By: Brennen Krikorian
The NHL trade deadline is right about two weeks away and it seems like this year will be a relatively quiet one in comparison to years past.
With a very strong draft class coming in this year, it would not be surprising to see some teams outside of the playoffs sell their players in order to improve their shot at a top pick.
Here are five trades that could go down within the next few weeks.
Tyler Toffoli Staying in the Division
Flames receive: F Tyler Toffoli
Kings receive: D Oliver Kylington, 2020 third-round pick
Tyler Toffoli’s name has been surfacing in trade rumors ever since New Jersey decided to move on from Taylor Hall earlier this season. The 27-year-old winger is in the final year of his 3-year/$13.8 million deal and is set to hit free agency this summer.
Calgary is one right-handed winger away from being a true contender in the West. This move would allow head coach Geoff Ward to separate Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk from the top line, creating an elite top-six forwards group.
The Flames also have a deep group of defense and with the emergence of Rasmus Andersson, they can afford to part ways with Kylington.
Kylington will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year, so if Los Angeles can move on from the contract of Alec Martinez, Kylington can come in and be a solid building block for the future.
Kreider to Follow in Zuccarello’s Footsteps
Stars receive: F Chris Kreider (50% salary retained), 2020 third-round pick
During last year’s deadline, the Stars and Rangers made a deal that sent long time Ranger Mats Zuccarello to Dallas for two conditional draft picks. This year, there is a chance that history repeats itself.
Kreider has arguably been the top rental player coming into this year’s deadline, and while the Rangers have said they may re-sign him, this trade seems too good to pass up if you are New York general manager Jeff Gorton.
The Rangers are most likely going to miss out on the playoffs for a third straight season, but that may be a blessing in disguise for New York.
The team has an abundance of elite prospects, as well as high draft picks. If Gorton is able to add even more assets while being in a destination as great as New York, he will put his team into prime position to grow through the draft or to make a blockbuster move to pair with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.
As for the Stars, with the addition of a strong top-six forward in Kreider, Dallas can go all in on making a run at the Cup this year before their key players start declining.
The former first round draft pick back in 2009 has been around long enough to have a lot of playoff experience and can provide some much-needed secondary scoring that they hoped to get out of Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski.
Galchenyuk Experiment Over in Pittsburgh
Penguins receive: F Brandon Saad
When the Penguins acquired Alex Galchenyuk in the Phil Kessel trade last summer, it felt like he would be a Penguin for the foreseeable future. The now 25-year-old was coming off a strong 40-point season the year before and has the ability to play any offensive position. The fit seemed to be perfect for him in Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, the move hasn’t panned out the way that GM Jim Rutherford imagined. Through 43 games, Galchenyuk has a mere 5 goals and 12 assists while also posting a minus 5.
With the former third overall pick set to hit free agency at the end of the year, it seems only right that the Penguins should be shopping him around.
That’s where the Chicago Blackhawks, and more importantly Brandon Saad, step in.
Saad has been connected to Pittsburgh for years. The Blackhawks winger grew up in the Pittsburgh area and was rumored to sign with the Penguins back in 2015.
With Jake Guentzel out for the year due to injury, the Penguins can use his dead cap space to go out and acquire a guy like Saad, who’s scoring ability can replace Guentzel for the rest of the year with ease.
As for Chicago, they are able to pick up a young guy with a lot of potential and with the team essentially out of a playoff spot, Galchenyuk can be a great building block for their future.
Kings Former Stanley Cup Hero Moves On
Panthers receive: D Alec Martinez
The Los Angeles Kings are currently the worst team in the Western Conference, and it is not even close.
In 55 games, the team is only 19-31-5 while having a minus 40 in scoring differential. With the recent departure of goalie Jack Campbell, GM Rob Blake has made it evident that he wants to go into a full rebuild.
Back in 2014, Martinez was able to score the game winning goal in double overtime to secure the Kings third championship in five years. With his veteran presence and playoff experience, the 32-year-old blueliner will make an immediate impact on any contender this season.
Both Vegas and Nashville have shown interest in Martinez, but Florida has both the need and the assets to make a trade go through. Giving Los Angeles a strong goal scorer in Mike Hoffman will preserve their stars longer and an early pick in this year’s draft can help speed up the inevitable rebuild.
Meanwhile, Florida gets a guy who knows how to win and is talented on both ends of the ice. The Panthers have been trying for weeks to split up Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle in order to create more defensive depth, and nothing will help more than acquiring Martinez.
If this trade ends up becoming a reality and their goaltending gets hot, look out for Florida to make a lot of noise.
Toronto Gets Some Help on the Blue Line
Maple Leafs receive: D Brenden Dillon
Sharks receive: F Andreas Johnsson, 2020 fourth-round pick
In the past three seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have failed to meet the high expectations that have been set for their group, losing in the first round of the playoffs all three years.
Now that the team will be without their top defenseman Morgan Rielly and recently acquired Cody Ceci indefinitely, GM Kyle Dubas has no choice but to go out and pick up a serviceable defenseman that will help them finally get over that playoff hump.
While there are other options out there for defensemen, the one that makes the most sense is Brenden Dillon. Dillon has built a great career for himself in San Jose and was a significant help in the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2016.
Since day one of the season, the biggest weakness for Toronto has been their lack of “sandpaper” personnel who can throw a big hit or get into a fight to give their team a spark.
Dillon could be that guy.
Not only that, his defensive mindset could go a long way towards making up for the losses of Rielly and Ceci.
Looking at the Sharks in this trade, they are able to pick up a great young forward in Johnsson, who can help facilitate the puck and score on the powerplay.
At only 25, Johnsson is on a team-friendly, long-term deal, which is needed on a team like San Jose due to the amount of money they pay their players. This deal seems too perfect for either team to say no.
Other potential trades include:
- Alexandar Georgiev to Carolina Hurricanes
- Andreas Athanasiou to Edmonton Oilers
Cover photo via: Aaron Poole/NHLi via Getty Images
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