Slowly but surely, we are inching towards the NHL stretch drive, a.k.a. the final 20 games of the season. This generally begins to help separate the contenders from the pretenders. It also helps identify buyers and sellers at the trade deadline. What teams are going to try to add that final piece? What teams are looking for a big splash to put themselves into contender status?
A lot of the bigger names that trade rumours have been around, such as Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Ryan O’Reilly and Dennis Seidenberg will not be on the list. Those players have a lot of term and are more of the off-season trade variety.
By: Adam Pyde – @Adam_Pyde
Editors note: The Kings went and traded for Sekera a whole day before I was going to post this. Way to make me have to do more work, Kings.
5. Zbynek Michalek
When it comes to “defensive” defenceman, the best one up for grabs at this deadline is Michalek. The difference between him and the defenceman listed yesterday (Polak, Salvador, Hejda) is that Michalek can still play effectively in a top four unit.
He’s a great shot blocker, strong penalty killer, and still has his feet under him. Although he’s the second best remaining defenceman right now. Unfortunately, he is suffering from a concussion so it is not clear when he will return, but he’s still a worthwhile addition to any team.
Potential landing spots: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens
4. Erik Cole
Stop me if you have heard this one before.
- Veteran winger
- Scoring touch
- Capable two-way play
- Able to play around the line up
- Pending UFA
Basically your perfect rental winger. I am not sure if Dallas moves him as I think they feel they still can make the playoffs, but if they were smart they would get a couple draft picks and focus on next season.
Potential landing spots: New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals
3. Jaromir Jagr
He’s still going strong at 42 years old and provides the best injection of offence for any team looking for a top-six winger. He can cycle and control the puck with the best of the and still has a great shot and vision for passing. He’s still a strong power play player and has the kind of size that can win important board battles in the playoffs.
The only issue is that his treads have fallen off and he just cannot skate like he used to be able. That makes him the perfect “part three” of a first line or a guy to help add some balance to a second line.
Potential landing spots: Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins
2. Jeff Petry
Want a defenceman that can reliably play 20+ minutes a night against tough competition and keep his head above water? A guy that can play top pairing or anchor your second pairing? A player that has a lot more offensive ability than he is given credit for?
Of course you do. Petry is the best option for defensive improvement left on the market. Also, he shoots right which is pretty uncommon for defenceman. Once he moves to a team that is not a skating tire-fire then people are going to actually realize how good he is.
Potential landing spots: Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks
1. Antione Vermette
He’s the most versatile forward available, but most importantly he plays center. That makes him the most valuable piece a team can add at the deadline, in theory. Good faceoff man, ability to play in an offensive role, strong defensively, special teams, etc.
His offence has cooled down lately but he’s still the kind of middle-six versatility addition that can really help solve a team’s depth issues and, again, he’s a center. I cannot overstate how valuable that is.
Potential landing spots: Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks