NHL Prospects Most Likely to Be Used as Trade Bait
The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching, and teams that are looking for a boost for the playoffs will be sending picks and prospects away in abundance. Some teams—like the Chicago Blackhawks—have already offloaded so much talent that they may have to get creative.
The bottom line for sellers is this: The value acquired at the trade deadline can vary widely, and the best deal available is often found in the hours and minutes just before the deadline passes.
Here are the names most likely to be headed to new NHL cities between today and Feb. 29.
Brandon Montour, D, Anaheim Ducks
How Good Is He? Brandon Montour is an emerging offensive defenseman in the Anaheim Ducks system. He currently plays for the San Diego Gulls of the AHL and leads the team in points. This is his rookie pro season.
Why He Might Be Available: The Ducks are developing defensemen at a rapid rate. Anaheim has Shea Theodore as its next defenseman in waiting, and he has been up and down between the NHL and AHL this year.
Expected Return: The Ducks look set for the most part, but there are always injuries and slumps that factor in around the deadline. Montour is an outstanding young prospect. It would likely take a useful player under contract control at a reasonable number—and in a prominent role—to acquire this young prospect.
Mark McNeill, C, Chicago Blackhawks
How Good Is He? Mark McNeill is a two-way center and a legitimate prospect in the Chicago Blackhawks system.
Why He Might Be Available: The Blackhawks are looking to win the first back-to-back Stanley Cups in their history, and they will have to make some of their quality prospects available. McNeill will also be available via waivers in the fall.
Expected Return: Chicago is very likely to be in the market for defensive help at the deadline. McNeill will either make the NHL roster for the Hawks next year or be dealt before October. He fits as value for a substantial rental player.
Colton Sissons, RW, Nashville Predators
How Good Is He? Colton Sissons is a rugged winger with some offensive potential in the Nashville Predators system. He has spent time in both the AHL and NHL this season.
Why He Might Be Available: Although the Predators clearly value Sissons, the club may want to add some offense at the deadline. They could swap a pick but may choose to send away a young role player like Sissons.
Expected Return: Nashville has been searching for an offensive boost all year and would have to be considered a possible destination for top-end forwards with expiring contracts. Sissons has size and can score in the AHL, and he may be enough to satisfy this kind of trade.
Matt Puempel, LW, Ottawa Senators
How Good Is He? Matt Puempel of the Ottawa Senators is an emerging scoring winger. He is vying for an NHL job with several talented youngsters, including Shane Prince, who appears to have won the open job for now.
Why He Might Be Available: The Senators recently added defenseman Dion Phaneuf, indicating they are buyers at the deadline. Ottawa has several young wingers and could afford to deal one.
Expected Return: A rental winger at the deadline often requires a second-round selection. Puempel should have enough value to give Ottawa a solid addition.
Petteri Lindbohm, D, St. Louis Blues
How Good Is He? Petteri Lindbohm is a young two-way defender with some NHL experience for the St. Louis Blues.
Why He Might Be Available: The Blues have a major injury issue with Alex Pietrangelo out for a long stretch, per Fox Sports Midwest.
Expected Return: St. Louis was a candidate to add scoring before the Pietrangelo injury, but their main priority now may be adding a veteran defender. Lindbohm should satisfy the ask for an experienced top-four defenseman at the deadline.
Jonathan Drouin, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning
How Good Is He? Jonathan Drouin is an outstanding offensive prospect with almost 90 NHL games under his belt. There is little doubt he has the talent to be a quality contributor, given the right situation.
Why He Might Be Available: Chris Johnston of Sportsnet described the unusual situation, with the bottom line being Drouin—in his entry-level deal—has requested a trade.
Expected Return: The Tampa Bay Lightning won't deal Drouin for a rental, but an actual trade could happen around the deadline. A substantial young player who can help now and has years of control would no doubt be the ask. However, this trade is more likely to happen in the summer.
Anthony DeAngelo, D, Tampa Bay Lightning
Why He Might Be Available: The Lightning are struggling defensively, partly due to defensemen like Matt Carle losing some of their veteran edge. The club also has to deal with the injury of Jason Garrison.
Expected Return: Tampa Bay may attempt to get creative at the deadline. If they can find a team to take on an overpriced defender from their roster and return them a useful player, then a blue-chip prospect like DeAngelo may be in play.
Connor Carrick, D, Washington Capitals
How Good Is He? Connor Carrick of the Washington Capitals is an impressive offensive defenseman. He has played a few games in the NHL this season but has spent most of his time in the AHL with the Hershey Bears.
Why He Might Be Available: The Capitals are a complete team and have great balance and depth. A Stanley Cup run requires a large number of veteran options on defense, and that should be an area that is addressed.
Expected Return: Washington will add a veteran defender at the deadline and give up a pick or prospect to do so. Carrick has enough value to warrant a quality return.