One Player on Every NHL Team Who Should be Traded

As the December 19th holiday roster freeze quickly approaches, trade talks will be heightened as teams look to make moves in order to improve their respective squads.

Although there is no rush to make any drastic changes, the holiday roster freeze acts similar to a trade deadline, especially for desperate teams looking to make significant changes to their rosters.

Obviously a variety of factors must be considered when making a trade; such as player productivity, contract length and of course, salary cap hit.

That being said, here’s a look at one player on each NHL team who could be traded during the 2014-15 NHL season. [By the way, if you like this post you can subscribe to our free newsletter to receive others like it]

Anaheim Ducks square logoAnaheim Ducks: Emerson Etem

Since being drafted 29th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Etem has failed to live up to the potential which made him a first round pick. A 60 goal scorer with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League, Etem has failed to bring his elite scoring touch to the NHL on a consistent basis.

At the age of 22, Etem is still young and has plenty of time to develop his craft in the NHL. However, the depth of the Ducks up front has restricted Etem’s playing time, limiting Emerson to a little over 11 minutes of ice time per night in the NHL. Having scored a mere two goals and four assists in 21 games this season, Etem was recently demoted to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.

Phoenix Coyotes square logoArizona Coyotes: Keith Yandle

At the age of 28, Yandle is quietly one of the best defenceman in the NHL today. Currently leading his team in scoring, Yandle is an experienced defender who is consistent at both ends of the ice. Yandle, whose contract expires following the 2015-16 season, carries a $5.75 million dollar cap hit.

In the most likely case, Yandle would be acquired by a playoff bound team looking to add a skilled defender for a post-season run. The Coyotes, who in all likelihood will miss the playoffs this season, could demand and receive a considerable return in exchange for Yandle, a return which could be more valuable than Yandle himself in the long run.

Boston Bruins square logoBoston Bruins: Reilly Smith

The Boston Bruins are heading towards a cap crunch in the 2015-16 NHL season. Dougie Hamilton, Tory Krug and Reilly Smith are all restricted free agents following this season, and in all likelihood the Bruins will not be able to afford to keep all three young stars.

While the Bruins have an improving depth of young forwards, they have an increasingly thin blue line following the departure of Johnny Boychuk and aging captain Zdeno Chara. Signing Krug and Hamilton will therefore become a priority, as both have displayed elite skill as young defencemen. Smith appears to be the odd-man out, as the Bruins will not be able to pay Reilly what his abilities have shown he deserves.

Buffalo Sabres square logoBuffalo Sabres: Drew Stafford

A pending unrestricted free agent, Drew Stafford in an experienced forward who could provide depth scoring for a playoff bound team. Stafford, who contributed well offensively this season on a bad Sabres team, is a consistent player who can mix it up physically.

Although the return for Stafford would likely not be substantial, the Sabres run the risk of losing Stafford to free agency come the 2015 off-season. A likely return for Drew Stafford would likely be a roster player and/or a draft pick.

Calgary Flames square logoCalgary Flames: Devin Setoguchi

Could it really be anyone else? The Flames have been a terrific surprise so far this season, receiving contributions from throughout their roster. Setoguchi, who was signed to a one year, one way contract by the Flames this off-season, is currently playing in the AHL with the Adirondack Flames.

Setoguchi, a former 30 goal scorer with the San Jose Sharks, has experienced a significant regression in his offensive play the past few seasons, failing to register a point in 12 games with Calgary this season. There will likely be multiple suitors for Setoguchi, especially teams looking for depth scoring, as Devin’s services will not come costly.

Carolina Hurricanes square logoCarolina Hurricanes: Jay McClement

At the age of 31, McClement is a strong, depth center. Although he does not contribute much offensively, the desire for a veteran, versatile center is always strong in the league, especially for playoff bound teams. Signed to a one year, one million dollar contract, McClement would be a great acquisition, as not only can Jay win important faceoffs, but he remains one of the league’s best penalty killers.

The cost to acquire McClement would be relatively low given his offensive output and current contract, yet the Hurricanes could certainly create a bidding war for his services, as many teams will likely have an interest in McClement’s services.

Chicago Blackhawks square logoChicago Blackhawks: David Rundblad

I had originally discussed Jeremy Morin as the most likely Blackhawks trade candidate, however he was traded a day prior to the stories publication. On a team as deep as the Blackhawks are at virtually every position, it is conceivable that David Rundblad could be the next out of town. A young defender, Rundblad has long been considered a top prospect yet has thus far failed to earn considerable NHL playing time.

Due to Chicago’s multitude of young players, especially defenders, moving Rundblad would likely come at the price of a  young forward or a middle round draft pick. A third to fourth round pick would be reasonable, as Rundblad has already been traded three times in his young career.

Colorado Avalanche square logoColorado Avalanche: Ryan O’Reilly

At only 23 years old, O’Reilly is already an established NHL center with proven success. However, with stars Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon acting as the core of the Avalanche for the forseeable future, O’Reilly, and his contract appear expendable.

The Avalanche could demand a huge return in exchange for O’Reilly, most likely a top pairing defenceman. O’Reilly’s six million dollar cap hit doesn’t match his current production, yet in a different situation O’Reilly could be an extremely useful and valuable player. For the Avalanche, a major shake-up could be exactly what the team needs, as Colorado’s play has strictly been poor this year.

Columbus Blue Jackets 2 square logoColumbus Blue Jackets: Matt Calvert

A restricted free agent following the 2014-15 season, Calvert is a solid depth winger who can score and contribute offensively at times. Known for his hard working play and determination, Calvert is also a strong penalty killer who plays minutes in all types of roles.

Earning a modest $1.1 million dollars this season, Calvert could be available, as the Blue Jackets currently boast a plethora of budding young forwards. Based on the Blue Jackets season thus far, dealing Calvert would not be a huge loss, as the team may value a second to fourth round pick more so than yet another depth forward.

Dallas Stars square logoDallas Stars: Shawn Horcoff

In the final year of a six year, $33 million dollar contract signed while with the Edmonton Oilers, the Stars would be smart to move Horcoff before his contract expires. The Stars have a number of centers signed to long term contracts, namely Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza, while Cody Eakin will likely earn a long term deal following the 2015-16 season. Even now, Horcoff is only playing about 12 minutes per game in a depth role, and would be highly unlikely to re-sign in Dallas.

Like other veteran players, Horcoff would be an attraction to playoff bound teams. Not only is Horcoff strong at the faceoff dot, but he is also a solid penalty killer with some playoff experience. Shawn’s services could likely warrant a third or fourth round pick in return.

Detroit Red Wings square logoDetroit Red Wings: Joakim Andersson

Similar to Horcoff’s situation, the Red Wings have a considerable depth of established NHL centermen. With centers such as Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan and Stephen Weiss all ahead of Andersson on the depth chart, it may make sense to move him. An ideal size for a center at 6 foot 2, Andersson showed glimpses of promise last season, however his production has dried up this season, with just a few assists in over 25 games

Andersson is still considered a relatively strong prospect, so the Red Wings could expect to fetch a substantial player, especially so in a multi player trade. With seven left shot defencemen, the Wings would likely hope to add a right shot defender, yet such a player may only be available a part of a larger trade.

Edmonton Oilers square logoEdmonton Oilers: Jordan Eberle

As we all know, the Oilers look to be destined for yet another failed season. Although trade rumours heightened during their recent losing streak, the necessity to trade Jordan Eberle remains, although not at this point in time, as Eberle’s trade value is nowhere near his worth. The need to trade Eberle exists because the Oilers need to significantly upgrade their defence and goaltending. Trading one of their young core players is the only way the Oilers can obtain an elite defender or goalie.

If traded, it will likely not come until the off-season or even the NHL Entry Draft. If dealt, the Oilers, in the right trade, could obtain a top pairing defenceman or a high quality starting goalie, either route addressing glaring needs in the Oiler lineup.

Read: The Edmonton Oilers Must Trade Jordan Eberle

Florida Panthers square logoFlorida Panthers: Brad Boyes

The often moved Brad Boyes is in the first year of a cap friendly contract which has a $2.6 million dollar cap hit. The former 40 goal scorer has now played for six NHL teams, while the possibility of a seventh is not a longshot. A depth scorer, the Panthers have developing wingers in Jonathan Huberdeau and Jimmy Hayes who will eventually replace Boyes’ current role.

Chances are Boyes will be replaced internally by youngsters developing in the Panthers’ system. In terms of needs, the Panthers would like to add a consistent, established NHL center to compliment their current youngsters down the middle. Dave Bolland looked to be that player, but that decision certainly has yet to pan out. Attracting such a center would likely require Boyes to be part of a larger deal. If not, a second or third round pick would be realistic.

Los Angeles Kings square logoLos Angeles Kings: Jordan Nolan

Although the Kings should be in no rush no make a trade, one player who will likely be on the radar of other teamS is Jordan Nolan. Despite his fourth line role, Nolan brings energy and a physical presence with his game which many teams find attractive. At 6 foot 3, Nolan is a big fourth line center yet does not contribute much offensively.

If traded, Nolan would likely cost a team a low round draft pick. As said before, the Kings are in no hurry to make a deal, however moving Nolan may make sense considering the vast number of NHL ready forwards on the Kings’ roster.

Minnesota Wild square logoMinnesota Wild: Josh Harding

Relegated to the American Hockey League, Josh Harding’s time in Minnesota appears to be coming to an end. Although goaltending for the Wild has been an area of uncertainty in recent times, Harding’s injury and subsequent suspension by Minnesota has certainly soured his relationship with the club. Harding broke his foot after kicking a wall following an off-ice incident.

Currently in the final season of a three year contract worth $5.7 million dollars, Harding’s $1.9 million dollar cap hit and spectacular play last season could make him an attraction to playoff bound teams in search of a depth goaltender. A pending unrestricted free agent, the Wild would likely accept any trade offer made for Harding. A middle to late round pick would be adequate compensation for Minnesota, who will likely let Harding test free agency following this season.

Montreal Canadiens square logoMontreal Canadiens: David Desharnais

If any player is to be traded, I think it has to be David Desharnais. The Canadiens have been a strong team this year, but as always, may be looking to upgrade both their size and scoring up front.  It has been a tale of two players this season with Desharnais, who has either been great or completely invisible. Although he doesn’t fill the net, Desharnais is a skilled playmaker who makes those around him better.

Ultimately, if the Canadiens are to move Desharnais, it would likely be as part of a larger deal. Desharnais on his own is not valuable enough to acquire a significant upgrade up front, so an additional player would likely have to be part of the deal. If the Canadiens can find and pull off a trade for a big bodied forward with offensive prowess, Montreal could cement itself as one of the league’s most dangerous offences.

Nashville Predators square logoNashville Predators: Paul Gaustad

The Nashville Predators have iced a total of ten natural centers this season! Although the Predators are in the midst of a successful season and don’t necessarily need to make a trade, Paul Gaustad could be the first, if any, to go. The veteran center checks in at 6 foot 5 and 220 pounds. His size makes him a dominating force on the ice, especially in the faceoff circle where he is a team best 57.5%.

As a result, opposing clubs, especially playoff contenders would love to acquire Gaustad. Although the return for Gaustad would not be too substantial, likely a middle round pick, it would allow young centers Craig Smith and Colin Wilson to gain further experience and ice time.

New Jersey Devils square logoNew Jersey Devils: Michael Ryder

In the final year of his contract, Michael Ryder should be dealt by New Jersey. The Devils, who currently sit out of a playoff spot, will get no closer to the post season simply because of Michael Ryder, who could be dealt to a competitive team for either a developing player or a middle of the order draft pick.

Most teams likely will not be willing to take on Ryder’s entire $3.5 million dollar salary, meaning that the Devils will likely have to retain a portion of Ryder’s contract in order to move him. As Ryder has experienced before, it is most likely that playoff teams will come calling about the 34 year old winger.

New York Islanders square logoNew York Islanders: Cal Clutterbuck

The prototypical role player, Cal Clulutterbuck would be a welcome addition to any team looking to add a physical, depth winger with some offensive flair. Currently in the second year of a four year contract, Clutterbuck’s cap hit is a manageable $2.75 million per year. The Islanders, who are off to their best start in franchise history, are in no rush to make a trade, however if the time should come, Clutterbuck could be one of the first to go.

Clutterbuck’s role with the Islanders could likely be replaced by a player already on the roster, so Clutterbuck is essentially expendable if a team is willing to take on his salary. The return for Clutterbuck would likely not be anything substantial, most likely a draft pick. Yet with the way the Islanders are currently playing, don’t expect a trade to happen any time soon.

New York Rangers square logoNew York Rangers: Mats Zuccarello

Following a strong 2013-14 season and cup run with the Rangers, Zuccarello’s offense has dried up considerably. With seven players including Zuccarello headed towards either unrestricted or restricted free agency following this season, including Martin St. Louis, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin, money will undoubtedly be tight for the Rangers. Depending on the Rangers play and their chances of making the playoffs, moving Zuccarello could be an interesting option.

As a player with proven scoring abilities, Zuccarello would be a welcome addition to interested playoff teams, especially so considering Mats’ strong playoff performance last season with the Rangers. A young, developing prospect, a high pick, or both, would be the likely asking price for Zuccarello, who has been a mainstay in the Rangers since his arrival from Norway.

Ottawa Senators square logoOttawa Senators: Colin Greening

Since his breakout season with the Senators in 2011-12, Greening’s play has continued to regress. Colin has been in and out of the Senators lineup this season as a healthy scratch, and has failed to register a single point. As witnessed in the past, Greening certainly has potential, however, at the age of 28, may need a fresh opportunity to find his game again.

Greening is expendable because he has not played well enough to make the Senators lineup on a consistent basis. Currently in the first year of a three year, $7.95 millior dollar contract, Greening’s annual $2.65 million dollar cap hit will likely scare away more than a few NHL clubs. However, for teams with cap space, Greening could be an interesting trade option based on his previous success. Although it is unlikely, Greening would likely fetch a late round draft pick in a trade which could revive his career.

Philadelphia Flyers square logoPhiladelphia Flyers: Nick Schultz

Although the Flyers have some bigger contracts they would love to shed, such as Lecavalier and Schenn, moving one of their veteran defencemen seems to be a more likely bet. With an expiring contract at the end of the season, Schultz could be moved to a playoff contender, filling a depth role with veteran experience. The Flyers already have a number of veteran defenders, so losing one could be sustainable with an internal replacement filling Schultz’ role.

The return for Schultz would not be anything significant, most likely a draft pick. It cost the Columbus Blue Jackets a fifth round pick to acquire Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers last season, so a similar return should be expected. However, such a draft pick could come for a higher round, such as the third of fourth given Schultz’ play and the needs of inquiring teams.

Pittsburgh Penguins square logoPittsburgh Penguins: Marcel Goc

Marcel Goc has failed to do much of anything this year with the Penguins. Relegated to a bottom six role, Goc is averaging less than 12 minutes per game and has been nonexistent offensively. One, if not the only area where Goc has excelled this year is at the faceoff dot. Although he has taken considerably less draws than the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Sutter, Goc is still a team best 55% at faceoffs, an attractive skill.

As a result, Goc could and should be picked up by a playoff contender or a team looking for a depth center. A reasonable return would likely be a mid-round draft pick. Since Goc is in the final year of his contract and will become and unrestricted free agent following the season, acquiring a player or prospect in exchange is most likely out of the question.

San Jose Sharks square logoSan Jose Sharks: Antti Niemi

It has been a long time coming, but this could be the year the Sharks finally trade Antii Niemi. Despite reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs on an annual basis, Niemi has begun to fall out of favour in San Jose, kickstarted by his poor performance in the first round of the 2013-14 playoffs. The Sharks have two competent goaltenders in Alex Stalock and the developing Troy Grosenick waiting behind Niemi, both of which have proven they have the skills to be successful at the NHL level.

There would likely be a huge number of potential trade partners throughout the NHL interested in acquiring a proven starting goalie. A high draft pick would be almost guaranteed, but if the Sharks decided to finally move Niemi, it should likely be in a package for a player who gets them over the hump. Making the playoffs every year has become expected in San Jose, however the results have not been good enough for the Sharks, who simply can not find a way to make the Finals. In the right package, a top six forward or elite defenceman could be what the Sharks need, however it all depends on whether San Jose is confident Alex Stalock can get the job done in net.

St. Louis Blues square logoSt. Louis Blues: Patrik Berglund

A proven producer, Berglund has the qualities all NHL teams look for in a center. Patrik has size, skill and speed. This season however, the offensive production has not been there for Berglund, who was rumoured to be on the trading block earlier in the season. On a team with likely the strongest offensive depth in the NHL, moving Berglund could become a reality, especially due to the high number of natural centers on the Blues’ roster.

On most teams, Berglund is a guaranteed top six forward and a top two center when playing the position. The cost for Berglund would likely be significant, especially so considering Berglund still has two additional years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $3.7 million dollars. A first or second round draft pick, or established NHL roster player would need to be exchanged in return for Berglund’s services.

Tampa Bay Lightning square logoTampa Bay Lightning: Brenden Morrow

Given the success of the Lightning, no trades are likely imminent, however one player who could be traded is veteran forward Brenden Morrow. Morrow is on a one year contract worth $1.55 million dollars. Playing under ten minutes per game, Morrow’s role would be replaceable internally.

In terms of a return, a realistic expectation would have to be a late round pick, if the Lightning do decide to move him that is. Tampa Bay will have to decide whether Morrow is of great enough value to keep on their roster in the postseason, as although he provides veteran leadership, he does not provide much else in terms of offense.

Toronto Maple Leafs square logoToronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer

Despite re-signing with the Leafs this off-season, it is only a matter of time before James Reimer is traded. In the first season of a two year contract, Reimer has seen a significant reduction in playing time as Jonathan Bernier has  become Toronto’s definitive starting goaltender. Reimer has shown his skill and ability to win games in the past, yet has battled consistency issues so far this season.

There remain teams looking for goaltending help, and Reimer could be an adequate solution. Many have argued Reimer could be an upgrade to the goaltending situation in Edmonton, yet would likely have to be included in a much larger deal for the Oilers to take the bait. Reimer likely isn’t happy with his role, and would welcome a trade, however a suitable trading parter, and deal, would have to arise first before the Leafs would consider moving the fan favourite.

Vancouver Canucks 1 square logoVancouver Canucks: Jacob Markstrom

On a team with great goaltending depth, Jacob Markstrom will not likely become the Canucks future starting goaltender. Not only does Vancouver have Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack, two starting goalies at the NHL level, but they also have top goaltending prospect Thatcher Demko developing with Boston College. As a result, Markstrom will likely request to be moved, as despite his stellar play in the AHL, there appears to be almost no opportunity for Markstrom in Vancouver.

When the Canucks dealt Roberto Luongo last season, Markstrom was the major piece coming to Vancouver in return, illustrating his value as a developing goaltender. Similar to Reimer with the Maple Leafs, there are teams, such as Edmonton, who are still looking for a young, potential franchise goaltender. However, the longer Markstrom plays in the AHL, the further his trade value decreases. At the moment, a realistic trade for Markstrom would likely involve a middle round draft pick and a roster player. Markstrom’s value simply is no longer great enough to warrant demanding a high round pick or young prospect.

Read: Interview with Notre Dame Hounds Goaltending Prospect Benjamin Patt

Washington Capitals square logoWashington Capitals: Jack Hillen

Washington’s blue line is full with NHL calibre defencemen, and there is simply not enough room for Jack Hillen. A quality puck moving defender, Hillen’s playing time has been severely limited over his past three seasons with the Capitals, having yet to play more than 25 games in a season. Although an immediate move is not necessary, Hillen would likely prefer to be moved to a team where he can secure guaranteed playing time.

Hillen has battled injuries of late, but should not be considered injury prone. As a result, Hillen’s value in a trade should remain relatively normal. An AHL player, or a middle to late draft pick would be the most likely compensation for Hillen, who would fill a depth defenceman role on many other teams, especially those expected to venture deep into the post season.

Winnipeg Jets square logoWinnipeg Jets: Michael Frolik

In the final year of his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent, there is a good chance Frolik could be traded, depending on the Jets’ playoff chances. At the age of 26, Frolik has many playing years ahead of him, however they may not come with the Jets, as Frolik’s play has been regressing since his first NHL season with the Florida Panthers.

It’s hard to see the Jets trading Frolik prior to the trade deadline, as Winnipeg will likely wait to assess their playoff chances before unloading pending free agents. If the Jets are once again on the bubble to make the playoffs, there is a good chance Frolik is traded as part of a larger package in order for the Jets to secure immediate help up front. Currently sitting 24th in goals for this season, the Jets would love to improve their offensive output by adding an elite top six forward.


What Player should your Favourite Team Trade? Comment Below!