Adam Pyde

Need To Know: 7 Key Players at the NHL Trade Deadline

Need To Know: 7 Key Players at the NHL Trade Deadline

With less than 24 hours until the NHL trade deadline, there are still plenty of moves to be made and plenty of star players to be moved. Who goes? Who stays? Who goes for who from who? A whole lot of questions and very few answers.

By: Adam Pyde – @Adam_Pyde


Ryan Kesler, C (61 GP, 21 G, 18A)
Possible destinations: Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs.
Rumoured asking price: Young roster player, high end prospect, first round draft choice.
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: It is certain.

It won’t be easy to trade for the Canucks best player, although that isn’t saying much these days. He’s an ideal #2 center and would solidify any team at the center position and plays a game that is synonymous with playoff hockey and comes at a nice 5 million annually against the salary cap – a bargain for what he provides.

Out of the teams that have expressed interest, the biggest player seems to be Pittsburgh. After being a Stanley Cup winner with an embarrassingly good top three centers it would appear it is their goal to get back to that. With the acquisition of Shawn Matthias it is unlikely that the Canucks will desire Brandon Sutter who was rumoured to be the centrepiece of any deal.

Anaheim is likely another team that is willing to pay the price. They’re having a phenominal year in the OC. After solidifying a shutdown pair by acquiring Stephane Robidas from the Dallas Stars, all they are missing is one more difference maker up front. The Ducks also have a wide array of terrific young players and prospects from years of great drafting which would appeal to the Canucks and their lack of quality young players.

Philadelphia, Chicago and Toronto have all been rumoured to have interest but not currently at the price Vancouver is asking. The centerpiece of any deal would appear to be one of those teams’ talented young centers: Brayden Schenn or Sean Couterier (PHI), Nazem Kadri (TOR) or Brandon Saad (CHI). It is a steep price but if I’m Chicago and I can run Toews-Kesler-Shaw for the next couple playoff runs, I have to at least consider it and try and talk Vancouver out of one of the other assets.

My Take: Ryan Kesler + 3 playoff runs > Ryan Kesler + 2 playoff runs. That is all Gillis should need to recognize before he flips him to Anaheim for ideally 2 young players and their 2015 first. The goal should be to stock up on the McDavid sweepstakes and bottom out for a year or two. Grab a cold one Canucks fans, the rebuild is here.


Thomas Vanek, LW (60 GP, 21 G, 32A)
Possible destinations: Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks.
Rumoured asking price: Young roster player or high end prospect, first round draft choice.
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: Yes, definitely.

Vanek‘s time with the New York Islanders hasn’t quite worked out to plan. He was acquired early in the season to add offensive punch to a team desperately lacking it outside of John Tavares. Unfortunately, he was acquired for Matt Moulson and he hasn’t exactly blown his trade opposite out of the water. Whether that is his fault or the teams is up for debate.

However, he’s still an elite offensive talent and he’ll make whichever line he plays on that much better. I don’t think he’ll ever flirt with 40 goals again, but 25+ and 70 points is nothing to sneeze at. With an expiring contract, he is very easy for a team to take on for the remainder of the season.

One thing that may hamper his trade value is that it is rumoured that he intends to sign with Minnesota this off-season, almost regardless of what happens until then. I’m not sure this will affect his price too much though. He’s still likely to bring in two good assets and likely a conditional draft pick of sorts that hinges on him re-signing with his new club.

He also seems like the kind of guy that a team would come out of nowhere to make a pitch for. There was talk yesterday that San Jose was making a push for him. That would make a scary offence even scarier.

My take: I don’t think he gets moved until one of the other top forwards does. A team will get desperate and pay up the draft picks to replace the first and second rounders traded to get Vanek. I don’t think Anaheim finishes tomorrow without Vanek or Kesler. If it isn’t Anaheim, I think a good deal is there to be worked out with Minnesota.


Matt Moulson, LW (55 GP, 17 G, 21A)
Possible destinations: Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets.
Rumoured asking price: Some combination of prospect and draft picks.
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: Most Likely.

Moulson is an interesting player. He’s proved through his career that he’s capable of scoring, but he’s never been regarded with the respect of a true offensive player despite this. It seems that has changed though since his trade to Buffalo where he’s proved he’s not just a benefactor of John Tavares.

He skates well, passes well and shoots well. All great things for an offensive player and any team looking to push themselves over the top would be wise to make a call on him. A quality left wing isn’t easy to come by for a lot of teams but this is the trade deadline for that.

He’s gonna be great value and whatever team gets him will likely look great for doing so. Any team acquiring him would likely stand a good bet at re-signing him as well, if he doesn’t decide to head back to New York this summer.

My take: A team looking for offence without wanting to pay a up for Vanek or Kesler will grab Moulson. He’d fit in LA and Pittsburgh where the cap dollars are a bit tight next season. I could also see him being the guy that a bubble team such as Ottawa or Winnipeg makes a big play for as a cheaper rental player to try and make it into the wildcard spot. I have a feeling he comes out west though which likely leads him to California.


Christian Ehrhoff (59 GP, 6 G, 23A)
Possible destinations: Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins.
Rumoured asking price: Young NHL players or prospects ready to make the jump.
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: Outlook Not So Good.

Ehrhoff is a curious case. He has a long term contract, but it is at reasonable cap hit and most of the dollars have already been paid. He also has a no-trade clause, but that doesn’t appear to be much of an issue given the short term outlook for the Sabres.

While his contract can make him a bit difficult to fit into a teams plans in the long term, he’s arguably as worth it as any defencemen you could land via trade. He’s an excellent skater and passer which helps him get out of his own zone and into the offensive zone where he can shine with a booming shot and great vision. He’s also a huge puck-possession driver. None of these tools are going to proper use in Buffalo.

Any team that gets him is going to benefit. There has been talk that the Flyers were looking at bringing him in, but the Andy McDonald trade likely nixes that. Same chatter with Boston and Los Angeles but their long term cap picture looks pretty complicated with Ehrhoff. There was some chatter that the Canucks were interested but I very much doubt they could or should do it.

That leaves Detroit as the other major team for his services and they sure could use him. Detroit’s defence is long gone from the days of Rafalski, Stuart and Lidstrom but bringing in Ehrhoff alongside Ericsson and Kronwall would give them a second pairing that they haven’t had the luxury of using for a while.

My Take: I am going to side with the Magic 8-ball. I think he’s a player that is far more likely to be traded over the summer where more teams could make him fit into their plans. Then teams like Tampa Bay, Carolina, Colorado and Los Angeles could likely make him fit.


Ryan Callahan, RW (45 GP, 11 G, 14A)
Possible destinations: Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rumoured asking price: Some combination of prospect and draft picks.
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: Things Are Hazy.

I’m not convinced that Callahan will be traded, but it is still certainly a possibility. His reported contract demands (45 million, 7 years) are outrageous for what he provides, but New York isn’t a team to be shy about overpaying for marginal contributors. Plus he’s team captain, which only helps his case to stay put.

Another issue with Callahan being traded is I have no idea who would likely pay up anything of significance for him. The only team that he has been linked to was a preposterous rumour that involved him being traded for reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Martin St.Louis.

Would a team on the bubble pay up? Montreal? Columbus? Winnipeg? Ottawa? I’m not convinced. Not when other average talents could be had for a lot less – Chris Stewart, David Legwand, Ray Whitney.

My take: He’ll sign a huge contract to stay in New York and there will be buyout talk in less than 2 seasons. Smart teams sell on this type of players – like San Jose did with Ryan Clowe.


Mike Cammalleri, LW (44 GP, 14 G, 8A)
Possible destinations: Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers.
Rumoured asking price: Considering that Brian Burke is GM, probably a terrible hockey player with “truculence”.
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: As I See It Yes.

He’s having a down season for Calgary, but he’s on an expiring contract and probably won’t cost much in terms of assets. He still has a great shot and a crazy good one-timer which could be huge assets to any team in need of power play help.

Any time a scoring winger is on the market, you have to consider Pittsburgh. They’re forwards are decimated by injuries and anyone who can score would be helpful. He could also be a good bet in LA as any bad blood from contract negotiations years ago is likely gone and they need a sprinkle of offence as much as any team in the league.

He is a lot like Moulson in that he probably won’t cost terribly much and could be a real smart pick up. Whatever team misses out on the bigger guys would be smart to make a play for him. He can likely still score if he wasn’t surrounded with a bunch of boxers on skates and bad hockey players in Calgary.

There have been talks of an extension but I think thats a negotiation tactic to try and drive up the asking price.

My take: He goes cheap to Los Angeles for a bust prospect and a late round draft pick. Burke has a hilarious press conference talking about more archaic strategies.


Ales Hemsky, RW (55 GP, 11 G, 17A)
Possible destinations: Pittsburgh Penguins, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles, Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers.
Rumoured asking price: A young defenceman and a complimentary draft pick
Magic 8-ball’s prediction: Without a doubt.

Hemsky has been a polarizing figure in Edmonton. Some people see him as the oft-injured, soft playmaking winger that you can’t win a playoff series with. Others seem him as an immensely gifted player surrounded by burning tires masquerading as a roster. He’s probably somewhere in the middle.

He gets injured a lot but its because he goes to the hard areas and the Western Conference has never been soft. To his credit, he doesn’t shy away. If he gets knocked down he gets right back up and does it again. (What was Einstein’s theory of insanity?) But he does have all the talent you could ask for him in a complimentary winger. He could help a struggling power play and with linemates that could create some space for him he would likely dazzle.

Phoenix was rumoured to be a destination but they traded for Erat today which likely removed them from the market. Philadelphia was apparently hot on his services earlier this year but a deal wasn’t to be made at the time. Maybe things have changed.

Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Anaheim are a common theme here. They’re all teams that should be looking to add a piece or two and could use the help. He also likely won’t command an insane contract after this season if he goes somewhere that can win.

My take: He’ll go pretty cheap and be looked back upon as one of the smartest trades at the deadline. Put him on a second line with a competent center and watch him go. I think he’s Pittsburgh’s to have. It’ll cost one of their young defencemen but they have enough.

Other names to keep an eye on: Edler – I don’t see him moving at the deadline. Could be a draft day move, Myers – See Edler, St. Louis – No idea how the recent drama plays out. Likely another summer move, Brodeur – No chance Lamorello moves him. Time to wade into the sunset Marty, Legwand – if the price for Kesler is too much he could be a solid plan B, Gaborik – much the same boat as Hemsky, Phillips – nice depth addition for a contender. Look to Boston.

So what do you think? Is the 8-ball crazy? Do you think I did an 8-ball before writing this? What happens? Who goes where? Chime in below!

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