NHL PUCK DROPS: Breaking down who could be moved before trade deadline

Lyle Richardson
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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, left, squares off against Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday.

The NHL’s Feb. 29 trade deadline is less than three weeks away. Here’s a look at the biggest names who could be on the move leading up to deadline day.

Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are re-signed Dustin Byfuglien on Monday, while talks with Ladd have apparently stalled. The Jets are fading from the playoff chase and could face an off-season shakeup. If new deals cannot be worked out for the 30-year-old stars, one or both could be dealt.

Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins. A skilled two-way right wing, Eriksson’s reportedly seeking a five-year contract extension worth more than $6 million annually. That could be too expensive for the Bruins. There’s speculation they could shop the 30-year-old winger for a top-four defenceman.

Keith Yandle, New York Rangers. Only a year after Yandle was acquired by the Rangers, he’s being used as a third-pairing defenceman and power-play specialist. A free-agent at season’s end, the Rangers cannot afford to re-sign the 29-year-old. With their top scorers struggling, there’s talk Yandle could be peddled for a top-six winger.

Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames. A year removed from a career-high 76-point performance, Hudler could seek a significant raise to remain wit the Flames. However, they also have young stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to re-sign. With the Flames’ playoff chances declining, they could start considering trade offers for the 32-year-old winger.

Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are transitioning toward a young roster, meaning the 34-year-old Vrbata probably doesn’t fit into their long-term plans. Clubs seeking a top-six winger could come calling before the deadline.

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes. The longtime Hurricanes captain faces an uncertain future with his rebuilding club. Staal’s production has steadily decline in recent years, but the 31-year-old forward remains a well-respected name around the league. If the two sides cannot work out a new contract by Feb. 29, Staal could hit the trade block.

James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs. When Reimer’s on his game, he’s a solid starting goaltender. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old’s been plagued by injury and inconsistency throughout his career. If the Leafs decide to look elsewhere for a starter, Reimer could be heading out of Toronto by Feb. 29.

Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning. Drouin, 21, remains suspended by the Lightning while general manager Steve Yzerman fields trade offers. Yzerman isn’t under pressure to move the young left wing by the deadline, but an offer of either a top-four defenceman with a right-handed shot or two top prospects could change his mind.

Travis Hamonic, New York Islanders. The 25-year-old defenceman requested a trade last summer to a Western-Canadian team for personal reasons. The Islanders, however, seek a comparable blue-liner in return. It could take until this summer to find a suitable trade partner for Hamonic, but there’s a possibility a deal could be had by the deadline.

 

Lyle Richardson is a freelance writer with The Hockey News and runs the website Spector’s Hockey. His column will appear in The Guardian throughout the NHL hockey season.

Organizations: Winnipeg Jets, NHL, New York Rangers Boston Bruins Calgary Flames Vancouver Canucks New York Islanders Carolina Hurricanes Toronto Maple Leafs Tampa Bay Lightning The Hockey News

Geographic location: Toronto, Western

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