having a fantastic season and that is mainly because they have solid offensive depth. The rise of Mathew Barzal has been a spectacular story thus far, as well as Josh Bailey’s career year. However, although the present is bright, Islander fans are extremely nervous for the future because of the pending free agency of John Tavares.
The New York Islanders have been put into an extremely tough position because they need to make a decision on Tavares. The Islanders need to extend him because trading him would be a mistake. Yet, if he does not resign, a trade may be the only option, even if it nets them nothing close to his talent. Look for a team like San Jose to sign him, as they need a talented centre and a new team identity.