The NHL trade deadline is just over a month away, but talks involving some of the bigger names on the market are already heating up. In fact, it seems almost inevitable that a trade will happen soon, and that the market will be set for upcoming deals.
One of the most talked about names is Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat. Horvat, who has had a goal-scoring breakout this year, will command too much money as an unrestricted free agent to fit into Vancouver’s long-term plans. While a playoff rental could be in the works, some of those interested may also like the benefit of having time for extension talks with him.
Many of the “buyers” at the deadline — teams like Toronto, Boston, Edmonton, Carolina, and perhaps Seattle — will be looking to make moves. Owning a little more cap flexibility than others, Minnesota, Winnipeg, and the New York Rangers could also look to bolster their lineups.
The “sellers” are already becoming crystal clear, with some boasting cap space to temporarily take on bad contracts (Chicago, Arizona, Detroit, Anaheim), while shopping big-name pending free agents in exchange for prospects, picks, and young NHLers.
Here is a look at 20 players who might be on the move before the 2023 NHL trade deadline:
1. Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks
Nothing has gone right in Vancouver this year, and with the team saddled with a few bad contracts, the Canucks need to make major personnel changes. Horvat built his reputation and has firm connections in Vancouver, but organizationally, he is too valuable to lose, and too valuable to keep.
While the asking price will be high given his 50-goal pace, it’s believed Seattle, Minnesota, Detroit, Boston, and Carolina are all interested in the star.
2. Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues
Similar to Horvat, O’Reilly is a fan favorite team captain who brings a lot to the table. His scoring is down this season, but he adds a dimension every team covets. Add his history as a Selke Trophy winner, and Conn Smythe recipient while leading St. Louis to a Stanley Cup, and he’s a rental player that could benefit any contender.
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
It’s the end of an era in Chicago. Kane might be the first chip to fall, but on a team that was built like it was more focused on drafting Connor Bedard than winning this season, Kane likely won’t be the only player moving in Chicago. Kane has been tied to the New York Rangers for a while, and with the Rangers looking like a team that could make playoff noise, his addition might fit. It would involve salary retention and futures, as New York is unlikely to sacrifice much from its existing roster.
If Kane, and/or longtime Chicago captain Jonathan Toews are traded, it will be on their terms to destinations they choose based on their no-movement clauses.
4. Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild
Let’s call this a 50/50, maybe. Minnesota looks like a buyer, not a seller, but pieces must go in both directions in any trade. Moving Dumba would give Minnesota ample camp space, but the team taking him on would almost certainly be looking at a trade-and-sign situation, since the 28-year-old defender is a UFA at season’s end. Despite scratching him multiple times this season, the problem for the Wild will be if they believe they can sacrifice the blue-line depth in exchange for another asset.
If dealing with another playoff team, Dumba would almost certainly be headed to the Eastern Conference, but to date, there has been little speculation. Still, Dumba is a player whose name will be tossed around in trade talks over the next month.
The Detroit Red Wings are going to be sellers. They got off to a fantastic start, but more recently have looked like a team still well within its rebuild rather than one coming out of it. Tyler Bertuzzi is set to hit the open market this summer, and while it’s not a given, Steve Yzerman has continued to put his own stamp on the roster and Bertuzzi was not his selection or signing. Bertuzzi would add physicality and middle-six scoring to a contender, and Detroit needs to continue to rebuild.
Despite the fact he couldn’t even play in Canada last year due to his vaccination status, initial rumblings point to the Edmonton Oilers and Maple Leafs as potential suitors. The Hurricanes could also be a fit with recent injuries impacting their roster.
9. Jesse Puljujärvi, Edmonton Oilers
11. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
12. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
13. Luke Schenn, Vancouver Canucks
14. Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks
15. Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks
16. Shayne Gostisbehere, Arizona Coyotes
19. Dmitry Kulikov, Anaheim Ducks
20. Joel Edmundson, Montreal Canadiens
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