With most NHL teams already done for the season and all 30 teams soon to be in offseason mode, it is the time of year of hot debates. Which players will be made available on the summer trade market? Or which ones are only a pipe dream for the other 29 teams? Outside the regular season trade deadline, the offseason from June to July is the biggest time of year for trades. Certain players are on the market to be moved, and others are locks to stay with their current clubs. The latter group of players are often referred to as “untouchables” or “non-starters” and depending on the team, some have more than one. However, which players are the most “untouchable” for their respective clubs? Let’s take a look.
Anaheim Ducks- Ryan Getzlaf
Currently still playing in the Western Conference final, the Anaheim Ducks are and will continue to be a win now team. Part of the epic 2003 draft, it seems like Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf has been around forever, but he only just turned 30-years-old. He is the Ducks’ best player (sorry Corey Perry), and he is not going anywhere.
Arizona Coyotes- Oliver Ekman-Larsson
The Coyotes were one of the bottom feeders all year long this past season. They finished with the second worst record behind only the Buffalo Sabres this year. However, they employ one of the best young defenseman in the entire NHL. Oliver Ekman-Larsson led the entire league in goals from the blue-line with 23. His 43 points led the Coyotes in scoring. The sixth overall pick from the 2009 draft will turn just 24-years-old in July, he is by far the most untouchable player on the Arizona roster.
Boston Bruins- Dougie Hamilton
Originally I was thinking of going with Tuukka Rask in this spot, but with goaltending super prospect Malcolm Subban behind Rask, Boston could decide to move Rask for a huge return. Furthermore, young defensemen who can skate at 6’5” are incredibly rare to come by. Dougie Hamilton had a breakout year this past season with 42 points at just 21-years-old. The ninth overall selection from the 2011 draft is an absolute beast with a good 12-15 years head of him barring major injury. Given organizational depth in net and big Zdeno Chara on his last legs, Hamilton is the most untouchable Bruin.
Buffalo Sabres- Projected 2nd Overall pick Jack Eichel
By virtue of being the worst team in the league this season, the Sabres were guaranteed to select either of the top two mega prospects in the upcoming June draft. They missed out on winning the lottery for Connor McDavid at No. 1, but Jack Eichel is thought to be a sure fire No. 1 center. He may not star right away but neither did another guy taken No. 2 overall in Tyler Seguin. I could see a similar type of early career for Eichel.
Calgary Flames- Sean Monahan
I’m sure many of you are shaking your heads that Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau isn’t my choice. This is clearly one of the more difficult choices but between the two young players I’ll lean towards Monahan. Size being the primary reason. While often times better skilled players get passed over in the draft because of size (which isn’t smart), when it comes to these two, I’ll lean towards the bigger player. Gaudreau had better underlying numbers this season but in terms of future production, I’ll take the 6’2” center.
Carolina Hurricanes- Elias Lindholm
The Hurricanes are a terrible team and Lindholm might be the only untouchable. Both Staals, and goaltender Cam Ward are veterans that should be on the block to start a full on rebuild. Even Jeff Skinner should be on the block. He hasn’t backed up his calder year with anywhere near the same level of performance. In just his second season, Lindholm scored 17 goals and 39 points for the second highest scoring output of all Hurricanes forwards. The fifth overall pick from 2013 has his entire future ahead of him at just 20-years-old.
Chicago Blackhawks- Jonathan Toews
Captain serious is a top-10 player in the NHL, the Blackhawks are still in the playoffs with a chance at their third Stanley Cup in the past six years. Toews has been captain this whole stretch of success, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Colorado Avalanche- Gabriel Landeskog
On a team that struggles defensively, their young captain is their most untouchable player. The 22-year-old forward tied for the team lead in points with 59 and is going to be around for a long, long time.
Columbus Blue-Jackets- Ryan Johansen
While a contract dispute last offseason made many wonder about Johansen’s future, the Jackets would be crazy to trade their best player. Johansen is one of the brightest young stars in the game today. He can score goals all on his own from incredibly tough angles. He is a super duper star in the making. On a bad Columbus team this year Johansen finished with 71 points.
Dallas Stars- Jamie Benn
Some would go with Tyler Seguin in this spot, but over his career the bigger Benn is better in the face-off circle. He is a physical force who is also willing to drop the gloves from time to time and is just an all around great player. This year’s Art Ross Trophy winner for most points is a slightly more valuable asset.
Detroit Red Wings- Pavel Datsyuk
Typically older stars aren’t going to show up on this list. But when your nickname is the magician and people refer to your dangles as “Datsyukian dekes” well, you aren’t going anywhere. Ever.
Edmonton Oilers- Projected 1st Overall Pick Connor McDavid
The Oilers have had a lot of No. 1 overall picks recently, but all their other stars have been rumored to be on the trade block. McDavid is thought to be the next Sidney Crosby. You do the math.
Florida Panthers- Aaron Ekblad
A pure rookie, the first overall pick of the 2014 draft was a stud defenseman for the Florida Panthers. The 6’4” 216 pound 19-year-old finished his rookie year with 39 points and a plus-12 rating on a team that missed the playoffs. He has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.
Los Angeles Kings- Drew Doughty
You could make a case for Anze Kopitar, but the job Drew Doughty does as one of the best and most used defensemen in the league? I’ll go with the defenseman frequently playing at or over 30 minutes a game with the loss of Slava Voynov this year. Doughty is a machine.
Minnesota Wild- Ryan Suter
Talk about defensemen playing 30 minutes a game, well Ryan Suter seemingly never leaves the ice for the Wild. He is one of the best in the game and is the corner stone of that Wild team.
Montreal Canadiens- Carey Price
Slam dunk Vezina winner and likely Hart Trophy winner as MVP, Carey Price is arguably the best goaltender in the league. He is still young and not going anywhere anytime soon, likely ever.
Nashville Predators- Roman Josi
Filip Forsberg is the sexier young player, Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne are the veteran super stars, but Roman Josi is the most untouchable Predator. He scored 55 points from the blue-line this year, is only 24-years-old, will be 25 next season. He is a top pair defender with a big future ahead of him.
New Jersey Devils- Cory Schneider
The Devils were simply not very good this season. Their highest scorer was Adam Henrique with 43 points. Goaltender Cory Schneider posted a .925 save percentage. Goaltending is the one position the Devils don’t have to worry about.
New York Islanders- John Tavares
One of the top-10 players in the game, Tavares is by far the best player the Islanders have on the roster. Probably one of the reasons they haven’t gotten farther in the playoffs is they lack star power behind him despite a solid roster.
New York Rangers- Ryan McDonagh
The obvious choice here would be Henrik Lundqvist but the Rangers’ elite goaltender isn’t getting any younger. The 33-year-old goaltender still has enough in the tank though to bring back a huge return if the Rangers decided it was better to move on and get some younger players back. Therefore, I’ll say the most untouchable Ranger is the captain in defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The all around defender is just about to turn 26-years-old, and is their best defender in the prime of his career.
Ottawa Senators- Erik Karlsson
While his defensive game still has room to grow, Erik Karlsson is arguably the most dynamic offensive defenseman in the entire NHL. His point totals eclipse that of most All-Star forwards, twice has he finished with over 70 points. As a defeseman that is simply unheard of around the league. He is going nowhere.
Philadelphia Flyers- Claude Giroux
You could make a strong case Jakub Voracek had a stronger season than Claude Giroux for the Flyers this year. However, Giroux is the captain, the heart and sole of the Flyers. He is a beast in the face-off circle and is one of the top-10 centers in the league. He is still only 27-years-old right in the middle of his prime.
Pittsburgh Penguins- Sidney Crosby
Considered by many to be the best hockey player in the world. Enough said.
San Jose Sharks- Marc-Edouard Vlasic
The Sharks are apparently rebuilding even though they have a deadly and extremely veteran No. 1 power-play unit. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic isn’t on that top unit and isn’t known for offense but he is one of the best defensemen in hockey. At just 28-years-old Vlasic still has many, many years ahead of him. All the other Sharks players could be candidates to move. Vlasic is the only one who is a complete untouchable.
St. Louis Blues-Vladimir Tarasenko
The Blues suffered another early exit this postseason but Vladimir Tarasenko was a breakout star in the regular season. A third year player, Tarasenko went from 43 points in 2013-14 to 73 points this past season including 37 goals. He will turn just 24-years-old next season.
Tampa Bay Lightning- Steven Stamkos
Stamkos will likely finish his career with over 600 goals. Enough said.
Toronto Maple Leafs- Morgan RiellyThe recently turned 21-year-old just completed his second full season in the NHL and is clearly the Maple Leafs best player. Scoring 27 and 29 points these first two seasons on a defense that is otherwise pretty miserable, Rielly is the most valuable. The 2012 fifth overall selection isn’t going anywhere.
Vancouver Canucks- Alex Edler
The best defenseman the Canucks have on their roster is in the middle of his prime at 29-years-old. Most forwards have a prime centered around 24-25 but defenseman generally have longer shelf lives and take longer to develop. Edler is right at his peak as a defenseman right now.
Washington Capitals- Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin is likely to finish his career with over 700 goals. Enough said.
Winnipeg Jets- Jacob Trouba
On a team without a whole lot of star power, the ninth overall pick from the 2012 draft in defenseman Jacob Trouba is my choice for most untouchable. He is just 21-years-old with No. 1 defense potential.
Disagree with any of the choices? Leave a comment below!
Andrew has been credentialed to cover the Sharks since 2010 and the 49ers since 2012. He graduated with his BA in Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts in 2013 from San Francisco State University.