Biggest Available Names Who Could Be Shopped Before NHL Trade Deadline
NHL teams will be fast and furious with deadline deals after the Olympic break. The next NHL game is February 25, and the trade deadline is March 5.
There will be very little time to complete deals once the teams return to NHL ice. The good news is that general managers can still talk and the available talent is widely known.
Here are the 10 biggest names available at this year's deadline.
10. Sam Gagner, C, Edmonton Oilers
Why could be shopped: Sam Gagner is a skilled forward on a team that has several players with duplicate skills. This has CBC Sports' Eilliotte Friedman believing both player and team think it might be time for a change.
What he'll cost: The Oilers need an established player in return, because draft picks won't help them get better right away. A combination of a player plus a pick is possible. He is not a rental player (signed through 2016) and will cost more to acquire.
Chances he'll be traded: Gagner is likely to be traded at the deadline. Edmonton has been in talks with Los Angeles about Gagner, according to the Edmonton Journal's David Staples, who detailed a Twitter interaction between AJ Jakubec of TSN1200 Radio and TSN's Bob McKenzie. The talks progressed to the point where Kyle Clifford was mentioned as part of the return.
9. Steve Ott, LW, Buffalo Sabres
Why he could be shopped: The Buffalo Sabres are having a terrible season. New general manager Tim Murray needs to cash in his unrestricted free agents for a good return, as reported by The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington.
What he'll cost: Steve Ott is a veteran forward who can help out in many areas. A team acquiring Ott will no doubt value his experience and complementary goal-scoring ability. A pick inside the top 100 should be reasonable in exchange for the veteran, possibly inside the top 60.
Chances he'll be traded: The Sabres will trade Ott because they are in the midst of a rebuild. There have been no reports of the club attempting to re-sign him, so he's a classic deadline rental.
8. Tom Gilbert, D, Florida Panthers
Why he could shopped: The Florida Panthers plucked Tom Gilbert off the scrap heap and fortunately fell into some real value. NHL teams are looking high and low for defense at the deadline. The veteran has helped settle down the blue line, and good things are happening when he's on the ice.
What he'll cost: There's a shortage of effective defensemen who can play over 20 minutes a game. The price tag could be as high as a first-round pick.
Chances he'll be traded: The Panthers have choices on Gilbert. They can sign him or cash in on him now for a handsome price. Considering he came at such a low cost, either result would be a positive.
7. Chris Stewart, RW, St. Louis Blues
Why could be shopped: The St. Louis Blues have depth up front and may want cap relief to add salary at another position. Goaltender Ryan Miller is an example of a possible addition.
What he'll cost: Stewart's salary is $4.15 million through 2014-15, so that will knock down the price. A team acquiring him will benefit from his physical style and offensive ability. A first-round draft pick may be the preferred method of payment for the Blues if they add salary in another deal.
Chances he'll be traded: There is a report from the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch that he's being shopped, and that same report suggests there is interest. Stewart's exit from St. Louis seems inevitable.
6. Andrew MacDonald, D, New York Islanders
Why he could be shopped: Andrew MacDonald was offered a lucrative, long-term deal by the Islanders and rejected it. GM Garth Snow must protect his asset and get a pick or player under the team's control.
What he'll cost: MacDonald's perceived value runs ahead of his actual value this season. There will be NHL teams lining up for him in hopes that he can deliver quality defense. He plays against tough opposition and is getting subpar results. He should deliver good results if his coach plays him on a lower pairing.
Chances he'll be traded: The Islanders are suffering through a disappointing season, and MacDonald has turned down substantial money. He'll be dealt by the deadline.
5. Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
Why he could be shopped: The Edmonton Oilers have two young right wingers with dynamic futures in Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov. Ales Hemsky is ill-suited to a checking role, and his contract is too much for third-line duty.
What he'll cost: The Oilers have traded their second- and third-round draft picks for 2014. They could make Hemsky available for a first-round selection or a combination of picks.
Chances he'll be traded: Oilers coach Dallas Eakins is impressed with Hemsky's play this season. If the club finds the market soft for their Czech Olympian, don't completely rule out Edmonton offering another contract. That logjam on right wing suggests he'll be sent away in early March.
4. Mike Cammalleri, LW, Calgary Flames
Why he could be shopped: The Calgary Flames are in year one of their rebuild, and Mike Cammalleri is on an expiring contract with value. According to Garrioch, he is one of the most attractive forwards available at the deadline.
What he'll cost: Cammalleri is a veteran scorer who can help the offense at even strength and on the power play. The Flames won't let him go for less than a first-round pick or a quality prospect.
Chances he'll be traded: The Flames and Cammalleri are at different points in the championship cycle. He wants to win a Stanley Cup; Calgary wants young assets it can control. He'll be dealt by the deadline.
3. Matt Moulson, LW, Buffalo Sabres
Why he could be shopped: The Buffalo Sabres are in rebuild mode, and Moulson has high value. The return could be outstanding based on the level of interest, as tweeted by The New York Times' Chris Botta (h/t Brian Stubits of CBSSports.com).
What he'll cost: Moulson's ability to score goals makes him an impact acquisition at the deadline. Buffalo can acquire a first-round pick and a quality prospect in exchange for moving him.
Chances he'll be traded: The Sabres won't allow Moulson's contract to expire, especially with so much interest around the league. They'll receive a major boost in the rebuild for Moulson.
2. Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres
Why he could be shopped: Ryan Miller is the Buffalo Sabres' franchise player. The club has to decide whether to sign him—if he'll sign—or trade him off for pieces that will aid the rebuild.
What he'll cost: Buffalo will need huge compensation, especially considering the trade might turn a Stanley Cup contender into a winner. A reasonable guess would be a first-round pick and a top-flight prospect.
Chances he'll be traded: Since Miller hasn't received a new contract offer from Buffalo yet, there's every chance he's going to be dealt. There are rumors Lyle Richardson of The Hockey News detailed a couple rumors involving St. Louis and Minnesota:
Miller remains linked to the St. Louis Blues even though, as Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes, they lack the cap space to take on the remainder of his salary and could be unwilling to pay what’s expected to be a steep asking price from the Sabres.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently suggested the Minnesota Wild as a destination...
1. Thomas Vanek, LW, New York Islanders
Why he could shopped: Thomas Vanek turned down a very big contract offer from the New York Islanders, ensuring he'll be traded before the deadline. Vanek's elite skills will make him a top priority for teams at the deadline.
What he'll cost: The Islanders gave up a lot to get him, so the return will have to match. The minimum price will be a quality NHL regular and a first- and second-round selection.
Chances he'll be traded: Vanek will be dealt by the Islanders at the deadline. The trade with Buffalo looks a little risky now, so only a strong return will put this right with New York fans.