NHL Trade Scenarios: Top Defensemen That Could Be Used as Deadline Tradebait
Defense wins championships. It's an old adage that has survived several generations of sports because of the simple fact that it is true.
Teams that play great defense in the playoffs always stand a chance of advancing deep into the postseason.
That's why this year could be special at the trade deadline, because there are a few top defenders that might be changing teams at this year's deadline.
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Shea Weber is the prize of the defensive crop that could be used for trade bait.
Nashville will want to keep Weber, but the question is going to be whether or not they will be able to keep him after all is said and done with contract discussions.
Weber is an elite defenseman and wants to be paid like it.
Nashville also wants to keep Ryan Suter but likely doesn't have the money to keep both Weber and Suter unless one or both of them takes a "home town discount."
Things have gotten more interesting with this now that Weber is out indefinitely with concussion symptoms.
A lot of teams will be interested in Weber if he is available at the deadline.
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Ryan Suter is Nashville's other top defenseman that is in need of a new contract at the end of this season.
The only difference with Suter is that he will be an unrestricted free agent, whereas Weber is going to be a restricted free agent.
This means Nashville could potentially lose Suter for nothing, which makes him the more likely candidate to be traded.
While Suter might not get quite as large of a trade value as Weber would, Nashville will still get a good return.
Nashville may yet figure out how to keep both Weber and Suter but, due to his unrestricted status, Suter will most likely be moved before Weber is.
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Francois Beauchemin is a veteran defender that is playing for a team that is under-performing.
With the horrendous season that the Ducks have had to this point, it wouldn't be a surprise if they did try to ship the 31-year-old defender elsewhere.
He won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007, so Beauchemin could be appealing to a team looking for a veteran presence going into the playoffs.
By all accounts, Beauchemin is having a pretty good season with 11 points in 35 games.
Beauchemin could be a valuable commodity at the trade deadline as the Ducks look forward to next season.
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Calgary finds itself in a precarious position after yet another horrific start to the season.
The Flames have managed to pick up their play in the last month and find themselves just a couple of points out of the playoff picture, despite being ranked 13th in the Western Conference.
When the trade deadline comes around, Calgary is going to have to make a choice between trying to make a Cinderella run to the finals, or thinking big picture and trying to dump a little bit of salary.
Either way Jay Bouwmeester would be a good choice for them to move because he has a bit cap hit ($6.68 million) and has a big enough upside that Calgary could get either draft picks, players, or possibly both to achieve whatever their desired goal is.
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Ottawa is overachieving this season, which makes Gonchar a guy that might or might not get traded.
Gonchar is a Stanley Cup Champion and savvy veteran defender that any team making a run at the Stanley Cup would love to have on their roster.
That includes Ottawa, but Gonchar could be considered expendable because of the emergence of Erik Karlsson.
Karlsson is now the best offensive defenseman on the team and has almost twice the amount of points that Gonchar does.
Ottawa could use Gonchar's veteran status and ability as trade bait to help fill some other holes on their team to make a push for the playoffs.
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The Capitals are easily the biggest disappointment in the NHL this season.
Usually a team that sits atop the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals now sit in the 11th seed.
The coaching change has been tried and has failed to produce the spark that would get the team back on track, so it's possible that the Capitals will now try to move some players around.
One player who could benefit from a scene change would be Mike Green.
After a couple seasons of incredible success, including a 30-goal season from the blue line, Mike Green has struggled the past couple of years and shipping Green out of town could help out both parties.
Green would get a place to start fresh, Washington could score a couple of good players in return and get Green's $5 million cap hit off of their books.
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The New York Islanders are once again in the bottom of the Eastern Conference and might have the ability to pull of quite a trade with Mark Streit as the centerpiece.
The Philadelphia Flyers are in need of another defender to fill the void that Chris Pronger is leaving, and Mark Streit could very well be that guy.
The Islanders could benefit from this big time, even though they would be trading their captain.
Kevin Goff is a Featured Columnist for the Colorado Avalanche and NHL on Bleacher Report. For more NHL news and discussion,