The 2017 NHL trade deadline is now less than a week away, and in many ways the circumstances this season are unique. With an expansion draft this summer and the expectation of a flat salary cap next year, the long-term ramifications of acquiring even rental players need careful consideration. Additionally, with so few teams out of the playoff race, the options are sharply limited and the price likely to be high. What options are there for clubs looking to upgrade without mortgaging the future? Here are four cheap options who might outperform their acquisition cost. RW, Ales Hemsky In a normal year Hemsky would be getting a fair amount of attention as a pending free agent on a team with virtually no hope of making the playoffs. Instead, an injury suffered during this fall’s World Cup of Hockey forced Hemsky to have hip surgery after playing just one regular season game. The original timeline on that surgery had him missing five-to-six months. Instead, he’s now practicing with the team and head coach Lindy Ruff told the media on Thursday that Hemsky was “getting closer." With less than a week remaining before the deadline, a trade involving Hemsky would be a gamble. He’d have to get up to speed quickly after barely playing this year. For a player whose game has always been predicated on speed, there’s a risk that he doesn’t rebound so quickly from surgery. All of that risk should make him a cheap acquisition for a bold general manager and the reason he’s so interesting is that such a risk could potentially pay off in a major way. Just a year ago Hemsky was a top-50 NHL player by even-strength points per hour, while playing on a primarily defensive line.
Four NHL trade deadline targets for bargain hunters
Sportsnet | Feb 24