The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun writes that New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson could prove to be one of the best bargains at the trade deadline. LeBrun notes that Johansson’s stock has dropped due to his recent injury history, but has been back on the rise due to his recent production. Johansson has seven points in his past six games and buyers have taken notice. LeBrun reports that Johansson’s five-team no-trade list should not hinder a deal and Devils GM Ray Shero will pull the trigger, sooner rather than later, if he gets a fair offer. However, LeBrun believes there is a chance Shero will keep Johansson and try to re-sign him if he receives only low-ball offers. Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman echoes that Johansson is for sale, but that Shero will be aggressive in the sale as he was with Brian Boyle. Friedman names the Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, and Vancouver Canucks as teams that have already checked in on Johansson, but that will hardly be the extent of the interest by the time the deadline rolls around.
- Friedman believes that the Canucks, who seem like an outlier among the buyers interested in Johansson, are looking to replace the production of the injured Sven Baertschi as they try to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. Although few expect Vancouver to be major buyers, they are still just one point out of the final wild card spot and could make some minor tweaks to stay involved. Friedman adds that Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky is another forward that the Canucks have looked into. Burakovsky makes for an interesting fit in Vancouver, as the Capitals seek a replacement forward in return and the Canucks have their own talented, but underwhelming young forward on the block in Nikolay Goldobin. A deal centered around the duo seems like a possibility.
- As for the Sharks, Friedman believes that they intend to add forward depth before the deadline. While Johansson seems to be of interest, Friedman notes that a very different style of player could also be in their sights. He believes that a reunion with Eric Fehr, currently with the Minnesota Wild, could be in store. The Wild appear to be sellers now and Fehr, who fit in well as a deadline addition for the team last year, is a logical target for both the team’s cap situation and need to strengthen their defensive play up front. Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz feels that San Jose needs to target a goaltender before the deadline. The Sharks have received poor results from Martin Jones and Aaron Dell this season – the team has the worst even strength save percentage in the league – and last nights’s game, in which Jones allowed six goals on 20 shots against the Boston Bruins could be the last straw. While Kurz comes to the conclusion that an addition in net is unlikely, he hopes the team considers all of their options.
- Appearing on TSN 1050 in Toronto yesterday, Bob McKenzie stated that New York Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid is very likely to be moved before the deadline. The impending UFA defender was acquired from the Boston Bruins this off-season for a fourth-round and seventh-round pick, as well as fellow blue liner Steven Kampfer, and McKenzie feels that the Rangers will move him for any package wherein they can recoup those picks or better. Friedman says similar, writing that there has been “traction” on McQuaid move. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been frequently linked to McQuaid, but the tough, stay-at-home righty should have a significant market.