The trade deadline is in a few weeks (March 21st) and we are going to look at my top 20 trade targets in the West. Currently, the teams on the outside of the playoffs are Arizona, Seattle, Chicago, San Jose, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Anaheim. On the bubble are Edmonton, Dallas and Vegas.
Buyers with cap space are Minnesota, Boston, NY Rangers and Nashville. Teams that have space due to LTIR are Los Angeles, Toronto, Washington, Florida, Pittsburgh and Carolina.
I've ranked the players in order of the combination of who I think is the most likely to be dealt with the level of return that the player might bring.
1st) Tomas Hertl – San Jose 52-22-20-42 $5.625 million salary-cap space
If the Sharks let Hertl become an unrestricted free agent or trade him before the deadline, he will be one of the most highly sought forwards out there. He is in the final year of his four-year $5.625 million AAV contract in which he has a no-trade clause that allows him to submit a three-team list that he can be traded to. The Sharks might want him to allow them more teams to deal with for them to get the most value, but he certainly doesn't need to agree to that.
At 28-years of age, Hertl is an important top-line player that can score 25-35 goals and 65-75 points, while taking faceoffs, playing on the power play and killing penalties. The Sharks would be wise to re-sign him but his demands might be too high for their liking.
2nd) Andrew Copp – Winnipeg 47-12-16-28 $3.64 million
Copp has been out with an upper-body injury and is out indefinitely, so teams might be a little hesitant until they are sure he is back 100%.
The 27-year-old Copp has been above 0.6 pts/game over the past two seasons and was averaging 20:27 of ice time this year. He takes faceoffs and kills penalties as well, so his value could be huge down the stretch and into the playoffs. His $3.64 million salary-cap hit should be more palpable than a few other players available and he could bring back as much as a 1st round draft pick in return.
3rd) Mark Giordano – Seattle 48-6-17-23 – $6.75 million
When Seattle picked Giordano in the expansion draft, everyone assumed that he was picked to establish leadership on the Kraken and provide a pretty good return at the trade deadline in the last year of his contract. He does have a clause that allows him to submit a list of 19 teams he can be traded to. That along with his salary cap hit will make it difficult for some teams that would love to have him.
Even at 38-years of age he is still putting up decent offensive numbers with 23 points in 49 games (0.47/g) and playing over 21 minutes per game. He will be a welcome addition to the playoff roster of any team that gets him. The price won't be cheap though, as I'm sure the Kraken will be asking for a 1st rounder plus prospect.
4th) Marc-Andre Fleury – Chicago $7 million
Fleury is in the final year of a three-year deal that has a cap hit of $7 million and a salary of $6 million this season. He has a 10-team no-trade clause that will limit Chicago with the options they can send him to. Fleury is 37-years-old and struggled at the start of the year but has rebounded to put up 16 wins in 39 games with a save percentage of 91.1.
Fleury wants to go to a winning team, so could Edmonton be an op