The NHL trade deadline doesn't arrive until February 24, but the market is beginning to heat up.
There should be no shortage of buyers in the pre-deadline market this year. According to Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic's simulation model, 16 teams have a 65 percent chance of making the postseason or better, and several more are firmly in the playoff picture.
That suggests this year's deadline could create a seller's market.
One team that could be on the buyer's side of the market is the Vancouver Canucks. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Vancouver Canucks' level of interest could hinge on the recovery of forward Micheal Ferland.
The winger is on a rehabilitation assignment with the AHL's Utica Comets. He's been out since December 10 with a concussion, and unfortunately, he left a game Friday with concussion-like symptoms:
This is an obvious setback and could mean that the Canucks will be without Ferland for the remainder of the season. If so, Vancouver is will likely be looking for a replacement. According to McKenzie, the team could take a swing at the New Jersey Devils' Wayne Simmonds:
"We do know that Pierre LeBrun on Insider Trading in a recent edition talked about the interest the Vancouver Canucks may have in Wayne Simmonds, a rental, a physical forward who could be available from those New Jersey Devils. So, we'll keep an eye on those situations and how Ferland goes, whether Vancouver feels the need to look for more help in that area."
Simmonds is playing on a one-year deal.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are likely to get quite a few calls at the deadline. With a 21-26-10 record, New Jersey is largely out of the playoff picture and should have some interest in moving players like Simmonds while it has the opportunity.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald is preparing to wheel and deal:
"Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils is expecting to be very busy. He expects that there will be a ton of activity on some of his players. Yes, Simmonds. You've got (Sami) Vatanen, maybe among the pending unrestricted free agents. But there's a lot of interest in contract players as well. Primarily in Kyle Palmieri and Blake Coleman."
Chris Ryan of NJ.com also mentioned goalie Louis Domingue, though he believes the player is more likely to be kept.
"The Devils have Cory Schneider in the AHL, so if a team desperate for goaltending depth came calling, Domingue could be an option," Ryan wrote. "But the goalie market is much smaller, and the Devils will likely keep Domingue around through the end of the season."
Given the team's position at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, it's conceivable that almost any player could be had for the right price.
The Devils traded winger Taylor Hall to the Arizona Coyotes in December. It doesn't appear that he will be moved again this season.
According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, the Coyotes aren't interested in trading Hall despite slipping to the edge of the playoff bubble:
"The sense right now is that the Coyotes plan to keep him in the fold and use all those months ahead of July 1 trying to sell him on a long-term future in Arizona. That was the point of the trade, to get Hall for the long haul, a calibre of player they have struggled to draft or lure to their market over the years. And Arizona has a carrot no other team can offer: an eight-year contract."
While Hall could be a valuable trade asset, and despite sitting at 29-24-8, the Coyotes clearly prefer Hall's long-term value over any short-term benefit they might get via a trade.
Hall is in the final year of his contract, but as LeBrun mentioned, the Coyotes can offer him the sort of job security other teams cannot. Expect him to remain in Arizona for the foreseeable future.