As the NHL settles into its annual Christmas trade freeze, Lyle Richardson looks at who could be on the move after the freeze ends.
The NHL’s holiday trade freeze went into effect at midnight on Dec. 19 and remains in place until midnight on Dec. 27. Despite plenty of trade speculation leading up to the freeze, very little movement occurred. The only trade came on Dec. 18 when the Winnipeg Jets acquired defenceman Jay Harrison from the Carolina Hurricanes for a sixth-round pick in 2015.
Though the trade market is closed for the next week, there are several players in the rumor mill worth watching once the freeze lifts and the calendar turns to 2015.
TAYLOR HALL AND DAVID PERRON, EDMONTON OILERS
It seems absurd the Oilers would trade their best player and one of the NHL’s top left wingers, especially as they could be in line to select a “can’t miss” center prospect like Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the 2015 draft. Given the club’s recent disarray, however, Hall could remain in the rumor mill.
T.J. OSHIE AND PATRIK BERGLUND, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Berglund, 26, was frequently linked to the Boston Bruins in recent weeks, as Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was reportedly scouting several Blues games. McKenzie claims people were also wondering if Oshie could be available.
Chiarelli seeks a first-line right wing and Oshie, who turns 28 on Dec. 23, would be a better fit than Berglund, who’s a natural center. The downside is Oshie’s contract, as he’s carrying a $4.175-million annual cap hit through 2016-17. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out the Bruins possess limited cap space, meaning Chiarelli must first shed salary to take on such a high-salaried player.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford he doesn’t expect to be busy in the trade market. He cites the recent improvement of Berglund, Oshie and Alexander Steen and claims he’s happy with his roster. Rutherford also notes the Blues have around $450K in cap space, meaning any trade has to be dollar-for-dollar.
KEITH YANDLE AND ANTOINE VERMETTE, ARIZONA COYOTES
As the Coyotes’ playoff hopes fade, there’s growing speculation GM Don Maloney is gauging the market value of several players in anticipation of possible cost-cutting deals.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the 32-year-old Vermette, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, will be the first to be dealt, with colleague Darren Dreger claiming the asking price is a good young prospect and a roster player. LeBrun also thinks Maloney is finally ready to move Yandle, 28, who has one year at a cap hit of $5.25 million remaining on his contract.
ANDREJ SEKERA AND JIRI TLUSTY, CAROLINA HURRICANES
Forget about big names like Eric Staal or Cam Ward being dealt. The players most likely to move are pending UFAs like Sekera and Tlusty. McKenzie claims the Hurricanes aren’t in sell mode yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
CHRIS STEWART AND TYLER MYERS, BUFFALO SABRES
The Bruins have interest in Stewart but his poor production this season is killing his trade value. As for Myers, the Detroit Red Wings were interested, but not at the reported asking price of a top prospect, a good young roster player and a first-round draft pick.
TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, SEAN BERGENHEIM AND TOMAS KOPECKY, FLORIDA PANTHERS
PATRICK WIERCIOCH, COLIN GREENING AND ERIK CONDRA, OTTAWA SENATORS
For weeks there have been reports out of Ottawa claiming the Senators are shopping, or willing to move, these three. The fact they’re still Senators probably says all we need to know about their trade value.
ZACK KASSIAN, VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Darren Dreger claims Canucks GM Jim Benning was speaking with his former boss, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports of speculation Chiarelli had interest in Kassian but that may have cooled. Kassian is currently sidelined with a broken finger and has only five points in 17 games.