The 10 Most Likely NHL Players To Be Traded Soon
Here Are Some Notable NHL Names That Could be On the Move
By George Kurtz
The holiday roster freeze in the NHL is from Dec. 19-27 this season. During this time no trades can be made so that players know where they will be during Christmas and can make plans with their families for the holidays. This also means that any trades that teams want to make either have to be completed within the next day or will have to wait until later this month to happen. There are three reasons a team generally looks to deal a player. First, the team is at the bottom of the standings and is looking to reload for next season. Second, a team may believe they are better than their record indicates and will try to make a deal to shake things up. Last, they made trade a player in his contract year that they are unlikely to bring back next season. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 players most likely to be dealt before the trade deadline on Feb. 26.
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators: He only has one year left on his contract and has been making noise that he would rather play someplace else. If the Senators wanted to bring in a big haul, trading Karlsson would do it, but dealing a player of his status is likely something that would be easier to do during the offseason, not at the trade deadline. Karlsson likely stays.
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James Neal, Vegas Golden Knights: It was always assumed that Vegas selected certain players during the Expansion Draft so that they could then move them before the trade deadline. The problem is that Vegas has been playing so well that they may decide that making the playoffs is more important. I still expect Neal to be moved.
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche: His name was bandied about quite a bit last season at the deadline. It will likely come up again. Goal scoring wise he’s having one of the best campaigns of his career and his contract will be up before the Avs become competitive again. He should find a new home in February.
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs: His is another name that gets thrown around in trade rumors but with this being the last year of his contract and with the Maple Leafs proving they are one of the better teams in the East, it seems likely that they keep him for the playoff run.
Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres might be dealing just about anyone that isn’t nailed down this season. A power forward like Kane should bring back a good prospect or two if teams believe his checkered past is behind him. His house in Buffalo should be on the market if it isn’t already.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers can’t be happy about how they are playing so far this season. Could RNH be dealt for a defenseman that this team so badly needs? Yes, but we have heard this before. Odds are he stays.
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers: After trading Brayden Schenn during the off-season it’s fair to wonder if the Flyers will continue to be in sell mode if the season goes south. Simmonds would be a nice prize for a contending team. 50/50 on whether he stays or goes.
Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings: Mrazek’s play was so poor last season that he wasn’t selected during the expansion draft. It’s not any better this season but perhaps a change of scenery would do him good. The problem is Detroit would be selling him low. They will be anxious to move him, but the question will be can they find a partner.
Justin Williams, Carolina Hurricanes: He just signed with Carolina during the offseason after spending several seasons with Washington. Will a contender want to pick up his contract for next season ($4.5 million)? Seems unlikely for a 36-year old forward.
Thomas Vanek, Vancouver Canucks: Now here is a veteran forward who only has a contract for this season and one that only pays $2 million. It would be surprising if the Canucks don’t move him to a contender looking for a Top 9 forward.
You can find me on Twitter, @georgekurtz