The trade deadline is quickly approaching. There’s about a week left until March 1st, and there has yet to be a big deal made. It’s going to be a relatively interesting deadline this year, as the only two teams completely out of the playoff picture are the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes. But there are a few teams that have a very minimal chance at seeing any time in the postseason.
Let’s check out what each team could use at the deadline this year.
I don’t know what’s going on with the Ducks this season, but their scoring is nowhere where it needs to be. If they could get another winger, maybe even a center, that can score, they’ll be set. Either that, or Corey Perry starts putting pucks in the back of the net.
Everything? The Coyotes are one of two teams that are really out of the playoff picture and they need a lot of help. Radim Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are responsible for many of their points, with 41 and 33 points respectively. The next highest scorer is Martin Hanzal, with 24 points. The Coyotes need scoring depth, defense, and a better prospect pool badly. Selling some of their older players for picks and prospects might be a smart idea.
Defense. Chara is nearing the end of his career and their defense leaves Rask out to dry way too often. They’ve been doing a much better job since they fired Claude Julien, but there still needs to be some fixes on defense so they don’t rely so much on their goalies.
Scoring depth. Ryan O’Reilly, Eichel, Reinhart, & Kane do most of the scoring for this team. Gionta and others contribute from time to time, but those four do the majority of the scoring. But they’re going to want to try and get some more picks and prospects at the deadline so they can continue to build for the future.
Scoring depth. Gaudreau, Monahan, & Bennett do a majority of the scoring. Their defense seems to be pretty good. Offense is their main issue. You know when Gaudreau is off. So the addition of another 2nd line winger or center would be huge for them. They also need goaltending. The tandem of Elliott and Johnson just hasn’t been working out for them. Maybe a solid backup will do the trick.
Goaltending? Their scoring is pretty well spread around, but maybe another center would be good. Someone strong behind Jordan Staal. Cam Ward’s not having a good season, and Lack hasn’t been the best behind him. Another goalie may be smart. Otherwise, they are trending in the right direction.
Do they need anything? Bowman seems intent on standing pat at the deadline. The scoring has been spread around this season. Yes, Panarin – Anisimov – Kane do a lot of scoring, but the rookies and Toews have been pulling their weight too. And the defense doesn’t seem bad. Darling and Crawford have both been great. I actually agree with Bowman and think the Hawks don’t need much. If anything, a winger for Toews. But then again it seems like his current line has been pretty good.
The Avalanche are the other team who are pretty much out of the playoff picture. Getting picks and prospects to plan for the future will be smart to rebuild this team. Trading Iginla to a contending team will help, as will trading one of Duchene or Landeskog. I wouldn’t trade both, a younger team will need players with experience and confidence to help them build theirs. Getting some scoring depth and defensemen for future success through the draft or trades is key for the Avalanche.
Columbus Blue Jackets
I’m also not certain what they need. Defense maybe? But at the same time, practice and learning defense tactics could fix this. Bobrovsky and Korpisalo have been solid in net. Scoring depth isn’t an issue I believe. So again, not sure what they need. Maybe a veteran to help with a playoff run? But they do have Saad. Honestly, I think this team will be fine with what they have as long as John Tortorella doesn’t overwork them.
Goaltending. That has been the glaring issue with this team. Their offense is still solid. The defense hasn’t been as good as they hoped it would be. Maybe they could try and draft some more defenseman that will help them in the future. Scoring has been hiding a lot of their defensive errors. Their goalies are rough. And it makes any mistakes the offense/defense makes glaringly obvious. I think better goaltending and focusing a bit more on defense could fix up some things.
Detroit Red Wings
Young players? I haven’t watched enough of the Wings to really know what their issues are. It could be scoring. I think it’s just the fact that a decent chunk of their players are aging. It could be goaltending too. Mrazek has not been consistent and they could be overplaying him. Their defense isn’t also the best. Selling their older vets could be smart. Load up on prospects and picks and trend younger. I think that’s what they need.
Honestly, I think defense is still an issue for the Oilers. Larsson and Russell have helped a lot, but they still need Talbot to stand on his head a lot. Their scoring is well spread and McDavid has options for linemates who can keep up with him. Lucic has helped, from a protection stance and a scoring stance. I really think another defenseman would help here.
Ever since Huberdeau and Barkov have come back from injury, the Panthers look scary. Like, really scary. They could really fly past everyone in the standings soon. Another scoring forward would be a great addition. Maybe a depth defenseman? Other than that, everything is solid. As long as Jagr continues to play, they’ll be fine.
Los Angeles Kings
Jeff Carter and Peter Budaj are the only reasons the Kings are even in the hunt for a playoff spot. Tanner Pearson’s having himself a nice season, too. Honestly, the Kings shouldn’t even try and trade for anything at the deadline. It doesn’t seem that likely that they’ll make the playoffs. And even if they do, their run won’t be very deep.
Nothing. I think this team is perfectly fine the way that they are. They’ve been dominant this season, and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything stopping them lately. They’re built for a Cup run, and with Bruce Boudreau behind the bench, there’s nothing they can’t do. If anything, a depth defenseman would be good. Other than that, GM Chuck Fletcher shouldn’t mess with the team.
First off, Julien needs to get Galchenyuk some top line minutes. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be up there. The Habs desperately needs some more scoring forwards. Carey Price needs to go back to being himself. I don’t really see this team making a particularly deep playoff run, but you never know in the NHL.
The Predators really need PK Subban to start scoring goals again. His last goal was back in December, which is kind of a long time ago. Juuse Saros needs to stay in the NHL. He looks like a legitimate goaltender for the Preds. They could also use another forward, either depth or scoring, without giving up a lot.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils need a lot of things. They’re getting older, and their defense just isn’t cutting it anymore. Steven Santini looks like he’s going to be a good defenseman, and Damon Severson continues to get better. But Jon Merrill is older, and Ben Lovejoy hasn’t been what they hoped for this season. They’re going to be a team that’s sellers at the deadline. But I think they should give their prospects a chance.
New York Islanders
I don’t understand how the Islanders were so bad for such a long period of time. John Tavares has been himself, and Josh Bailey is finally being the player every fan has hoped for him to be. Their fourth line is great. Their defense is great. Thomas Greiss has been great. So what’s the problem? I think the Islanders need a winger that compliments Tavares. I’ve had a few fans tell me that Matt Duchene would be a good fit. Colorado needs a little bit of everything. They’ll want a young piece most likely, so someone like Alan Quine. The center has 14 (5 G, 9 A) points in 47 games. For a 23 year old, that could be attractive for the Avalanche. Adam Pelech is a young d-man who will be an RFA after this season but plays decent minutes for the Islanders (averaging 16:04 per game). One of those two and a pick or prospect might be a good package for Duchene, but it depends on what Sakic is asking for.
New York Rangers
Defense, defense, defense. Klein, Girardi, and Staal eat up minutes that arguably should be going to Holden and Clendening. Especially Clendening. Klein sometimes drags down Skjei and makes him look worse than he is. Staal has had a better season than last year, but Klein and Girardi have made way too many mistakes. Getting rid of one of them gets Clendening into the lineup. Honestly, I’d rather give up one or two of those three and if we could make it happen get Trevor van Riemsdyk. Somehow, I’d love for that trade to happen. Or Shattenkirk. Getting one of those guys would allow us to spread minutes around and hopefully make less mistakes.
The Senators are dealing with a ton of injuries right now. Bobby Ryan is out with a broken finger for at least a month. Mark Stone is hurt from the hit by Jacob Trouba. Mike Hoffman has a groin injury. They’re left with Turris and Brassard, who are both capable forwards, but they need to score more. Tommy Wingels hasn’t done much in the games he’s played for the Sens. Maybe they’ll be looking for another cheap, scoring forward. Their defense is fine, and has been throughout the season. There’s no reason for them to even bother looking to trade for defense.
The Flyers are just outside of a playoff spot, but basically everyone in the East is right there. There’s a lot of things that they need. For one: goaltending. But that’s not really urgent. They’ll be just fine for the rest of the season with Mason and Neuvirth. GM Ron Hextall could look into possibly acquiring a forward. They need more depth in their bottom six. Their top six is fine, but no one in their bottom six has more than 20 points. They could also use a bottom pairing defenseman, someone that could eat up minutes and be on the penalty kill.
A rental, if they even need something. The Pens have their shit together. They could repeat. If anything, they need depth guys in case of injury. Maybe defensemen because they lean heavily on Letang, Daley, Cole, and Dumoulin. With Maatta out for a little bit, getting an extra defenseman or two wouldn’t be a bad idea.
St. Louis Blues
One issue the Blues don’t have is scoring. They’re one of the few teams in the league where the scoring is spread out amongst their players. Obviously, they have Vladimir Tarasenko. But players such as Steen, Schwartz, and Stastny have been great, as well. David Perron is proving to be a solid addition to the team. The defense is pretty solid. If I’m GM Doug Armstrong, now would be a good time to give up Shattenkirk for a good return. If there’s anything the Blues need right now, it’s goaltending. Jake Allen needs to get himself together, and Carter Hutton has to go back to being a solid backup.
San Jose Sharks
Like many other teams, the Sharks could use another forward, either depth or scoring. Brent Burns is leading them in scoring, so they definitely need another forward. They’re fine in goal: Martin Jones is great, and Dell is a fine backup. The defense is decent. Right now, they’re sitting comfortably atop the Pacific Division. I wouldn’t do anything too drastic to this lineup. They’ve been good all year long.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa needs one thing: no more injuries. If Stamkos can return to the lineup soon, I think they’ll be fine. Just like the rest of the East, they’re right outside of a playoff spot. But that doesn’t mean they’ll get in one. There’s no point in giving anything up for a huge rental. Truthfully, I don’t see the point in them getting a rental at the deadline at all. If anything, GM Steve Yzerman could trade Bishop to a contender who is in desperate need of a goaltender.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Defense. They could benefit from a Trevor van Riemsdyk type. A 3rd/4th pairing guy who is solid though. Rielly, Zaitsev, and even Gardiner have looked good this season. They need depth defensemen. If they are gonna make the playoffs (and just in general for the future) they need depth defensemen so they don’t run Rielly, Zaitsev, and Gardiner into the ground.
The last thing this team should do is try and trade for a rental piece. They’re barely in the playoff picture as it is. Instead, they should try and focus on the future, but GM Jim Benning doesn’t want to believe they’re out of the playoffs just yet. The best thing they could do is try and get rid of expiring contracts for picks and prospects. They need to build up their prospect pool more than anything.
At the top of the league, the Capitals are looking just like they did last season: dominant. Evgeny Kuznetsov wasn’t doing too well to start, but he’s picked it up lately and is now third on the team in scoring. Braden Holtby is having yet another phenomenal season in net. Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, and Matt Niskanen are dominating the blue line both offensively and defensively. So what else does this team need? To me, nothing.
Goaltending. It’s basically all the Jets need at this point. But they can’t exactly do anything right now except go with what they have. The tandem of Ondrej Pavelec and Connor Hellebuyck hasn’t been all that great lately. But Hellebuyck is getting back to his normal self. He’s still young and has time to improve. The Jets are on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, but if they need anything, defense would be a good area to improve in. So would getting a scoring center. But it doesn’t look like they’re going to make the playoffs, so maybe they should pick up some picks for the upcoming draft so they can strengthen their prospect pool.
Juliana Nikac – Feature Contributor Shannon Re
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