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Why Weren’t These 5 Players Traded at the 2024 Deadline?

A handful of notable players didn’t up moving near or at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. What prevented these players from moving?

With the conclusion of the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, a total of 23 trades were made on deadline day along with various other transactions. Notable players such as Jake Guentzel, Noah Hanifin, and Vladimir Tarasenko all found new homes during the deadline period. Many of the bigger deals also happened before March 8th with activity ramping up across the entire league. There were also a handful of players who didn’t move and were heavily rumored to get traded at or before this timeframe.

There’s usually a variety of reasons why certain players may stay with their teams. Here are five notable players that weren’t moved despite trade rumors suggesting otherwise.

Pavel Buchnevich, St Louis Blues

Buchnevich was seen as being one of the most prominent forwards potentially being available on the trade market. The Russian forward is currently having a strong season with the Blues notching 24 goals and 49 points in 63 games. With the Blues currently being in a retool as suggested by GM Doug Armstrong, Buchnevich was seen as a trade chip if the team were to fall out of the playoff race.

Pavel Buchnevich St Louis Blues

The Blues found themselves only a couple points back of a wildcard spot at the time of the trade deadline. The Blues wouldn’t want to compromise their potential chances by trading away one of their top forwards.

Some other reasons may have been how Armstrong set a high bar for a return on a Buchnevich deal. His proposed asking price included 2 first-round picks or one first-round pick equivalent as well as a prospect. The price wasn’t going to be cheap to pry him out of St Louis.

There’s also his contract status. Buchnevich wouldn’t have been a rental as he’s got a year left after this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. This surely drove the price up as teams would have him for potentially 2 playoff runs.

The rumored teams interested included the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Edmonton Oilers. It’s been noted by the Blues however that they would be willing to get “creative” on a Buchnevich trade. It’s not entirely known what this means, but he is in for a raise on his next contract and it’s unknown if the Blues would have the ability to grant that. Regardless, Buchnevich is staying put for now and could potentially be traded in the offseason if the opportunity arises.

Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames

With the Flames beginning their retooling, many questioned the future of 34-year-old goaltender Jacob Markstrom. As the Flames fell lower in the standings, the rumors kept getting louder. The Flames have already made significant moves trading the likes of Chris Tanev, Elias Lindholm, and Noah Hanifin. GM Craig Conroy has been adamant about only keeping players who wanted to be in Calgary and Markstrom is no exception.

Markstrom trade rumors were prominant close to deadline time

It was heavily rumored that Jacob Markstrom was going to be on the move around the trade deadline. With reports suggesting that the Flames and New Jersey Devils had an earlier deal in place only for it to fall through, it was questioned if the Devils would revisit a Markstrom trade at the deadline.

Some reports stated how Markstrom was asked to waive his no-movement clause prior to the deal with the Devils falling through. Markstrom’s remarks to the media shortly after revealed his distrust and annoyance regarding the team’s handling of the process.

An Offseason Full of Uncertainty

Markstrom remains a member of the Flames. We may likely see a Markstrom deal happen in the summer where more teams can come into the mix and where the Flames can evaluate their season. It was stated how the Flames had the intention of holding on to Markstrom in an attempt to “send the right message to the team.” It’s unknown what this meant, but it’s assumed that the ownership group in Calgary still had hopes of making the playoffs as the Flames were only six points out of a wildcard spot at the time of the deadline.

At the time of this article being written, the Flames have fallen significantly in the playoff race as they now sit eight points back of a wildcard spot. Would a 34-year-old Markstrom want to be a part of a retool/rebuild? Or does he want to spend his last few seasons competing for a cup? Markstrom still has 2 more seasons left on a six-year $36 million contract.

Markstrom controls his destiny at this point. A summer trade for the Flames’ goalie seems probable amid a shallow offseason goalie market, presenting an opportunity for movement.

Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets

Another goaltender that was prominant in trade rumors was Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins. It was revealed that Merzlikins requested a trade from the Blue Jackets a couple months before the deadline. it’s safe to say that Columbus’ season has been a complete disaster with expectations clearly not being met.

Elvis Merzlikins Blue Jackets goalie

In 36 starts this season, Merzlikins has recorded a 12-14-8 record with a .903 save percentage. His numbers are an improvement after a disaster of a tenure in the 2022-2023 season where recorded a career-worst .876 save percentage. He’s currently in the second year of 5 year deal with a cap hit of $5.4 million per season.

With Merzlikins’s sizable contract, it’s likely teams weren’t willing to trade for the 29-year-old. Merzlikins’ mediocre numbers aren’t aided by the Blue Jackets’ overall struggles this season, in all fairness, it doesn’t help.

Trade interest may start up again in the summer though. As mentioned, the goaltending market this offseason is pretty weak and teams may get desperate to find solutions in net. Could Merzlikins thrive behind a stronger, more established defense core? It’s certainly possible. His value isn’t exactly the highest right now so teams could potentially buy low on him. However, it’s also a high-risk move given his contract and weak numbers. A change of scenery is likely but we shall see when it comes.

Frank Vatrano, Anaheim Ducks

Many expected that Ducks’ forward Frank Vatrano would be on the trade block come deadline time. The Ducks made a major move in trading veteran center Adam Henrique to the Oilers. Many expected Vatrano to soon be on his way out, but the Ducks opted to hold on to him.

Henrique was dealt from the Ducks while Vatrano stayed put

As the Ducks continue with their rebuild, GM Pat Verbeek has made it clear that he wants to surround his young players with established NHLers. This explains why Verbeek went out and got players such as Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn last off-season. As for Vatrano, the trade interest was reportedly there but the Ducks would’ve had to be “blown away” by an offer to make the deal happen.

The 30-year-old has had a strong season and is on track to put up career numbers. In 67 games, he’s put up 29 goals and 50 points, both of which are already career highs. He carries a cap hit of $3.65 million and is signed for one more season after this one.

There’s no doubt that Vatrano would’ve been a hell of a pickup for any contender, but it’s likely the Ducks didn’t get an offer suitable enough to pull the trigger. Unlike Henrique, he’s also not a pending unrestricted free agent. There’s still time to trade him in the offseason or at next year’s trade deadline. If Vatrano builds off his strong play into next season, the Ducks could very well get a good return for him.

Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals

Max Pacioretty is a grizzled veteran that has playoff experience and a high hockey IQ. In 74 career playoff games split between Montreal and Vegas, the 35-year-old has notched 49 career playoff points. With the Capitals in the thick of the wildcard hunt in the east, Pacioretty was a name seen by many as likely being shipped off to a contender.

Pacioretty Washington Capitals

However, that didn’t happen and Pacioretty remains a member of the Capitals. In 30 games with Washington, Pacioretty has three goals and 16 points. His production has declined, and he’s struggled with health, but he still offers veteran leadership and contributes to offense.

He signed a 1-year deal with the Capitals last summer with a cap hit of $2 million and has a full no-movement clause. It’s been reported that Pacioretty used his no-movement clause to block several trades as he was focused on geography. Given his family situation, he preferred to stay in the east.

It was suggested that the Florida Panthers were a team that Pacioretty was willing to waive his no-movement clause for. The Panthers ultimately went for Tarasenko and most likely offered a return for Pacioretty that Washington wasn’t interested in.

It’s unknown how much more Pacioretty has in the tank, given his injury history and decline in production. He’ll likely explore free agency during the summer, aiming to join a competitive team in the eastern conference for success.

Next: Two Last-Minute Deals Explain Maple Leafs Deadline Day Moves

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