With NHL Expansion Draft protection lists due at 4:00pm CT today, the league has enacted a freeze in all roster transactions that goes into effect in less than an hour from now at 2:00pm CT and lasts through Thursday morning after the Expansion Draft is complete. NHL teams are not taking this deadline lightly; numerous reports suggest that the trade market is no less than a complete frenzy right now as teams look to use their expansion flexibility (or lack thereof) to make deals before the clock runs out. Bally Sports’ Andy Strickland spoke with an agent who said he has never seen so many players available for trade from so many teams.
One team that seems poised to make a move are the San Jose Sharks. The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that the Sharks are attempting to add a goalie before the deadline. San Jose is likely to expose expensive, underperforming starter Martin Jones in the Expansion Draft and seemingly would be open to exposing young Josef Korenar as well if they can add another legitimate NHL goaltender worth protecting. Not many teams across the league have the luxury of adding a goalie before the expansion process begins, so the Sharks are trying to take advantage of a goalie market with far more sellers than buyers.
- The Sharks are certainly not alone in pushing for a last-minute deal. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports that among the most active teams are the Winnipeg Jets, who are shopping Mason Appleton, the Calgary Flames, and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks appear to be specifically targeting a landing spot for restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Zadorov, Garrioch notes. There has been some speculation that Chicago was not enthused about Zadorov’s asking price or potential arbitration award, but don’t necessarily want to expose him to Seattle and lose him for nothing in return. The Flames are far less single-minded; Garrioch calls the roster “unsettled” and believes that many players could be up for grabs.
- St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn is out there in current trade discussions as well, reports Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic. The 24-year-old has been in trade speculation for the last couple of years now but expansion could be the pressure point to get something completed. Many expect St. Louis to use the standard protection scheme which allows for seven forwards and three defensemen. The three blueliners expected to be protected in that scenario are veterans Colton Parayko, Torey Krug, and Justin Faulk which would leave Dunn unprotected and seemingly a prime target for the Kraken. They could go to eight skaters to protect Dunn but would then leave three more forwards available to Seattle. Accordingly, if the Blues want to get an asset for Dunn, today may be the last chance that can happen.