The NHL holiday transaction freeze is just a few days away, and while there is an increased level of chatter among league front offices in comparison to recent years, there’s no guarantee any blockbuster trades are made. Those could very well wait for after the freeze is lifted at the end of December, and in the following two months before the 2019 trade deadline.
Like every year, contenders are looking for defense. Teams like Toronto and Edmonton led by superstar forwards, could use an upgrade in their own end. Unlike most years though, there may be several high-end defensemen available. What is usually an extreme shortage may actually be in ripe supply this year, and Colton Parayko could be the crown jewel. Parayko leads Frank Seravalli’s latest Trade Bait board for TSN, despite much of the speculation around St. Louis focusing on Alex Pietrangelo instead.
Parayko is an obvious target if he is truly available, given his age and immense upside. Everyone who watches the 6’6″ defenseman play can see what a monster he could become if he puts everything together, and at just 25 years of age there is plenty of time for that to happen. The right-handed Parayko has 111 points through 271 games in his career, but likely has even more offensive ability to show in the right situation. That also means he would cost a boatload from any acquiring team, especially given that he’s under contract through 2021-22 at a reasonable $5.5MM per season.
It’s the depth of potentially available defensemen that is so striking though, as Los Angeles Kings duo Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin both find themselves on Seravalli’s list along with Brett Pesce and Justin Faulk, two right-handed options from Carolina. Those three teams—St. Louis, Los Angeles and Carolina—could create quite a market for desperate buyers, but also could drive each other’s prices down because of heavy supply.
There’s obviously going to be some moves before the trade deadline later in the season, but which high-end defenseman is most likely to be traded? Who will be first? Cast your vote and leave a comment down below detailing who you think will step up and pay the price.
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