With the 2023 NHL-Star Game now history, the next big date on the league calendar is the trade deadline on Friday, March 3, at 3 p.m. ET. That leaves the 32 general managers with less than four weeks to make whatever moves they have planned in the trade market.

Only 17 trades have taken place since the start of the regular-season schedule on Oct. 7. That's because 17 teams are using long-term injury reserve to remain salary-cap compliant, with another eight clubs carrying less than $6 million in cap space. Most GMs looking to make trades are waiting until deadline day to accrue sufficient cap space to make the dollars fit.

Trade activity should soon pick up. The Vancouver Canucks trading Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders on Jan. 30 removed the top player from our January NHL Trade Block Big Board. A number of notable stars, including Chicago's Patrick Kane, St. Louis' Ryan O'Reilly and San Jose's Timo Meier, continue to generate headlines in the rumor mill.

The following is our listing of the top 20 trade candidates for February 2023 based on NHL media speculation, level of talent, market value and the likelihood of getting traded.


20. Jesse Puljujärvi, Edmonton Oilers

A regular fixture in our previous trade block big boards, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujärvi's trade value has been declining over the course of this season. The 24-year-old's offensive struggles land him at the bottom of our February ranking.

Puljujärvi has managed just 10 points in 49 games this season, well below last season's promising 36 points in 65 games. He's on a one-year, $3 million contract and is slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1.

It may be time for the Oilers to part ways with Puljujärvi. They won't get much in return, but it will clear his cap hit from their books. That would free up room to perhaps bolster their blue-line depth.

Despite the decline in his performance, Puljujärvi is still being mentioned as a possible trade target. On Jan. 17, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported the Oilers had several promising trade conversations with a couple of teams. Two weeks later, Vegas Hockey Now's Owen Krepps included Puljujärvi among his list of depth trade targets for the Golden Knights.


19. Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild

On Jan 18, The Athletic's Michael Russo reported Matt Dumba knows his days are numbered with the Minnesota Wild. The 28-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 with an annual cap hit of $6 million.

Dumba has struggled in his contract year. On Jan. 21, Russo's colleague Joe Smith observed that the blueliner was scratched from consecutive games, fuelling speculation that he could be shopped before the March 3 trade deadline.

A week later, Smith and Russo reported Wild general manager Bill Guerin could retain Dumba despite the inconsistency in his play. They believe Guerin won't trade the veteran blueliner without having a suitable replacement lined up and risk weakening his blue-line depth.

The recent conjecture over Dumba's future in Minnesota merits inclusion on our trade block big board. We can't rule out the possibility that Guerin might shop Dumba if he can land another defenseman in a separate deal.


18. Shayne Gostisbehere, Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is often overshadowed in the rumor mill by the attention focused on teammate Jakob Chychrun. Nevertheless, he could prove to be an affordable addition for a playoff contender seeking production from the blue line.

Acquired by the Coyotes in 2021 following three difficult seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Gostisbehere regained the scoring touch that he displayed earlier in his career. He finished fourth among the Coyotes in 2021-22 with 51 points in 82 games. As of Feb. 5, the 29-year-old rearguard sat second in scoring with 29 points in 48 games.

An unrestricted free agent on July 1, Gostisbehere carries an affordable $4.5 million cap hit this season. In actual salary, however, he's earning $1 million. During a recent 32 Thoughts: The Podcast (16:30 mark), Elliotte Friedman said a source told him the Edmonton Oilers could be interested in Gostisbehere.

Gostisbehere was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 26 with an upper-body injury for four to six weeks. That could carry him past the March 3 trade deadline and potentially affect his value to interested clubs.