NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Chris Kreider, Erik Gustafsson and More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2020

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers scores the game winning goal on the power-play at 19:35 of the third period against the New York Islanders at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on January 16, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The Rangers defeated the Islanders 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With time running out before the NHL trade deadline expires Monday at 3 p.m. ET, teams need to finalize their plans for the stretch run.

Thursday saw a pair of minor moves. The Florida Panthers sent Anthony Greco to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Danick Martel, and the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Riley Barber and Phil Varone from the Montreal Canadiens for Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini.

Here are updates on a few players who could be on the move, including the biggest fish on the trade market.


Chris Kreider

Nobody is commanding more attention this trade season than Chris Kreider.

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Feb. 3 that eight teams had reached out to the New York Rangers about the veteran forward.

During an appearance on NBC Sports' Our Line Starts podcast, he shared what it might take to get Kreider out of the Big Apple:

"It's going to be a first-round pick, a prospect and some other piece. Some other piece could be a player, it could be a lower-level prospect, it might be a lower-level draft pick, and there might be a conditional pick in there, too, if you re-sign him."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Rangers are obviously motivated to sell. They are 11th in the Eastern Conference, and Kreider is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Having said that, New York also knows it has a strong trade asset on its hands. Kreider has 24 goals and 21 assists through 58 games this year and is on pace to set career highs in both categories. The 28-year-old would make an immediate impact for a playoff contender.


Erik Gustafsson

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 18:  Erik Gustafsson #56 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 18, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blackhawks defeated the Maple Leafs 6
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights landed Alec Martinez on Wednesday, and they may not be done addressing their defense.

Jesse Granger of The Athletic noted Martinez has limited value as an attacker. He had four goals and 14 assists in 2018-19 and is on pace to finish below those numbers this year (two goals, eight assists).

Granger went on to note the Chicago Blackhawks' Erik Gustafsson would be the perfect complement for Vegas. He has taken a clear step backward compared to last season, but his offensive return (six goals, 20 assists) remains well ahead of that of Martinez.

The 27-year-old is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Chicago Blackhawks don't have a ton of money to spend in the offseason.

According to The Athletic's Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus, the Blackhawks aren't prepared to offload Gustafsson for a minimal return:

"The Blackhawks have also put some large price tags—think first-round draft picks and prospects—on a number of their potential rentals like Robin Lehner and Erik Gustafsson, sources said. As of now, no one is biting. League sources do believe Bowman's asking price will come down as the deadline draws nearer."

A source told the reporters a deal "has to really make sense for them to do."


Dustin Byfuglien

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 10: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets chats to a referee during a break in action with the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on A
Jason Halstead/Getty Images

When it comes to Dustin Byfuglien, somebody might be willing to come to the Winnipeg Jets' rescue by Monday.

For somebody who has yet to appear in a game this season, the defenseman has had a busy year, and it seems safe to say Winnipeg is looking for any way to move on.

TSN's Frank Seravalli reported the Jets have received calls about Byfuglien and that "talks have only intensified in recent days." Seravalli noted the blueliner's salary would be prorated, turning a $7.6 million cap hit into just $1.84 million.

Byfuglien is a proven commodity, though there would obviously be some concern about his rust. That would add to the general difficulty of bringing in a new player with so much of the season gone.

Whether the 34-year-old gets dealt probably hinges on the Jets' demands. Taking the risk he plays and is motivated is worth it if it only takes a low draft pick.