The Player Most Likely to Be Traded on Every NHL Team in 2014-15

Jonathan Willis@jonathanwillisNHL National ColumnistDecember 10, 2014

The Player Most Likely to Be Traded on Every NHL Team in 2014-15

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    In a salary-cap world, it's increasingly difficult for NHL teams to make midseason moves. Every hockey deal comes with a financial component that must be carefully considered, and general managers have to look not just at the present state of their teams but also at the landscape years down the road.

    Despite this, trades are possible and can have a massive impact on teams. The New York Islanders' ascent up the NHL standings shows how valuable a willingness to make a deal (or two or three) can be. 

    The following slideshow looks at players on each team who have either been fixtures in trade rumours or who, based on reasonable speculation, could be expected to find themselves in new homes by the end of the season. Read on for the full 30-team list.

Anaheim Ducks: Dany Heatley

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    Why he could be dealt: There isn't really one player who jumps off the page as a trade candidate on Anaheim's roster. With that said, this is a contending team that as of this writing sits first in the NHL, and it's logical to expect them to gear up down the stretch. Dany Heatley, once healthy, is a pretty logical "warm body" replacement to go back in a trade for a superior player. 

    Reasonable return: Again, it's less about Heatley than it is about gearing up for a Cup run. He'd be expendable as part of a package to acquire a superior player. 

Arizona Coyotes: Antoine Vermette

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    Why he could be dealt: Antoine Vermette is a pending free agent on an Arizona team that is unlikely to compete for a playoff spot this season. Not only that, but the Coyotes are always a budget team and likely lack the resources to sign the veteran centre. There's a premium on centres on the trade market, so general manager Don Maloney should be able to land a decent return. 

    Reasonable return: A deal involving Vermette is likely to fetch a package in return, one centered around either a first-round draft pick or a high-end prospect and featuring at least one other asset with reasonable value. Knowing the Coyotes, that other asset might be a reasonably priced depth centre who can take some of Vermette's minutes. 

Boston Bruins: Reilly Smith

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    Why he could be dealt: Reilly Smith is by no means guaranteed to be moved, but if the persistent rumours that Boston wants to add a top-flight scorer are accurate, such as this report from's Pierre LeBrun, he's a logical player to move the other way. Boston is (once again) going to be tight to the cap next season, and finding money to pay the pending RFA could prove difficult. 

    Reasonable return: This is a trade that only makes sense if the Bruins can land a high-end forward at the trade deadline from one of the teams outside the playoff race. 

Buffalo Sabres: Chris Stewart

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    Why he could be dealt: It's not hard to do the math here. Chris Stewart is one of eight significant pending unrestricted free agents playing for a terrible Buffalo Sabres team. Eventually, the Sabres are going to unload the vast majority of them for futures, which is why Stewart's name has been a fixture in trade rumours since virtually the moment he was dealt to Buffalo last season.  

    Reasonable return: Normally, Stewart would command a hefty return from a contender, perhaps something centered around a first-round draft pick. He's having a wretched season, though, and that's going to hurt his value. Still, GM Tim Murray has shown an ability to extract maximum value from his rentals (see Ryan Miller), and a second-round pick is probably a reasonable expectation.  

Calgary Flames: Devin Setoguchi

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    Why he could be dealt: Calgary's a little bit like Anaheim in that there isn't one player who seems like a really obvious subtraction. Most are performing well, and those who aren't are a little overpriced. Curtis Glencross might have fit if the Flames hadn't started so strongly. Devin Setoguchi might come into play if he can find his game in the minors—so far he has four points over five contests. 

    Reasonable return: There's virtually no value to be had here. Setoguchi might be a "warm body" for a team shipping over a better player.  

Carolina Hurricanes: Andrej Sekera

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    Why he could be dealt: If there is one truth about the NHL trade deadline, it is that veteran defencemen always have value. That's almost regardless of whether the players are useful, and Andrej Sekera (who has been a top-pairing option in Carolina) is awfully useful. The Hurricanes aren't going anywhere this season and could fetch a lot for the pending UFA. 

    Reasonable return: Sekera should command the going rate for veteran defenders. The last few years (two second-round draft picks) and a late first-round pick would not be out of the question. 

Chicago Blackhawks: Jeremy Morin

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    Why he could be dealt: Jeremy Morin hasn't been productive in Chicago this year, but the 23-year-old brings a range of skills and impressed in a 24-game cameo with the Blackhawks last season. For a team likely to load up at the deadline, Morin is a logical player to send away. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he's requested a trade. 

    Reasonable return: Morin is the kind of player who gets moved as part of a larger deal. The Blackhawks are a legitimate contender, and those teams often bolster their depth chart at the deadline. Morin could be sent away as part of a package for a superior rental player. 

Colorado Avalanche: Ryan O'Reilly

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    Why he could be dealt: This is a deal that might make more sense for the 2015 draft, both because Ryan O'Reilly is an exceptional player and because he has a sizable contract. Still, the Avs have had some well-publicized disputes with O'Reilly, and he'd certainly be able to command a top-flight winger or high-end defenceman in trade.

    Reasonable return: Presumably the only way this kind of deal gets made is if the Avs can address team needs. Ideally, that would mean a top-pairing defenceman the other way, but if the team could find an impact forward in the same age range, one would imagine they would consider it. 

Columbus Blue Jackets: Mark Letestu

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    Why he could be dealt: With injuries decimating the Blue Jackets to the point where they are in the hunt for Connor McDavid, it's reasonable to assume that decisions will be made on all of the team's unrestricted free agents before the trade deadline. The loss of Nick Foligno would be a heavy blow, and so the team undoubtedly will make every effort to sign him, but Columbus could probably handle the loss of Mark Letestu, assuming he can get and then stay healthy. 

    Reasonable return: Letestu has really come into his own in Ohio and is both a capable penalty-killer and an auxiliary offensive producer. Given the premium on centres around the league, if he's healthy and producing, the Jackets could probably expect something in the range of a second-round draft pick back.

Dallas Stars: Erik Cole

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    Why he could be dealt: Erik Cole has been a disappointment in Dallas since coming over in a trade from Montreal back in 2012-13. He's hard to trade at this point in the season because even though he's in the final year of his contract, he still carries a $4.5 million cap hit. By the deadline, that number will be a lot smaller and more palatable to other teams. 

    Reasonable return: Assuming there isn't a major upswing in Cole's play, he'll likely fetch the standard mid-round draft pick that every mediocre veteran lands at the deadline. 

Detroit Red Wings: Jakub Kindl

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    Why he could be dealt: It's common knowledge that the Red Wings would like to add a right-shooting defenceman to their roster, which currently features seven left-handed shots. Someone needs to go to make room, and Jakub Kindl hits the sweet spot because he's useful but expendable and a touch overpaid for what he brings. 

    Reasonable return: Ideally, a right-shooting second-pair defenceman. Kindl isn't likely to fetch that all by himself, so Detroit would need to sweeten the pot, but he's the NHL body most likely to be at the centre of that kind of trade. 

Edmonton Oilers: Jeff Petry

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    Why he could be dealt: Edmonton can't really afford to subtract Petry from its defence, but may not have a choice. He is a pending free agent on a team mired near the bottom of the standings, and unless the Oilers can work out a deal that makes sense for both parties, he'll need to be moved. The team really can't afford to let him walk for nothing.  

    Reasonable return: An NHL-ready prospect would be ideal, but the Oilers may have to settle for a lower-end defenceman and a mid-round draft pick in exchange. 

Florida Panthers: Sean Bergenheim

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    Why he could be dealt: Sean Bergenheim's name has been in the rumour mill for a while, with the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch bringing it up again Sunday. Bergenheim is a pending free agent, which will make him attractive at the deadline to a contender, and the Panthers have a number of younger options that could plausibly replace him internally. 

    Reasonable return: Bergenheim is probably best-suited to a third-line role, and that kind of player typically fetches a middling draft pick at the deadline. 

Los Angeles Kings: Jordan Nolan

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    Why he could be dealt: The Kings obviously don't really need to move anyone. The defending Stanley Cup champions can contend as-is. Jordan Nolan's size (6'3", 225 lbs) and style of play could make him attractive to a number of teams looking for depth, however, and Los Angeles is going to have trouble finding ice time for all of its forwards once Marian Gaborik returns from injury. 

    Reasonable return: Nolan is a fourth-line forward, so the return wouldn't be much, likely just a middling draft pick. 

Minnesota Wild: Josh Harding

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    Why he could be dealt: Pending free agent Josh Harding cleared waivers earlier this season after a long injury-related absence, but if he performs well in the AHL (two games in he has a 0.920 save percentage), he should be of interest to NHL teams. As Minnesota already has two reasonably solid goalies under contract for next season, there's no reason for them not to make a move. 

    Reasonable return: 1A/1B-type goalies typically don't command a lot at the deadline; Minnesota added Ilya Bryzgalov last year at the fairly low price of a fourth-round pick. Harding might be a little pricier if a team finds itself in a bind, and if he's playing well and is a credible starting option. 

Montreal Canadiens: David Desharnais

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    Why he could be dealt: This is another example of a team needing to give to get. Montreal has cooled after a hot start but should still make the playoffs, and it may be interested in upgrading up front. David Desharnais is a solid piece to start from because despite his flaws, his scoring ability means he has value. 

    Reasonable return: The only trade that really makes sense involves sending Desharnais-plus to some other team with the objective of landing a superior option. 

Nashville Predators: Olli Jokinen

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    Why he could be dealt: Nashville has tons of depth up front, particularly at centre, where the team made a bunch of free-agent gambles. One of those gambles was a one-year contract for Olli Jokinen, who has all of one point in 26 games but also has a record of producing in the recent past. 

    Reasonable return: Likely the return in a Jokinen trade would be a middling draft pick. 

New Jersey Devils: Damien Brunner

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    Why he could be dealt: Why does a player who recently cleared waivers rate a mention? Mostly because of his salary. There are lots of teams out there who won't take on a $2.5 million contract but might be willing to make a deal if salary was going the other way or if the Devils were willing to retain some dollars. 

    Reasonable return: Damien Brunner's value is pretty low. If the Devils can move him for a slightly overpaid depth guy, they'll be doing pretty well.

New York Islanders: Cal Clutterbuck

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    Why he could be dealt: The Islanders' big off-season moves and developing youth combined together mean that the team has a surplus of NHL-calibre forwards. Cal Clutterbuck earns significant dollars ($2.75 million cap hit) for the next three seasons, isn't scoring much and is replaceable internally. 

    Reasonable return: Some variety of futures is probably in order. Given the salary climate, New York might not be able to command a lot, but there does tend to be interest in useful (and physical) role players every year around trade deadline time. The hard thing will be finding a team that can absorb his salary without sending money back. 

New York Rangers: Mats Zuccarello

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    Why he could be dealt: The Rangers are hovering around the playoff bubble in the East and currently sit three points back of Boston for the final wild-card slot. They have some tough choices to make, because the team has a bunch of expiring contracts and only so much cap space next year to re-sign pivotal UFA and RFA players. Mats Zuccarello is one of those free agents. He might have value as a scoring rental at the deadline, and moving him would open up cap space for other players. 

    Reasonable return: Zuccarello would presumably command a reasonably high draft pick or decent prospect after putting in some strong work in New York's 2014 Cup run. 

Ottawa Senators: Erik Condra

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    Why he could be dealt: The Senators have some surplus forwards whose names have been grist for the trade rumour mill all season, but what works in Erik Condra's favour is that he's a pending free agent. He's nothing special but might have some value at the deadline as a depth option somewhere else. 

    Reasonable return: A late draft pick is probably the best that Ottawa can hope for in exchange. 

Philadelphia Flyers: Nick Schultz

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    Why he could be dealt: Nick Schultz's name isn't popping up in rumours the way some of the Flyers more high-profile skaters have, but he's a pending free agent on a team that almost certainly isn't going to make the playoffs. Philadelphia would love to move players like R.J. Umberger, Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn, but those are going to be hard deals to sell. A veteran defenceman on an expiring contract isn't. 

    Reasonable return: Last season saw weak returns on veterans, so Schultz only commanded a fifth-round pick in trade when Edmonton moved him to Columbus. He's had a better year, and (presumably) prices will be a little closer to normal, so he should be worth a little more this time around. 

Pittsburgh Penguins: Brian Dumoulin

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    Why he could be dealt: Everyone in the hockey world knows that the Penguins could use a top-six scoring winger, and that as a contender it's likely that Pittsburgh would prefer to move futures rather than roster players. That's where Brian Dumoulin comes in. He's a solid prospect and he's nearly NHL-ready, but the Pens are stocked with good young defenceman, and that makes him expendable. 

    Reasonable return: Obviously, Dumoulin would likely go as part of a package for a roster player who can help Pittsburgh in the here-and-now. 

San Jose Sharks: Antti Niemi

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    Why he could be dealt: Antti Niemi is a pending free agent whose playoff track record in San Jose leaves something to be desired. In the eyes of many he has also been supplanted as the team's starter by Alex Stalock. Stalock was injured earlier this year, forcing the Sharks to lean on Niemi, but San Jose recently opted to start Stalock in back-to-back games. 

    Reasonable return: Niemi is an interesting rental possibility, but it's more likely that he would go in a swap for another goalie, perhaps a cheaper No. 2 option with a middling draft pick, prospect or low-end roster player coming back as an incentive for the Sharks to make a deal. 

St. Louis Blues: Martin Brodeur

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    Why he could be dealt: St. Louis has three goalies. Jake Allen is young and dirt cheap, which makes it unlikely that he'll be the player on the move. That leaves Brian Elliott, who is signed for three years at a reasonable price point and who has been quite good this season, and the 42-year-old Martin Brodeur. It's hard to imagine the Blues dumping their starter yet again to hitch their wagon to a guy who won't be starting for the team next year. 

    Reasonable return: It's pretty dependent on performance, but Brodeur has a reputation and probably has value as a veteran backup at the deadline. A mid-round pick is probably reasonable. 

Tampa Bay Lightning: Evgeni Nabokov

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    Why he could be dealt: The 39-year-old Evgeni Nabokov was brought in to give the Lightning the kind of stable No. 2 that they so missed after Ben Bishop was hurt a year ago. Instead, he has struggled, allowing four or more goals in three of six starts and posting a 0.883 save percentage. Moving him out to make space for a superior backup option is thus plausible. 

    Reasonable return: Nabokov in this scenario would likely be part of a package that included some sort of other incentive (prospect, draft pick) in a trade to upgrade the position. 

Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer

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    Why he could be dealt: James Reimer has been a fixture in trade rumours for a while because he might be a starter-calibre goaltender, and he isn't likely to get a shot at the No. 1 job in Toronto. More importantly for the Maple Leafs, there are some big salary decisions coming up (pending UFA Cody Franson, pending RFAs Jonathan Bernier and Nazem Kadri), and clearing out a pricey backup wouldn't hurt. 

    Reasonable return: It's pretty well established at this point that the price for a maybe-starter like Reimer is one or two mid-round draft picks. Of course, the Leafs could also look to send him out as part of a package to upgrade at another position or in a one-for-one swap for a roster player. 

Vancouver Canucks: Jacob Markstrom

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    Why he could be dealt: With Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack on the parent team, Vancouver has no room for Jacob Markstrom, who the team waived earlier this year. Markstrom's strong AHL play may have caught some eyes—he has a 7-1-1 record and 0.937 save percentage. 

    Reasonable return: Markstrom is probably worth a mid-round draft pick in trade, but he could also be included as part of a larger package, particularly if the team decides that an injury to Dan Hamhuis means that upgrading the defence is a priority. 

Washington Capitals: Mike Green

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    Why he could be dealt: A lot is going to depend on how close the Capitals are to the playoff bubble at the deadline and how much money Mike Green wants on a contract extension. If Washington is out of it and negotiations are going poorly, dealing him somewhere else is a no-brainer.

    Reasonable return: Given Green's contract status, the Capitals would probably expect the usual package that comes back for a high-end rental player, one that features either a high pick or a good prospect and a useful NHL roster player. 

Winnipeg Jets: Dustin Byfuglien

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    Why he could be dealt: Presumably at some point Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is going to make an interesting player-for-player trade, and when he does, it's probably going to involve one of his team's two rumour mill icons: Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane. Byfuglien's the logical choice because he's playing the wing and will have a lot more value to a lot of teams as a defenceman. 

    Reasonable return: Byfuglien's a good player on defence, so a higher-end forward is a reasonable bet, or a comparable forward at a lower cap hit. 

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