The NHL Trade Deadline is nearing, which means players will be coming and going rapidly until it passes. Last year's Deadline saw marquee names such as Eric Staal and Andrew Ladd switch teams, while the year prior saw Jeff Petry move from the Edmonton Oilers to the Montreal Canadiens, a team he still plays for today. Every year there are plenty of moves that do not happen, but the moves that do happen certainly excite us. There's something extra fun about seeing a player switch threads during the season, especially when it's clear that the player can make an immediate impact with his new team. Perhaps it's a superstar, perhaps it's a player that's played their whole career with one team, or perhaps like Martin St. Louis back in 2014, it's both. Regardless, this Trade Deadline should bring a flurry of action thanks to teams needing to wheel and deal in advance of the Expansion Draft happening immediately after the postseason.
Of course not all players are moved, as due to the tight playoff races in both conferences, teams will be hesitant to be sellers. No team wants to be the ones that trade away a star player, then see themselves go on a run after the Trade Deadline, but fail to make the playoffs due to the absent player. With all of this in mind, let's take a look at 8 players that will be changing teams this Deadline, and 7 players that will be staying put despite the rumors around them.
15 Changing Teams - Jaroslav Halak
The New York Islanders made it loud and clear that Thomas Greiss is their goaltender of the present and future when they demoted Jaroslav Halak to the American Hockey League, then only furthered that statement when they signed Greiss to a three year contract extension recently. Halak passed through waivers without being claimed, but that was mainly due to his large contract, not due to his ability to play hockey effectively. Look for Halak to be moved before the Trade Deadline to a team that needs a backup goaltender that can make a greater impact. Regardless of what's happened this season, Jaroslav Halak is not an AHL goalie, and the NHL knows it. He will be back in the NHL soon enough, and may even steal a starting job.
The Dallas Stars are a perfect fit for Halak.
14 Staying Put - Jaromir Jagr
While some believe Jaromir Jagr could be on the move due to the Florida Panthers' struggles this season, we believe there is no chance Jagr gets traded. First of all, Jagr has earned the right to pick and choose where he plays. He's been in the league far too long to be disrespected, and the Florida Panthers likely know that. Next, the Florida Panthers play in the Atlantic Division. The Atlantic Division is so bad that the Panthers could finish in second place with a sizable lead when all things are said and done, still. We do not believe Jaromir Jagr wants to leave, and it would make no sense for the Panthers to force him out. Jagr belongs in the sunshine state for a long time.
13 Changing Teams - Jarome Iginla
Not all NHL legends still playing in the league will stay with their current teams, however. Returning to the Colorado Avalanche, we will see the Avalanche move Jarome Iginla to a playoff team by the time the Trade Deadline rolls around. Iginla has expressed his desire to be traded many times before, and when a veteran with his pedigree asks to be traded, that player gets traded. This is not a matter of if, but instead a matter of when and where. Iginla's large contract could scare some teams away, but there should be plenty of suitors for a player with his career numbers that will see his contract expire soon enough. Come March 2nd, Jarome Iginla will be wearing a new jersey for certain.
The Chicago Blackhawks will add Iginla to the fold.
12 Staying Put - Patrick Sharp
Patrick Sharp is among the names rumored to be available as the Trade Deadline approaches. The Dallas Stars are suffering through a woeful season, failing to hold down a playoff spot and battling for a wild card spot at best. It's been a surprise season for the Stars, and General Manager Jim Nill will have plenty of difficult decisions to make. One of those decisions will be pending unrestricted free agent Patrick Sharp, who is a veteran that can score, meaning his price will be high in possible trades. We believe Nill will hold onto Sharp in hopes that he can help guide Dallas into the postseason. After such a tremendous season last year, it would be disappointing to see Dallas throw in the towel early this year.
11 Changing Teams - Sami Vatanen
Sami Vatanen is not currently in trade rumors, but that isn't stopping us from making him an on-the-move player at the Trade Deadline. The Anaheim Ducks have so many talented defensemen that they do not know what to do with them all. Vatanen is one of those many, and even had to serve as a healthy scratch recently. The Ducks know they will have to move a defenseman before the Expansion Draft, and they also likely know that doing so now rather than in the offseason would bring back a much larger package. The prediction here is the Ducks move a forward for a defenseman at the Trade Deadline, and the defenseman that moves will be Sami Vatanen. It's a numbers game, unfortunately.
The Detroit Red Wings will buy on Vatanen, despite selling elsewhere.
10 Staying Put - Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog are the two biggest names that the Colorado Avalanche are considering moving. The Avalanche are far and away the worst team in the NHL, so other organizations are rightfully calling about every player on their roster. Nathan Mackinnon is considered off limits, while Tyson Barrie's price should be high enough to make him untouchable as well. That leaves Duchene and Landeskog as the big guns available for acquisition, and NHL teams will likely call General Manager Joe Sakic non stop until the Deadline passes about Matt Duchene. Yet we do not believe Duchene will be moved, as he is far too valuable to the Avalanche. Sakic knows his centers, and can ask for the moon for Duchene. Teams are not likely to give up the moon mid-season this year.
9 Changing Teams - Gabriel Landeskog
Compared to Matt Duchene's asking price, however, Gabriel Landeskog's price will be lower than ever before due to his rough season. As previously stated, the Colorado Avalanche are suffering through one of the worst years in franchise history. While we do not believe Landeskog deserves the brunt of the blame, it would be simple for Joe Sakic and company to move their captain in a trade, then speak about changing the culture of the clubhouse and giving the organization a new look. Landeskog can be the scapegoat for the Avalanche's struggles, while also helping his new team in the process. Let's not forget that Landeskog is an ultra-talented player who can bring grit and offensive talent to whichever team takes a chance on him. The price has never been lower, too.
The Ottawa Senators appear to be a solid fit for Landeskog.
8 Staying Put - Shane Doan
It seems like every year Shane Doan is nearly traded to a contender, but the Arizona Coyotes' captain always ends up staying with the only organization he's ever known. While we were tempted to place Doan in the changing teams category based on his willingness to play for another team this season, we believe Doan will stay put in Arizona, and never leave the desert when all things are said and done. Doan does not provide enough value to a potentially interested team to make a deal worthwhile for that team, unless they trade little to nothing, and if they do that, the Coyotes are giving up a legacy player for little to nothing. The potential move just does not add up when you think about it.
7 Changing Teams - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kevin Shattenkirk is an interesting case, as the St. Louis Blues held onto David Backes and Troy Brouwer last season as sort of own-rentals rather than trading them away to be rentals elsewhere. Backes and Brouwer helped the Blues reach the Western Conference Finals, so General Manager Doug Armstrong had his approach confirmed as working. Yet this year the Blues hardly look as good as last year, and Shattenkirk is more certain than Backes or Brouwer to leave in free agency. Armstrong would be foolish to hold onto a player he knows will leave for nothing in a year the Blues are battling for a playoff spot rather than battling for the top spot in the conference. Shattenkirk will be moved before the Deadline.
Our guess is Shattenkirk ends up with the New York Rangers.
6 Staying Put - Mike Green
Mike Green would make for one of the best names on the trade market, but he has one year remaining on his contract after this year expires. The Detroit Red Wings are unlikely to cut down Green's price tag for the 2017-18 season enough to entice teams into trading for his contract, so Green will stay put. It's unfortunate, as the Red Wings will be sellers at the Trade Deadline for the first time in decades, and Green would have been a terrific trade piece for them to use as bait to help their re-building process. Instead, Green and the Red Wings will have to suffer through the remainder of the season together, then he could be a candidate at next year's deadline.
5 Changing Teams - Thomas Vanek
One player on the Detroit Red Wings that will be on the move at the Trade Deadline is Thomas Vanek. The Red Wings have expressed interest in extending Vanek's contract, and Vanek has spoken openly about wanting to re-sign with the Red Wings after signing only a one year deal with the team in the off-season. Still, the Red Wings must get what they can for the players they can market this deadline, and despite Vanek's unreliable history, teams will still want the scorer/power-play specialist in their lineup come playoff time. The Red Wings will move Vanek, but look for the team to look to bring him back to the organization in the off-season. That would be a savvy way of doing business.
Vanek will end up with the Nashville Predators.
4 Staying Put - Marc-Andre Fleury
It would make plenty of sense for the Pittsburgh Penguins to move Marc-Andre Fleury, as he will have to be moved prior to the Expansion Draft. It's no secret that the Penguins plan on protecting Matt Murray rather than Marc-Andre Fleury, so the only question is when Fleury will leave the organization. While the Trade Deadline may seem enticing, the Penguins could benefit from having Fleury around to finish mentoring Murray, and even take over if the young backstop struggles at any point in the postseason. GM Jim Rutherford will likely allow Fleury to call his own shot, and the prediction here is that the long-time Penguins netminder will want one final swan song with the only organization he has ever played for.
3 Changing Teams - Martin Hanzal
Martin Hanzal may just be the most obvious player to move at this year's Trade Deadline. Hanzal has been in rumors since the beginning of the season, and the rumors have not been denied at all. With an expiring contract and playing for an awful team, Hanzal is the perfect trade candidate. The two-way forward will be moved by the Arizona Coyotes, with the only questions being for who and for how much. Hanzal reminds us of Antoine Vermette two years ago, though we do not believe he will have the same impact as Vermette did when he helped guide the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory. The acquiring team will sure hope Hanzal can bring the same presence to the table, though!
The Montreal Canadiens will add the Coyotes centerman.
2 Staying Put - Jordan Eberle
It seems like Jordan Eberle has been involved in trade rumors forever, and despite his strong season to this point, Eberle has seen rumors swirl around his name once again. Eberle has been with the Edmonton Oilers through the worst of times, but when the Oilers traded Taylor Hall they made a statement that that does not mean he is guaranteed to remain with the Oilers through the best of times. Still, the trading of Hall should preclude the Oilers from moving Eberle, as if anything the Oilers will need to add offense, not remove offense from the roster. Eberle will stay put, but look for his name to be a potential trade candidate come the Expansion Draft. Edmonton sure likes to make splashy moves.
1 Changing Teams - Brian Boyle
The Tampa Bay Lightning are dealing with Steven Stamkos' absence from the lineup in the worst way possible. Tampa Bay cannot win games if their postseason lives depend on it (they do) and it appears that the club is headed towards being Trade Deadline sellers rather than buyers. With that being said, Steve Yzerman is never one to quit. So we do not see Yzerman giving up any of his big guns, leaving only the role players available for acquisition. Towering forward Brian Boyle is the most enticing of the options, as he plays an excellent fourth line grit role that teams can use in the post-season. It's no coincidence Boyle made the Eastern Conference Finals three years in a row from 2014-2016.
The New York Rangers will bring back the towering forward.