Wild West: Early Trade Targets

Grant Campbell

2021-12-13

The NHL trade deadline is March 21st, 2022, but it is never too early to look at some trade targets in mid-December. I'm going to focus on the one or two players per team that might be available or sought after by other teams. These players might not be dealt before the deadline, but the window is currently open.

Anaheim Ducks – Currently Buyers ($10.6 million of cap space)

This is the last year that the Ducks will have the cap hit of $6.875 million for Ryan Kesler on their books, but they have one year remaining for Corey Perry at $2 million. They will have plenty of cap space for the 2022-23 season as they have just less than $41 million available currently.

Teams will come gunning for Rickard Rakell who will be unrestricted at the end of the season and only has a salary cap hit of $3.79 million. His cap hit will be closer to $5 or 6 million next year. The emergence of Troy Terry has given the Ducks more options and the team should look to get out from under the two years remaining for Jakob Silfverberg at $5.25 million after this season and re-sign Rakell. Silfverberg has a modified no-trade clause (M-NTC) that allows him to submit a list of 12 teams he cannot be traded to.

If the team is still in the playoff chase, I would think they might move Sam Steel for a more consistent player in return or a draft pick/prospect. If the Ducks fall out of contention, they should look to move Hampus Lindholm, Kevin Shattenkirk and Josh Manson as these three will get the most value in return and are somewhat expendable for the salaries they have or will get.

Arizona Coyotes – Sellers ($7.8 million of cap space)

It is not surprising to see this team has just over $29 million of contract committed for the 2022-23 season. With their recent property tax issues, it is fairly apparent that this team has cash flow issues. They do need to get to the cap floor of approximately $60.2 to 60.5 million next season.

The most intriguing name to be dealt on the Coyotes is Phil Kessel who is in the last year of his $8 million AAV eight-year contract. At 34-years of age, his play has declined this season a little, but the Coyotes are also struggling to score much as a team. The Coyotes won't want to bring back term in return for Kessel, but they might bring back an expensive expiring contract, along with a prospect and/or picks.

Shayne Gostisbehere is signed for another season in Phoenix at $4.5 million AAV and has performed much better than I would have thought with the Coyotes. The club might want to sell high on Gostisbehere and get something in return this year rather than next as there are no guarantees his success will continue in the desert.

The status of this team seems up in the air, so it wouldn't surprise me to see some of the longer-term contracts moved to clear future debt from the books. This might include one