The NHL trade deadline is just under a week away (February 26th). Each Canadian team will have a slightly different agenda. Teams like Toronto,Winnipeg and Calgary should be buyers while Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa could be sellers. I see Edmonton sitting somewhere in the middle. Take a look at a move or two I think each team could make at the deadline.
Vancouver Canucks: Sellers
The Canucks look like they may have established a good young core once again after a few years of being underachievers that weren’t getting any younger. There are a few veteran players that should be able to net the Canucks some more picks or prospects to build for the future. You can expect Thomas Vanek to be shipped somewhere to a contending team. He has offensive upside and there are many playoff bound teams that could use him for scoring depth. I’ve also read that Chris Tanev has been inquired about by a couple of teams. He is a good bottom four defenceman that could net something to add to the foundation pieces that are Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. I think that teams could over pay for these two players at the deadline and it may be when they are at their highest trade value. I would have said Erik Gudbranson was another great trade asset but the Canucks have decided to keep him around, signing him to a three year $12 million dollar contract extension this week. The Canucks fans should see a light at the end of the tunnel with this team finally turning it around and developing a younger core.
Edmonton Oilers: Sellers (Kind of)
The Oilers are a tough team to figure out. They were supposed to be cup contenders this year but have looked like the same old Oilers from the years before last. They still don’t have good defensive depth and Cam Talbot has looked rather pedestrian compared to last season. Oh and it seems like Connor McDavid is the only player on the team that can score. I don’t think that the Oilers are full on buyers or sellers at this deadline. I think they have to move players but in return should be getting already established players and not picks or prospects. RNH and Patrick Maroon are options for them to get decent returns for. They need an established winger to play with McDavid so packaging one of those players and a high round pick could do the trick. Also they have to do something about that terrible Lucic contract. I wonder if they could package him and RNH along with a pick to a team that has cap space and a good player to move the other way. They also have Mark Letestu and Micheal Cammalleri as trade chips that could garner a decent return. The Oilers might be the Canadian team I am most intrigued by at the deadline.
Calgary Flames: Buyers
The Calgary Flames are a bubble playoff team right now but I think they have the talent to be much better than that. Their home record has killed them this year but they still find themselves in an extremely tight battle for a playoff spot in the Pacific. I think the Flames need a bottom six winger with an offensive upside and maybe a depth defenceman. I don’t think they have to mess around with this roster too much to be successful but those two pieces could be what they need to lock down a playoff spot. The move they make for that forward may just be getting Kris Versteeg back. He was great on the powerplay and can bring back the scoring depth I think the Flames need. If management doesn’t see him coming back soon enough they could make a move. I don’t think the Flames will be very active at the deadline but could maybe make a few small adjustments to the roster.
Winnipeg Jets: Buyers
I say the Jets will be buyers but that is only because of where they are in the standings. I don’t really think this team needs to make any moves at the deadline as their roster seems to be looking pretty nice at this point. If they were to make a move I think it would be for a veteran sixth/seventh defenceman for depth purposes. Every team could use a veteran depth defenceman in the locker room. I don’t see the Jets being active at the deadline but a low cost defenceman may be a slight roster tweak that they make.
Montreal Canadiens: Sellers
The Habs should be big time sellers at the deadline. They have many pieces that other teams will want if they are making playoff push, especially at the forward position. This Habs team needs to make an on the fly rebuild while Carey Price is still in his prime. I could see the Canadiens getting rid of Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw and Tomas Plekanec at the deadline. Pacioretty is a pure goal scorer who I feel just isn’t the leader the Habs were hoping for when they made him the “C”. They could get a solid young player and a veteran centre combination for him in return. Galchenyuk was supposed to be the number one centre the Habs desperately needed but has proved he can’t do it and could be a valuable winger on another team where he isn’t as under the microscope. Andrew Shaw is a gritty winger who can also put the puck in the net at times and could get the Habs a high round pick. Tomas Plekanec is a decent bottom six centre that can win draws and gets the job done in the defensive zone. If Montreal can move two or three of these players at the deadline for some already established players or young prospects read to make the jump and maybe a true first line centre, the future should look a little brighter moving forward.
Ottawa Senators: Sellers
The Sens have had a rough season to say the least. The whole team seems to be underperforming and it has forced the team to be sellers at the deadline. I’ll say this first, I don’t think Erik Karlsson will be moved at the deadline. The Sens will just be asking too much for him to make it worth while to other teams. That being said there are a few players who should be in another uniform after February 26th. Johnny Oduya and Derick Brassard top my list of players the Sens will most likely move. Mike Hoffman would have been on my list a couple of weeks ago but he and Matt Duchene have played well together and so I think he sticks around. Oduya is a solid depth defenceman with two Stanley cups on his resume and could help out any contending team (Winnipeg Jets?). Brassard is a consistent two way centre. His offensive numbers have declined over the past two seasons but he has stayed healthy playing at least 80 games in each of the last four seasons. he could be a solid bottom six pick up for a playoff team.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Buyers
I say buyers for the Leafs but they will want to do a bit of both. They are right near the fifty contract maximum right now and will look to unload a couple of those at the deadline while also improving their team in the process. I think the Leafs should trade away Josh Leivo, Matt Martin and Roman Polak to free up some roster spots and in turn pick up a bottom six centre and a bottom four defenceman. The Leafs have a young D-core and a veteran presence with skill could really help them out. Frederik Andersen is bailing this Leafs team out on the back end game after game. That isn’t going to get them far in the NHL playoffs and they need to do something about it if they want to make a run. Maybe a player like Luke Glendening could help the team up the middle. Although, the Wings are apparently asking for a second round pick in return which could be a little steep. The Leafs are in a pretty good spot with their young talent. Now it is the managements job to get solid pieces around them.
Those are my thoughts on the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline. Each team has a move or two to make. Now it is up to them if they want to actually act on them. I think the Canadiens will be the biggest sellers of the deadline, maybe in the whole league. It should be an exciting day next Monday! Thanks for reading.