Only 21 days remain until the Feb. 25 NHL Trade Deadline. It might feel like three weeks is a lot of time, but it really isn’t if you consider that some of the players being moved will only be moved if they haven’t made it known what their intentions are or are playing with a team that won’t be making the postseason. Those facts may not be known yet and putting together a winning trade takes time.
In our fourth look at the Top 10 trade options potentially available in this year’s marketplace, we see that some names are still on our list, news names have been added and some names that were removed, have been added back on.
As was explained when the first list was put together, we expect, from week to week, the names will change and so, as we go, we’ll name the player, then update you on what’s happening in respect to their status on the trade board:
1. Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets:
After telling the Blue Jackets he was unwilling to sign or negotiate an extension during the season, the Blue Jackets are now officially in a tough spot when it comes to deciding how to handle the contract of forward Artemi Panarin. The team doesn’t want to lose their best offensive weapon before a playoff run but they can’t afford to lose him in free agency for no return.
Bob McKenzie recently said on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 that Panarin has his list of where he wants to end up down to a handful of teams and that as he decides what he wants to do in the summer, “He’s going to go through, I think, a rather exhaustive process once the season is over and he gets into that shopping period before free agency.” Columbus was not mentioned in McKenzie’s list so expect he’ll get traded before Feb. 25.
2. Derick Brassard, Florida Panthers:
Now a Florida Panther, Derick Brassard might not want to unpack his bags just yet. The consensus is that Florida picked him up from Pittsburgh, not with the intention to use him, but to flip his contract. It appears the long-term plan for the Panthers is to free up space to chase Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky and that Brassard is just a middle man in that long-term goal.
3. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers:
Mats Zuccarello has been on fire in the last seven games with 13 points and with the increase in production, he’s making himself a much more attractive option to some teams in a trade. The latest is that there might be interest by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s hard to know if the Penguins have the pieces to make a trade the Rangers might like but it’s guaranteed the Pens won’t be the only team interest now that Zuccarello is playing so well.
The Edmonton Oilers were rumored to be interested but the change in management and the odds growing smaller the Oilers will make the playoffs may have taken them out of the running.
4. Matt Duchene, Ottawa Senators:
While other names have taken more of the spotlight this week, Matt Duchene certainly hasn’t removed himself from our top five and is still very much in play before the trade deadline date of Feb. 25.
Our own Josh Bell wrote earlier today, “As information leaks out, it seems less likely that the 28-year-old will be traded away from the Senators.” Ownership has now set a cap of $8 million per season on Duchene’s contract and that has to mean he’s out the door knowing he can get more in free agency.
Duchene is currently having a great season, with 21 goals and 48 points in 43 games.
5. Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers:
The Flyers are on a hot streak right now but that doesn’t change the organizational plans for a player like Wayne Simmonds. Unless Simmonds turns to the team and says, ‘I think we have something here and I’d like to stay. I’ll take a discount to do so’, he’s gone. That the Flyers are playing well only helps their positional strength in terms of a trade.
Simmonds is the exact type of forward many teams are looking for as a rental. The Bruins, Maple Leafs, Penguins and Lightning may all be teams that have some interest.
Best of the Rest
6. Micheal Ferland, Carolina Hurricanes:
Ferland is still a popular name to discuss when talking trades. It is expected he’ll be shipped off before the deadline but the key for the Carolina Hurricanes is getting the best possible return.
7. Jet’s First-Round Pick
The Winnipeg Jets are one of a few teams willing to trade their first-round draft pick in 2019 to improve their roster. The Predators are another team. Winnipeg did something similar last year when they acquired Paul Stastny.
8. Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators
Does Mark Stone want to stay in Ottawa? Probably. Will the Senators pay him what he’s worth? Maybe not. Will the lure of free agency be hard to ignore? Certainly.
9. Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings
After moving Jake Muzzin, there is lots of noise coming out of LA that the Kings aren’t done. One of the names mentioned as a potential piece to be moved is Alec Martinez.
10. Jakob Silfverberg – Anaheim Ducks
As the Ducks try to work out an extension with forward Jakob Silfverberg, there is a good chance that if a deal isn’t struck, he could be traded before the trade deadline. Silfverberg would be a popular man among NHL teams looking for a productive and skilled forward who could be a rental, but also an asset any team might look to extend on a contract.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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