Today I’m going to highlight the top young assets available on contenders heading into the 2023 NHL trade deadline. To define a “contender,” I’m using the teams that have a five percent chance or better of winning the Cup based on Dom’s model. That comprises Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, New Jersey, Toronto and Tampa Bay. I selectively excluded a few players like Luke Hughes, Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway due to them being on the roster or having a good chance to be on the playoff roster for their respective clubs or a recent No. 2 pick like Simon Nemec that I can’t see being on the market. Available doesn’t mean I’ve heard they’re being shopped, but I think there’s at least a plausible chance they could be moved.


1. Alexander Nikishin, LHD, Carolina

It never hurts to ask. Do I think it would be wise to trade a big, mobile, physical 21-year-old defenseman who is top 10 in KHL scoring as of this writing? No, it would be a terrible idea. But every team that calls Carolina will likely at least inquire about the possibility of getting Nikishin and if there’s a chance Carolina feels they can’t get him signed then maybe he could be moved.


2. Logan Stankoven, C, Dallas

Stankoven has arguably been the best player in junior this year not named Connor Bedard. He’s an electric offensive talent between his great skating, skill, and goal-scoring ability to go with a tenacious compete level. He has everything except size. The second-round pick by Dallas in 2021 looks like someone who could be in the league soon, and it would be quite a piece to move but Dallas also has a very strong forward group already.


3. Matthew Knies, LW, Toronto

Knies is an interesting prospect for this type of article because I see a world where he’s helping Toronto in the playoffs. He has a big, thick frame to go with his great skill and work ethic, and could realistically make the jump this spring and be a decent top-nine winger for Toronto. He will be the name every team asks about in trade calls though, especially if someone is offering a major upgrade.