Sportsnet’s 39 NHL trade candidates to watch one week from the deadline

Calgary Flames defenceman Noah Hanifin in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Denver. (AP)

Just one week from the trade deadline teams are beginning to become more defined as buyers and sellers, though some will wait it out until the March 8 deadline to finally make their calls on what do to.

There’s a growing sense that the Western Conference could be the bigger collection of buyers, with the likes of Dallas, Edmonton, Vegas, Colorado and Los Angeles all thinking they have a shot to do some damage with one — or two — moves that could put them over the edge. Vancouver and Winnipeg have already made substantial additions and still could be in the market for more.

But don’t be fooled by the East, which is wide open for the taking. Will the Florida Panthers, with a depleted prospect and pick cupboard, be able to pull off another move as their Stanley Cup window remains open? Same goes for the Boston Bruins, who have been buyers for years. Toronto’s six-game winning streak has changed perceptions of them again and taken them well off the playoff cutline, which could make them a more confident buyer. The Rangers and Hurricanes have flaws, but are just as capable of going on a run as anyone else from this conference. While some of these teams will surely see this as a season to play it cautious at the deadline, others will see opportunity to get an edge.

As we head down the home stretch of the trading season, we have updated our trade list, now 40 names deep of players to watch as the trade winds pick up. With files from Sportsnet insiders Luke Fox, Eric Engels, Iain MacIntyre, Mark Spector, Eric Francis and Rory Boylen, and scouting reports and cards from scout Jason Bukala, here is a look, in order of the potential impact any of these players could have on an acquiring team. 

Jake Guentzel, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins
Contract: $6M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Pittsburgh president/GM Kyle Dubas got paid the big bucks to accomplish two things at once: refuel the next wave of Penguins’ relevancy and keep presenting the triumvirate of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang with chances to make the playoffs. No doubt, the executive could bend his mind into a pretzel with the 29-year-old Guentzel — a natural scorer and one of 2024’s most coveted UFAs. Re-sign the top-six winger and commit deeper still to a bunch of 30-somethings? Or trade him and begin to restock a cupboard that has been plundered bare? “We need to get younger,” Dubas said Wednesday.

Letting Guentzel walk when playoffs are a coin flip does not feel like an option, and Dubas is open to moving the player if he doesn’t re-sign for a discount. Complicating matters is that Guentzel won’t be healthy by deadline day. He’s the most reliable scorer who could switch sweaters by March 8. The Avs, Oilers, and Kings are three teams that make sense — but the price should be steep, even despite the apprehension around his health.

Juuse Saros, G, Nashville Predators
Contract: $5M through 2024-25

One of the best goalies in the world, Saros is nonetheless having a down season as far as his own expectations go with a league average .904 save percentage and a GAA barely under 3.00. Still, put this usual Vezina contender behind a solid team with good defensive structure and he could be what puts you over the top. In Saros, an acquiring team would get two affordable runs from the player, since he’s under contract through next season, which will certainly increase the trade cost. As for why Nashville would even entertain a move like this, both the inevitable hefty raise he’d get in another year and the play of 21-year-old Yaroslav Askarov in the AHL (.923 SV%, 2.04 GAA) make Saros more dispensable than ever before.

Still, moving a goalie of this caliber and age (28) — especially a non-rental — is rarely done at all these days, let alone in season. Saros’ name was thrown around at last year’s deadline too, which came to naught, but it could be different this time around. In a recent 32 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman wrote that some people believe a Saros trade is a 50/50 proposition this time. “The Nashville Predators are looking for scoring, offensive talent,” Friedman said on NHL Network this week.

Jacob Markstrom, G, Calgary Flames
Contract: $6M through 2025-26

The 34-year-old Flames goaltender is playing some of the best hockey of his career, making him an enticing add for the few contenders that need a goalie upgrade. The problem is, only a few teams have the need and means to send a first rounder, top prospect and more to the Flames by the deadline.

While the $6 million man indicated to Sportsnet he’d be open to the possibility of waiving his no-move clause if the Flames chose to open the door for prospect Dustin Wolf, a deal this big seems more like a summertime move for the Flames. He has two more years left on his contract, making him an attractive add when more teams have cap space and the realization their playoff failures could have been avoided if they had a veteran netminder.    

New Jersey’s interest has been well-documented, but you can bet Toronto and LA would also like to upgrade their goaltending. But at what cost?

Noah Hanifin, D, Calgary Flames
Contract: $4.95M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Hanifin has turned down the Flames’ eight-year offer and informed the club he will be testing free agency in the summer. Thus, he will undoubtedly be traded. With 700 games under his belt, the 27-year-old is just hitting his prime, making him one of the most tantalizing players to be traded at this year’s deadline. Tampa has blue line holes to fill and with Mikhail Sergachev injured he may be a perfect fit for them. No doubt he’s spoken to his pal Matthew Tkachuk about how good the Florida life is. 

But do the Bolts have the ability to cough up a first rounder, top prospect and serviceable player as the starting point for negotiations? The lengthy list of teams interested includes Dallas, Toronto, New Jersey and Vancouver. 

Trevor Zegras, C, Anaheim Ducks
Contract: $5.75M through 2025-26

Rebuilding teams generally don’t trade out 22-year-old centres who are still under contract for multiple seasons, but that Zegras’ name has been floating in the rumour mill for weeks without being quashed by GM Pat Verbeek is notable. If the Ducks decide to move off Zegras, it could make more sense to happen in the summer, but since some non-playoff teams (Ottawa, Montreal to name two) could be interested buyers, if the right offer comes along Anaheim could pivot sooner. After three straight seasons of improving point totals, the flashy Zegras has been stuck on seven points in 20 games after breaking his ankle in January. He was expected to miss about two months at that time, and could be out until after the deadline.

Jakob Chychrun, D, Ottawa Senators
Contract: $4.6M through 2024-25

If the 25-year-old moves between now and March 8, he could bring in one of the biggest hauls. With only one year left on his contract after this one, at just $4.6 million against the cap, it’s easy to look at him as a player who helps now and moving forward. Sure, Chychrun’s far from a perfect defenceman, but at least one team out there will likely consider his offence alone to be worth purchasing. The Senators will be asking for a lot in return, and they’ll be dealing with a limited field due to Chychrun being able to choose 10 teams he won’t go to. But there’s still a decent chance he gets traded ahead of the deadline.

Chris Tanev, D, Calgary Flames
Contract: $4.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Editor’s Note (Feb. 28): The Flames have traded Tanev to the Dallas Stars. Read more.

The asking price starts with a second rounder, but if anyone stepped up with a first you can bet he’d be moved immediately. The Flames are balancing that waiting game with the fact they’d like to get this deal done sooner rather than later, given the injury potential every time the 34-year-old shot-blocking warrior suits up.

As a pending UFA whose age makes him expendable, Tanev makes $4.5 million this year, which the Flames could help subsidize to sweeten the return. He has a 10-team no-trade list, which the Flames have to work around.

Adam Henrique, C, Anaheim Ducks
Contract: $5.825M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

When Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan were snatched off the trade market weeks before the deadline (by Vancouver and Winnipeg), Henrique became arguably the top centre available as a rental. As such, Anaheim GM Pat Verbeek established a first-round pick as a minimum price for the 34-year-old who does everything well, and so far hasn’t wavered in his ask. Henrique plays in all situations and would be a third-line centre for a Cup contender and a 2C for some playoff teams. Those believed to be interested include Colorado, Dallas, Boston and Edmonton, although the Ducks may have to retain a chunk of Henrique’s $5.825-million salary.

Pavel Buchnevich, LW, St. Louis Blues
Contract: $5.8M through 2024-25

Even though the Blues sit in a wild card spot today and will be very much in the race to the end, GM Doug Armstrong could still decide to sell if the price is right. Last season Armstrong traded out a few of his pending UFAs for draft picks and prospects, but he doesn’t have the same rental ammo this time around. If the Blues are going to bring back a haul for anyone, Buchnevich is the guy.

With a cost believed to be somewhere in the ballpark of two first-round picks (or equivalent prospects) it could be too much for some teams to take on at the deadline — especially if the price comes up even more after asking for salary retention. But the attraction to such a player is obvious: Buchnevich can be a 30-goal player and logged better than a point per game pace in 2021-22 and 2022-23. Buchnevich has some say in this process, too, with a 12-team no-trade list.

Jordan Eberle, RW, Seattle Kraken
Contract: $5.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Neither the 33-year-old nor the Kraken particularly want Eberle to leave Seattle. But with the team scuffling all season, and currently out of a wild card spot in the deep race in the Western Conference, the Kraken may have to be sellers at the deadline. None of their expendable pieces is as valuable as Eberle, who is closing in on 1,000 games and 700 points in the NHL. Seattle GM Ron Francis was unable to get a first-rounder in Year 1 for Mark Giordano, wasn’t selling in Year 2 due to the Kraken’s playoff trajectory last winter, but may finally be able to get that coveted pick in Year 3 for Eberle, who is on an expiring contract at $5.5 million. There is lots of talk about him possibly returning to Edmonton, where his NHL career began, but don’t count out Vancouver as a landing spot for the top-six winger.

Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Ottawa Senators
Contract: $5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

As one of the more prolific wingers available at the deadline, the 32-year-old Stanley Cup winner should garner plenty of attention as the Senators hope to cash in on the six-time 30-goal scorer. Armed with a no-trade clause and a new agent in Craig Oster, the pending free agent has plenty of control of the situation.

Surely the $5 million man would be okay joining a contender like Edmonton, where the Oilers have first round draft picks and the desire to add to their offence. The Carolina Hurricanes almost signed Tarasenko during the summer and could also use his offensive upside, as could the Rangers, who sent a boatload of assets to St. Louis for Tarasenko last season. Dallas could also see him as a nice fit.

Mikael Granlund, C, San Jose Sharks
Contract: $5.1M through 2024-25

Sharks GM Mike Grier, who is overseeing a roster overhaul, has already mentioned Granlund as being part of the club’s plans for 2024-25 — and the solid centreman is still under contract beyond this season at a $5-million cap hit. San Jose’s leader in assists and points is, however, garnering leaguewide interest. Rightly so, considering the lack of available talent up middle ice and his position as part of his team’s leadership group. “I mean, Wayne Gretzky got traded,” coach David Quinn said. “But if Mikael Granlund is going to get traded, it’s going to be for a hefty price.”

Morgan Frost, C, Philadelphia Flyers
Contract: $2.1M through 2024-25

Sooner or later, the Flyers will need to commit or cut bait with their 24-year-old centre. Frost was one of the final RFAs to put pen to paper over the 2023 off-season, agreeing to a two-year, $4.2-million bridge deal only to see himself get scratched early and often by coach John Tortorella. Philly’s 2017 first-round pick mixes bouts of inconsistency and flashes of effectiveness. Middle-six centres are hard to come by, but Frost’s stock is low considering he’ll be hard-pressed to equal last year’s 46-point breakout. Despite their surprise first-half success, the Flyers plan to be a deadline seller and Frost represents one of their more intriguing chips, but letting a young pivot go is a move that could come back to haunt.

Scott Laughton, C, Philadelphia Flyers
Contract: $3M through 2025-26

With pure rentals Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan fetching first-rounders, a solid two-way centre like Philadelphia’s Laughton should command that price plus — if the Flyers decide to part with one of their reliable glue guys. That’s because the 29-year-old is locked up through 2025-26 with an affordable $3-million cap hit, and plenty of buyers would prefer to acquire players with term. That GM Danny Briere is receiving calls on Laughton makes sense. The Sabres, Rangers, Maple Leafs, Bruins, and Avalanche have all been cited as smart fits. But parting with a core member is another story, and Laughton’s price is and should be high considering the dearth of centres out there.

Mario Ferraro, D, San Jose Sharks
Contract: $3.25M through 2025-26

Amazingly, Ferraro has become the San Jose Sharks’ top defenceman, leading the defence corps in time on ice (22:53), points (14), assists (13) and even strength points (14). Pretty humble numbers, yes, but you try playing 22 minutes per night for the Sharks and see if you’re not minus-22 as well.

Ferraro is young (25) and has two years left after this one at $3.25 million. That’s at the top end for what he is — a four-five D-man on a good team — but term and age make Ferraro a stealth pick-up for a team that wants to go beyond the rental market. Name a team that hopes to play four rounds this spring and we’ll show you a club that would be bolstered by one more legit defenceman. It’s the cap hit that will be the biggest hurdle, with San Jose only likely to eat any of the deal at a premium price.

Anthony Mantha, RW, Washington Capitals
Contract: $5.7M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

The 29-year-old power forward has already been traded once and was very available last season, when he spent time as a healthy scratch. What’s changed is that the big-bodied winger (6-foot-5, 234 pounds) is enjoying an offensive renaissance of sorts — putting up his best stat line in four years and on track to hit 20 goals for the first time in five. Washington is heading for another whiff on the postseason, Mantha is on an expiring contract, and GM Brian MacLellan isn’t afraid to sell. Re-signing Mantha doesn’t make a ton of sense for a team in reset mode, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him rented by a contender for depth on the right side.

Alex Wennberg, C, Seattle Kraken
Contract: $4.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Every contender wants defencemen and centres at the deadline and Wennberg, a little under the radar due to his total of only 22 points through 56 games, could be a bargain if the Kraken decide to sell. The 29-year-old is on an expiring contract at $4.5 million – manageable for most teams with salary retention – and checks a lot of boxes as a rental. Wennberg plays in all situations and actually leads Seattle forwards in ice time (18:40). He has been linked to all the usual suspects seeking help down the middle: Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton and Boston.

Boone Jenner, C, Columbus Blue Jackets
Contract: $3.75M through 2025-26

In such a tumultuous season for the organization, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first choice is probably not to trade their captain Boone Jenner. Speaking to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, a trade out isn’t Jenner’s preferred outcome here either, stating he’d like to finish his career in Columbus. “We get a lot of calls on Boone, but Boone’s not going anywhere and Boone doesn’t want to go anywhere,” Blue Jackets president of hockey operations and interim GM John Davidson recently said. Still, with the centre market what it is for rentals, the Jackets aren’t in a spot to blindly turn away any offer on Jenner, who comes with the added value of another two years on his contract. If the right deal comes along for a relatively cheap ($3.75 million cap hit) and controllable centre, Columbus will have to at least consider the possibility of moving Jenner.

Reilly Smith, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins
Contract: $5M through 2024-25

If the Penguins end up going down the sellers’ road there are more obvious candidates to move than Smith, who still has another season left on his contract. Even if the Pens do sell, we’d think they’d still have an eye on getting back into playoff contention for 2025, after all. But, in such a tight year in the standings, some bubble teams may shy away from spending assets on rentals and instead turn their gaze to players with term. Smith hasn’t had the same offensive success in Pittsburgh that he had in Vegas, but he won a Stanley Cup and has plenty of playoff experience that many teams will be attracted to.

John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks
Contract: $6.4M through 2026-27

At 30 and in deteriorating health, if Gibson has designs on winning anything before his career winds down he should be pushing for a trade out of Anaheim. The Ducks are years away, and Gibson — who earns $6.4 million for three more seasons, a massive impediment to a deal — is wasting away, as another season passes with a saves percentage below .900.

We can think of two teams that could use his services — New Jersey and Toronto — but the Leafs can’t afford that cap hit, and teams tend not to retain large sums for three seasons, as the Ducks would have to. Gibson may well be the best goalie who is “available” at this deadline, or more likely second behind Jacob Markstrom. But his price tag will likely leave him in Anaheim for another losing season.

Jason Zucker, LW, Arizona Coyotes
Contract: $5.3M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

A 20-goal left winger who is being wasted in Arizona, at 32 Zucker would be a good fit on your second line. His $5.3 million AAV is a hurdle, for sure. But he can still finish, and had 27 goals in Pittsburgh last season.

Find a team that has centres but is missing some finish on the wing. Edmonton next to Leon Draisaitl? Perhaps Dallas, pushing Mason Marchment down to the third line? What about Los Angeles, where they have both Alex Laferriere and Trevor Moore in their middle six? Zucker would put one of those players on to a line where the fit is better.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Minnesota Wild
Contract: $3.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

If this is indeed the 39-year-old, future Hall-of-Famer’s final season in the NHL, surely Fleury will welcome the chance for a final playoff run, too. And since the Wild are far from a sure thing to make the playoffs and have 25-year-old Filip Gustavsson under contract for two more seasons as their stater, Minnesota GM Bill Guerin will look to move Fleury. There are a pile of strong teams trying to bolster their goaltending, but two of the most intriguing suitors could be Toronto and Los Angeles, where Fleury might even be the playoff starter.

Sean Walker, D, Philadelphia Flyers
Contract: $2.65M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Despite their relevance in the Metropolitan Division standings, it’s only a matter of days before the Flyers start selling. As an inexpensive ($2.65 million), minute-munching, right-shot defenceman under age 30 and on an expiring contract, Walker knows he is an in-demand commodity. “It’s probably one of the best problems to have, right?” Walker said. “At the end of the day, you’re playing really well, and teams want you. That is the situation when you come to a place on an expiring contract, the situation I’m in.” The Flyers are listening, and teams that miss out on Tanev should be calling.

Elvis Merzlikins, G, Columbus Blue Jackets
Contract: $5.4M through 2026-27

During one of the rockier points this season when he was sliding down as low as third on the Columbus goalie depth chart, Merzlikins said he had asked for a trade out of town, but it’s not so clear if that’s actually the case. “Everybody’s saying he’s demanded a trade, well he did say something and then he recanted, his agent said he didn’t mean to say that. He hasn’t asked for a trade,” said Columbus president of hockey operations, John Davidson. Merzlikins has made eight of 11 starts since he said he asked for a trade. Will another team identify him as their fix in the crease? Merzlikins has a slightly below league average .900 save percentage, an average Goals Saved Above Expected mark, and is on the books for another three seasons at $5.4 million — no small investment for an acquiring team.

Tyson Barrie, D, Nashville Predators
Contract: $4.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Barrie has hit a bit of a road block in Nashville, where he’s not asked to quarterback the power play the way he has been in all his other NHL stops. That is Barrie’s most marketable skill: he’s a third pairing defenceman who can run a power play very efficiently.

A pending UFA with a cap hit of $4.5 million, it’s hard to find a contender — barring injury — who is in search of a power play QB. Winnipeg’s power play is ranked 23rd, but the Jets have Josh Morrissey. Could Luke Hughes use some veteran tutelage in New Jersey? Barrie’s been around and can help at what he’s good at — and Nashville will eat 50 per cent. The Preds just need a team that requires his services.

David Savard, D, Montreal Canadiens
Contract: $3.5M through 2024-25

With one year left on his contract after this one, the Canadiens aren’t pressed to move the 33-year-old, and Savard reportedly doesn’t want to leave Montreal either. But none of that guarantees he stays between now and the deadline. Savard doesn’t possess any trade protection in his contract, and there are some teams that are going to whiff on acquiring Calgary’s Chris Tanev and come calling Kent Hughes for the big right-hander. Don’t expect the GM to hang up when they do. Hughes won’t move him unless he gets an offer he can’t refuse. But one might come, as they tend to for players who fit Savard’s profile—a Stanley Cup-winning, gritty defenceman who’ll do whatever it takes to win.

Nick Bjugstad, C, Arizona Coyotes
Contract: $2.1M through 2024-25

The 6-foot-6 centre proved last spring that he could be an effective rental, as he went to Edmonton from Arizona at the deadline and helped the Oilers through two playoff rounds. Of course, Bjugstad is not quite a rental this time as he returned to the Coyotes last summer on a two-year contract. But he is a bargain, due only $2.1 million next season when he will be 32 years old. Bjugstad is having a good year (12 goals and 30 points through 56 games) and plays in all situations. He has been linked in reports to Colorado, but there are plenty of playoff-bound teams that could use a player like Bjugstad in their bottom six.

Matt Dumba, D, Arizona Coyotes
Contract: $3.9M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

The production may be down, and the physicality isn’t quite what it used to be, but there’s reason to believe Dumba can still bring more in both departments to whatever team wagers on him between now and the deadline. He’s only 29 years old, he makes $3.9 million on an expiring contract, and he’d be a good bet for a team looking to bolster its defensive depth.

Anthony Duclair, RW, San Jose Sharks
Contract: $3M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

The 28-year-old winger has done little to up his trade value this season, scoring just 11 goals on a San Jose team that gave him plenty of opportunities on the top line and PP unit. A pending UFA who carries a $3 million cap hit, there are likely potential suitors who point to the upside of acquiring someone who scored 31 times just two seasons ago.

Teams hoping to bolster their offensive depth like Edmonton, the Rangers and Boston might see Duclair as a solid, relatively inexpensive add who could pay big dividends if he’s put with the right linemates to help him find his scoring touch.

Kaapo Kahkonen, G, San Jose Sharks
Contract: $2.75M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Under siege in San Jose where he regularly faces upwards of 40 shots a night, the 27-year-old Finn has maintained an impressive .905 save percentage with the rebuilding club. The pending UFA has a cap hit of $2.75, making him an interesting add for a contending team looking to acquire some goaltending depth for the playoffs.

His 3.46 GAA and the fact he’s never had a chance to be a bona fide starter makes him a cheap add, in terms of trade capital.

Nic Dowd, C, Washington Capitals
Contract: $1.3M through 2024-25

The type of depth centre teams love to pick up at the deadline, Dowd is proficient in the faceoff circle, has a dash of offensive upside for his place in the lineup, and can be trusted in key penalty kill minutes. Injured in Tuesday’s game, the update on Dowd now is that he’s day-to-day, but didn’t make the Capitals’ trip south for games in Tampa Thursday and Florida on Saturday.

Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Los Angeles Kings
Contract: $894,167 through 2023-24 (pending RFA)

“I fully understand the repercussions if this team does not win or have success,” Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake said after firing head coach Todd McLellan. Now winners of four of their past five, the Kings are beginning to climb again which should only embolden Blake to go big. Kaliyev, 22, has been in and out of the lineup this season and has struggled to find his place on the depth chart. With six goals in 41 games, a more long-term thinking team could see value in the 2019 second-round pick. If he helps Blake get what the GM thinks the Kings need, Kaliyev could be a young player for a retooling team to target.

Joel Edmundson, D, Washington Capitals
Contract: $3.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

As the trade deadline nears and the Washington Capitals edge closer to accepting the reality that they won’t be participating in the playoffs, look for them to start selling. We don’t know if they’ll start with Edmundson, but there’s little doubt they’ll be moving him. Given health issues over the past three seasons, the price shouldn’t be exorbitant, and it will be worth paying for a 6-foot-5 bruiser who plays every bit his size. Stanley Cup pedigree and an expiring $3.5-million salary only make Edmundson more attractive.

Alexandre Carrier, D, Nashville Predators
Contract: $2.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

A coach once said of his defence corps, “I want trees. Not shrubs.” Well, at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds Carrier is never going to be a Redwood like Joel Edmundson or Nikita Zadorov. But he’s a hard, competitive guy with superior skill who would make almost any D corps in the NHL better upon arrival.

He’s an expiring contract ($2.5 million), right-shot defenceman with only 196 games of NHL experience at age 27, and if you have a forwards-rich team that requires someone to get them the puck with consistency, Carrier would help. Toronto? For sure. Boston (depending on their injuries). Florida, who would have a fantastic top seven, works. As does Vancouver, a team that could use the infusion of skill in its bottom three.

Erik Johnson, D, Buffalo Sabres
Contract: $3.25M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

It seems impossible that Buffalo won’t salvage an asset by selling Johnson, who at age 35 is on an expiring contract and will want at least one more opportunity to compete in the playoffs before he retires. The defenceman is limited, as his average ice time of 14:06 indicates, but he has size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), experience (over 1,000 games regular season and playoffs) and is still a first-unit penalty killer. He is precisely what many teams seek for blue line depth ahead of a playoff run, which why interested teams reportedly include Toronto, Vegas and Vancouver.

Jake Allen, G, Montreal Canadiens
Contract: $3.85M through 2024-25

The 33-year-old obviously isn’t Option A on the goaltending market, but any team looking for a reliable B option won’t necessarily balk at the asking price, which will probably be a fourth- or fifth-round pick if the Canadiens don’t have to retain any salary or take back a contract to move him. Still, Allen has a seven-team no-trade clause in his contract, which pays him a salary of $3.85 million and expires after next season, so we’d put his chances of being traded ahead of the deadline at 50-50.

Tanner Pearson, LW, Montreal Canadiens
Contract: $3.25M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

We’d call Pearson reliable NHL depth, with the caveat that his $3.25-million salary is a bit steep for what he provides. The cost of acquisition, however, should be quite affordable if the Canadiens don’t have to retain any of Pearson’s salary. Any team who covets some Stanley Cup-winning experience and is thin up front might be willing to pay it, provided they have the cap space to fit Pearson in for the remainder of the season.

Dominik Kubalik, LW, Ottawa Senators
Contract: $2.5M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Here’s a winger who has scored 30 before, averages about 20 goals per year, and in his only nine playoff games had four goals and eight points. And he plays either wing. Kubalik’s numbers in Ottawa will limit what the pending UFA brings back in a deal, but there’s no doubt he could be had by a team that’s looking to add a middle six winger with some pop. See Jason Zucker above: Could Kubalik fill out a Kings lineup that’s light on scoring wingers? Play next to Draisaitl as a trigger man in Edmonton? Add some top nine offence in Boston or Dallas?

Here’s a guy who could be rejuvenated by moving out of the basement and on to a contender. And he’d be available for a draft pick.

Ilya Lyubushkin, D, Anaheim Ducks
Contract: $2.75M through 2023-24 (pending UFA)

Editor’s Note (Feb. 29): The Ducks have traded Lyubushkin to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Read more.

Big, solid, strong, depth defencemen always have a market at the trade deadline, especially as rentals, and Lyubushkin falls into that crowded category. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound blueliner leads the Ducks with 133 blocked shots, is second to Radko Gudas with 107 hits, and averages 17:07 of ice time per game including 2:55 on the penalty kill.

Despite having the depth skills teams seek out this time of year, it’s worth noting this soon-to-be 30-year-old only has seven games of Stanley Cup Playoffs experience under his belt, playing seven games with the Maple Leafs in 2022.

Andrew Peeke, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Contract: $2.75M through 2025-26

In the first year of a three-year extension signed back in 2022, Peeke is already having difficulty staying in Columbus’ lineup with just 20 games played so far this season, which could say a lot about his trade value as well. Still, in Peeke there’s a player who averaged over 21 minutes a game in 2022-23, with a big role on the penalty kill. Not that he’d return to that sort of responsibility on a contending team, but as far as depth defencemen go Peeke’s past assignments could make him attractive to a buyer in small doses. The biggest problem could be that contract, which doesn’t count for a whole lot against the cap just as it’s about to rise again, but given he’s not been able to stay in Columbus’ lineup, who else will want to have him on the books for another two years? Some narrow upside is still present, however, since Peeke is just 25 years old.

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