The NHL announced its 2022 trade deadline is set for March 21 at 3 pm ET. Fans can expect the usual flurry of activity leading up to that date. Playoff contenders will attempt to bolster their rosters while the non-playoff clubs attempt to shed free agents they can't or won't re-sign.
With the NHL still amid preseason activity, it's far too early to know which teams will be buyers or sellers by deadline day. Based on the NHL's fantasy hockey team power rankings as of Oct. 1, we can get some idea as to which clubs could end up near the bottom of this season's overall standings. We can also determine which of their pending free agents could become trade bait.
Teams in need of scoring punch could covet a forward such as the San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl. An experienced puck-moving defenseman like the Detroit Red Wings' Nick Leddy could be an enticing trade target for a contender. Clubs seeking goaltending depth could contact the Columbus Blue Jackets about Joonas Korpisalo.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and next March. This list could require updating once the calendar flips to 2022 and we get a clearer picture of the standings and which players could become trade bait.
For now, here's our very early look at 10 NHL players from 10 potentially bad teams who could help contenders at the trade deadline. If you agree or disagree with our take, drop a line or two in the comments section.
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Four years after reaching the Stanley Cup Final and three years after winning the Presidents' Trophy, the Nashville Predators could be heading toward the bottom of the 2021-22 standings. General manager David Poile spent this summer engaging in what he called a "competitive rebuild," trading away Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson. He could do the same with Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm.
Forsberg and Ekholm are both slated to become unrestricted free agents next July. They could become valuable trade chips for Poile if he cannot get them under contract before the March trade deadline.
Of the two, Forsberg could draw the most interest. A talented two-way forward, the 27-year-old left winger tallied 21-plus goals and 48-or-more points in six straight seasons from 2014-15 to 2019-20. Injuries and a schedule shortened by COVID-19 prevented him from reaching those numbers last season.
Forsberg also has plenty of playoff experience, including skating in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He's tallied 28 goals and 52 points in 71 postseason contests. Those stats could attract the attention of playoff clubs in need of a top-six left winger.
Mark Giordano, Seattle Kraken
After spending 15 seasons with the Calgary Flames, Mark Giordano was selected by the Seattle Kraken during their expansion draft in July. His time with the NHL's newest franchise could be short, however, if they're near the bottom of the standings by the trade deadline.
Selecting Giordano was a no-brainer for Kraken management. Winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2018-19 and former captain of the Flames, the 38-year-old defenseman's considerable experience, leadership and two-way skills should provide a measure of stability to their defense corps.
Those attributes will also make Giordano an attractive trade target for contenders attempting to bolster their rosters for a deep playoff run. Most of his $6.75 million cap hit will be paid out by the Kraken before the trade tradeline. His modified no-trade clause allows the Kraken to peddle him to 19 teams of his choosing.
Giordano has never played for a team that has gone beyond the second round of the playoffs. The opportunity to play for a potential Stanley Cup contender, even as a rental player, could prove tempting.