The NHL trade deadline is always one of the funnest times of the year because we see a plethora of players on new teams. It is always fun waiting to see what your favourite team is going to do. Most of the time we as fans never are completely satisfied. The deadline also is one of the hardest times of the year for many teams. It is a time for them to decide if they want to win or sell. The past few years have brought on some pretty massive deals, but most of the time, the teams that make them do not win. With that said, it is important for teams to be very careful when bringing in rental players. The golden rule is to never rid yourself of a first round pick, unless you are getting a true star. The Minnesota Wild learned this last season when they traded for third liner Martin Hanzal.
With that said, in this article we will be looking at eight stars who will be traded this offseason and eight duds as well. Most of the players on the move are rentals, so them being traded is extremely likely. Yet, this list will also have players on rebuilding squads who are looking to unload players who have term on their deals. Some of these moves may seem like long shots, but crazier things have happened at the deadline. At the end of the day, this trade deadline will provide us with a lot of trades that will make us either happy or very upset. Yet, that is the beauty of the day and no matter what happens, it will be extremely fascinating.
With that said, let’s take a look at the guys on the move!
16 Dud: Matt Beleskey
The Boston Bruins are having a fantastic season this year and are definitely on the verge of becoming contenders once again. Young stars like Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak are carrying the team. Besides those two stars, they are getting solid offensive depth from surprise players Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk. With that said, roster spots are in a bit of trouble there now.
Matt Beleskey is a player who has dropped in skill immensely over the years and now is in the Bruins’ minor league system. This is very sad because Beleskey was supposed to be Milan Lucic’s replacement when he signed with the B’s back in 2015, but ultimately failed. Although moving Beleskey may be a very tough challenge, the Bruins will look to trade him at the deadline.
15 Star: Tyson Barrie
Tyson Barrie is one of the best players on the Colorado Avalanche and has been the backbone of their defensive core for the past few years. Yet, the Avalanche are definitely in a rebuild and will be for quite some time. Due to this, barrie has been on the trading block since last year’s atrocious season and very well could be on the way out when the trade deadline comes around.
Although a trade for Barrie seems to be more of an offseason move, the Avalanche could manage to move him before. Now, it is important to note that Barrie has never complained about being on the Avalanche and never requested a trade. Yet, his name has been in the rumour mill for over a year, so he will eventually find himself on a new team. The Maple Leafs need defence and may be ready to make a serious offer.
14 Dud: Zac Rinaldo
Zac Rinaldo has found himself on a new NHL team somehow and is a member of the league’s worst team, the Arizona Coyotes. After spending the past few seasons in the AHL, Rinaldo has proved to the league that he is a player who can compete at the NHL level. Due to his contract being one year and contenders needing depth, he could find himself a new home by the deadline.
Zac Rinaldo definitely is a last option move for any contender because he is not a game changing player. Realistically, if a team were to bring him, it would be for the sole purpose of him protecting the team’s top players. Rinaldo most likely will not be back in the NHL next season, so it is fair to designate him as a dud.
13 Star: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having a career season with the Edmonton Oilers and he is finally living up to being a first overall pick. Sadly for him, the Oilers are back to being a bottom of the barrell team and have money issues. With that said, it is likely that the Oilers may elect to move Nugent-Hopkins to help with the defensive issues and cap room.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be an excellent addition to any hockey club that needs a solid two-way centre. Nugent-Hopkins has finally found his offensive dominance this season and very well could end up being a top line centre for a contending team. Nugent-Hopkins also does not always get top minutes because of the Oilers’ centre depth, so a trade could benefit him immensely.
12 Dud: Riley Sheahan
Riley Sheahan has already been traded this season when he was shipped out of Detroit and joined the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since the move, Sheahan has been underwhelming and the Penguins are looking for a solid replacement for him. Sheahan has yet to find his complete game in the NHL. As a result he could find himself in a new home yet again.
Now, Sheahan is not necessarily a bad player, but he definitely is not a star. Sheahan only managed to score two goals last season and still is having a lot of goal scoring issues. The Penguins need to find a replacement for Sheahan if they want to be Stanley Cup champions yet again. With that said, expect to see Sheahan to be sent away for an upgrade down the middle.
11 Star: Ryan O’Reilly
The Buffalo Sabres are about to have a yard sale with their top players and will be trading away their top veterans. Ryan O’Reilly has been having spectacular year, even though the Sabres are off to one of the worst starts in their history. O’Reilly signed with the Sabres on a massive seven year deal in hopes that he could lead them to success, but it has yet to even get started.
Ryan O’Reilly is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL, so the Buffalo Sabres could get a lot for him. The number one issue with O’Reilly is the fact that his cap hit is very large and that could very well lead teams away from getting him. So realistically, an O’Reilly trade may take some time, but still could happen at the deadline. We will have to wait and see.
10 Dud: Matt Read
Matt Read was once one of the best snipers on the Philadelphia Flyers, but over the past few seasons, he has dropped in skill dramatically. Read was once a reliable 20 goal scorer, but now is not even a member of the Flyers’ NHL squad. Read wants another chance to play in the NHL and the Flyers simply do not want to scratch one of their younger players for a struggling scorer.
Matt Read could be a low risk, high reward acquisition for a contending team because he could find his game playing with top talent. When Read was playing with Claude Giroux, he was a very reliable player and provided solid offence. A team may be willing to trade a late round pick for Read to provide them some depth, but he definitely is no longer a star anymore.
9 Star: Tyler Bozak
The Toronto Maple Leafs are arguably the best offensive team in the NHL and it is easy to understand why with the immense talent they have. Yet due to the rise of their young superstars, players like Tyler Bozak have become expendable. Bozak has one year left on his deal as well, so it is easy to believe that he will be traded out of Toronto this deadline.
Tyler Bozak will be a significant loss for the Maple Leafs due to his leadership, but the Leafs could use him to land some defensive help. If the Maple Leafs want to have any chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season, this may be a move they have to make. Bozak has been on the Pittsburgh Penguins radar this entire season, so it would not be surprising if he ends up there.
8 Dud: Tomas Plekanec
The Montreal Canadiens are currently near the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings and could be sellers this offseason. The Canadiens have been extremely underwhelming and were expected to be legitimate contenders this season, but they are failing. With that said, they are expected to get rid of their players as rentals.
Tomas Plekanec is a player who could find another team at the trade deadline and it would make a lot of sense. Plekanec is a free agent at the end of the season and it is very unlikely that the Canadiens would be willing to bring him back with his declining. Plekanec is the type of acquisition that is not a superstar at all, but he could be reliable to a team who needs defensive help. He may succeed on the low end of the Boston Bruins (for less money of course).
7 Star: Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog is the other Colorado Avalanche player that may find himself traded at the trade deadline. He has been in the rumour mill for over a year as well. Landeskog is having a very solid season this year, so the Avalanche may use that to their advantage and get a ton of assets back for him. Although Landeskog has stated he loves being an Avalanche, his time may be coming to a close.
The Avalanche are an intriguing team this season. Although they already have traded Matt Duchene, they still are an in between team in the standings. If the Avalanche are determined to stay in a rebuild, they may need to part ways with their top stars. A Landeskog trade is definitely one that most likely will occur in the offseason, but do not be surprised if it comes early.
6 Dud: Luke Schenn
It is fair to say that Luke Schenn has come nowhere close to what he was supposed to be, but he still is a player that has some value. The Arizona Coyotes are definitely going to be trading away their players with one year left on their deals and rightfully so. They are a team that are definitely focusing on the future, rather than the present. Schenn will be on the move this deadline.
A Luke Schenn trade will not be a headline breaker because he has truly dropped in skill and is, at best, a top-6 defenseman. The Maple Leafs definitely won the trade they made with the Flyers a few years ago when they acquired JVR for Schenn. Yet a Schenn deal will have nowhere as much value going Arizona’s way. A pick is a pick, so they should trade him.
5 Star: James van Riemsdyk
James van Riemsdyk is one of the top players in the NHL when it comes to his net presence and that is something that the Toronto Maple Leafs have grown to love. JVR is a player that the Leafs would love to keep in the long term future, but the possibility of that happening is fairly low. This is because the Maple Leafs have a ton of young players they need to give big contracts to.
James van Riemsdyk is the perfect player for the Maple Leafs to trade because he very well could land them a top-4 defenseman. JVR will be missed immensely by the Maple Leafs when he hits the open market this offseason, so they might as well land something for him this deadline. It will benefit in the long run and could end up making them a stronger team.
4 Dud: Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek will traded once again this NHL trade deadline because the Vancouver Canucks have absolutely no chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season. It was apparent that the Canucks gave Vanek a one year deal, solely for the purpose of getting something back for him. Vanek will be a reliable pickup for any team that needs a quality scorer.
Now, it is important to note that Thomas Vanek is nowhere close to the player he once was and has very little value today. This could be the last time we see Vanek in the NHL because he is both old and on the decline. I still think he will be an attractive player on the move because of his history and honestly, his name alone.
3 Star: Evander Kane
With the Buffalo Sabres being as terrible as they are, it is absolutely outstanding to see that Evander Kane is their leading scorer and having a career year. This is wonderful for Kane as well because he will be a free agent this offseason and will be given a huge contract. With all that said, the Sabres will definitely be moving Kane before the trade deadline.
Evander Kane will be missed by the Buffalo faithful, but it is a necessity for him to be moved. The Sabres are absolutely going nowhere this year and need to acquire as many assets for the future as possible. It is extremely unlikely that Kane would be willing to return to Buffalo this offseason, so expect him to be moved by this year’s trade deadline to a top contender.
2 Dud: Johnny Oduya
Johnny Oduya will likely be traded at the deadline this year because of the fact that the Ottawa Senators are clearly a selling team. This is truly disappointing because the Senators were supposed to be a top team this year and made the already infamous Matt Duchene trade. The Senators will absolutely be moving veteran Johnny Oduya this deadline and for very little in return.
It would not be surprising at all if Johnny Oduya ended up on the Chicago Blackhawks because they love bringing in players from their glory days. Oduya would have extremely low value and could be used as a depth defenseman for the club. Yet, Oduya is the not the same player he once was, but will get interest because of his experience.
1 Star: John Tavares
If John Tavares does not sign an extension with the New York Islanders by the trade deadline, he very well could find himself traded. The Islanders cannot allow the Tavares to walk away for nothing because he is their franchise centreman and his value is extremely high. Trading Tavares this deadline could net them a huge amount of assets for their future.
Now, the Islanders need to make their primary goal to bring Tavares back because there are not many better than him in the league. He is the main reason why the Islanders are having a solid season this year and will be impossible to replace anytime soon. The Islanders need to figure out what their chances are of bringing him back. If he announces that he does not want to come back, they need to move him.