18 Players and Where They’ll Land at the NHL Trade Deadline

I was recently asked to guess where 18 of the most coveted players will land between now and the March 2 NHL trade deadline.

My predictions — in no particular order — are below with some brief commentary on each potential deal:


  1. Antoine Vermette (Arizona) to Montreal: Vermette is probably the top trade chip in play that’s likely to be moved over the next two weeks. Montreal has a great chance of coming out of the Eastern Conference this year. Vermette fits their style of play and would be a huge boost.  He won’t come cheap though.
  2. Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey) to Washington: This almost makes too much sense after Jagr said he wants to be traded to an Eastern Conference contender.  Imagine Jagr on the right side of a powerplay setup opposite Alex Ovechkin for a second, with Nicklas Backstrom feeding pucks to both. 
  3. Chris Stewart (Buffalo) to Boston: The Bruins need a physical top-six winger that can mesh well with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.  Stewart is a streaky scorer and is in the midst of a hot streak at the moment.
  4. Daniel Winnik (Toronto) to Florida: Florida is in playoff contention but they haven’t been involved in many trade rumors yet. Winnik’s work ethic is exactly what they need to set an example for such a young group of rising stars.
  5. Martin Erat (Arizona) to NY Islanders: The Islanders have great depth this season and probably won’t be adding much at the deadline, but this just feels like a good fit.  The Arizona Coyotes are dumping players and Erat won’t be in huge demand.
  6. Daniel Briere (Colorado) to Anaheim: The Ducks took a gamble on a fading Dany Heatley earlier this season.  That didn’t work out, but there aren’t many players who are more clutch in the playoffs than Daniel Briere. Someone will take a chance on the 37-year-old.
  7. Erik Cole (Dallas) to Vancouver: As usual, the Dallas Stars are stuck in the middle. Not good enough for the playoffs; not bad enough to be definite deadline sellers. They’ll eventually decide to clear the decks and Cole will be shipped out. Vancouver is on the other end. They’re hanging onto a playoff spot and need a spark to stay in contention.
  8. Cam Atkinson (Columbus) to Buffalo: After adding Evander Kane, the Sabres are officially kicking into the second phase of their rebuild. Don’t be surprised if they pull off another blockbuster at the draft, but in the meantime Atkinson would be a great young player to add. I love his upside.
  9. Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado) to Calgary: This one has been a long time coming. O’Reilly and the Avalanche haven’t seen eye to eye on contract negotiations for years but Colorado has held onto O’Reilly for as long as possible. Time to move on. O’Reilly is headed to unrestricted free agency after next season and carries a $5 million cap hit courtesy of an offer sheet from…the Calgary Flames. Former Flames GM Jay Feaster initiated the offer sheet but new Flames GM Brad Treliving believes in building through the middle too. O’Reilly is his type of player.
  10. David Legwand (Ottawa) to Calgary: If Calgary doesn’t grab O’Reilly, Legwand is a good second option at center. The Flames have very little playoff experience and Ottawa is going to be in financial trouble if they don’t start shedding some salary. Legwand is signed for another year at $3.5 million cash ($3.0 million cap hit) and doesn’t add much to a rebuilding Senators team.
  11. Phil Kessel (Toronto) to Florida: It doesn’t make a lot of sense for Toronto to deal Kessel at the deadline. Few teams can fit his $8 million cap hit right now. Florida is one team that can and they’re ready to take the next step.  They’ve got great centers in Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, a franchise defenseman in Aaron Ekblad, and great goaltending in Roberto Luongo. Kessel would be a great fit and like Luongo, he’d excel in the South Florida market.


Maple Leafs captain
Dion Phaneuf (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)


  1. Dion Phaneuf (Toronto) to Detroit: The Red Wings have been searching for a Nicklas Lidstrom replacement since his retirement in 2012. Phaneuf is another player that would probably generate more demand in the offseason, but Detroit has the young assets to make a deal happen now.
  2. Andrej Sekera (Carolina) to Los Angeles: LA has been actively searching for a defenseman since the summer.  The suspension of Slava Voynov left a huge hole in the lineup and now they’re just fighting to sneak into the playoffs. (Of course, we’ve seen what the Kings are capable of when they sneak into the playoffs)  LA wanted Cody Franson, who was just dealt to Nashville, and they might have to get aggressive to avoid being left empty-handed.
  3. Zbynek Michalek (Arizona) to Tampa: The Lightning are scary good up front. They can score with anyone and I think the line of Nikita Kucherov – Tyler Johnson – Ondrej Palat is one of the best in the NHL when it’s together. They need to upgrade their defense a bit and Michalek would ease the load on workhorse Victor Hedman heading into the playoffs.
  4. Michael Del Zotto (Philadelphia) to Vancouver: Even before Alex Edler went down with an injury, I thought Del Zotto would be a good fit in Vancouver. Edler has bounced back as one of the Canucks’ best players this season. If he’s out for an extended period of time, that’s a huge blow. Del Zotto has been playing some good hockey in Philadelphia lately and would at least fill the void on the Canucks’ powerplay.
  5. Mike Green (Washington) to San Jose: I could be convinced that the Capitals are better off keeping Green and losing him for nothing as a free agent this summer. I think he’d be more valuable to another team right now though. Green is playing on Washington’s third pair — not a knock on his play but simply a result of the team’s greater depth on the back end this season. 
  6. Jeff Petry (Edmonton) to Pittsburgh: The Penguins need to upgrade their defense for the playoffs as well. Although Petry doesn’t play as big as his 6-3 frame might suggest, he’d be a great fit in coach Mike Johnston’s fast-paced system and would round out Pittsburgh’s top four.
  7. Keith Yandle (Arizona) to Los Angeles: Finally, if the Kings don’t land Sekera, I’d have to think they’ll have interest in Yandle. Remember, Kings GM Dean Lombardi campaigned hard for Yandle to be included on Team USA in the 2014 Olympics:

“Poile reminds those in attendance of a detailed report prepared by Lombardi looking at the bubble defensemen and specifically a case to be made for including Keith Yandle on the 25-man roster.”

34 thoughts on “18 Players and Where They’ll Land at the NHL Trade Deadline”

  1. O’REILLY’s current contract is not the offer sheet he signed with Calgary. He signed his current contract last summer.

  2. It appears very odd that the Buffalo Sabres would make the deal this article suggests. One would think it would be beneficial to keep the few good scoring players a team has instead of getting rid of them. I just don’t see the logic the author of this article presents.

    • Chris Stewart will be a UFA at the end of this season, a season in which the Sabres will not be making a playoff run. The Sabres GM has stated that he doesn’t want players to walk without receiving compensation. If they like Stewart then they could trade him to a team attempting a playoff push and then pick him up in free agency, similar to what they did with Matt Moulson.

  3. You lost all credibility after you said Jagr to D.C. how can you even call yourself a hockey writer?

    • JJ still has plenty in the tank, if you let anything else factor in, then you deserve another playoff disappointment.

  4. I see Petry as a better fit in Detroit than the pylon Phaneuf.
    As a Sabre fan I’d much rather see them make a move for Yandle than Atknson. Although after seeing what they gave up for Kane, I’m scared to see what they’d have to give up for Yandle

    • I’ve found that this entire website is useless, these are amateur bloggers who do zero-to-minimal research

      from now on, if I see the hyperlink is directing me to thehockeywriters, I am NOT clicking

  5. No way in hell Jagr comes back to DC. That old wore out POS can stay right in NJ and retire there. Hated his in Pitts and even more in DC. Being a die hard CAPS fan, I hate say it, but we will keep Green and then loose him the FA in the summer, now if we win the cup, I think that will change things and we won’t lose him at all.

  6. Vermette is going to the Rangers – Sather just needs to clear some cap space – that’s all but done and pretty much known around the league. Don Maloney has strong ties with the Rangers and has made several trades with them in the past. Only hold up is $$. JT Miller will be centerpiece going back to Coyotes along with a pick.

  7. I was doing okay reading the list, agreeing enough here and there, thought differently of Columbus wanting to trade Atkinson, not sure anyone would want Briere considering his complete production nosedive, but sure why not. But then I got to the defense and saw Dion Phaneuf going to Detroit. I stopped there and felt compelled to 1.) not bother reading the rest of the article, 2.) reaffirm why I usually avoid clicking on any link from The Hockey Writers. Wow, I am just flabbergasted that anyone would mention Nicklas Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf in the same paragraph and it refers to them as similar as opposed to opposites. I had this long drawn out explanation of why this is ludicrous but deleted it. You can’t convince stupid. Stupid is as stupid does.

  8. Jagr to Washington???! Oooookay, then! Caps fans hated the guy with every fiber of their being when he played in Pittsburgh, and found it within themselves to hate him even more by the time he left DC.

    To even suggest “Jagr to Washington,” after all the bad blood the guy racked up as both opponent AND EMPLOYEE of the Capitals, would almost be like suggesting, back in the late 90’s, that the Islanders make a trade for Dale Hunter, or that the Sabres make a deal for Brett Hull at the 2004 deadline. Absolute non-starters, both of those; absolute non-starter, this.

    I’m not sure if that suggestion was intended as satire. If it’s not, it betrays, at best, a stunning level of ignorance, at worst, an outright contempt, of the many long-suffering hockey fans here in the nation’s capital.

  9. i know it’s a stretch but i wouldn’t be surprised if phaneuf landed with the rangers. of course his cap hit would be an issue but the rangers have some expendable players/prospects that sather could use to pry phaneuf away from the leafs. i don’t know if he’s a ufa at the end of the season but the rangers could use another tough, defensive defenseman to bolster their blueline. they could put matt hunwick on waivers and this would allow john moore time to develop in hartford. just a thought but sather’s been known to pull off these kinds of deals at the deadline.

    • rangers don’t have the cap space to fit him.even trading away prospects to get him you can’t fit and 8 million a year salary onto a team that has roughly 1 million in cap space although my research shows way less barely 600,000 available in cap space (estimated by salary websites)
      so that is not going to happen not because it won’t but because it can’t unless the NYR trade young players from their CURRENT roster back to toronto to make the cap space.
      guys like girardi,brassard,staal,zuccarello,stephan,klein,kreider all make 2.5 or more and that is the only way to make the move- lundqvist,nash,st louis,mcdonough & boyle i left off that list because i don’t think they will are going to move those guys.

  10. Ryah O’Reilley to Flames?? Not a chance! They are already flush at centre and will need to reward the ones they have if they make the Playoffs….and next year they have this years 4th pick in the draft Sam Bennett coming up after missing most of this season due to shoulder surgery, and they have Drew Shore acquired this season playing in ADK

    • You’d rather have Backlund centering that second line over O’Reilly? If so you’re crazy… O’Reilly adds a ton of depth, skill, and defense at the center position. And played with David Jones for 4 years before he went to Calgary.
      I’m an Avs fan saying he would be a great fit for you guys; just give up Dennis Wideman and a pick, or we can do TJ Brodie straight up haha.

      But seriously, the cost would be high for O’Reilly, but I really think he would put you guys to that next level. Can’t rely on that first line for all your scoring in the playoffs my friend.

  11. As a Bolts fan I’d like to see some combination of the top 3 defensemen listed in Lightning uniforms by the trade deadline. We have a glut of forwards in our organization and could part with two or three to get two top line defensemen in here. Will be interesting to see what Stevie Y might have up his sleeve…

    • If Phaneuf can help the Bolts win NOW, by all means. If Stamkos wins in TB before hitting free agency, there might be a SLIM hope (prayer?) he could be lured to TO.

  12. This guy clearly has no clue if he thinks the Wings are going to go after an overpriced Phaneuf who has limited offensive ability and is a lefty.

  13. I was enjoying this piece until it was implied that the current version of Dion Phaneuf is somehow Detroit’s replacement for Nick Lindstrom. I’d be much nore inclined to accept that is it was Yandle or even Kimon Timonen, but Phaneuf?!?!?

  14. bwahahahahahahahahahaha….the wings have been looking for a Lidstrom replacement, and you mention Phaneuf?!?!?!!? funniest thing ive read all year!

  15. I just don’t see the Wings paying that price for Phaneuf. With it being intra-division, the Leafs will ask for a steeper price. While the Wings have the assets, Phaneuf won’t be their target. I see a flip-flop of Yandle and Phaneuf on your list. I think the Wings go for Yandle, and Phaneuf to L.A.

  16. Jagr to Washington?!? Obviously you haven’t followed Washington for any amount of time… there are few players as hated as Jagr is here. MacLellan would be toast! Leonsis probably only remembers how much he had to pay the Rangers to take him…

    Jagr to Washington?

    Not a chance!

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