By 3 p.m. EST Monday, players will know which of the 31 NHL teams logo will appear on their checks. Equally, we figure to have some idea of how the contenders and playoff hopefuls stack up for what’s ahead and how sellers have helped improve their future odds. It’s the trade deadline and this is the preview of the day ahead.
The list assembled below is a collection, by team, of the most likely players/assets to be moved.
Before (or as you review this list), three storylines that may be of most intrigue throughout the day.
The Minnesota Wild, listed below with three players potentially to be had including pending UFA, Alex Galchenyuk. But most interesting are the pair of defensemen with term–Jonas Brodin (free agent in 2021) and Matt Dumba (2023). Both have puck-moving abilities and play a lot of minutes–north of 20 minutes. The production is down on Dumba, who tallied 50 points in 2017-18, but first-year GM, Bill Guerin could still get a nice return for both members of his blue line. What will be interesting is to see whether he acts now or waits for the summer for these potential moves.
What, if anything, could happen with the pair of holdout’s. That being Edmonton winger, Jesse Pulujarvi and Jets’ defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien. Pulujarvi, selected fourth overall in 2016, is ineligible to play in the NHL this season after failing the restricted free agent failed sign a contract. He won’t be able to help this season, but has encouraging numbers in the top pro league in Finland scoring 49 points in as many games. With 71 points the Oilers sit third in the NHL’s Pacific division–three points behind the division-leading Golden Knights and one point ahead of the Coyotes, first in the wild card as of Sunday. Edmonton has games-in-hand on both and could be in a primed position to add to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s cause. Winnipeg, who as of Sunday holds the second wild card spot with 69 points, might also feel the pressure to act–and already has with the additions of Dylan DeMelo and Cody Eakin in recent days. Byfuglien, 34, contemplated retirement and subsequently decided not to report to the club this season and is currently suspended by the club. It seems as if he is to return to the NHL, he won’t do it for the Jets. As such, the defensemen, who has also played forward, could be added to a team for now (pending a physical) or next season. He’s a hefty ticket at nearly $8 million, but is one season removed from a 45-point showing in 69 games.
Lastly, what ultimately happens with the teams that appear poised to be the biggest contenders come May and June? The Penguins added Jason Zucker; Elsewhere, Blake Coleman is a versatile add to the Lightning; And the Canucks picked up Tyler Toffoli in hopes of keeping pace in what could be a crazy finish in the super-close Pacific and Western Conference. But what does the likes of the Avalanche, Bruins, Blues, Stars, Caps and Golden Knights do to position themselves better for the postseason? Could this mean we see more “hockey trades” and unexpected casualties with term? And how might others like the Maple Leafs respond to their team’s inconsistent play as of late? Answers we’ll know soon enough.