It is never too early to talk about a trade in the NHL. After all, last season’s blockbuster trade that sent Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois going to the Winnipeg Jets happened just 10 days into the season.
We’ve been waiting all offseason for Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko to be traded, but the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues aren’t the only teams expected to make moves before the NHL trade deadline on March 21, 2022.
We asked The Athletic’s NHL writers to name one player on all 32 teams who will not end the season on their current roster.
Here are their answers:
Anaheim Ducks: Rickard Rakell
Rakell is 28 and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. While his scoring touch has deserted him more often than not (he has just 42 goals in his past 186 games), he still possesses good offensive ability and can boost a lineup that needs another scorer. If he bounces back into the 20-goal territory, the Ducks could fetch a nice asset or two at the deadline.
Arizona Coyotes: Phil Kessel
Kessel has a limited no-trade clause but he is in the last year of his deal on a team that will likely be winning only a third of its games. I presume he will want out by mid-season and, if he shows he can still score, there will likely be an appetite for the two-time champion.
Boston Bruins: Jakub Zboril
The 2015 first-rounder is running out of time to develop into a full-time NHL defenseman. He’ll be restricted at year’s end. If he doesn’t take another step toward becoming a trusted three-zone defenseman, the Bruins could have other options on the left side.
Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel
It’s amazing that he’s on the roster now. The debate about the herniated disk in Eichel’s neck — he wants artificial disk replacement, the Sabres want fusion — became increasingly personal throughout the summer. There’s no path to reconciliation. One of these days, the Sabres will hear a trade offer to their liking.