NHL: Trade Deadline Primer – Western Conference

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Credit: Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

By: Rossy Pasternak

The NHL Trade Deadline is just 13 days away, which means it is the perfect time for us at SportsNak to preview the moves that we think should, and could, be made this year. We have already broken down the Eastern Conference teams, so now it’s time for the Western Conference. All contract info is via hockeybuzz.com.

The NHL Trade deadline is shaping up to be either the most entertaining or most boring deadline in recent years. There are a lot of top players that could be available for trade, but more likely than not, most of this years trades will be depth and support pieces instead of stars. The Dion Phaneuf trade, which we will cover more in depth in our next Brother Banter feature, has kicked off the trade season. In my opinion, that trade could go down as the biggest trade, not only in size but also in impact, of the deadline. The Leafs have continued their yard sale with the trades of Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, and Nick Spaling. Here’s what the West is looking like going into next week’s deadline.

Anaheim Ducks – Bolster the Offence

The Ducks have come on strong since the trade of Carl Hagelin for David Perron. Adding Perron, along with the surging play of Rickard Rakell has allowed Bruce Boudreau to split up Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, adding balance to the lineup. The Ducks have the ammo on the back-end and in their farm system to bring in a big name, and have been rumoured to be looking into a trade like that. It will be interesting to see if Ducks’ management disrupts the recent chemistry in order to bring in a big-ticket deadline acquisition.

Trade Targets: 

Andrew Ladd – LW, Winnipeg Jets – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,400,000.

Jonathan Drouin – LW, Tampa Bay Lightning – Entry Level deal

Eric Staal – C, Carolina Hurricanes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $8,250,000.

Loui Eriksson – LW, Boston Bruins – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,250,000.

Dale Weise – RW, Montreal Canadiens – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,025,000.

Trade Ammo:

Cam Fowler, D – 2 years remaining after this season, cap hit of $4,000,000.

Sami Vatanen, D – RFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,262,500.

Frederik Anderson, G – RFA and end of this season, cap hit of $1,150,000.

Analysis: 

The Ducks have everything anyone could need in order to trade for a very good player. The Ducks have a full cupboard of picks, adequate cap space, and good prospects and roster pieces to send back. I see them tradedingFowler or Vatanen and a first-round pick in exchange for Andrew Ladd.

Arizona Coyotes – Continue to Build Around the Core

The Arizona Coyotes have one of the most exciting young cores in the NHL. With Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson producing at high levels in the NHL, and Dylan Strome on his way, the ‘Yotes are set for the future. This deadline is all about continuing to bring in the support for the young players. Mike Smith and Anders Lindback, both of the Coyotes goalies, are on the shelf, and the ‘Yotes are too far out of the playoffs to compete. This means they should try their best to sell off their pending UFA’s.

Trade Targets:

Picks, prospects.

Trade Ammo:

Shane Doan, RW – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $5,300,000.

Mikkel Boedker, LW – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $3,750,000.

Boyd Gordon, C – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $3,000,000.

Nicklas Grossmann, D – UFA at the end of this season, cap hit of $3,000,000.

Analysis:

The Coyotes will be sellers at the deadline, with one caveat – they don’t have many expiring deals to trade away. Shane Doan, nearing retirement, has stated that he wishes to finish his career in the desert. He would accept a trade to a contender if Arizona wants to trade him, but I don’t see that happening. Boedker will get dealt, and I think he would be a great fit in Florida or New Jersey. Gordon and Grossmann will probably not be able to be moved, as they are very overpaid depth players that don’t have too much value as rentals.

Calgary Flames – Build for the Future

Brian Burke keeps on making the same mistakes. First, he overestimated the ability of his roster in Toronto, and then he did it again in Calgary. The Flames this offseason, in my opinion, didn’t make the correct moves and over-valued the team they already had. They had just been on a magical playoff run and instead of making better moves (i.e., trade for a better goalie), they simply thought their team was ready to make another playoff run this season. Instead, they are a team with a nice young core and underperforming, overpaid, veterans. Most of Calgary’s cap space is being used on defence, where they have a very solid top 6. Calgary could leverage that into a solid young offensive player, or into picks. The Flames have a lot of options to consider this deadline, and have to be conscious of what effects their moves will have on their cap, as Monahan, and Gaudreau are RFA’s at the end of the season.

Trade Targets:

Jonathan Drouin – LW, Tampa Bay Lightning – Entry Level deal

Cam Atkinson – RW, Columbus Blue Jackets – 2 years left after this year, cap hit of $3,500,000.

Travis Hamonic – D, New York Islanders – 4 years remaining after this season, cap hit of $3,857,143.

Trade Ammo:

Jiri Hudler, C – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,000,000.

David Jones, RW – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,000,000.

Kris Russel, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,600,000.

Analysis:

The Flames are actually in a good position coming into the deadline. They have a couple of very valuable pending UFA’s they can trade away that will net a pretty good return, and they have a great young core to build around. One position of need is goaltender, where they have Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo who are pending UFA’s. If the Flames can pull off a deal with Anaheim for Frederik Anderson, it would be huge for them. Unfortunately, the Ducks needs don’t line up with what the Flames have to offer, so that is unlikely. Kris Russell will be on the move more likely than not, and he will be able to net at least a 2nd round pick, if not a 1st.

Chicago Blackhawks – Get Reinforcements for Another Cup Run

The Blackhawks once again are among the favourites to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of the season. This is due in the most part to their depth behind superstars Toews, Kane, Keith, and rookie phenom Artemi Panarin. Somehow, the Blackhawks managed to put together this roster, and have roughly $3M in cap space to play with at the deadline. The Blackhawks could use some help on defence, specifically their third pairing.

Trade Targets:

Kris Russell – D, Calgary Flames – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,600,000.

Dan Hamhuis – D, Vancouver Canucks – UFA at end of the year, cap hit of $4,500,000.

Kris Versteeg – RW, Carolina Hurricanes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,200,000.

Trade Ammo:

Picks

Analysis:

The Blackhawks mostly have just picks to work with in terms of what they can trade. Luckily for them, they aren’t in need of a player that would require a top prospect going the other way. Chicago is such a good team that a depth acquisition such as Dan Hamhuis would put them over the top. I see them trading for him in exchange for a 2nd and 5th round pick, with Vancouver eating enough salary to make it work.

Colorado Avalanche – Add to the Existing Core

The Avs’ have already added to their depth by acquiring Shawn Matthias from the Leafs, but in my opinion, more is needed for this team to contend, or even make the playoffs. In a fight for the last wild-card spot with Nashville and Minnesota, Colorado needs as much help as it can get.

Trade Targets: 

Kris Versteeg – RW, Carolina Hurricanes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,200,000.’

Loui Eriksson – LW, Boston Bruins – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,250,000.

Dale Weise – RW, Montreal Canadiens – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,025,000.

P.A. Parenteau – RW, Toronto Maple Leafs – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,500,000.

Trade Ammo:

Alex Tanguay, LW – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $3,500,000.

Nikita Zadarov, D – Entry Level Deal

Calvin Pickard, G – Entry Level Deal

Mikko Rantanen, RW – Entry Level Deal

Analysis:

Although I think that they should look for more help, I also think that Colorado is done shopping. Since Colorado is a budget team, the cap space that they have to play with doesn’t matter as much as it would for other teams. It is likely that the Avalanche aren’t able to take on more salary, which means that if they make a deal, they would have to send salary (likely Tanguay) the other way. Unless a cheap, attractive option comes along, expect the Avalanche to stay put.

Dallas Stars – Don’t Leverage the Future

The Dallas Stars are a top-3 team in the NHL. Unfortunately for them, they play in the same division as the Blackhawks. That means that they will not be able to go past the 2nd round in the playoffs without meeting Chicago, barring a miracle upset in the 1st round. The Stars are a good team, but they will just get better in the next couple of years. Jason Spezza is nearing the end of his prime, as is Patrick Sharp – so why not go for it all now? Because, the Stars have Seguin and Benn, two fabulous young players to build around, and John Klingberg, the sensational young defenseman. After those three, the pickings get slim in terms of top-level prospects. If the Stars want to be perennial contenders, they cannot leverage future picks and young prospects into depth rentals. The Stars should only make a deal if it is something they would look stupid for turning down.

Trade Targets:

Kris Versteeg – RW, Carolina Hurricanes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,200,000.

Dale Weise – RW, Montreal Canadiens – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,025,000.

Kris Russell – D, Calgary Flames – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,600,000.

Trade Ammo:

Valeri Nichushkin, RW – $925,000.

Julias Honka, D – Entry Level Deal.

Patrik Nemeth, D – Entry Level Deal.

Analysis:

As I said, leveraging the future for a win-now rental does not make sense for the Stars. They have a solid farm system, but no one that jumps out as a high-level prospect. Trading Nichushkin, who Jaromir Jagr once said would be the best in the world one day, would be selling low on someone who was once a top prospect. I believe Nichushkin will recover from his yearlong slump and return to his previous form. I could see the Stars going after Weise or Russell, although both of those players would come at a steep price, likely a second round pick as well as an additional mid-round pick or prospect.

Edmonton Oilers – Tank For Austin Matthews?

Imagine if, once again, the Oilers pay Gary Bettman enough money that he rigs the lottery for them? Edmonton would end up with two generational talents, McDavid and Matthews. It would be Gretzky and Messier 2.0! Of course, I was joking about the Oilers paying Bettman, but the Oilers are still bad enough that they will have a good chance of claiming that top pick. McDavid should help get them out of the cellar, but the surrounding pieces are bad enough to make that very difficult on him. The Oilers don’t have many pending UFA’s to deal away, so most of their heavy lifting will come in the offseason.

Trade Targets:

Picks, Prospects

Trade Ammo:

Ted Purcell, C – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,500,000.

Eric Gryba, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,250,000.

Justin Schultz, D – RFA at end of this season, cap hit of $3,900,000.

Analysis:

I think the Oilers stand put at the deadline, the main reason being there is no market for their players. Edmonton isn’t going to deal away core pieces like Nugent-Hopkins or Eberle, even with all of the rumours swirling around. Trades of that magnitude usually are reserved for the offseason, which is what is going to happen in this situation. If the Oilers do end up being able to sell, they will look for picks in return.

Los Angeles Kings – Be Aware of the Salary Cap

The Kings made their move early, trading for Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn. Still, they have a lot of room to improve throughout their lineup. The Kings have to be aware of what effect their transactions have on their cap picture beyond this year, as they still need to re-sign Milan Lucic, and will have to lock up Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson to long-term deals in the coming seasons.

Trade Targets:

Mikkel Boedker – RW, Arizona Coyotes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $3,750,000.

Andrew Ladd – LW, Winnipeg Jets – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,400,000.

Trade Ammo:

Tanner Pearson, LW – 1 year remaining after this season before RFA, cap hit of $1,400,000.

Michael Mersch, LW – 1 year remaining after this season before RFA, cap hit of $786,667.

Analysis:

The Kings were rumoured to be interested in Dustin Byflugien before he signed an extension with the Jets, and reports have it that they have moved on to Andrew Ladd. The Kings could probably get him for a first round pick and a high level prospect like Derek Forbort or Mersch. The Kings would have to send salary over to the Jets to make it work, probably coming via Christian Ehrhoff’s expiring deal. If this trade happens, it would be a huge boost to the Kings chances of hoisting the Cup at the end of the season.

Minnesota Wild – Stay Put

The Wild should not swing for the fences and go after a big-name player. In fact, they won’t be able to, as they are right up against the cap. If the Wild want any reinforcements, they will have to come from within. With many young players becoming RFA’s, and in some cases UFA’s in the next few years, the Wild will have to be careful where they spend their money. Bringing in a player on an expiring deal would be possible, but there would have to be salary, likely Erik Haula or Nino Niederreiter, going the other way. In my opinion, none of the rentals would be worth that trade-off.

Trade Targets:

P.A. Parenteau – RW, Toronto Maple Leafs – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,500,000.

Brad Boyes – LW, Toronto Maple Leafs – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $700,000.

Trade Ammo:

Erik Haula, LW – 1 year remaining after this season before RFA, cap hit of $1,000,000.

Nino Niederreiter, RW – 1 year remaining after this season before RFA, cap hit of $2,666,667.

Analysis:

The only move I see the Wild making is for Brad Boyes, who would fit into the Wild’s salary cap, as well as system, very well. Boyes is one of the most underrated players in the league. Playing around 9 minutes a game, he provides a lot of value in terms of points per 60 minutes. For the Wild, taking a flier on a guy who plays low minutes and produces at a high rate is a no-brainer.

Nashville Predators – Add Another Winger

Nashville made its major move when it traded for Ryan Johansen, but they likely aren’t done. They are one of the few teams that have the cap room to take on Eric Staal, and they have the assets to pull off a move like that. They are solid on defence and in net, though they could use a serviceable backup for Pekka Rinne to lessen the load. Up front, they are solid down the middle but could use some help on the wing.

Trade Targets:

Eric Staal – C, Carolina Hurricanes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $8,250,000.

Andrew Ladd – LW, Winnipeg Jets – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,400,000.

Mikkel Boedker – RW, Arizona Coyotes – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $3,750,000

Jiri Hudler – C, Calgary Flames – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,000,000.

Loui Eriksson – LW, Boston Bruins – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,250,000.

James Reimer – G, Toronto Maple Leafs – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,300,000.

Trade Ammo:

Kevin Fiala, LW – Entry Level deal

Jimmy Vesey, LW – NCAA

Ryan Ellis, D – 3 years remaining after this season, cap hit of $2,500,000.

Analysis:

I think the Predators try to buy big at the deadline, and succeed. I think they end up with Eriksson , as well as making a run at acquiring James Reimer from the Leafs as a backup. For Eriksson, they will likely need to part with their first round pick as well as a mid-level prospect. For Reimer, it is possible that the Leafs would take back the rights to Jimmy Vesey, who has been rumoured to be signing with the Leafs in the offseason, as well as a second round pick. The Preds’ likely only make one of these deals however.

San Jose Sharks – Don’t Overpay

Unfortunately, the Sharks have already overpaid. Trading with a team that has limited leverage, the Sharks still managed to get fleeced. They traded two 2nd round picks, one in 2017 and one in 2018, for Roman Polak and Nick Spaling. Although both of those players fill needs, they are depth players, and not worth that massive haul. The Sharks obviously believe that they have a team that can compete for the Stanley Cup, and they went out and got that team support. It cost them a lot, but it could still pay off in the end.

Trade Targets:

Jiri Hudler – C, Calgary Flames – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,000,000.

Trade Ammo:

Time Meier, RW – Entry Level deal

Analysis:

San Jose has likely made their major move of the deadline, and will be held very minor deals, if any, come February 29th.

St. Louis Blues – Get Healthy

The Blues are another team in the West that I can’t see making a move. Right up against the cap, the Blues don’t have the space or pieces to pull off a trade for a top rental unless it sends salary back. Unless the Blues are willing to part with one of their major contributors for a rental – which they shouldn’t be – they won’t make a trade.

Trade Targets:

Dale Weise – RW, Montreal Canadiens – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,025,000.

Jonathan Drouin – LW, Tampa Bay Lightning – Entry Level deal

Trade Ammo:

Picks, Prospects

Analysis:

The Blues stay put at the deadline.

Vancouver Canucks – Start the Rebuild

Vancouver has already made a trade, sending Hunter Shinkaruk to Calgary for Markus Granlund. This trade isn’t likely to have a huge impact on the teams this season, but the swap of the prospects is very interesting. In my opinion, Shinkaruk has the higher potential, and is now playing on his hometown team. Markus Granlund, a RFA at the end of this season, has 28 points in 86 career games. The Canucks should sell at the deadline, which should mean trades of pending UFA’s and aging players.

Trade Targets:

Picks, Prospects

Trade Ammo:

Radim Vrbata, RW – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $5,000,000.

Brandon Prust, C – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,500,000.

Dan Hamhuis, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,500,000.

Matt Bartkowski, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,750,000.

Yannick Weber, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,500,000.

Analysis:

Although this is likely the time for the Canucks to sell, they have a history of thinking they are good enough to compete when they aren’t. I do think that they will sell some pieces, Hamhuis and Vrbata in particular, but I think they hang on to the other players. They will likely be able to get a 1st or 2nd round pick for Vrbata, and a 2nd or 3rd for Hamhuis.

Winnipeg Jets – Get a Good Return for Andrew Ladd

Winnipeg has managed to lock up one of their two pending UFA’s, Dustin Byflugien, but that likely means they are going to have to say goodbye to their captain. Andrew Ladd is likely the top player on the market, and there will be no shortage of interest for him. The Jets have to get value back for Ladd, as they continue to build for the present and the future. There are a lot of exciting young players in the system, and the return for Ladd should be something substantial enough to make the future even brighter.

Trade Targets:

Jonathan Drouin – LW, Tampa Bay Lightning – Entry Level deal

Travis Hamonic – D, New York Islanders – 4 years remaining after this season, cap hit of $3,857,143.

Sami Vatanen – D, Anaheim Ducks – RFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,262,500.

Trade Ammo:

Andrew Ladd, LW – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $4,400,000.

Tobias Enstrom, D – 2 years remaining after this season, cap hit of $5,750,000.

Grant Clitsome, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $2,066,667.

Adam Pardy, D – UFA at end of this season, cap hit of $1,000,000.

Ondrej Pavelec, G – 1 year remaining after this season, cap hit of $3,900,000.

Analysis:

I think the Jets for sure trade Andrew Ladd, getting a 1st round pick and top prospect back. I think that getting Sami Vatanen, a first round pick, and a prospect would be an adequate return for the captain and face of the Jets franchise. Pavelec, in my opinion, is a prime candidate to be moved in the offseason. Enstrom is a candidate to be moved only if the Jets end up keeping, and re-signing Ladd. If that happens, Enstrom will likely be moved in the offseason for young pieces that can play on the roster for cheap.

Do you agree with the proposed moves and needs of each team? Would you like to see something different happen? What are your dream trades for your favourite team? Tell us what you think in the comments section below, and don’t forget to tune in to our Trade Deadline Reaction article after Feb. 29th!

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Click here to see the Eastern Conference Trade Deadline Primer!

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