NHL Power Rankings: Your Team’s Best Deadline Trade Chip Edition

HC’s Doug MacLean in awe of William Nylander’s play against the Jets, saying he’d been over-shadowed on this Maple Leafs team, but can’t understand how anyone doesn’t like him.

With a mere six days until the NHL’s trade deadline, there’s little sense talking about anything else. That’s all fans care about.

You are probably well aware of your favourite club’s infuriating weaknesses, but what trade chips does your general manager have at his disposal to plug those holes?

This week we try to pinpoint each of the 30 teams’ greatest realistic trade chips — rentals, roster players, picks, prospects, cap flexibility — that could be played in the next few days should the front offices decide to pull the trigger on a significant mid-season move.

Yes, Connor McDavid would be quite the trade bait, but we’re dreaming up someone or something a GM could actually be convinced to part with if the return is right.

It’s the NHL Power Rankings: Your Team’s Best Deadline Trade Chip Edition.

As always, teams are ranked 1-30 in order of current scariness, but the write-ups zero in on what they could part with in order to get.

Rank Team Previous
1

Washington is too tight to the cap and too in need of its UFAs to make a big splash on March 1. The Capitals have also spent their second- and third-round draft picks. But if they want to get crazy, they could trade their first-rounder as well (they won’t).

1
2

A young defenceman. If GM Chuck Fletcher, who has already spent his second-round pick, chooses to boost his offence, he has a number of unprotected twentysomething D-men — Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Matt Dumba — he could move for good return.

2
3

The Penguins are in it to win it, again, and look to be a buyer. Their best trade chips: Backup goalie Marc-Andre Fleury — when was the last time such an accomplished netminder was available at the deadline? — and blueline prospect Derrick Pouliot.

5
4

GM Stan Bowman insists he’s going to be quiet this time around, but if he wants to go shopping for a support player, we suggest parting with his first-round pick (which will be quite late in a supposed soft draft) and his two extra fifth-rounders.

4
5

New York is right there among the Metro heavyweights and is shopping for more. The Rangers have plenty of intriguing young forwards—Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, Kevin Hayes—they could use to land a defenceman.

3
6

If Columbus wants to buy, it’ll need to sell a high pick or dip into its decent pool of prospects. Promising goalies Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo can’t both flourish long-term under Sergei Bobrovsky.

6
7

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I know he’s good, but so are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Or how about spending a first-round pick to boost the blue line or backup goaltending role? You’re a playoff team in an anybody’s-game division. Make a little run.

9
8

Dale Tallon says he won’t trade off the roster but would like to spark his power play with an addition. How about dangling his second-rounder (he already has two third-round picks) or a prospect like Denis Malgin or Dylan McIlrath?

17
9

If the Senators really want a top-six forward, the vultures are circling Thomas Chabot and Cody Ceci. Reportedly there’s interest in forward Curtis Lazar, too, whom everyone hopes has plenty of ceiling left.

13
10

Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Brandon Montour, Shea Theodore—pick a defenceman, add an impact forward.

8
11

Twenty-year-old defenceman Brandon Carlo appears to be the ticket to landing one of the big fish. Risky move, for sure, but a third straight whiff on the playoffs won’t sit well in Boston.

11
12

Looks like a quiet deadline for Doug Wilson. He has no second- or third-round picks to spend, and his big UFAs (Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau) are here for the playoffs. Does he pull from the prospect pool to rent a more experienced backup goalie for Martin Jones? (He traded for James Reimer last year.)

7
13

Matt Duchene for Alex Galchenyuk or Mikhail Sergachev plus the extra second-rounder you have, Marc Bergevin. Go all in.

15
14

Cap space. Toronto is sticking to the plan and will take your bad contract for prospects and/or picks.

14
15

How desperate is Garth Snow? As the Islanders play into buy mode, they could pull a forward from the farm (Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Dal Colle, Mathew Barzal) if they want to mortgage the future for a splash. Also: Could they trade Jaroslav Halak if they agree to retain salary?

18
16

Kevin Shattenkirk is the biggest known trade chip in the league. That doesn’t mean the Blues should pull the trigger, though.

10
17

Already bolstering their defensive depth, the Flames might have beat the rush. Are they comfortable pushing for the playoffs with their current goalie tandem? If not, trade one plus a first or second to upgrade.

19
18

David Poile has no off switch, and Nashville has the cap space (more than $14 million of it) to add. Will he spend high picks on rentals?

16
19

We don’t see anyone craving a player off the Kings roster — they like the cheap ones, and no one can take the expensive ones. So it’s a high pick for a straight-up rental to boost this offence and wait for Jonathan Quick to get healthy.

12
20

There are the ingredients for a blockbuster here, if Steve Yzerman wants one. Ben Bishop has his groove back but is a UFA. Tyler Johnson will be tricky to re-sign in restricted free agency.

20
21

Power-ranking trade chips within power rankings:
1. Dmitry Kulikov
2. Cody Franson
3. Brian Gionta
4. Anders Nilsson

24
22

Michael Del Zotto and Mark Streit are both on expiring deals. Move them for futures.

21
23

Drew Stafford, 31, is a versatile, experienced winger who can produced in the right situation. Nice piece to move if Winnipeg wants to rent a D-man or keep planning for the future.

25
24

Kyle Quincey. The UFA defenceman should fetch a nice draft pick because he comes cheap ($1.25 million cap hit) and can eat up minutes.

23
25

Trade the defensive-minded forwards (Viktor Slaberg, Jay McClement) and defensive-mined defenceman (Ron Hainsey) on expiring deals, take on some bad contracts (for a price) with all that cap space, and focus on ending the playoff drought in 2018.

22
26

Jannik Hansen is the best trade chip here, but Alex Burrows — the prototypical guy you rent for a playoff spark — is most likely to move.

26
27

Scorer Thomas Vanek has the name recognition, but 28-year-old defenceman Brendan Smith might fetch more on the open market.

28
28

Patrick Eaves, over Patrick Sharp, but only because his contract is more palatable to suitors. If Johnny Oduya’s ankle is healed, he trumps them both.

27
29

Martin Hanzal, so hot right now.

29
30

Matt Duchene. The fans want a blockbuster, Joe Sakic. If all you give us is Jarome Iginla for a fifth, the viewing public will be disappointed.

30

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