25 NHL trade candidates: Who will stay, who will go?

Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston look at some of the bigger stories in the NHL as the trade deadline approaches, touching on Tyson Barrie and what the Flames may be looking for.

As the weeks leading up to the deadline have played out, a few players from our list have been dealt away and crossed off. But with the height of trade season upon us, we still have 25 candidates who could be dealt before 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday.

It’s crunch time, and teams are now settled in as buyers or sellers. Injuries are also going to influence team needs and those are starting to pile up around the league.

Here is our list of the top 25 trade candidates as the countdown to the deadline commences.

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Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators

Contract: $5.75 million through 2019-20

A down year overall, Granlund has been heating up lately with 11 points in 15 games. The Predators, though, are still very much in the playoff race and may not be able to afford giving him up at the deadline for a rental’s return.

Craig Smith, Nashville Predators

Contract: $4.25 million through 2019-20

Depending on which way GM David Poile decides to go, Smith is another productive winger who could be made available from the Preds organization. Another pending UFA and a rental, Smith is on track for his usual 20-plus goals and would be a nice complement on a second-line, or a luxury third-line flanker.

Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators

Contract: $4.75 million through 2019-20

After 10 years with the Senators, the end appears in sight for Anderson, one way or another. Younger goalies are beginning to push, the team is transitioning through its rebuild and, at 38, the pending UFA’s numbers aren’t what they once were. The goalie market is surprisingly heating up, with various teams including Colorado and Carolina in need of depth netminders.

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Contract: $6 million through 2019-20

Another depth goalie potentially available, 35-year-old Crawford has a .915 save percentage in 31 games this season behind a porous defence. He has a couple Stanley Cups and plenty of playoff experience. It may be unlikely that Chicago deals both of its goalies, but one of them could certainly go.

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks

Contract: $6 million through 2020-21

With 18 goals in 49 games, Saad is scoring at one of the best clips of his career, but that’s not all he brings to the table. The 27-year-old is also a regular on Chicago’s PK unit and he brings 72 games of playoff experience. If the Blackhawks make him available, it would partly be because of the potential return they could get, given that he comes with the added value of having an extra year left on his contract. Better to deal him now than wait for the rental market in 2021.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers

Contract: N/A

An unsigned RFA, if someone gets Puljujarvi it would be a play for next year at the earliest, though there are still development questions around the 21-year-old who was the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft. In Finland this year, he has 49 points in 49 games to lead his Karpat team in scoring, though how much of that translates to the NHL is hard to know until he’s back against competition in North America. The other concern is whether or not his attention to detail and defence is improving. Oilers GM Ken Holland has said he doesn’t want to move Puljujarvi for a rental, but he’s certainly an asset the team could use to get a termed player.

Mathew Dumba, Minnesota Wild

Contract: $6 million through 2022-23

The Wild have two of the biggest defence trade chips potentially available, though it’s possible neither is moved until the summer. Dumba’s name has been out there the most and he’s been linked to a variety of teams. It hasn’t been the offensive season expected from Dumba, with just four goals and 21 points in 60 games, but he shoots right and is signed for the long-term, which will be attractive to a lot of teams.

Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild

Contract: $4.166 million through 2020-21

If Dumba doesn’t go from Minnesota, perhaps Brodin will. He doesn’t pop when you watch him, but Brodin is an excellent and intelligent defensive defenceman with a left shot. The kind of player who’s doing his job well when you don’t notice him. He also has en extra year on his contract, and if Wild GM Bill Guerin desires to move out money for future flexibility now is the time to explore a Brodin deal. The return would be substantial.

Alex Kerfoot, Toronto Maple Leafs

Contract: $3.5 million through 2022-23

If Kasperi Kapanen’s inspiring performance in Thursday’s win over Pittsburgh made it harder to trade him, that would move Kerfoot to the front of the line of potentially available pro forwards out of Toronto. Capable of playing wing or centre (though he’s winning only 47.7 per cent of his draws this season), Kerfoot generally lands as a 40-point player who could be a secondary power play option.

Tyson Barrie, Toronto Maple Leafs

Contract: $5.5 million through 2019-20

It just hasn’t worked in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean GM Kyle Dubas is desperate to give him away. Injuries have hit the Leafs hard, so to move Barrie they’d need some assurance a replacement will be ready. That could be easier said than done. The Leafs are going to face a massive disappointment and difficult questions if they miss the playoffs, but they’re also clearly in need of a shake up.

“The Maple Leafs believe Cody Ceci and Morgan Rielly will be back in March and if they’re going to trade Tyson Barrie they’re not going to do it unless they know that they can have somebody who can tide them over until everybody is healthy, plus some futures either for themselves or to use elsewhere. I think that’s the only situation they would consider moving him,” Elliotte Friedman said on Saturday’s Headlines segment.

Tomas Tatar, Montreal Canadiens

Contract: $5.3 million through 2020-21

While the Canadiens want to compete for the playoffs next year, the market for a termed scoring winger may offer GM Marc Bergevin the kind of return he can’t pass up. Tatar is having a career season with a team-leading 55 points in 64 games.

Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils

Contract: $4.65 million through 2020-21

After interim GM Tom Fitzgerald told Hockey Central that his job wasn’t to tear down the Devils, and that the team needed “men” in the lineup, it may be that they need Palmieri. He has a strong track record as a goal scorer and has gotten to the 20-goal plateau for the fifth straight season — he may even reach 30 this year. And with that extra season on his contact, Palmieri could bring the Devils back a Blake Coleman-type return, which would further set them up in their rebuild.

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

Contract: $2 million through 2019-20

It’s really up to Thornton if he gets traded — and he said this week that it’s tempting to approve one. He’s not the elite first-line centre he once was at 40-years-old of course, but if you walk into the playoffs with Thornton as your third-line centre, you’d be sitting with solid depth. He is still an excellent playmaker and thinks the game at an elite level. He still elevates his line mates.

“The players that can think will survive a long time,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told The Athletic. “(Thornton) has an extremely high hockey IQ. And he knows where to stand. And he knows where to be on the ice. He’s got exceptional skill. So with the size and the stick that he has, he’s a hard guy to play against. That’s how he’s had this longevity, how he’s been as effective as he has been. There has been part of his game that’s slowed down a bit, but he makes up for it with his brain.”

Mike Hoffman, Florida Panthers

Contract: $5.187 million through 2019-20

With six straight 20-goal seasons, Hoffman is on track to eclipse 30 for the second year in a row. His shot is wicked and goal-needy teams should have him on their radar. But again, the Panthers would most likely want immediate help, especially on the blue line, and Hoffman could be used as a means to that end. But he’s a rental, so the return is limited.

Robin Lehner, Chicago Blackhawks

Contract: $5 million through 2019-20

Update: Lehner was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights

Sami Vatanen, New Jersey Devils

Contract: $4.875 million through 2019-20

Update: Vatanen was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes

Conor Sheary, Buffalo Sabres

Contract: $3 million through 2019-20

Update: Sheary was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins with Evan Rodrigues for Dominik Kahun

Erik Gustafsson, Chicago Blackhawks

Contract: $1.2 million through 2019-20

Update: Gustafsson was traded to the Calgary Flames

Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings

Contract: $3 million through 2019-20

Update: Athanasiou was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for two second-round picks and Sam Gagner

Chris Kreider, New York Rangers

Update: Kreider re-signed a seven-year contract with the Rangers

Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers

Contract: $4.75 million through 2021-22

Update: Vincent Trocheck was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Erik Haula, Chase Priskie, Lucas Wallmark, and Eetu Luostarinen

Wayne Simmonds, New Jersey Devils

Contract: $5 million through 2019-20

Update: Simmonds was traded to Buffalo for a fifth-round pick

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators

Contract: $3.1 million through 2019-20

Update: Pageau was traded to the NY Islanders

Vladislav Namestnikov, Ottawa Senators

Contract: $4 million through 2019-20

Update: Namestnikov was traded to Colorado for a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Derek Grant, Anaheim Ducks

Contract: $700,000 through 2019-20

Update: Grant was traded to Philadelphia for Kyle Criscuolo and a fourth-round pick

Ilya Kovalchuk, Montreal Canadiens

Contract: $700,000 through 2019-20

Update: Kovalchuk was traded to the Capitals in exchange for a third-round pick.

Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings

Contract: $5.375 million through 2019-20

Update: Green was traded to the Oilers for Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick in either 2020 or 2021.


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