Since we were interrupted by the trade of Taylor Hall, let’s conveniently cover him for our first West team, and then get to the other 14 teams in the NHL that we didn’t get a chance to discuss two weeks ago. Here’s a 2000-word edition to peruse over your Boxing-Day Bailey’s.

 

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Arizona Coyotes

 

Taylor Hall has fit in well thus far in the dessert. The Coyotes now have no cap space left available, but they still have a lot of depth in the system to make another purchase with an eye on a lengthy playoff run. Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers are both currently injured, but those two are the most expendable pieces that could free up some cap space for another addition to the roster already leading the Pacific Division.

 

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Anaheim Ducks

 

This is looking like another season without a playoff game in Anaheim. And with next year’s penalty on the Corry Perry buyout going up to $6.625 million, they may be wishing for a do-over on that contract. Anaheim also lacks and high impact free agents, thought it seems like Ondrej Kase is in every second rumour coming out of the Ducks’ camp. A team with cap constraints that is looking for depth scoring could pay handsomely for the 24-year-old winger who is on a bargain $2.6 million deal. If Kase can stay healthy, then he should begin next season flying past his breakout threshold, and be in line for some excellent production. Fantasy owners take note.

 

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Calgary Flames

 

Calgary is hanging onto the last playoff spot, and has some relevant UFAs at every position, meaning they could easily be a buyer or a seller, but it won’t be determined until they know they’re situation closer to the trade deadline. If they end up as a seller, all of their UFAs would likely be shipped out for futures. The key names are Michael Frolik, Travis Hamonic, T.J. Brodie, and Cam Talbot.

 

If Calgary ends up as a buyer, Frolik may be shipped out anyways, as he isn’t a key cog of the Calgary forward lineup, and his contract would be the easiest one to send as a cap balance return, because Calgary is right up against the cap. Upgrading on Frolik for some better depth scoring would really serve the Flames well. Perhaps Kyle Palmieri might be available to fill the second line RW slot. His two years left on a good-value contract would certainly be appealing to Calgary.

 

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Chicago Blackhawks

 

Like Calgary, Chicago has a similar decision to make of whether to be a buyer or a seller this year. Unlike the Flames, the Blackhawks do not have the luxury of time, as they currently sit a long way out of a playoff spot. With an aging core that hasn’t yet given way to the young pieces growing in the system, this seems to be a transition year for the Hawks. Realistically, they don’t have the group to make a full run for the cup, so they would be better off acknowledging that early, and using the trade deadline frenzy to prepare for a reloaded run next season.

 

Robin Lehner deserves to be the solution in net for the next number of years, so retaining some salary on Corey Crawford’s expiring deal would make him a very attractive backup goalie to many playoff teams.

 

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Colorado Avalanche

 

The Colorado Avalanche have made their big additions, welcoming back Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog from injury. They are second in both the division and the conference, and have the most cap space in the league to play with. In addition to that, all of their core players are locked up at the same rate for next season, except for Samuel Girard who is getting a well-deserved $4 million raise. This is a team that could add a couple of players, and become the overall favourites for the cup in very short order (if they aren’t already favourites). Forward depth is likely the key spot for an addition, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see GM Joe Sakic get creative to bring in a big name after missing out on Taylor Hall.

 

This may be me dreaming, but bringing in Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase from Anaheim could easily be done with the futures Colorado has in their system.

 

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Dallas Stars

 

Dallas has been a tale of multiple different teams throughout stretches of this season, so a little consistency would be appreciated through the holidays in order to sort out what to do with this roster. The team is set in net, and has a solid top four on defence, in addition to the possibility that Stephen Johns finally returns from his headache problems. That leaves a top-heavy group of forwards, and very little cap space in which to make a move.

 

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Edmonton Oilers

 

We all know Edmonton needs more forward depth past Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but first they need to sort out what to do with their own contracts coming up for renewal. There are eight expiring contracts among their forward group, four on defence, and Mike Smith on the last year of his deal in goal. Zach Kassian and Darnell Nurse are the two key names, and both will be looking for significant raises. Nurse could be looking at Ivan Provorov and Tomas Chabot as benchmarks, while Kassian should be eyeing up recent deals to Michael Ferland, Paul Byron, and Leo Komarov for his new deal. My contract model shows Kassian earning an AAV around $3.5 million on his next deal, and Nurse coming in around $7.2 million. Both make sense based on the comparables, and would put Edmonton in a tight spot going into the 2020 NHL season next October. As a result, it would require a budget conscious move to add an impact skater this year, unless more cap is moved out.

 

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Los Angeles Kings

 

Sell. The Kings are best off selling anyone not named Drew Doughty or Anze Kopitar. Expect Alec Martinex, Tyler Toffoli, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, and others to be moved. This team is a long way away from contending, but for some reason Tyler Toffoli hasn’t been put in a prime spot to score. That could change with a different team, setting him up for a much better second half. Fantasy owners should also keep an eye on the LA prospect system, as there are many blue chippers that could be arriving as early as the end of the year. The best place to find those names would be the LA Kings page over at DobberProspects.

 

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Minnesota Wild

 

No one really expected Minnesota to be a contender in the Central Division this year, but they are at least ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks, and receiving some solid contributions around the lineup. There are lots of good pieces in place, but the biggest anchor… well, anchors, are the hefty contracts given out to veterans past their prime. Unloading even one of the deals, Mats Zuccarello being the most likely, the Wild would free up some major wiggle room to bring in some younger talent and supplement the growth of a young core. The injured Jason Zucker may be the best trade chip on forward, and after multiple failed trades by the previous regime, it would not be surprising to see him traded to a contender by the deadline. This would certainly increase his own stock for fantasy owners, though his contract could be tough to manage for many.

 

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Nashville Predators

 

With the extension for Roman Josi signed, the Kyle Turris contract has become the main focal point. Turris has been playing well of late, but his $6 million price tag is still tough to stomach. Moving out Turris, and having both Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith coming off the books in the summer, there is room to make a big splash. This may just be wishful thinking though, as getting that to happen would take a lot of things going right. What is more likely, is the Predators trying to shore up their blueline depth, as Matt Irwin, Yannick Weber, and Dan Hamhuis aren’t inspiring much confidence (and for that matter neither is rookie Dante Fabbro).

 

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San Jose Sharks

 

The Sharks are a lot lower than they were expecting to be at this point in the season, and the playoffs are becoming less realistic by the day. This is a team built to win now, but they aren’t getting full production from their top guns, nor are their goaltenders producing even up to league averages. Moving Aaron Dell for a better goalie that can push Martin Jones should be priority number one. Moving Jones’ contract isn’t likely at this point, so giving the team a more reliable second option would go a long way. With league average goaltending, the Sharks would have 21 less goals against, and be right in the thick of the playoff picture. A coaching change hasn’t made a difference, a roster shakeup is needed to save the season for a team without their first-round pick.

 

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St. Louis Blues

 

Getting Vladimir Tarasenko back will give the Blues an excellent boost going into the playoffs, and if the cards are played right, the Blues could have Tarasenko’s entire $7.5 million cap hit off the books for the playoffs (the salary cap isn’t in effect during the playoffs, so if Tarasenko doesn’t return before the end of the season, the cap space is completely freed up). As a result, St. Louis could look into filling the cap space with a larger rental. However, there aren’t really many high-profile rentals left, which means GM Doug Armstrong may have the flexibility to get creative with a large deal that other contenders without cap space wouldn’t be able to pull off.

 

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Vancouver Canucks

 

After moving their 2020 or 2021 first for J.T. Miller, another big buy move isn’t likely. The big wish should actually be addition by subtraction, shopping for someone else to buy even one of their overpriced players. Having one or two contracts such as those signed by Loui Eriksson, Tyler Myers, Jay Beagle, Brandon Sutter, etc. isn’t going to kill a team, but having five or more will really cap the upside a team has, making it a lot more difficult to contend. If Vancouver’s ownership group is serious about not giving up an unprotected lottery pick next year, they will have to get creative with moving money out.

 

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Vegas Golden Knights

 

Vegas has rolled the dice on a lot of things, and at this point they just need to sit back and let the team do its thing. They may be partial to bringing in some goaltending depth in case of a M.A. Fleury injury, but generally the team is set. There also aren’t really any key cogs in need of new contracts, so the intrigue leading up to the trade deadline should be minimal.

 

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Winnipeg Jets

 

The biggest hurdle the Jets are facing is what happens with Dustin Byfuglien. If he returns, they have almost no cap space, but they have less of a need to fill a big hole on defence. If he doesn’t return, they have a big hole on defence, and a bunch of cap space to use, but hardly anyone around the league is shopping serviceable defencemen, let alone at a reasonable price. Additionally, having their hands tied means they can’t yet make a move, though they would certainly like to considering they sit in one of the lower playoff positions in the West at the moment.

 

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All salary info courtesy of capfriendly, statistics are all pulled from FrozenTools.

If you have questions, comments, or article requests, you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.

 

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Previous Capped articles:

Lessons from the Taylor Hall Trade