Here is a rundown of the original content over the past seven days here at PHR.
Our Trade Deadline Primers series is underway and we’re starting with the extremely tight Pacific Division where first place and fifth place are only separated by one point. I took a look at the situations in Anaheim, Arizona, and Calgary while Holger did the same for Edmonton. Anaheim is a clear seller between now and February 24th while the other three will certainly be looking to add to try to give themselves a leg up among the logjam in the standings.
Chris Kreider is likely going to be the top rental forward that will garner trade consideration over the next month. Holger assessed his situation which is a bit of a tricky one for the Rangers. While New York may not be a playoff team this season, they’re a team that appears to be on the rise and keeping someone like him around would certainly be ideal. However, with several other players in need of new deals this summer and their current salary cap situation, they’ll be hard-pressed to keep him which will likely result in him being made available.
Speaking of cap space, it generates most of the attention around this time of year but there is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration, contract space. Gavin examined the 50-contract situation for all 31 teams and with several close to the limit, it’s something that’s going to play a role in trade talks in the coming weeks as those teams look to get some wiggle room in that department.
This has been an interesting season for Ilya Kovalchuk. The winger struggled early on with Los Angeles and eventually agreed to a mutual contract termination. It took a few weeks for him to resurface but he eventually joined Montreal and has fared quite well with them, averaging a point per game through his first eight games with the team. All of a sudden, as Holger noted, he has quickly become a trade candidate despite being available for free just weeks ago. With a league minimum salary, even cap-strapped contenders should be able to add him onto their roster so if his performance continues, there could be an intriguing market for his services.
Gavin held his weekly Thursday chat. Topics included trade candidates in Chicago, a fit for Carolina if they want to replace injured blueliner Dougie Hamilton, Mikko Koivu’s future with Minnesota, fair trade value for Jason Zucker, and more.