With two weeks until the trade deadline, it is time to look at each team in the West and determine if they might be buyers or sellers and who they might move from or look to acquire for their roster, draft picks, or prospect pools.
Weekly Western Leaders
Goals – 4 – Patrick Laine – Winnipeg
Assists – 5 – Kyle Connor – Winnipeg
Points – 8 – Kyle Connor – Winnipeg
Shots on Goal – 20 – Kevin Fiala – Minnesota
PIM – 14 – Jay Beagle – Vancouver
Best plus/minus – plus 7 – Ryan Graves – Colorado
Hits – 20 – Jamie Oleksiak – Dallas
FOW – 49 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver
FOL – 52 – Mark Scheifele – Winnipeg
Giveaways – 8 – Dmitry Kulikov – Winnipeg
Takeaways – 6 – Colton Parayko – St. Louis
Team 5 on 5 SH% (min 3 GP) – 25.0 Nazem Kadri – Colorado
Highest CF% (min 3 GP) – 73.6 Ondrej Kase – Anaheim
Lowest CF% (min 3 GP) – 22.2 Givani Smith – Detroit
Highest PDO (min 3 GP) – 121.4 Nazem Kadri – Colorado
Lowest PDO (min 3 GP) – 82.5 Vince Dunn – St. Louis
Goalie wins – 3 –Philipp Grubauer – Colorado
Save percentage (min 2 starts) – 96.3 Philipp Grubauer – Colorado
Quality starts – 3 – Philipp Grubauer – Colorado
Sitting 13th in the Western Conference, there is no doubt that the Ducks will be sellers at the deadline. The big question is who can or will they sell? They will have a first round lottery pick in the 2020 draft and are currently without a 4th and 7th round pick, so will be looking to replace those and possibly add to their number of picks overall. In respect to UFA rentals, Derek Grant should be available to any team looking for a good face-off center who can play third-line minutes and add to the penalty kill. He might get Anaheim that 4th round pick they are missing. The other rentals are Nicolas Deslauriers, Korbinian Holzer and Michael Del Zotto, who might provide another team depth. I'd be surprised if the Ducks got any better than a 6th round pick in return for any one of them.
The Coyotes sit 9th in the West and are 2-5-3 in their past 10 games, so I'm sure management is getting a little nervous about the playoffs. With the addition of Taylor Hall, they must be buyers this year to prove to their fans and players that they are all in for the playoffs this season. I'm not sure what they'll do next season as they have very little cap space and that includes letting Hall, Carl Soderberg, and Brad Richardson walk as UFAs. The good news is that Darcy Kuemper should be back soon, but goaltending has not been their biggest issue as of late. It's surely a coincidence but since Hall was traded to the Coyotes, they are 8-11-3 and their GAA has gone from 3rd in the NHL at 2.34 to 4th at 2.68. I'm not even sure what the Coyotes would be looking for — maybe another depth defenceman? With no 1st and 3rd round pick in 2020 and potentially no Taylor Hall in July, will John Chayka be without a job?
The Flames are holding on to the last spot in the playoff chase and are 4-5-1 in their past ten games. They should be buyers and are in need of a top-nine winger to improve their core, as outside of Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, only Andrew Mangiapane has ten goals or more on the wing this season. The Flames should look towards Montreal and Ilya Kovalchuk as he would potentially add some scoring and fit within their cap constraints. Tyler Ennis and Jesper Fast are other affordable targets, but Fast would command a higher price. Ideally Calgary wouldn't want to spend much more than a 3rd round pick.
A month ago, playoffs were not much of a possibility for the Blackhawks, but now they are only four points out of a spot. With their salary cap crunch, they are unlikely to be buyers, and if they do drop off the pace in the next two weeks, they are in a position to potentially sell Erik Gustafsson, Corey Crawford, or Robin Lehner. Recouping their 2nd round pick in 2020 and 3rd round pick in 2021 should be high on their list of returns.
The Avalanche have just over $6.5 million in cap space to add a player or two for their playoff push. The roster is deep in scoring talent, so perhaps an upgrade at center or a depth defenceman would be on their radar. At center, they might be interested in Carl Soderberg (if Arizona falls off the pace in the next two weeks) as they are very familiar with him, or if Joe Thornton could be convinced to waive his no-trade clause, he would be an interesting fit. They don't have a 2nd round pick in 2020 but do possess a number of prospects to use as payment.
The Stars will likely be heading to the playoffs this season as a top-four seed, and their needs are depth at forward and defense. They don't have a 2nd or 3rd round pick in 2020 or cap space, so their options are very limited, and more than likely they will stand pat unless they move a player from their roster. With Stephen Johns back from injury, it is like picking up a player by trade as he is an upgrade over Taylor Fedun. Perhaps players like Dylan Demelo, Tyler Ennis, or Derek Grant are on their radar.
When you have over $6.2 of cap space buried, retained or in buyout, this can hurt your ability to enhance your roster at this time of year, and the Oilers and a few other clubs are faced with that (self-induced) handicap. Edmonton does have all of its draft picks for 2020 and 2021 as well as some prospects that would be attractive in any deal. The needs that I see are possibly in net, depth on the bottom six forward lines, and another established defenseman if Kris Russell is unable to return to the lineup. I would list the same three players that Dallas could be interested in as possibilities for Edmonton.
Pretty much a seller from opening night of this season, the Kings will be looking to move Tyler Toffoli, Trevor Lewis, Derek Forbort, Ben Hutton, and Joakim Ryan. They do have just over $5 million in cap space to take back if that allows a team to add any of these players. The price for Toffoli would more than likely be a 1st round pick or comparable prospect, and perhaps 4th to 6th round picks for the others. Los Angeles should improve their number of draft picks in 2020 from nine to at least eleven or twelve at the conclusion of this year's trade deadline.
As they are sitting four points from a playoff spot, it is up in the air whether the Wild will be playing hockey in the playoffs. The conceivable selling options are asking Eric Staal to submit his 10-team no-trade list or dangling Marcus Foligno to see what teams might pay. The Wild have handed out the no-movement clauses like candy in recent years and currently five players have full no-movement clauses and three others have modified no-trade clauses. Minnesota should have Kirill Kaprizov in the NHL next season, so perhaps players like Jason Zucker or Ryan Donato will be moved soon or closer to July 1st.
I can't believe we are even discussing the Predators potentially not making the playoffs. Currently they are three points out of a spot but have been playing better as of late. They do have a little cap space ($2.268 million) and do possess an extra 2nd and 3rd round pick in 2020. We don't know if Ryan Ellis will return from injury, so there is a need on defence as well as scoring at any of the forward positions. Tyler Toffoli, Chris Kreider, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau should all be on the radar for Nashville. If this turns into a fire sale in the next two weeks, Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, and Rocco Grimaldi as forwards and Dan Hamhuis (doesn't like to be dealt at deadline), Yannick Weber, and Matt Irwin on defense could be available.
It has been a disastrous season for the Sharks, as they will miss the playoffs (99%) and won't have their 1st round lottery draft pick in 2020. Rentals that they could deal away are Melker Karlsson, Brendan Dillon, Tim Heed, and Stefan Noesen, along with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau who would both have to agree to be sent to a playoff team. Aaron Dell is a UFA next season but I'm not sure what upgrade he could offer any playoff team. Could Doug Wilson try to recoup a 1st round pick in 2020 by putting Kevin Labanc on the market?
In a perfect scenario, Vladimir Tarasenko will be healthy in early April to provide the Blues with a spark right at the end of the regular season (he did begin skating with the team this past week, but it was his shoulder that was injured). St. Louis is right up against the salary cap, so will be quite limited in adding any depth. As things currently stand, this team is looking like one of the deepest teams in the West with or without Tarasenko and should be looking at another run in April and May.
The Canucks have struggled a little lately and are down to a four-point cushion for getting into the playoffs. There is still a lot of hockey left and this team is still in the growing phase, so they should not be looking to spend very much at the trade deadline. They're already without their 1st round pick in 2020 or 2021 (depending on if they make the playoffs this year or not) and it would be foolish to part with any other high picks or prospects for the players on offer. The fail-safe to prevent it is in the fact that they have no salary cap room whatsoever. Their needs are like any of the other teams, for secondary scoring and a little more playoff grit. With the recent injury to Brock Boeser, it remains to be seen how serious his injury is and how this might force their hand to go after players like Tyler Toffoli or Chris Kreider.
Just when things were looking like Vegas were a sure thing for the playoffs this season, they went 4-4-2 in their past ten games and made things interesting again, but are still clear by three points. They possess five 2nd round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, so expect one or more of these to come into play as the Golden Knights will look to upgrade their depth at forward and defence. They don't have much cap space at all, so once again look for players like Demelo, Ennis, or Derek Grant to be in their crosshairs.
The Jets sit 7th overall in the West but are only up by two points from 9th place Arizona and could be buyers as they do have the cap space to add (Byfuglien would add even more if they do agree to terminate his contract). Their big roster need has not changed since the beginning of the season, and it is on defense. They might look at Sami Vatanen, Brendan Dillon, Mark Borowiecki, or Dylan Demelo to give them a boost down the stretch. This is a club that should have been a lock to be in the playoffs for the next five years at the end of last season, but they've taken a bit of a detour. They are faced with ten unrestricted free agents on their current roster for next season.
As of February 10th, it looks like there are three or four teams that will be on the outside looking in when the trade deadline comes on February 24th, 2020. The top 12 teams are in such a tight race that only seven points separate 4th place from 12th place.
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