Final Ranking of Top Targets at the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline
The NHL's March 2 trade deadline is almost upon us. General managers are identifying their top trade targets leading up to the 3 pm ET deadline.
Several players on this list have been fixtures in the trade rumor mill this season. Others have only recently appeared as trade bait. Because of recent trades, some have moved up in the rankings.
The following slideshow lists the top-10 targets at this year's NHL trade deadline, examining the pros and cons of each player and possible destinations. The rankings are based on skill level, injury history and level of trade interest. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.
10. Jan Hejda, Colorado Avalanche
Pros: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda is an experienced defensive player. The 6'4”, 230-pound blueliner uses his size effectively to shut down opposing forwards. Hejda logs over 21 minutes of ice time per game and is among the Avalanche leaders in hits and blocked shots.
Cons: The 36-year-old Hejda has only 10 games of NHL playoff experience. He isn't a fast skater and can struggle against swifter opposition. Hejda has limited offensive skills.
Possible destinations: The Denver Post's Mike Chambers reports the New York Rangers could have the most interest in Hejda. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun includes Hejda on his list of Pittsburgh Penguins' trade targets. The Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lightning could also look at him.
9. Chris Stewart, Buffalo Sabres
Pros: Buffalo Sabres forward Chris Stewart is a former 28-goal scorer with deceptive speed and a powerful shot. The 6'2”, 231-pound right wing plays a very physical game.
Cons: Offensively inconsistent, Stewart's now on his third team in five seasons. He's on pace for only 15 goals and 30 points this season. Stewart has less than 20 games of playoff experience in his seven NHL seasons.
Possible destinations: ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun cites TSN colleague Darren Dreger reporting the Boston Bruins remain interested in Stewart. The Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals could also come calling.
Update: NHL.com reports the Sabres traded Stewart to the Minnesota Wild for a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft.
8. Zbynek Michalek, Arizona Coyotes
Pros: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek is an experienced “stay at home” rearguard. He plays a smart defensive game and possesses a right-handed shot. Michalek logs over 21 minutes per game and is among the Coyotes leaders in blocked shots.
Cons: Michalek has an injury history. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the 32-year-old blueliner is currently sidelined by a concussion, which will adversely affect his trade value and ranking. His best offensive seasons are well behind him.
Possible destinations: McKenzie believes Michalek could still be dealt despite his injury. Fox Sports Arizona's Craig Morgan reports the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs interested in Michalek.
Update: TSN reports the Coyotes traded Michalek to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a draft pick and a prospect.
7. Curtis Glencross, Calgary Flames
Pros: Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross is a hard-working physical forward with a decent offensive touch. He's a former 20-goal scorer with leadership experience and ranks among the Flames' leaders in hits.
Cons: Glencross has a lengthy injury history. He's a streaky scorer and is sometimes prone to undisciplined play. Despite his nine NHL seasons, the 32-year-old winger only has six games of playoff experience.
Possible destinations: Sportsnet's Luke Fox cites colleague Andrew Walker claiming the Washington Capitals are the leading candidates to land Glencross. The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues could also pursue him.
Update: TSN.ca reports the Flames traded Glencross to the Washington Capitals for a second- and a third-round pick in 2015.
6. Jeff Petry, Edmonton Oilers
Pros: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry is a good skater and moves the puck well. He logs over 20 minutes per game and possesses a right-handed shot, which is a valuable commodity in this year's trade market.
Cons: Petry can get rattled under pressure in his own zone, leads the Oilers in giveaways and lacks playoff experience. With Andrej Sekera no longer in the trade market, the Oilers could demand a higher asking price, like a second-round pick and a top prospect.
Possible destinations: Teams in need of a right-handed defenseman, like the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings, could make inquiries. The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson claims the Montreal Canadiens are also interested in Petry.
Update: TSN reports the Oilers traded Petry to the Montreal Canadiens for a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
5. Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs
Pros: Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak skates well, possesses good offensive skills and wins over 51 percent of his faceoffs. He's on pace to exceed 47 points for the third time in four seasons and works well in special-team situations
Cons: The 6'1”, 195-pound Bozak isn't a particularly physical player and can be dominated by larger opponents. Offensive consistency remains an issue. He has three years left on his contract (with a modified no-trade clause) at an annual cap hit of $4.2 million and possesses limited playoff experience.
Possible destinations: Appearing on NBCSN's NHL Live (cited by Chris Nichols of Nichols on Hockey), TSN's Bob McKenzie claimed the New York Rangers were linked to Bozak. The Edmonton Journal's David Staples cited a rumor from The Fourth Period suggesting the Oilers had some interest in the Leafs center.
4. Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils
Pros: New Jersey Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky is a skilled and experienced puck-moving rearguard. He's exceeded 40 points six times in his 11-year NHL career and possesses a right-handed shot. He logs nearly 22 minutes per game and is among the Devils' leaders in power-play points.
Cons: The 5'11”, 190-pound Zidlicky isn't a big blueliner. He's not very physical and can be pressured into defensive-zone mistakes. At 38, his best seasons are in the past, and he possesses a no-trade clause, which limits his market value.
Possible destinations: The Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings are in need of a right-handed top-four defenseman like Zidlicky. Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch included Zidlicky on his list of possible trade targets for the Blues. The Tampa Bay Lightning could also make a pitch for him.
Update: TSN reports the Devils traded Zidlicky to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft.
3. Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Pros: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul is a skilled and versatile player. He can play either wing and possesses very good offensive skills. He's tallied 20-plus goals five times in his 11-year career.
Cons: Despite his size (6'1”, 206 pounds), Lupul has a lengthy injury history. He can be a streaky scorer. Lupul has three years remaining on his contract at an annual salary-cap hit of $5.25 million.
2. Erik Cole, Dallas Stars
Pros: Dallas Stars left wing Erik Cole is a physical scoring winger with plenty of experience and leadership. An eight-time 40-plus point player, he's on pace to reach 25 goals and 45 points. Cole's improved his defensive game and leads the Stars in hits.
Cons: At 36, Cole's best seasons are behind him. He's been frequently hampered by injuries during his 13-year NHL career. His solid regular-season production hasn't carried over into postseason competition.
Possible destinations: Cole's physical style, experience and offensive skills could prove attractive to the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals.
Update: TSN.ca reports the Dallas Stars traded Cole and a 2015 third-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2015 second-round pick and prospects Mattias Backman and Mattas Janmark.
1. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers
Pros: New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello is a skilled and energetic playmaker. He could reach 50 points for the second straight season and is among the Rangers' puck-possession leaders. He performed very well in the 2014 playoffs.
Cons: The 5'7", 179-pound Zuccarello is not a physical player and can be overpowered by larger opponents. He isn't particularly strong in his own zone and tends to be a pass-first player.
Possible destinations: The Boston Bruin and Washington Capitals could have interest, but the Rangers aren't likely to ship Zuccarello to an Eastern Conference playoff rival. The St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets could be Western Conference possibilities.
Update: ESPN.com's Katie Strang reports Zuccarello and the Rangers have agreed to a four-year, $18 million contract extension. The deal also contains a partial no-trade clause.