After months without any meaningful transactions, the recent spate of trades has NHL fans expecting a flurry of activity in the days ahead. And based on the buzz around the league, they’re going to get it.
Here’s a look at a 13 noteworthy names who could be on the move ahead of the Feb. 29 trade deadline:
The Wild is one of several teams having trade talks with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. Other teams pursuing Drouin, according to league sources, include St. Louis, Anaheim, the Rangers, Islanders, Colorado, Winnipeg, Montreal and New Jersey.
Speaking of partial no-trade clauses, Dustin Byfuglien has one as well and, as of Tuesday afternoon, has not been asked to supply a list of teams. He might not ever have to if the Winnipeg Jets end up re-signing the pending UFA star blueliner. I don’t think there’s any way Byfuglien signs for any less than five years in length, so I believe the internal debate for Winnipeg is whether it’s comfortable with that term or not. Byfuglien turns 31 on March 27.
“This is the process. If I can acquire younger assets or future assets for some of our veterans, especially veterans on expiring contracts, I’m going to pursue that for sure.”
Tyler Ennis (BUF), Roman Polak (TOR), Jonathan Drouin (TB) and Justin Schultz (EDM), Loui Eriksson (BOS), Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), Radim Vrbata (VAN)
If Alain Vigneault’s season-long strategic use of Keith Yandle is any indication, and you would think it would be, the Rangers cannot seriously be invested in attempting to keep the puck-moving impending free agent off the market.
Among the pursuers for Jonathan Drouin, one source warned Monday Anaheim hasn’t got enough mention. It’s a logical bet, because no one needs offensive help more than the Ducks.
1. Montreal Canadiens: The Habs are 4-13-0 since Dec. 3, and their struggles can’t be blamed on the absence of goalie Carey Price.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin wants to be traded, and GM Steve Yzerman will be looking to give his team a boost.
3. St. Louis Blues: The loss of Jaden Schwartz to injury showed the Blues that they could use another scorer. They are among many teams interested in Drouin.
4. New York Rangers: The most logical player for the Rangers to trade is defenseman Keith Yandle and yet he seems like a player they shouldn’t move.
5. Anaheim Ducks: Haven’t we been waiting most of the season for the Ducks to make a major move?
1) Matt Keator, agent for Chris Higgins, says VAN has granted him permission to talk to other teams. "We will work together on this."
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 10, 2016
Chris Higgins will be placed on waivers tomorrow. If no team claims him by noon Wednesday, he will report to Utica.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 12, 2016
The uncertainty, Eric Staal admits, has weighed upon him more than he has let on at times. It isn’t just about playing out the final year of his contract without knowing what comes next. As a player, he can deal with that. As a husband and father and brother, it gets a little tougher.
Tampa Bay is seeking a right-shot defenseman. The presence of rising prospect Brandon Montour could make Sami Vatanen expendable, especially when left-shooting Shea Theodore has looked the part of an NHL regular while Cam Fowler recovers from a knee injury.
The Ducks want to re-sign Vatanen, their top offensive threat from the blue line. But a deal obviously hasn’t gotten done. Vatanen, 24, might reach 35-plus points for the second straight season and could at the very least triple the $1,275,000 he’s making this season.
— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) January 11, 2016
With cap hit of $2.5M this season and next, VAN knows it must retain salary to get deal done. A handful of teams contacted VAN yesterday.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 11, 2016