The NHL trade season is upon us with only seven weeks until the deadline and teams falling out of the playoff race. With that, Craig Custance of The Athletic (subscription required) broke down his list of 20 players who could be on the move before February 25th. At the top of the list is Artemi Panarin, who is still without a contract extension as we head into the second half of the season. The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to make a deep Stanley Cup run and have perhaps the toughest decisions in the league with Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky set to hit unrestricted free agency.
Deeper down the list though Custance provides some details on asking prices, explaining that a deal to acquire Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings would need to start with a first-round pick while Alec Martinez might cost just a second-round pick and a good prospect. The Kings still sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division and are the only NHL team to have scored fewer than 100 goals this season. There are changes coming for Los Angeles, but in a “strong buyers market” it will be interesting to see how much they really get back for some of their trade assets.
- Last week’s Three Stars have been revealed by the NHL, with Johnny Gaudreau taking home the top honors. Gaudreau recorded 11 points in four games and has led the Calgary Flames all season. Brent Burns takes home the second star, but most interesting might be Robin Lehner in the third position. Lehner looked to be on the brink of losing his NHL career when he went unqualified by the Buffalo Sabres, but has turned things around dramatically this season with the New York Islanders. With a .927 save percentage there is good reason to believe that Lehner could be one of the top goaltending options on the market this summer after his one-year deal expires, unless the Islanders can lock him up over the next few months.
- Noah Dobson might be best known to many hockey fans for his stick exploding in overtime for Canada in the recent World Junior Championship, but he’s also a dominant defenseman and leader in the QMJHL. The Islanders prospect is on the move thanks to a junior deadline deal that will send him to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies for the remainder of the season. The Huskies sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick for the right to acquire Dobson, who will give them another huge weapon on their quest for a Memorial Cup berth. The trade deadline for the OHL and WHL meanwhile passes on Thursday, meaning many more top prospects will be on the move.