Wild West: On the Trading Block (Part 1)
Playoff Western Leaders
Goals – 10 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver
Assists – 16 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado
Points – 25 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado
PPP – 10 – Elias Pettersson – Vancouver
Shots on Goal – 65 – Shea Theodore – Vegas, Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado
PIM – 46 – Antoine Roussel – Vancouver
Best plus/minus – plus 13 – Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado
Hits – 76 – Jamie Oleksiak – Dallas
Blocked shots – 67 – Alexander Edler – Vancouver
Best FO% (min 200 draws) – 62.7% – Ryan O'Reilly – St. Louis
Worst FO% (min 200 draws) – 40.6% – William Karlsson – Vegas
Giveaways – 30 – Miro Heiskanen – Dallas
Takeaways – 17 – Tyler Motte – Vancouver
Draisaitl Hat Tricks – 1 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton, Mikko Rantanen – Colorado, Cale Makar – Colorado, Corey Perry – Dallas, J.T. Miller – Vancouver, Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado, Nazem Kadri – Colorado
Goalie wins – 9 – Anton Khudobin – Dallas
Save percentage (min 7 starts) – 92.4 – Cam Talbot – Calgary
Quality starts – 11 – Jacob Markstrom – Vancouver
With a 12-point lead in my playoff pool going into games on Friday night, I lost my five Avalanche players (including Mackinnon), my three Canucks and my sole Flyer. I'm now left with Steven Stamkos to come back into the playoffs and save me. Friday was a sad day indeed.
We will now focus on each team in the West and look at possible trade targets that other teams might want and players that each team would like to move or positions that they will need to strengthen.
The Ducks are going to be right up against the salary cap next season and still need to find a backup goalie to replace Ryan Miller (unless they bring him back at the age of 41), along with at least one additional defenceman to replace Michael Del Zotto and Matt Irwin who are both unrestricted free agents. Corey Perry being bought out will cost the team $6.625 million in cap space in 2020-21.
Ryan Getzlaf (full NMC) enters the final season of his eight-year contract and could waive his NMC to move at the trade deadline to a contender if he elects. Players with modified NTCs are Adam Henrique (10-team no-trade list), Jakob Silfverberg (12-team no-trade list), David Backes (15-team trade list), Cam Fowler (Four-team trade list) and Josh Manson (12-team no-trade list). It doesn't make it impossible to deal these players it handcuffs the GM to accept lower than market value in return, especially for a player like Fowler who can list four teams he'd like to go to. Having said that, it's a sad state in Anaheim and these clauses only matter when players want to stay.
The team is in an obvious re-build and will look to move expiring contracts in 2021 and 2022. That will include Getzlaf ($8.25 million), Danton Heinen ($2.8 million), Rickard Rakell ($3.789 million), Carter Rowney ($1.1 million), Josh Manson ($4.1 million), Hampus Lindholm ($5.205 million) and Erik Gudbranson ($4 million). Heinen is the only RFA on this list, but I don't see Anaheim wishing to spend north of $3 or 4 million AAV on a new contract going forward.
The most attractive players for other teams are Hampus Lindholm (26-years old) and Rickard Rakell (27 years old) for their age, reasonable salaries and what they can offer. From the Ducks standpoint, they are also the only few building blocks that they still possess, so moving either player might not make sense. I think the only player on the roster that is untouchable is John Gibson but even he makes a lot of money and had a down season this year. I think the team would love to move from Adam Henrique and his remaining four years at $5.825 million and Jakob Silfverberg with four years at $5.25 million to a lesser extent. The Ducks also have the 6th and 27th overall picks in the 2020 entry draft, so perhaps they might look at dealing the late first-round pick for an entry-level contract player that could help them now.
What a mess! Not only did they lose John Chayka as their GM, but they lost their 2nd round pick in 2020 and their 1st round pick in 2021 for violating the NHL combine testing policy. They have very little cap space and are losing Carl Soderberg, Taylor Hall (more than likely) and Brad Richardson as UFAs. Just to fill these holes along with RFAs Vinnie Hinostroza, Christian Fischer and Ilya Lyubushkin, Arizona will need to shed at least $3 to 5 million in salary for 2020-21 and that is if they go with cheap replacements. They are a far cry from the franchise that could barely spend to the salary cap bottom.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson have the only NMCs on the roster, while modified NTCs are Phil Kessel (eight-team trade list), Michael Grabner (eight-team no-trade list), Jason Demers (eight-team no-trade list) and Alex Goligoski (eight-team no-trade list). I think they are stuck with Kessel unless he can have a good first half of next season and they can sell a little higher to the limited market available to new GM Steve Sullivan.
The Coyotes will look to move Derek Stepan who will be a UFA at the end of 2021, along with perhaps Antti Raanta who will be the same. If they can trade any of the players, except Ekman-Larsson who have clauses, they will certainly entertain those moves as well.
I'm not sure teams will line up to acquire anyone on the roster, outside of Nick Schmaltz, Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse, Clayton Keller, Barrett Hayton, Conor Garland, Ekman-Larsson, Jakob Chychrun, Raanta and Darcy Kuemper. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of these players were moved before the end of 2021.
The Flames have eight roster players hitting unrestricted free agency, with five of those defensemen. Also, they have three players that are restricted free agents in Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. I'd be surprised if they qualify Jankowski at the $1.8 million AAV it will take to do so. The main UFAs are Cam Talbot, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic and Erik Gustafsson. Calgary has just under $17 million in cap space to sign, move up or acquire four forwards, five or six defencemen and one goalie.
I don't think Brad Treliving will look to move any of Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm or Sean Monahan as they are all locked up until at least the end of 2021-22, so one more year together makes sense. The only players with NTCs are Mikael Backlund, and Mark Giordano while Milan Lucic has an NMC. Derek Ryan and Sam Bennett are perhaps the only roster players that the Flames would look to move to save on their salaries. Bennett had a great playoff and might have raised his trade value if the team wants to move on from him. Bennett becomes an RFA at the end of next season and is arbitration-eligible, but as recent history has shown not many players make it to arbitration anymore.
I'm sure there will be inquiries from other teams on Gaudreau, Monahan and Lindholm, but only Gaudreau would make any sense for the Flames to sell on at this point and even then he is only one year removed from a 99-point campaign. Unless Calgary gets back an elite puck-moving defenceman for Gaudreau, this wouldn't be in their best interests, short-term.
The Blackhawks have only one player as unrestricted and that is Corey Crawford in the net. He might re-sign for a one or two year deal and stay, but the team will need a starter very soon as Crawford has peaked at 40 games in the past three seasons. Restricted free agents are Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Slater Koekkoek and Malcolm Subban. Chicago will re-sign Kubalik and Strome, but the others might be let go to free agency.
Stan Bowman will be looking to get value for Brandon Saad and Zack Smith (M-NTC; 10 team no-trade list) as they will be UFA at the end of 2021. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook all have NMC and Keith and Seabrook more than likely will retire as Blackhawks. It's a tough re-build with two foundational players like the Canucks had with the Sedins, but Chicago has these four signed until 2022-23. Kane and Toews are still near the top of their game, but for how much longer?
The team has over $12 million AAV until the end of 2021-22 in Calvin De Haan, Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy which is not ideal for any team. I would think that Bowman would look to move at least one of these before or during the next season. The Henri Jokiharju deal hurts even more now for Chicago.
Other teams might be interested in Andrew Shaw (if healthy), and Kubalik or Strome if their salary demands are too high for Chicago's liking (Kubalik is arbitration-eligible while Strome is not).
The Avalanche are in an enviable position going forward as they have a great nucleus and still have plenty of cap space to re-sign Andre Burakovsky (although his price is going up), Tyson Jost, Valeri Nichushkin, Nikita Zadorov and Ryan Graves who are restricted free agents at the end of the bubble. Unrestricted free agents are Vladislav Namestnikov, Matt Nieto, Mark Barberio, Kevin Connauton and Michael Hutchinson. The team will need to slot in Bowen Byram and Connor Timmins soon, so the decisions on long-term contracts to Zadorov and Graves will be met with carefully.
Jost is a young player that might interest other teams. Depending on what the Avalanche do going forward, Jost is stuck on the depth chart in the bottom six and that is not ideal for an offensive-minded young player. He will be entering his fourth-year breakout and to get over the hump Colorado might dangle him for an established player/goalie that could help the team next year. This is a team looking to add pieces not move them, so I don't think they are actively looking to move anyone. The obvious need at this point is a starting goalie and improved team defence, which Sakic might be able to acquire through free agency. Jacob Markstrom might look good in Colorado next season.
We are down to four teams in the playoffs and the off-season is just around the corner. Once done, things are going to happen pretty quickly in terms of the draft, free agency and trades.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know below and/or follow me on Twitter @gampbler15.
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