With the NHL Trade Deadline this coming Monday, trades are starting to roll in and teams are making last-ditch efforts to organize themselves. Some teams now know they’re out of the race, some know they’re probably in and others are on the fence with injuries and other issues making things difficult to predict.
The weekend is shaping up to be busy for the NHL and in an effort to prepare fans for what’s to come, we’re taking a look at some of the more noteworthy items in the rumor mill.
Understanding it’s not possible to cover every potential deal, we’ll take a look at some of the trades, that should they go down, could send a ripple through the rest of the NHL.
The Montreal Canadiens and Buzz Around the Team
The list of potential names on the move out of Montreal is starting to add up. There’s been talk the Colorado Avalanche are scouring the team and circling the GM with a pending deal on the way. There are rentals and term players potentially available and it’s hard to know exactly what Marc Bergevin is thinking about doing.
Ilya Kovalchuk is a rental that, at this point, is about as likely to move as he is to stay. That’s he’s not discussed any kind of extension with the team is telling and with the returns coming back to teams who have already made deals, Kovalchuk could fetch anywhere from a second-round pick to a fourth.
Teams that have inquired likely have their eyes on other options first, but Kovalchuk is an inexpensive option that has some upside. Clearly, he’s proven he’s got something left in the tank.
Tomas Tatar is a player worth watching. Not a rental, if he’s going anywhere, a team probably needs to give up a lot to acquire him. Another way to look at it, if Ondrej Kase commands a first-rounder, David Backes and a prospect, what is Tatar worth? It’s that return that likely has Montreal thinking he could be worth moving.
Arpon Basu of The Athletic wonders if the Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Backets, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Nashville Predators, and Dallas Stars might be poking around this one.
There’s lots of talk surrounding Jeff Petry but does Montreal really want to move one of their top defenseman knowing they’ll immediately need to replace him? And with the injury uncertainty surrounding Shea Weber, the Canadiens can hardly afford to make a mistake here. Still, the return could be substantial so the Canadiens are likely listening.
Questions Surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs
What is happening in Toronto? A team that looks terrible one night looks like a world-beater another. Plagued with injuries and with questions surrounding who might be back and when, some insiders are suggesting the Maple Leafs might be contemplating moving key pieces like Tyson Barrie or Kasperi Kapanen.
Any deal involving Barrie means the Leafs probably having something else in the works for a defenseman but the consistent report seems to be that GM Kyle Dubas isn’t looking for rentals but players with term. The Vancouver Canucks are being linked to Barrie but nothing concrete has come of those rumors yet.
Matt Dumba has been floated around the team but Minnesota isn’t officially out of it yet, and things in that area have quieted a bit.
Edmonton Oilers Likely To Stay Quiet
GM Ken Holland says he wants to do something and would be disappointed if he weren’t to make a move. At the same time, any move he might make is expected to be subtle and not flashy.
A team plagued with injuries, if the Oilers can get Connor McDavid, Oscar Klefbom, Kris Russell, James Neal and Zack Kassian back and still be in the playoff race, that almost seems like the team is acquiring major pieces for a push. From there, if the organization can add a player like Tyler Ennis out of Ottawa or a rental like Mike Hoffman from the Panthers, that might be about as big a splash as the Oilers make.
One pleasant surprise surrounding the team has been the play of call-ups like Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones, Willam Lagesson and others from Bakersfield. This speaks to the Oilers prospect depth and panic mode hasn’t set in.
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