The NHL trade deadline is on February 29th this year, and it is only a few days away. A few trades have already been made, but there are still a ton of big names left on the market. Expect things to really heat up over the next few days, and obviously deadline day is going to be wild. Nothing is certain until the trade is actually made, but there are a number of players that are very likely to get traded on or before Monday.
Loui Eriksson RW, Boston Bruins – The 30-year old winger is in the final year of his contract, and will likely be asking for at least $5 million per season in his next contract. The Bruins are unlikely to pay that kind of money for a 30 year old, and they do not want to just let him walk during free agency. They are in desperate need of help on defense and will likely use Eriksson to acquire a defenseman. Possible destinations include St. Louis, Minnesota, or Chicago. Where Eriksson will end up is still a mystery, but it almost certain that he will be traded.
Kevin Shattenkirk D, St. Louis Blues – Shattenkirk has been one of the most talked about players leading up to the deadline as numerous teams are looking for a top 4 defenseman. The 27-year old is likely to be dealt, but only for the right price. St. Louis is always looking to add scoring leading many to believe that Shattenkirk could be headed to Boston for Loui Eriksson. That most likely would be a large package deal and not a one for one. Other possible destinations for Shattenkirk are Toronto, New York(Rangers), Tampa Bay, or Detroit.
Andrew Ladd LW, Winnipeg Jets – The Jets just signed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a huge contract extension, so that means Andrew Ladd is on the move. The Jets cannot afford to sign the 30-year old captain to a long-term deal, so it is almost guaranteed he will be traded. Winnipeg is well out of the playoff picture, so they have no reason to keep Ladd. Numerous teams are in need of top line goal scoring, and Ladd is one of their top targets. The Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins have all shown interest in Ladd.
Eric Staal C, Carolina Hurricanes – Eric Staal’s name has been tossed around for teams looking for scoring, but trading Staal would be tough unless Carolina retained some of his salary. The 31-year old’s $8.25 million cap hit is much to high for most teams, but if salary is retained, he could be traded. Potential buyers for Staal include the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, I expect a flurry of action over the next few days. Many players could and probably will get traded, with these being some of the biggest names. Rebuilding teams are trying to dump salary and veteran players while playoff teams are trying to add that one missing piece to become a Stanley Cup contender. No one knows exactly what will happen at the trade deadline this year, but one thing is certain, it’s going to be very interesting.