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NHL PUCK DROPS: Breaking down the buyers, sellers as NHL trade deadline approaches

 Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers moves in on Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6, 2019, in New York City.
Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers moves in on Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6, 2019, in New York City. - Bruce Bennett
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The NHL’s annual trade deadline is Monday at 4 p.m. Here's a look at the notable buyers, sellers and trade candidates.

Buyer: Toronto Maple Leafs

The recent addition of Jack Campbell from the L.A. Kings addressed their backup goalie needs. However, they still require experienced blue-line depth. The website CapFriendly.com indicates Morgan Rielly, Cody Ceci and Andreas Johnsson are on long-term injury reserve, giving the Leafs more than $8 million in salary-cap savings to bolster their defence.

Seller: New York Rangers

All eyes are on pending free-agent winger Chris Kreider. He could be moved if unsigned before the trade deadline. Restricted free agents Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, Tony DeAngelo and Alexandar Georgiev could also hit the trade block.

Buyer: Boston Bruins

The Bruins are all-in for another shot at the Stanley Cup, but they need secondary scoring depth. General manager Don Sweeney isn’t afraid to make big moves at the deadline. He’s expected to pursue a second-line winger.

Seller: Los Angeles Kings

The championship years are a fading memory for the rebuilding Kings. Pending free-agent winger Tyler Toffoli could soon be on the move. Same goes for defenceman Alec Martinez, who has a year remaining on his contract.

Buyer: Winnipeg Jets

A thin defence corps threatens to derail their playoff hopes. A mutual contract termination with Dustin Byfuglien is reportedly in the works, which would free up $7.6 million in salary-cap space. Those savings could be put toward adding a defenceman or two.

San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton, 40, was the No. 1 overall pick at the 1997 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins.
San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton, 40, was the No. 1 overall pick at the 1997 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins.

 

Seller: San Jose Sharks

The Sharks’ disappointing performance is expected to push GM Doug Wilson into the trade market. Pending free-agent defenceman Brenden Dillon is a trade candidate. Some pundits wonder if aging veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will agree to be moved to playoff contenders.

Buyer: Colorado Avalanche

With more than $31 million in projected trade deadline salary-cap space, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has plenty of room to make a major deal or deal by Feb. 24. A recent report suggested he could be in the market for a second-pairing defenceman and a big, checking-line centre.

Seller: Anaheim Ducks

The rebuild continues for the once-mighty Ducks. They’re reportedly willing to use their salary-cap space to take on an unwanted contract, provided it also comes packaged with a good young asset or a high draft pick.

Buyer: Florida Panthers

GM Dale Tallon said he’s seeking blue-line stability, specifically an experienced partner for Aaron Ekblad on the top defence pairing. With limited salary-cap space, he could be forced to move a forward like Mike Hoffman or Vincent Trocheck to bring in that much-needed rearguard.

Seller: New Jersey Devils

A season of promise turned into bitter disappointment. Having already traded Taylor Hall, Andy Greene and Blake Coleman and shaken up their management and coaching staff, more roster moves could be in the offing. Pending free agents, like defenceman Sami Vatanen and winger Wayne Simmonds, could be on their way out.


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

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