With the trade deadline now less than two months away, we’re starting to see more speculation (and hope) regarding the state of the trade market. ESPN’s Craig Custance provides a pair of articles (one for the East and one for the West – Insider required for both) to provide an overview of how things are currently looking. The full articles are certainly worth a read but here are some of the highlights:
- The Coyotes are “asking for stupid returns because they know they can”. With them and the Avalanche basically being the only two guaranteed sellers, they know it’s a sellers’ market and can wait to see if someone wants to blink. Center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Michael Stone, both pending unrestricted free agents, are the most likely to move although right winger Radim Vrbata is also a potential UFA and could be a candidate to move.
- Given that Anaheim is largely capped out plus the pending expansion draft, Custance expects that if the Ducks are going to be active in the trade market, it will be more of a player-for-player ‘hockey trade’ than one that sees them move futures for short-term help. Anaheim is one of nine teams currently using LTIR to stay in compliance with the salary cap.
- There has been no movement on a potential contract extension for Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk who is expected to be one of the top free agents this summer if he makes it to the open market. That puts a bit of pressure on GM Doug Armstrong – does he use him as an internal rental and risk letting a top free agent get away with no compensation in the summer like what happened with David Backes or trade him now, even if it hurts their postseason chances?
- While big name goaltenders are at the forefront, Blue Jackets youngster Anton Forsberg could be a name to watch for. Sergei Bobrovsky is still the starter for at least a couple more years and Forsberg is set to be left unprotected in the expansion draft. He’s pushing for a full-time roster spot with another strong season in AHL Cleveland and might garner some interest from teams that are lacking quality young netminders in their system.
- Although Washington GM Brian McLellan has a reputation for being conservative when it comes to the trade market, their free agent situation could force them to be a bit more active than usual. Forwards T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams, and defenseman Karl Alzner are among their potential UFAs and if they don’t believe they have the ability to keep or replace them all, their window to make a real push may be right now.