Less than two weeks before the trade deadline, and we’re starting to see some deals come in. Toronto acquired Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford last week, while the Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild swapped Alex Galchenyuk and Jason Zucker this week — two players who were on our top 25 list.
It’s crunch time, and teams are now settling in as buyers or sellers. Injuries are also going to influence team needs and those are starting to pile up around the league.
So this list will keep changing and we’ll keep updating who the top candidates are to move. Here is our latest collection of 25 players you’re going to hear about in the run up to the NHL’s Feb. 24 trade deadline.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators
He’s having a career year, sure, but after a very strong November it’s worth mentioning he’s come back to earth with four goals in his past 17 games. Pageau brings other intangibles though.
He’s an excellent penalty-killer and face-off man so he’d ideally fit into a third line centre role anyway. The question is what can the Senators recoup for him in trade? Given he plays a valuable position with special teams capabilities, they’ll likely be seeking a first-round pick. Whether it gets there or not, we’ll see. But, there should be plenty of teams in the market for this type of player.
On the most recent edition of Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment, Chris Johnston reported that no extension talks had yet begun between the Sens and Pageau, indicating the inevitability of this trade.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
There is still a chance Kreider and the Rangers come to terms on an extension, but the rebuilding Blueshirts would rather move him as a rental than risk losing him for nothing to the UFA market this summer.
“The talks are now set to begin with the Rangers and Chris Kreider’s representation at least to explore if there’s any traction there for a contract extension for him,” Johnston said on Headlines.
A first line left winger in New York, Kreider would fit any team that needs a top-six flanker. He brings size (six-foot-three, 217 pounds) and is tough around the net, which should lend itself to playoff hockey (though he had three goals and four points in 12 post-season games the last time he made it there in 2017). And he doesn’t lack for speed either.