NHL Power Rankings: Best Future Trade Bait Edition

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman joins Hockey Central at Noon to discuss his club’s deadline moves, and how he’s been able to have such a highly competitive team during these tough salary cap years.

While Monday’s NHL trade deadline offered little in the way of blockbusters and pure hockey trades, the 2016 NHL draft floor promises to bring more activity and more intricate dealings.

For this week’s rankings, we name each club’s most attractive trade chip leftover from February’s flurry of front-office activity. No UFAs here, folks.

Now, not all of these trade chips are necessarily on the market. But we tried to pinpoint valuable and realistic trade bait (not the Sidney Crosbys and Jonathan Toewses of the world) that your favourite team could use to swing a significant deal in the upcoming off-season.

It’s the NHL Power Rankings: Future Trade Bait Edition.

Rank Team

RFA-in-waiting (again) Marcus Johansson took the Capitals to arbitration last summer, and the arbitrator gave him a one-year deal. With Washington tight to the ceiling, perhaps GM Brian MacLellan considers dealing the forward. Another solid season means he’ll be looking for another raise.

Previous: 1


Sami Vatanen. If Bob Murray wants to land a haul, he’ll trade from strength. Re-signing both his RFA-to-be defencemen, Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm, will be tricky. Toss Vatanen — a 24-year-old top-four D-man — into a deal, and the Ducks could land a top winger.

Previous: 4


Teuvo Teravainen. The Blackhawks will enter the 2016 draft without a first- or second-round pick. Winnipeg reportedly wanted Teravainen in the Andrew Ladd trade. With Artemi Panarin and Teravainen’s contracts both coming due in the same summer (2017), teams would love to get their hands on the Finnish forward.

Previous: 3


Jonathan Drouin. GM Steve Yzerman’s price wasn’t met on Feb. 29, of course, but Drouin may become even more valuable at the draft. If the disgruntled winger doesn’t play two more NHL games this season, his UFA year gets pushed to 2022.

Previous: 13


Kevin Shattenkirk. The top-four defenceman will be entering a contract year in 2016-17, and commitments to Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Colton Parayko make Shattenkirk’s re-signing questionable.

Previous: 9


Travis Hamonic. It’s common knowledge that the top-four defenceman wants to move west for personal reasons. A delicate deal that should be given its proper consideration this off-season after the Isles take a run at some post-season success.

Previous: 8


A young forward. New York now lacks first- and second-round picks in 2016. But dangle one of their cheap, under-25 forwards like Oscar Lindberg, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider or Jesper Fast, and the Rangers could get real value or move up the ladder in return.

Previous: 5


First-rounder. As one of the few clubs with an extra draft pick in the first round of the 2016 Draft (San Jose’s), Boston has some serious purchasing power if it chooses to shop for a young defender.

Previous: 11


Patrick Marleau. After its recent trades, San Jose is low on draft picks and has little cap space to play with. Marleau’s dissatisfaction appears to have subsided months ago, but he carries the resume and cap hit ($6.66 million) necessary if the Sharks want to pull off a blockbuster this spring/summer.

Previous: 7


Colin Wilson. A subject of mild deadline rumours, Wilson, 26, is signed for three more years at under $4 million. He failed to return to last year’s 20-goal form and could be packaged with futures if David Poile wants to upgrade at forward.

Previous: 18


Tanner Pearson. The Kings will have to pay the 23-year-old eventually, as Pearson and Tyler Toffoli will both be due raises in 2017. Pearson, 23, is enjoying another solid season and has already potted four game-winners.

Previous: 10


Valeri Nichushkin. The 20-year-old winger, whose contract expires July 1, has yet to reach his potential but still brims with promise. Dallas is so deep and expensive up front, the money Nichushkin will command this summer is better spent on the blue-line. Heck of a piece to dangle if the Stars want to make moves at the draft.

Previous: 2


Vincent Trocheck. The 22-year-old is enjoying a career season, and it’s more likely GM Dale Tallon re-signs the forward than trades him. But consider that Florida already has young centres Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov locked up long-term, and you wonder how a hockey trade involving Trocheck could yield a big return.

Previous: 6


Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba. The under-23 defencemen have been eyed by rival GMs and could be used if the Wild want to add offence.

Previous: 24


Derrick Pouliot. The Penguins have ruled their 2012 first-round pick off-limits in past trade negotiations, but Jim Rutherford could put the prized defence prospect in play if he wants a significant player in return or tries to reacquire a first-round pick this spring.

Previous: 12


Jimmy Howard. The former No. 1 is overpaid at $5 million plus, but how about this idea: The Red Wings deal Howard to Carolina, who may be willing to let Cam Ward walk as a UFA July 1 and will need to take on salary in order to reach the cap floor. Howard’s expensive, but he’s by no means awful.

Previous: 14


Brayden Schenn. Could Ron Hextall deal two Schenns in one year? Brayden will be looking for a significant raise when he turns RFA on July 1. It’s arguable that Philly would be better off shopping him for prospects and picks or an affordable young D-man.

Previous: 19


Tyson Barrie. The pending RFA is due a big raise from a budget team. Would Colorado consider dealing such a valuable blue-liner if the return is reasonable?

Previous: 15


Cody Ceci. GM Bryan Murray still wants to add a forward to his group, and his touted 22-year-old defenceman would be the piece that gets him one. Ceci is unlikely to be shopped, but he is in line for a significant raise July 1, when he turns RFA.

Previous: 21


Jeff Skinner. He’s only 23 years old, his stock is much higher than it was last year (22 goals already, compared to 18 in 2014-15), and his no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until 2017-18.

Previous: 16


Alex Galchenyuk. Did the free fall after Carey Price’s injury shake Marc Bergevin’s confidence in his coach, his players, or both? If the GM wants to change up the group, he considers moving his 22-year-old centre, who is coveted in some corners and has yet to reach the heights expected of him in Montreal.

Previous: 25


Kyle Palmieri. Is the RFA-in-waiting’s career season (40 points through 63 games) a fluke? Does GM Ray Shero re-sign or sell high?

Previous: 20


Jacob Trouba. Kevin Cheveldayoff could potentialy pull off a blockbuster if he chooses to put his RFA-to-be defenceman in play instead of re-signing him.

Previous: 22


Forward prospect Kerby Rychel, who is 21 and reportedly wants out. Columbus still needs defence, even after the Seth Jones acquisition. Perhaps Rychel could fetch a pick or prospect on the blue-line.

Previous: 17


Jannik Hansen. The subject of some mild trade-deadline rumours, Hansen, 29, is enjoying a career season — likely his first as a 20-goal scorer. Perhaps it’s time to sell high on a player who carries an enviable $2.5-million cap hit.

Previous: 28


Extra first-round draft pick. The Coyotes could accelerate their rebuild a bit if they choose to swap their bonus first-rounder (gained from the New York Rangers last year) for a roster player.

Previous: 23


Third-round draft picks. GM Tim Murray said Monday that he’ll be a buyer at the draft. The effort should be in finding younger skaters who can peak alongside Jack Eichel, Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart. GMTM has four third-round picks in 2016 — a great tool to help land him real players.

Previous: 27


Joe Colborne. The 26-year-old centre is on pace for a career year, points-wise, and has the unfortunate timing of turning RFA alongside Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Josh Jooris. Perhaps Calgary uses Colborne to trade for a goalie — something it doesn’t have under contract for 2016-17.

Previous: 26


The $6-million men. Oilers need defence still — and badly. If Peter Chiarelli wants to truly shake this core, he works on a deal to move one of Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, or Taylor Hall.

Previous: 29


Draft picks. Lou Lamoriello’s wheeling and dealing has resulted in a whopping 12 picks in the 2016 Draft. If the Leafs want to move up some spots or put together a package for a young roster player, they’re now flush with a unique form of currency.

Previous: 30

(Credit an assist to GeneralFanager.com)