Only six days remain as NHL teams approach the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Our second to the last edition of the Top-10 Must-Watch list has a number of names on it that have occupied the list for weeks. Our assumption is, by the time this list is posted the day before the deadline, many of the names will be gone, having been traded to other NHL franchises.
For now, and with few big names off the board, here is this week’s list:
1. Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets:
Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen has let opposing GM’s know that Artemi Panarin is available at this year’s trade deadline. The kicker is Kekäläinen is not interested in wasting time.
The Blue Jackets GM has made it well known that if teams are going to make an offer for Panarin, it better be their best offer. Columbus wants a piece that can help them immediately as they push for the playoffs and another piece they can hang onto after the season comes to a close.
So far teams have not lined up to make offers because they’re waiting to see what shapes up with players like Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. The Dallas Stars, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators are rumored to have interest.
2. Matt Duchene, Ottawa Senators:
Matt Duchene has not been approached by the Ottawa Senators with a “take it or leave it” offer nor have they forced him to make a decision but it is expected they’ll reach out to him in the next day or two and get a solid idea of whether or not he plans to sign an extension. If not, speculation is he’ll be traded.
The Winnipeg Jets, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders are said to have inquired about his availability. Columbus is rumored to be offering Alexander Wennberg.
The Fourth Period is also reporting that assuming Duchene is traded, he’s not opposed to signing an extension with his new team before the end of the season. That could make Nashville a favorite to land him.
3. Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators
Another player out of Ottawa, it’s being said that the Senators are pushing harder to get Mark Stone signed since they don’t know the status of Duchene.
Matt Duchene and Mark Stone may be on their way out 👀 pic.twitter.com/9QONCA8vMo
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 17, 2019
The Sens have reportedly come to the table with a creative offer that ups Stone’s annual average salary and that’s given him a reason for pause. Like Duchene, if Stone doesn’t re-sign before Feb. 25, he will be traded. It appears there are far more teams interested in Stone than Duchene and if Stone goes, he could be the piece that gets the rest of the dominos falling.
The Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames are rumored to be in heavy on Stone.
4. Alex Chiasson, Edmonton Oilers:
With the Edmonton Oilers falling farther and farther back on the playoff race, Alex Chiasson becomes a more likely piece to be moved out of Edmonton. The team has already shipped out Cam Talbot and Ryan Spooner and it is expected the Oilers will dump more assets.
Chiasson has been ice cold since Dec. 16 but he still has some trade value and could fetch a third-round draft pick.
5. Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers:
Frank Seravalli is reporting that right-winger Wayne Simmonds has generated interest from the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lightning, along with two Canadian clubs.
As Seravalli writes, “Simmonds, 30, has registered just 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 59 games and will likely see his scoring output decrease for the third straight season.” This likely makes Simmonds a good rental candidate but not a piece any acquiring team would seriously consider re-signing, thus teams might not be willing to give as much up for Simmonds as some other players.
Best of the Rest
6. Brandon Manning, Edmonton Oilers:
The Oilers just waived Manning and sent him to Bakersfield to make room for Andrej Sekera who was activated and will make his debut on Tuesday versus the Arizona Coyotes. There are likely few takers for Manning but if the Oilers can dump his contract, they will certainly try.
7. Adam McQuaid, New York Rangers:
There are rumors that the Toronto Maple Leafs have had some pretty strong discussions on Adam McQuaid out of New York.
8. Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings:
As Tony Wolak from THW reported earlier today, over the weekend, it was reported during Hockey Night in Canada’s “Headlines” segment that the Detroit Red Wings have officially asked forward and top trade chip Gustav Nyquist for a list of teams that he would be willing to accept a trade to.
The Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks could be among the teams with some interest.
9. Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers:
The Columbus Blue Jackets might be interested in Kevin Hayes out of the Rangers organization if they don’t land their first choice in Matt Duchene.
10. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers:
Zuccarello is another name out of the Rangers organization that could be moved but it likely won’t be until after some of the bigger names go near the deadline. Zuccarello is a good fallback option for teams who might not land their first choice.
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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