Buying or Selling the Latest Rumors Before the NHL Trade Deadline

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2021

Buying or Selling the Latest Rumors Before the NHL Trade Deadline

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    The NHL's annual trade deadline arrives Monday at 3 pm ET. As the big day draws near, the rumor mill is abuzz over which players could be on the move.

    This is a time when playoff contenders package draft picks and prospects to acquire pending unrestricted free agents from clubs outside the postseason picture. However, a flattened salary cap and acquired players' effects on protection lists for this summer's expansion draft have put a damper on this year's market thus far.

    Still, there are a number of enticing trade candidates. TSN's Trade Bait List features such notables as Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall, St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson.

    How much of the trade conjecture should we believe as as the deadline approaches? Here's a look at which notable rumors you should buy or sell.

Buy: Los Angeles Kings Could Trade Alex Iafallo

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Alex Iafallo isn't a big name in this year's trade market. However, the 27-year-old Los Angeles Kings forward could become one of the most pursued players by deadline day.

    A versatile two-way forward who can play center or wing, Iafallo has established himself as a top-six forward with the rebuilding Kings. He tallied a career-high 17 goals and 43 points in 2019-20 and is on pace for a 30-point performance in 55 games this season.

    Iafallo is completing a two-year, $4.85 million contract and is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. On Thursday, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported contract negotiations between the Kings and the winger's representatives are ongoing. However, general manager Rob Blake has started to take calls on Iafallo to gauge his value in the trade market.

    Seravalli speculates Iafallo could be on the move before the deadline if the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a new contract. His two-way skills and affordable $2.425 million cap hit could draw the attention of teams seeking forward depth like the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sell: Vegas Golden Knights Could Kick the Tires on Ryan Getzlaf

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    It's been a difficult season for the Anaheim Ducks and longtime captain Ryan Getzlaf. Stuck at the bottom of the Honda West Division, the once-mighty Ducks are poised to miss the playoffs for the third straight season. With just 15 points in 36 games, the Getzlaf is on pace for a career-low in points in a single season.

    The 35-year-old is in the final season of his eight-year contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. On April 6, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wondered whether the Vegas Golden Knights might "kick the tires" on the Ducks captain. While Friedman thinks it makes sense from a hockey sense, he acknowledged it might not work cap-wise for Vegas.

    The Golden Knights have a history of making splashy moves near the trade deadline. On April 5, however, the Las Vegas Sun's Justin Emerson pointed out their limited cap space combined with a number of long-term contracts they handed out over the years could result in a quiet deadline for Vegas.

    If the Golden Knights came calling, they could get a frosty reception from Ducks general manager Bob Murray. On March 9, he expressed his displeasure over Getzlaf's name appearing in trade rumors, indicating he wouldn't move him unless his captain asked to be moved. Getzlaf has a no-movement clause in his contract, and there's no indication he intends to waive it.

Buy: More Trades Coming For The Florida Panthers

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    Jim Rassol/Associated Press

    Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito has been a busy man in recent days. On Thursday, he shipped forwards Brett Connolly and Henrik Borgstrom, defenseman Riley Stillman and a 2022 seven-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Lucas Wallmark and Lucas Carlsson. Three days earlier, he sent forward Vinnie Hinostroza to the Blackhawks for minor-leaguer Brad Morrison.

    Those moves gave the Panthers a whopping $16.4 million in trade deadline salary-cap space. Zito appears to be setting the table for one or two significant acquisitions to bolster his roster depth for a deep run in the 2021 playoffs.

    On Thursday, TSN's Pierre LeBrun speculated Zito could have his sights on a top-four defenseman and a top-six winger. He added the Panthers GM was believed to have had an interest in Kyle Palmieri before the Devils traded the winger to the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

    The Hockey News' Matt Larkin also believes Zito has a move or two up his sleeve. He guessed the Panthers GM could have an eye on Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall or a defenseman like David Savard of the Columbus Blue Jackets or Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks.

Sell: Anaheim Ducks Could Shop Josh Manson

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    Joe Puetz/Associated Press

    Did we mention it's been a lousy season for the Anaheim Ducks? Part of the reason has been the absence of Manson from the lineup for most of the schedule. Injuries limited the 29-year-old defenseman to just 14 games.

    The Ducks are transitioning toward a younger roster and will continue doing so in the offseason. That has some pundits wondering about Manson's future. He has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.1 million and a 12-team no-trade clause.

    On April 6, TSN's Pierre LeBrun said the Ducks really like Manson but were listening to calls given their place in the standings and their youth movement. He said the Winnipeg Jets and Carolina Hurricanes have expressed an interest in recent weeks. The following day, Boston Hockey Now's Jimmy Murphy speculated Manson could be on the Bruins' radar.

    Several factors, however, work against Manson being moved at the trade deadline. The remaining year on his contract means the Ducks can wait until the offseason if they don't get any acceptable offers at the deadline. His modified no-trade clause limits potential trade partners. LeBrun's report that they are seeking a first-round draft pick and a top prospect could be the biggest stumbling block.

Buy: St. Louis Blues Could Trade Mike Hoffman

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Mike Hoffman bet on himself in last year's free-agent market. After going weeks without landing a lucrative new contract, the 31-year-old winger inked a one-year, $4 million deal on Jan. 11 with the St. Louis Blues.

    Hoffman hoped a solid season with the 2018-19 Stanley Cup champions could improve his value in this year's free-agent market. A six-time 20-plus goal scorer, he has just nine goals and 21 points in 36 games with the Blues. He's managed just two goals and an assist in his past 13 contests.

    With the Blues in danger of falling out of the playoff contention, Hoffman could be a trade candidate. On April 5, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon reported the winger could draw interest as a rental player from clubs seeking scoring help, such as the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders or Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Hoffman's cap hit could be a bit of a sticking point unless the Blues agreed to absorb part of it. They likely won't get a big return for him, perhaps at most a second-round pick. Nevertheless, he could be a worthwhile gamble for clubs that miss out on the bigger fish in the trade market before deadline day.

Sell: Taylor Hall to the Edmonton Oilers

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Taylor Hall is the biggest name in this year's trade market. With the Buffalo Sabres mired at the bottom of the standings, it's expected they will trade the 29-year-old left winger before Monday's trade deadline. And there's talk of a potential reunion with the Edmonton Oilers.

    The Oilers drafted Hall first overall in the 2010 NHL draft. He spent six seasons in Edmonton before getting traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2016. NHL insider Doug MacLean told CHED radio host Reid Wilkins there's scuttlebutt the Oilers could be interested in bringing Hall back to Edmonton (h/t David Staples of the Edmonton Journal).

    MacLean wondered how the Oilers could fit Hall within their limited cap space. They're up against the $81.5 million cap and have only $2.3 million in long-term injury reserve room available. Hall is on a one-year, $8 million contract with $2.07 million remaining. Staples suggested they would have to ship out a forward like Zack Kassian or James Neal or goalie Mikko Koskinen, along with their first-round pick to make the dollars fit.

    Don't expect to see Hall return to Edmonton at the deadline. There's not much of a market for a depth forward like Kassian or a fading scorer like Neal, especially when they're signed beyond 2021-22. The Oilers are also unlikely to trade their first-round pick when they lack selections in Rounds 2, 3 and 5 this year.


    Salary cap info (as of April 9) via CapFriendly.