Potential NHL Trades That Would Make Perfect Sense

Allan Mitchell@@Lowetide_Featured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2016

Potential NHL Trades That Would Make Perfect Sense

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    As we approach the All-Star break, NHL teams are positioning themselves for deep runs into the playoffs. No team in the league considers itself completely balanced, and we will see a lot of moves between now and the trade deadline.

    It is fairly easy to see who might be eligible for trade at each year's deadline—unrestricted free agents on bad teams are the talent pool—but this year offers extra complications because so many teams are still in the race. One result is the return of the pure trade, as we saw recently when the Columbus Blue Jackets sent Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for Seth Jones.

    Here are seven NHL trades that make sense for both sides as we head toward the deadline.

Dallas Stars Trade Jamie Oleksiak to the Ottawa Senators

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    The Trade: Dallas Stars trade Jamie Oleksiak to the Ottawa Senators for Shane Prince

    The Story: The Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators have two solid young prospects who are waiver eligible. Dallas has found other youngsters who have taken opportunities and may have more room up front for a young player. Things are vice versa in Ottawa, where forwards are in abundance but defense is thin. 

    Will It Happen? This trade makes sense, especially if the two teams feel depth is needed in these areas. As an aside, the possible expansion of NHL teams would give players like Oleksiak and Prince prime NHL opportunities instead of fringe minutes.

Edmonton Oilers Trade Teddy Purcell to Montreal Canadiens

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The Trade: Edmonton Oilers trade Teddy Purcell to the Montreal Canadiens for a third-round draft pick. 

    The Story: The Oilers dealt Jeff Petry to Montreal at last year's deadline and could help again this time. Purcell is a smart offensive winger with great vision, and he can help on the power play. Montreal needs some punch and the asset cost should be only a pick. 

    Will It Happen? Purcell is extremely likely to be dealt at the deadline, the only question is where he lands. Montreal has a need, and the two teams have done business in the recent past.

St. Louis Trades Kevin Shattenkirk to the Edmonton Oilers

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    Billy Hurst/Associated Press

    The Trade: St. Louis Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to the Edmonton Oilers for Jordan Eberle.

    The Story: The Blues are good but have not been able to get past teams like the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs. An additional offensive player like Eberle may be the difference, and the emergence of Colton Parayko allows the team to trade Shattenkirk. Edmonton needs a veteran defender who can play big minutes, and Shattenkirk is money on the power play.

    Will It Happen? There are reasons to believe this trade could happen. St. Louis is not playing at optimum levels, and the Oilers are trying to fix their defense. The addition of Eberle and the cap certainty of his deal may mean the Blues pull the trigger.

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Steven Stamkos to St. Louis Blues

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Trade: Tampa Bay Lightning trade Steven Stamkos to the St. Louis Blues for David Backes and picks or prospects. 

    The Story: The Lightning have an issue with Stamkos, who is a free agent this summer, and they can't just let him go for no return—it would be a terrible use of assets. They may cast around for a capable replacement and look for young players or picks to help down the line. St. Louis is badly in need of an impact offensive player, and Stamkos would be the best available option.

    Will It Happen? Tampa Bay is living dangerously, and if it can't sign Stamkos it has to move him. St. Louis is equally desperate, it probably has one move left before looking at replacing coach Ken Hitchcock. If it is willing to move a package that includes a top pick and quality youngster, this could happen.

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Jonathan Drouin to the Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Trade: Tampa Bay Lightning trade Jonathan Drouin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Ryan Murray.

    The Story: The Lightning will trade Drouin in due time and will need a young player who is in the NHL while also having a contract that is reasonable and under control. Murray is a solid young defender with some injury issues, but he does have similar draft pedigree to Drouin, and the cap hit should be attractive to the Lightning. The Jackets get an impressive young forward to help their sputtering offense. 

    Will It Happen? Tampa Bay may prefer to trade with a Western Conference team, but Murray is a solid talent and should be able to help the Lightning for several years. The Blue Jackets probably want a center more than a winger, but when elite talent comes available, things can change in a hurry.

Vancouver Canucks Trade Dan Hamhuis to the Boston Bruins

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    The Trade: Vancouver Canucks trade Dan Hamhuis to the Boston Bruins for Alexander Khokhlachev

    The Story: The Vancouver Canucks are still in the Pacific Division race but have too many holes to be a serious contender for the Stanley Cup. Dealing veteran Hamhuis months before free agency for an intriguing young forward in Khokhachev is good asset management. Boston is also in a playoff race with a veteran team, and adding Hamhuis—once he has recovered from injury—would help shore up a wobbly defense. Thomas Drance from Sportsnet has more on a terrible injury for Hamhuis. 

    Will It Happen? This is the kind of deal we see every year at the deadline, and it makes sense for both sides. That said, if Hamhuis is available there will be plenty of suitors. 

Winnipeg Jets Trade Andrew Ladd to the Anaheim Ducks

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    Mike Stone/Associated Press

    The Trade: Winnipeg Jets trade Andrew Ladd to the Anaheim Ducks for Frederik Andersen.

    The Story: The Jets have an internal cap and a bunch of expensive free agents coming up for new deals. Trading Ladd and signing their other free agents—like Dustin Byfuglien—makes sense, and this deal gets them a solid No. 1 goaltending option. The Ducks just traded for David Perron but need more offense on the port side, and Ladd would be a nice addition.

    Will It Happen? Winnipeg may not feel its playoff hopes are dashed, so it could be a deadline decision on Ladd. Anaheim has young John Gibson emerging as its starter, so it is likely only a matter of time before Andersen finds a new NHL home.