NHL Rumors: Buzz on Tyson Barrie, Chris Kreider and More Before Trade Deadline

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2020

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The 2020 NHL trade deadline is close to arriving. At 3 p.m. ET on Monday, the market will close and teams will largely be set with their rosters.

Though there has been some movement during deadline week—Alec Martinez, Andy Greene and Blake Coleman were dealt in recent days—there hasn't been the flurry of headline-grabbing activity fans have seen in years past. With much of the league still in playoff contention, this isn't a major surprise.

Deals are likely to come in before the deadline hits, however. The uncertainty surrounds which players will be traded.


Tyson Barrie

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the teams still in contention, meaning they are not looking to sell before Monday. However, they are reportedly not ignoring calls concerning Tyson Barrie.

"When those teams called, the Leafs basically told those teams that were interested, 'Yeah, you know what? We would consider under the right set of circumstances trading Tyson Barrie,'" TSN's Bob McKenzie said on Insider Trading. "But the first thing you need to know is that it's not a sell-off for future considerations."

McKenzie elaborated a bit on those circumstances while speaking on TSN 1050 (h/t Maple Leafs Hot Stove):

"Trading bona fide top-four NHL defensemen for picks and prospects is not going to help them unless you could trade Barrie for a defenseman who is going to help you now—although that is tough to do because Barrie is on an expiring contract."

Barrie hasn't been everything the Leafs had hoped for when that acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche during the offseason. He's played well enough down the stretch, though, that it makes sense for Toronto to have a high bar for trading him. Unless a significant and immediately effective offer comes in—ideally including another defenseman—the Leafs will likely keep Barrie for the rest of the season.


Chris Kreider

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider has had his name floating around the rumor mill all week. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, he has yet to be traded because the Rangers would prefer to re-sign Kreider.

Until and unless the Rangers can strike a deal with Kreider, he will likely remain a trade option. However, he isn't going to come at a bargain price.

According to McKenzie, the Rangers are looking for either a first-round draft pick, a good prospect or some combination of a player, lower-tier prospect and a pick.

This asking price could be enough to push the Avalanche out of the market for Kreider, even though there has been interest. Colorado general manager Joe Sakic has assets that he isn't eager to part with.

"Prospects such as Vancouver Giants defenseman Bowen Byram, Boston College forward Alex Newhook and Colorado Eagles defenseman Conor Timmins," The Athletic's Ryan S. Clark wrote. "Those names have all been thrown around during this edition of speculation season because of their promise, which is why Sakic would be reluctant to part with any of them."

Sakic doesn't want Kreider as a rental; he would prefer to sign him for the long term. If a long-term deal isn't agreed upon beforehand, a trade likely will not take place.


Erik Gustafsson

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson is a player more likely to switch teams before Monday. The interest is there, and Chicago isn't adamant about keeping him.

"At least four teams have expressed interest in him in the midst of all the action this week," The Athletic's Craig Custance wrote. "The Blackhawks will have no problem moving him if that's what they decide to do."

According to Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, Gustafsson isn't the only player on the table for Chicago, either: "The Blackhawks are open to discussions about nearly all of their players as long as it makes sense to move the franchise toward its goal of winning more Stanley Cups."

Per Lazerus, a deal involving Gustafsson and the Vegas Golden Knights could be on the horizon:

Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus

No deal in place yet, but I keep hearing Vegas as the most likely destination for Erik Gustafsson. Don't expect a monster package in return.

While Chicago fans shouldn't expect a king's ransom in return for Gustafsson, they shouldn't be surprised if he's a Golden Knight by Monday evening.