We’re now officially just two weeks out from the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline and who knows how many deals will transpire from now until 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT on March 3?
The past few weeks have seen a handful of trades completed, including two blockbuster moves. The first was the Vancouver Canucks sending Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders in late January for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected 2023 first-round pick. Then, earlier this month, the New York Rangers acquired Vladimir Tarasenko at a reduced salary from St. Louis for Sammy Blais and a couple of future conditional Blues draft picks.
Jakob Chychrun was a healthy scratch for “trade-related reasons” last weekend but the blueliner remains a member of the Arizona Coyotes for now, while Norris Trophy frontrunner Erik Karlsson’s name continues to be in the rumour mill in San Jose.
Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed some of the latest rumours and speculation circulating around the league on the latest edition of 32 Thoughts The Podcast.
Marek reported during Hockey Night In Canada last weekend that Edmonton, Tampa Bay and Dallas were three teams interested in Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi.
Detroit is firmly entrenched in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but Bertuzzi is a pending unrestricted free agent garnering attention from teams.
Freidman added Friday that Toronto and Minnesota could potentially also be in on Bertuzzi. Detroit has an abundance of cap space and Bertuzzi’s the type of player with grit and scoring potential that would be an ideal addition for a team planning a deep playoff run.
WHAT WILL VEGAS DO WITH ITS FLEXIBILITY?
The Golden Knights are expecting Logan Thompson to return to the crease before the end of the regular season but the same can’t be said for Mark Stone. Vegas already has multiple contracts on their long-term injured reserve.
Freidman said he’s looking at all the forwards out there, such as wingers Timo Meier, James van Reimsdyk and Patrick Kane, or Ivan Barbashev as a depth centre as potential targets for Vegas.
“I think they are looking at exploring bigger and smaller options,” Freidman said.
ARE BLUES DEFINITELY SELLERS?
The Tarasenko deal was the first indication that St. Louis is likely going to be more of a selling team ahead of this year’s deadline – sitting in 11th place in the West, sixth points out of a playoff spot heading into the weekend’s action.
“I think there’s a lot of interest in Barbashev, there’s decent interest in (Noel) Acciari and (Ryan) O’Reilly’s O’Reilly,” said Freidman, who pondered whether some teams might call the Blues pitching they take multiple pending St. Louis UFAs in a trade.
HOW ACTIVE MIGHT WASHINGTON END UP BEING AT DEADLINE?
The Washington Capitals have not won more than two consecutive games since late December and will need to turn things around if they hope to qualify for the post-season for a ninth consecutive season.
Freidman mentioned the Capitals could end up being one of the more fascinating teams to watch at the deadline.
“They’ve got some pieces they could put out there that could be really interesting to other teams,” Freidman said.
More than half of Washington’s active roster are pending UFAs.
QUESTIONS IN EDMONTON AND CHICAGO
Jesse Puljujarvi has not been placed on waivers by Oilers general manager Ken Holland, who “has indicated he does not want to give Puljujarvi away for free,” according to Friedman, which certainly doesn’t clear up Edmonton’s significant salary cap issues.
Sticking in the Western Conference, it’s also unclear what exactly the Blackhawks will do. The futures of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are front of mind. Kane has struggled and Toews is injured, Marek and Friedman discussed whether any Chicago players with term could be moved. Defenceman Jake McCabe was one name mentioned. McCabe, 29, has two more years at $4 million AAV remaining on his current contract and has six of the seven Canadian teams listed on his modified no-trade clause with Toronto the only Canadian club to which he’d accept a trade.