Which Western Conference teams do you see as “sellers” heading into the deadline?
IAN SHEPPARD: The bottom three. Kings, Oilers and Ducks. The Kings and Ducks are aging teams and are past contending for a cup and have a few pieces that could sold to start building towards the future. The only issue becomes bad contracts and whether or not some of the players they want to move can be moved.
In terms of the Oilers, they fall into the exact same boat with bad contracts that are unmovable. But they can start offloading pieces on 1-year deals they know won’t resign in the offseason. Guys like Cam Talbot, Alex Petrovic, Brandon Manning, Ty Rattie, Jujhar Khaira, and Alex Chiasson are all options.
TYLER YAREMCHUK: The LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks are the only two teams I view as 100% sellers at this point. The Oilers are in an interesting spot too. They’ll dangle names like Chiasson, Kassian, and some of their lower-end defenseman. They’ll deal Cam Talbot as well. Apart from that, they might look for some additions that benefit them next season. Chicago might sell, but they don’t have very many assets that are easy to move. The Coyotes would probably like to swap their pending UFA’s for picks as well. The Minnesota Wild are reportedly going to put an eye towards the future, so watch for them to sell off some pieces before February 25th.
WYATT ZIEGER: In the West, it’s hard for you who will sell but I think that there should be 4 definite sellers in the Western Conference. LA has already started the process with Jake Muzzin being shipped out but Anaheim, Edmonton, and Minnesota should also put themselves on the short list of teams who more than likely won’t make the playoffs.
Anaheim has Manson, Silfervberg, Kesler, and Miller as good trade chips right now. Edmonton would like to move Chiasson, Talbot, Manning, and Petrovic although the latter two will be difficult. And poor Minnesota who is actually in a playoff spot right now but is still without Dumba and has lost captain Mikko Koivu for the rest of the season.
And what about the East?
IAN SHEPPARD: I’m going to go with the same formula as last time and say the bottom three teams in the East as well. The Senators have been having a yard sale since the season started and despite talks of Matt Duchene re-signing I still think he gets moved at the deadline along with potential names like Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone.
The Devils have already moved Brian Boyle and could look to trade Marcus Johansson who is set to be a FA and a veteran like Ben Lovejoy could also be moved. Detroit continues to be the dark horse for me with guys like Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Vanek and Andreas Athanasiou all possible piece to move.
TYLER YAREMCHUK: It’s much easier to predict what teams in the East are going to do. Ottawa will be this year’s big sellers given the quality of players they’re considering moving. Add the Red Wings, Devils, Panthers, Rangers and probably Flyers into that group as well. Other teams will be active, like Columbus and Carolina, but they won’t be what we traditionally call sellers.
WYATT ZIEGER: Again in the East, there are another 5 teams that are definite sellers; Ottawa, New Jersey, Columbus Detroit, and the Rangers. Teams like Florida and Philadelphia could join the list if they fall beyond 12 points out of the playoffs but both seem intent on being buyers at the deadline.
Ottawa has the two biggest trade chips in Duchene and Stone but also a plethora of other trade pieces most notably Dzingel and Ceci. It’ll be an interesting fire sale in the nation’s capital. New Jersey is a bit more intriguing because I question what pieces they want to move obviously Schnieder could be in play, but are they willing to part with Zajac, Palmieri or Johannson? Columbus is obvious in trying to move either Panarin, Bobrovsky or both. The market will decide there fate.
Detroit, of course, has a lot of rentals for playoff teams; Nyqvist, Vanek, Howard or Kronwall although they seem reluctant to deal Kronwall. The Rangers are an interesting team in the trade market because they have the most mid to upper range value players to deal. Kreider is having a career season, Hayes, Zuccarello, and Mcquaid are all rental for a contender and who knows if there are options on Henrik Lundqvist.
Which team do you think will make the biggest improvements at the deadline?
IAN SHEPPARD: Either the Islanders or Predators. The Avalanche also remain a possibility too with around $11 million in cap space and could look to add a forward for their second line. But the Islanders are hot right now and also have cap space with around $9 million and could look for that extra piece.
The Predators are in a tougher spot with cap space at around $6 million but this could be one of those years where to look to make that final leap and a few smart deals at the deadline could be exactly what they need to improve.
TYLER YAREMCHUK: The Winnipeg Jets. This is their last year before having to go through what will likely be salary cap hell with all of their RFA’s so I think we’ll see them push all of their chips in. They have a handful of ‘A-Level’ prospects that they could use as trade chips and they have their first and second rounders for the next three seasons. They can move two, or even three, quality assets and still be in good shape as far as their long-term future goes. I expect they’ll land one of Duchene or Stone and might be players on a good defenseman as well.
WYATT ZIEGER: I think Winnipeg is going to try to make the biggest splash and if they can land Mark Stone who’s been rumoured in trade talks with the Jets. The Jets are already one of the most complete teams, aside from Tampa but if they can get one more 30 goal scorer in their top 6 they would be a lethal force in the central division.
Winnipeg likely would make a couple depth moves as well and need to do so to solidify a win against most likely Nashville.