Top 20 NHL trade candidates to watch ahead of Monday's deadline

Elliotte Friedman joins Martine Gaillard on Sportsnet Central to break down the impact of the Toronto Maple Leafs trades, acquiring Nick Foligno and David Rittich.

The NHL trade market started to shake loose on Saturday, where a few trades were made, including David Savard, who would have figured prominently into this list. Now the defenceman is off to Tampa Bay to join the defending champs.

Thinning out the defence market a little more was Brandon Montour also being traded, going from Buffalo to Florida.

On Sunday, the forwards started to move. Taylor Hall was stop this list until a late-night deal on Sunday sent him from Buffalo to Boston. Nick Foligno was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jeff Carter was acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins early Monday morning in a surprise move.

But there are still a number of notable players who could change teams before Monday's 3:00 p.m. ET deadline. Here are 20 of the top names who could be moved, and what they bring to the table.

Alex Iafallo, Los Angeles Kings

UPDATE: Iafallo inked a four-year extension with the Kings, removing him from trade speculation. Full story.

It might come down to the wire whether Iafallo is dealt or re-signed by the Kings, but he would be an interesting addition to the market. A 27-year-old winger with 10 goals and 24 points in 38 games, he was tracking towards a career season pro-rated over a regular 82-game schedule. He's both a PP and PK option as well -- there's a reason why the Kings would rather keep him at the right AAV.

Mike Hoffman, St. Louis Blues
The Blues are going to be one of the harder teams to figure out ahead of the deadline because they've been in and out of the playoff race for a while. Where they looked to be sellers at the start of last week (and may still be) the Blues are now on a three-game winning streak and have regained hold of a playoff spot thanks to two Coyotes losses in a row. There are three notable pending UFA forwards though: Hoffman, Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz. So if Blues GM Doug Armstrong becomes a hard or soft seller, any of those names could be moved.

Hoffman has not found the same success with the Blues as he had with the Panthers, but teams looking to add a scorer and upgrade their power play will be tempted by the 29- and 36-goal seasons that came before. He was made a healthy scratch in a few recent games, but he played Saturday and scored twice, including the OT winner.

Jonathan Bernier, Detroit Red Wings
The 32-year-old has done an admirable job in Detroit the past three seasons, and is among the better backup/depth options available at the goalie position. Bernier has a goals saved above average mark of 3.14 at 5-on-5 this season, per Natural Stat Trick, ranking 21st in the league. He's held up well behind a rebuilding roster that leaks shots, and difficult ones.

He missed a couple weeks due to injury and returned on April 8, allowing seven goals on 32 shots against Nashville.

Derek Ryan, Calgary Flames
Centre depth is always a priority at the deadline and Ryan is a rental available for that role. He's won 57.1 per cent of the draws he's taken this season and his 54.93 on-ice shots for percentage at 5-on-5 is one of the best marks on the Flames. Ryan is a PK option as well and since his contract is expiring on a non-playoff team, it'd be a surprise if he's not dealt.

Jamie Oleksiak, Dallas Stars
Big, physical defencemen are popular at every deadline so it's no surprise that 6-foot-7 Oleksiak is a candidate to move. The Stars probably weren't expecting to sell anything at the deadline, but with fading playoff hopes and a tough schedule ahead, it becomes more likely they'd explore sending out an expiring contract they could get a good asset back for, as is the case with Oleksiak. Dallas' hit leader, Oleksiak is second on the team in blocked shots and a member of the second PK unit.

Linus Ullmark, Buffalo Sabres
One of the bright spots in a miserable Sabres season, Ullmark nevertheless has an expiring contract and, although Buffalo needs goaltending to move forward with, if no extension is in the cards by the deadline, getting assets in return might be the best move. Ullmark has a .916 save percentage to follow a .915 from a year ago and he ranks 18th in the league in GSAA. At 27, he's in his prime years, too, and the off-season market for his services could be interesting.

Chris Driedger, Florida Panthers
Since the goalie rental market is a little bit crowded, the Panthers may yet choose to keep Driedger and be happy with their depth for a playoff run. Signing top prospect Spencer Knight out of college recently has all but ensured Driegder won't be back next season, which makes him a candidate to move for the right price. But he's had a great season and could be as valuable to the Panthers as another team seeking depth.

Luke Glendening, Detroit Red Wings
He's won 62.2 per cent of his draws this season, leads all Detroit forwards in blocked shots and penalty kill time. Prototypical trade deadline centre depth target.

Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers
A little snarl and sandpaper combined with decent offensive pop from the bottom-six makes Laughton an interesting deadline target if the Flyers decide to move him. Philadelphia has been in a brutal slide for a while, leaving the playoffs a distant hope and Laughton a potential addition to the rental market. He leads the Flyers in hits and is their second-most used forward on the penalty kill, just behind Sean Couturier. He's versatile positionally, able to play at the wing or at centre, where he's won 49 per cent of his faceoffs this season.

Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames
It seems Bennett has moved on from his trade request and is settling nicely into life with Darryl Sutter as head coach, but since he previously had asked to move and is in the last season of his contract, a deal could still be found. Bennett is an RFA this off-season, so a new team would retain his rights, and his playoff performance history is very strong, making him a nice target specifically for what's ahead.

Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks
The benefit of Manson to a buyer is that he's signed through next season as well with a $4.1 million cap hit. That would also bring the price up. Manson has been in the rumour mill before over the years, but GM Bob Murray has always been reticent to move him. Will this deadline be any different? A good shot blocker and physical defenceman, Manson brings plenty of size and penalty-killing prowess. He would be one of the better third-pair options out there.

Mattias Janmark, Chicago Blackhawks

UPDATE: Janmark is heading to the Golden Knights in a deal that also includes the Sharks. Full story.

With a career high of 19 goals and 35 points scored three years ago, Janmark may blend in with some other available wingers on this list, but it is notable that he's on his best pace ever right now with 10 goals and 19 points in 41 games. Janmark was scratched by the Hawks on Saturday to protect against injury, signalling a deal could come soon. He could be a bottom-six winger, or possibly fit into someone's top-six. With Janmark, it all depends on fit as he could be a nice complementary player.

"What's interesting about him is he's a player in the past who has played well with high-end linemates," Chris Johnston reported on Saturday Headlines. "And I think as a result of that this is someone who's being targeted by teams who are considered contenders that have those type of players. Colorado has been linked to Janmark, I think the Leafs could potentially be a fit for him. And the acquisition cost and the cost on his contract are both pretty affordable."

Elvis Merzlikins/Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets
Most of the available goalies are rentals and the one moved already, Devan Dubnyk, fits that category. Columbus could offer up either of its 26-year-old netminders, both of whom are signed through next season — Merzlikins at $4 million and Korpisalo at $2.8 million. Only Korpisalo needs to be protected from Seattle expansion, so the Jackets could still wait until that passes, but the benefit from an acquiring team now would be two runs — and if it's Merzlikins who is moved, he wouldn't take up a protection spot.

Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators
One day before the deadline, Nashville holds the fourth playoff spot in its division, two points up on Chicago, and five up on Dallas, which has three games in hand. So perhaps the Predators push on here. But Ekholm needs to remain on this list because the possibility exits he could be moved for the right price.

After Savard was traded to Tampa Bay for a first-round pick plus, the price on Ekholm might rise high enough to make Poile think. Not only would he be the best defenceman available — a solid top-four and likely a top-pair defender on most teams — but he's also signed through next season with a very manageable $3.75 million cap hit, which is about $500,000 less than Savard's expiring deal. But Poile doesn't have to move him now either, and could choose to wait until after Seattle's expansion draft when teams will have more control over their rosters.

Honourable mention here to Ryan Ellis, who was also in the rumour mill before Nashville got hot and is signed much longer.

Alex Goligoski, Arizona Coyotes
Arizona will be one of the tougher teams to predict ahead of Monday's deadline, but a two-game losing skid has allowed the Blues to pass them for fourth in the West, which maybe opens the selling door again. Goligoski gets the second-most even strength and PK minutes on the Coyotes and though he likely would be used in a lesser role on most contenders, he represents a rental upgrade to many.

Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators
Even if the Predators decide not to sell Ekholm or Ellis as they think about the playoffs, they could still consider dealing a pending UFA like Granlund. With five goals and six points in his past 10, Granlund has been a key contributor to Nashville's rebound, but if free agency is ahead and the Predators are considering more meaningful roster changes in the off-season, a trade now may be the best course of action.

Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks could be one of the bigger wild cards on deadline day. Most of their more moveable trade pieces that would be attractive to buyers are under contract for another season. Rakell is in that category, with one more year at $3,789,444 left on his deal before he becomes UFA eligible.

For the past couple of seasons he's settled in as a 40-ish point player just shy of 20 goals, which is well short of where we thought his career was heading after back-to-back 30-goal seasons in 2017 and 2018. But the Ducks have been in decline, too, and putting him on a better roster could bring more out of him — and the cap price is negligible for that potential. That also raises the price from a rental, though.

Honourable mention here to Ryan Getzlaf, who was tabbed as a possible trade candidate on Saturday Headlines. While it is still more likely Getzlaf stays in Anaheim, he is a pending UFA and at 35, he may choose to try for another Cup run elsewhere. If he wants a move, the Ducks will likely oblige.

James Reimer/Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina Hurricanes
The Canes have three capable goalies, none of whom are signed for next season, though Nedeljkovic is an RFA. As a Cup contender with cap space, the Canes will be in the market for defence or forwards and GM Don Waddell has spoken about being open to moving one of his netminders. Mrazek is the veteran No. 1 and so is the most likely to stay for their run, but either of the other two are possibilities to move.

Ryan Murray, New Jersey Devils
The No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 draft, Murray has 10 points in 31 games this season and is a capable middle or bottom pair defenceman. With one year left on his deal he falls into the rental category and shouldn't cost much more than a mid-round pick.

Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues
The Blues will be an interesting team on Monday because they are back in the playoffs, but could play the role of both buyer and seller. Mike Hoffman appears on our list above and would be one of the better scorers left available, while Dunn would offer something different to the market. A good puck-moving defenceman, and 24-year-old Stanley Cup champion, Dunn is young and an RFA this off-season. He's been in the rumour mill since last summer, and if the Blues look to mix it up at this deadline he could be a valuable asset to use.

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