NHL Trade Speculation: One Young Player That Each Team Would Be Crazy to Trade
Trade rumors are flying around the NHL right now with just four weeks remaining until the deadline. Lots of teams are looking for scoring, and others are looking for help on the blue line or between the pipes. But with the playoff races wide open in both conferences, many teams could be buying and selling at the same time.
Every team wants to find a young jewel in a trade. Just as Chicago did when they traded Tuomo Ruutu for Andrew Ladd a few years back, everyone wants to find that last key piece to the championship puzzle.
But every team has a young player or two they shouldn't even pick up the phone to talk about. Here's a look at a young guy every team shouldn't even think about trading.
The Ducks have been one of the more popular teams to hit the trade rumors, but one name that has escaped even the most desperate of blogs has (rightfully) been Cam Fowler. The young defenseman has a ton of talent and looks like he'll be good for the Ducks for a long time. Moving him would be criminal.
The Bruins have a number of young players they should keep around, but the one guy they'll need most in the next few years is Tuukka Rask.
Tim Thomas has only one year left on his deal, so Rask will probably get a nice offer before he reaches restricted free agency this summer.
While Ryan Miller has a stranglehold on the top spot on the depth chart for now, Jhonas Enroth has shown that he might be a year or two away from the same potential trade/contract buzz that Corey Schneider and Rask are receiving right now.
If the Sabres look to cut cost at some point, he might have a good chance at Miller's job.
Mikael Backlund is a talented young forward for the Calgary Flames.
There haven't been many times that anyone's been able to say that, so let it sink in. The Flames made a mistake when they dealt Dion Phaneuf to Toronto, but they have changed the name on the GM's office door since then.
Backlund is the next generation for the Flames.
With news that the 'Canes signed Tim Gleason to a four-year deal on Monday, they clearly aren't going to sell the farm in spite of a bad season.
Jamie McBain is a young defenseman who should be part of their rebuild on the blue line in the next few years.
Chicago has been looking for a bigger, more physical defenseman to skate with Nick Leddy, who they stole from the Minnesota Wild in one of the worst trades of the last few years. Leddy's a smooth-skating, young defenseman who adds a lot to the offensive end of the ice.
Ryan O'Reilly is quietly becoming one of the better young two-way forwards in the Western Conference. With So much of their roster hitting free agency this summer, they'll undoubtedly have to make a few tough decisions. One of them should be to keep O'Reilly as long as they can.
Columbus Blue Jackets
From a distance, it's hard to say the Jackets should keep anyone. But John Moore is a really good, young defenseman who could be part of a rebuilding process in Columbus.
Jamie Benn is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Stars must to everything in their power to keep that kid around Dallas long term. He's a really good young player who was voted to be among the best in the league already this year.
Detroit Red Wings
No, Mr. Lidstrom isn't the young player they can't trade. The point of this slide is, considering the age of their roster and where they're positioned in the Western Conference, this might be a year where no young prospect or young NHL player is untouchable if the right deal presented itself.
Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are three of the more exciting young players in the NHL, and they're all on the same roster. There is no way the Oilers should consider moving any of the three at any point in the next few years. Chemistry is already developing, and they could be the centerpiece of something special in the coming years.
Jacob Markstrom might not be a household name right now, but he's one of the better young goalie prospects in the game. The Panthers might have a real winner on their hands if Markstrom lives up to expectations.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are in the same boat as the Red Wings, but it's headed the opposite direction. L.A. has a number of good young prospects, but they showed last summer that there isn't a kid in the organization that's "untouchable" when they dealt Brayden Schenn to the Flyers in the deal that brought back Mike Richards.
The Kings would be crazy to not make the right deal at this point by not holding onto someone.
Justin Falk is a good-looking, big defenseman who was part of the reason Minnesota felt comfortable putting Brent Burns on the market over the summer. He's having a nice season this year and could develop into a legitimate replacement for Burns long term.
Most of the attention on the Habs' blue line goes to PK Subban, but Raphael Diaz has been arguably the better young defenseman on the Montreal roster this year. With all of the apparent personality conflicts between coaches and Subban, keeping Diaz is a better play.
Yes, the argument is that Nashville can't afford to lose Shea Weber and/or Ryan Suter. But the reality is that one of them (at least) will probably be gone at this time next year.
So keeping Jonathan Blum in the fold is key for the Preds moving forward. He's a good young defenseman they'll ask to replace Suter, just as they've asked guys to replace other defensemen who have departed, like Dan Hamhuis, in the past.
New Jersey Devils
Really, there are two young players in New Jersey that should be viewed as untouchable. Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson have both established themselves as a couple of the best rookies in the league, and their ability to produce with a minimal financial impact is an added bonus for a nearly-bankrupt organization.
New York Islanders
The Islanders won't even take a phone call about John Tavares, and the next player they should eliminate from the list of players they'll even listen about is Matt Moulson. They're trying to put together a competitive roster, and he's the kind of player a good organization should build around.
New York Rangers
The Rangers are another team with a number of young players they shouldn't even think about moving, but one of the guys that's developed into a really nice NHL player is Michael Del Zotto. Having a strong blue line is how championships are won, and the Rangers have put together a really good young group of defensemen.
This is an absolute no-brainer. Erik Karlsson is an All-Star and the top-scoring defenseman in the NHL right now. The Sens should be more worried about keeping him around for the next decade than even considering a trade with his name involved.
The Flyers are in a tough spot trying to replace Chris Pronger on their blue line and remain a legitimate Cup contender in the Eastern Conference.
But they should really think twice about any calls that come in for Brayden Schenn, who has shown flashes of superstar potential in international play.
For the fans wherever the Coyotes end up playing next year, Paul "BizNasty" Bissonnette might be the most marketable asset on the roster. Shane Doan and Ray Whitney are aging and might leave as free agents, so at least keep around the most popular Twitter feed in the league.
It's hard to tell the Pens they can't mortgage any/all of their young talent to fill some of the enormous injury-created holes they've had to endure this year, but Tyler Kennedy is a young guy that's repeatedly stepped up when asked to play a bigger role. Pittsburgh shouldn't consider Kennedy to be available.
San Jose Sharks
They have a long-term deal in place with starter Antti Niemi, but before the deadline, they would be crazy to entertain the idea of Thomas Greiss leaving town. Depending on how the cards fall this summer with other top free-agent netminders, Greiss (with one more year on his deal) could become a great trade piece over the summer after helping Niemi and the Sharks the rest of this year.
St. Louis Blues
Three years ago, Erik Johnson was the guy nobody thought would ever leave St. Louis. But after a rough first couple years with the Blues, he saw his job taken by Alex Pietrangelo, and now he's in Denver.
Pietrangelo is developing into a top-tier defenseman who could be making All-Star and Olympic appearances in the next couple years.
Tampa Bay Lightning
If Karlsson was a no-brainer in Ottawa, this is just common sense. The best scorer in the league should never leave Tampa. Yes, I know, "If Gretzky can get traded, anyone can," but this guy is as good as it gets today.
Toronto Maple Leafs
There's a lot of good depth on the blue line for the Leafs, but Jake Gardiner is a guy they should take out of any/every conversation they have between now and the deadline. He's good, can handle the puck well and is more affordable than some of the other young guys they've already locked up.
Cody Hodgson is one young player that's worked himself into an important secondary role on the Canucks, and he has done a great job of establishing himself in the offense despite receiving limited minutes in the bottom six. The Canucks need to find more young players that can produce like Hodgson to stay under the cap and compete in the coming years.
Many people assume Alex Semin will be leaving Washington this summer, and there are serious questions about Mike Green's future in DC because of his health concerns over the last couple years.
But nobody's thinking for a second that John Carlson should be used as a trade chip to improve the club, because he's one of the best young defensemen in the game.
There has been some talk about how much Kane will be worth to the Jets on his next contract, and certainly he'll be a guy they don't think about moving anytime soon. He's a strong young forward who plays a physical game.