NHL Teams Most in Need of a Big Acquisition at the Trade Deadline
The NHL trade deadline is looming, and yet the standings are so close that it is difficult to know who might be buying or selling on February 29.
Things can change in a hurry, and these next two weeks of NHL action should separate the contenders from the pretenders just in time for the trade deadline.
There are a few teams badly in need of a boost to the point where we may see activity in the days ahead of the actual deadline. These teams need help to get into the playoffs and may find it via trade.
Here are the eight NHL teams most in need of a big trade pickup as we head to the deadline.
Boston Bruins Need to Trade Loui Eriksson While Not Missing a Beat
Where Are They Now? The Boston Bruins are tied for third in the Atlantic Division and looking good for a playoff spot.
What Is the Issue? Loui Eriksson is a big part of the team's success but is a free agent this summer. GM Don Sweeney reset the roster and is doing a soft rebuild, so losing Eriksson for nothing is not an option.
What Is the Solution? Ideally, the Bruins will find a hockey trade that fetches them an immediately useful player whose contract is under control next season and beyond. It is a tall order, but Eriksson's performance this season makes him an attractive trade asset.
Calgary Flames Need a Long-Term Answer in Goal
Where Are They Now? The Calgary Flames are No. 12 in the Western Conference and barely hanging on in the playoff race.
What Is the Issue? The Flames have no NHL goaltender signed for next season, and their current tandem—Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller—are not giving the team an advantage at the position.
What Is the Solution? There may be a window of opportunity at the deadline. Calgary may be able to pry away someone like Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings or Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks. A combination of expiring contracts—like those of Jiri Hudler or Kris Russell—and draft picks and prospects may be enough to make it happen.
Chicago Blackhawks Need an Effective Partner for Brent Seabrook
Where Are They Now? The Chicago Blackhawks are No. 1 in the Western Conference standings and strong contenders to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.
What Is the Solution? The organization has been casting about, attempting to find a fix, and has already traded Trevor Daley after he was found wanting. Expect continued auditions for the current depth players and a deadline deal for a trusted veteran defenseman.
Dallas Stars Need Defensive Depth
Where Are They Now? The Dallas Stars are No. 2 in the Central Division so far this season.
What Is the Issue? The Stars lack a great deal of defensive depth and are using their top four defensemen heavily. Chances are that Dallas will struggle down the stretch and into the playoffs without some help.
What Is the Solution? The trade deadline supplies rental options in all shapes and sizes, and this year is no exception. GM Jim Nill will no doubt add a strong option on defense while giving up a prospect or draft pick. His team needs help, and soon.
Florida Panthers Need to Add Depth
Where Are They Now? The Florida Panthers are in first place in the Atlantic Division.
What Is the Issue? The Panthers are playing well and look good for a strong postseason run. However, the emerging team has a lot of youth in important spots and needs depth in specific areas. A recent injury to Aleksander Barkov may thrust Nick Bjugstad into the spotlight as the No. 1 center, as suggested by Scott Cullen of TSN.
What Is the Solution? Florida has a robust development system and may have to cash in a pick or prospect for a grizzled veteran at center or on defense—or both. This team's time has arrived, and GM Dale Tallon needs to give the bottom of the roster a more veteran feel.
Minnesota Wild Need Goals
Where Are They Now? The Minnesota Wild are currently just outside the playoffs, ranking No. 9 in the Western Conference. They do have games in hand but are not performing well.
What Is the Issue? The Wild are scoring only 2.42 goals per game and rank No. 21 overall in the category. That isn't enough to guarantee a playoff spot, especially considering they also give up 2.42 goals per game.
What Is the Solution? Minnesota has seen some disappointing performances by veterans, including Zach Parise at even strength. It may dangle a player like Jonas Brodin—a solid defenseman who is struggling this season—in an effort to add a scoring forward.
Pittsburgh Penguins Need More Defensemen
Where Are They Now? The Pittsburgh Penguins are fourth in the Metropolitan Division and trending up, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
What Is the Issue? The Penguins have an interesting assortment of defenders but lack a player who can play in all situations beyond Kris Letang. The organization also has to be cognizant of its many injury issues on defense and plan for all possibilities—including a deep run, possibly to the Stanley Cup Final.
What Is the Solution? Pittsburgh does not have a lot to offer in the way of prospects and has traded many of its picks in recent years. If the Penguins could find a team willing to deal a short-term solution on defense who could handle even strength and special teams, they would look a lot stronger entering the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning Need More Defensive Depth
Where Are They Now? The Tampa Bay Lightning are No. 2 in the Atlantic Division.
What Is the Issue? The Lightning have two veterans—Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn—who are flagging in possession on the blue line. If the team is going to push deep into the playoffs, it will need contributions from all seven defenders. Coburn is playing a little better of late, but the team needs help.
What Is the Solution? Tampa Bay needs to find a way to offload one of these veterans in exchange for a more useful replacement—even if it means sweetening the deal with a pick or a prospect. Despite an up-and-down winter, this is a substantial team.
All possession numbers via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.