The NHL trade deadline is a little over a month away and while we wait in anticipation for February 29th to arrive, many of us will spend our time speculating about possible deals that could be made. So, we've decided to compile a list of 15 bold predictions ahead of this year's deadline. The key word here is bold. We're not going to make any vague statements like, the Maple Leafs are going to be sellers and the Washington Capitals buyers. That's not exciting and also fairly obvious. Instead, we're going to go out on a limb and predict some big deals based on what we think could and perhaps should happen with specific details of what will be going each team's way.
Let's not confuse bold for stupid, though. You're not going to see any ridiculous message board style trades here. We're not suggesting the Penguins trade Sidney Crosby for P.K. Subban. We'd like to get these predictions right, so we've tried to make them somewhat realistic and have only included players that have been speculated to be available and given the information available to us, we could conceivably envision being dealt.
That does not include impending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos. As exciting as a Stamkos trade would be, it's simply unrealistic to believe that it would happen. Yes, Stamkos is without a contract extension and looks like he's headed for unrestricted free agency on July 1st. Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning could end up losing him for nothing. However, the Lightning are also the reigning Eastern Conference champions. If they want to make another run for the Stanley Cup this year, holding onto Stamkos is a risk they can't afford not to take.
Now that we have that pre-amble out of the way, let's take a look at our 15 bold trade predictions for the 2016 NHL trade deadline:
16 Toronto Maple Leafs trade P.A. Parenteau to the New York Islanders for a 1st Round pick
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in rebuild mode and have several players on expiring contracts who could be shipped out at the deadline. One of them could be P.A. Parenteau, arguably the most intriguing of the bunch. After struggling through his lone season in Montreal, the Canadiens bought out Parenteau's contract and he signed a one year, $1.5 million deal in Toronto. He's played well thus far for the Maple Leafs, potting 11 goals and making himself comfortable on the second line alongside Tyler Bozak.
15 New York Islanders trade Kyle Okposo and Marek Zidlicky to the New York Rangers for Keith Yandle
14 Columbus Blue Jackets trade Cam Atkinson and a 2017 3rd round pick to the New York Rangers for a 2017 1st round pick
13 Carolina Hurricanes trade Eric Staal to the Washington Capitals for a 2016 1st round pick
Eric Staal is probably more likely to be dealt than anyone else on this list. He's in the final year of his deal and even though the Hurricanes have found themselves in the playoff hunt, no one really expected them to be there and they aren't viewed as Stanley Cup contenders. So, they could get away with dealing the elder Staal, especially if they believe he could be willing to return to Carolina once he hits free agency over the summer.
12 Edmonton Oilers trade Griffin Reinhart to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Kerby Rychel
11 Lightning don't trade Jonathan Drouin
10 Winnipeg Jets trade Andrew Ladd to the Florida Panthers for a 2016 1st round pick and a 2017 3rd round pick
9 Toronto Maple Leafs extend James Reimer, trade Jonathan Bernier to the Arizona Coyotes for a 2017 fourth round pick and Anders Lindback
James Reimer has been a bright spot in another lowly Toronto Maple Leafs season. Although the netminder has battled injuries this year, he's played phenomenally well when healthy and currently sports a .932 SV%. You'd think they might want to deal him when his value is this high, but head coach Mike Babcock seems to have more faith in Reimer than he does in Jonathan Bernier who's struggled for much of the season. The Maple Leafs have discussed an extension with Reimer and we're predicting they will sign him for three years at a $5.25 million average salary then trade Bernier to the Arizona Coyotes, who look to be playoff bound, but could use some insurance between the pipes. The Maple Leafs will retain half of Bernier's remaining salary at $4.15 million per year for this season and next and get a fourth round pick and Anders Lindback in return.
8 Edmonton Oilers trade Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Sergei Plotnikov and a 2016 4th round pick
Justin Schultz was once the hottest prospect in hockey. When he spurned the Anaheim Ducks and chose to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2012, a number of teams lined up to add the young defenseman to their lineup. The Oilers ultimately won the bidding war, but Schultz has failed to live up to expectations in his four seasons in Edmonton and his offensive production has dropped off each year. He's been a healthy scratch recently and the Oilers would be more than willing to part with him.
The Penguins are need of some depth on the back end and we can see them dealing Sergei Plotnikov. The 25-year-old made the transition from the KHL to the NHL this season, but has provided minimal production in limited minutes. The Penguins will also throw in a fourth round pick to make the deal happen.
7 Vancouver Canucks trade Radim Vrbata to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2017 1st round pick
6 St. Louis Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to the Montreal Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk
There have been many reports that the St. Louis Blues have been shopping star defenseman Kevin Shatternkirk in recent weeks. Shattenkirk only has one year remaining on his contract and with plenty of depth on defense, the Blues would like to move him for a younger, less expensive asset. There's been speculation of a Shattenkirk for Drouin deal, but since we have Drouin staying put for now, Alex Galchenyuk could be a nice target for the Blues.
5 Anaheim Ducks trade Frederik Andersen to the Calgary Flames and a 2017 1st round pick to the Boston Bruins - The Flames trade Kris Russell to the Bruins and a 2017 3rd round pick to the Ducks - The Bruins trade Loui Eriksson to the Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks were picked by some as the Stanley Cup favorites heading into this season, but they got off to a horrific start and have stumbled through most of the season, but now find themselves back in the playoff hunt. The team's biggest issue has been their inability to score goals. The addition of David Perron has helped, but they could still use more offense for sure. The Ducks' best trade piece may be goaltender Frederik Andersen. Andersen has played well, but he's had to split starts with 23-year-old John Gibson. Gibson appears ready to be the starter and with Anton Khudobin and Dustin Tokarski as the team's third and fourth options, they could easily deal Andersen.
4 New York Islanders trade Travis Hamonic to the Minnesota Wild for Matt Dumba
3 Columbus Blue Jackets trade Scott Hartnell to the Nashville Predators for Mike Ribeiro and a 2016 2nd round pick
2 Edmonton Oilers trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber
This one would've been more likely prior to the Ryan Johansen trade and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' injury, but a Nugent-Hopkins for Shea Weber swap still makes a lot of sense. Weber is 30 years old, but still has ten years left on his contract after this one. The Predators should be trying to rid themselves of that contract before it becomes an albatross around their neck. It may be hard to justify trading the face of the franchise, but a return of Nugent-Hopkins would definitely help.
As for the Oilers, the imminent return of Connor McDavid and the emergence of Leon Draisaitl makes Nugent-Hopkins expendable. The Oilers are in desperate need of some help on the backend and a veteran presence to help their young stars get over the hump. Weber could fill both of those needs.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!