NHL Trade Deadline: 15 forwards who could be traded

The 2021 NHL trade deadline is Monday, April. 12 at 3 p.m. ET. As we wait to see who will be dealt, we’ll be looking at the top names who could be on the move next week. Today, we we look at the forwards.

Taylor Hall, Sabres (29 years old/ UFA this summer/ $8 million salary cap hit): This signing did not work out as planned for anybody. Hall’s one-year deal in Buffalo did not result in a big season individually that could have boosted his value for this offseason, and Hall has not been able to make a difference for a Sabres team that has been overmatched in the East Division all season.

Hall has already said he is opening to waiving his no-trade clause if the Sabres can move him, and while his goal production is way down (two in 37 games) he still has strong possession numbers and is being crushed by a 2.3 percent shooting percentage. New scenery, new teammates, and a better team could be the key here.

Trade deadline primer: Hall trade could benefit everybody

Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils (30 years old/ UFA this summer/ $4.65 million salary cap hit): A trade here is simply a matter of when and not if, or so it appears. The Devils held Palmieri out of Sunday’s game and his agent confirmed it is because the team is looking to finalize a move before the NHL trade deadline. Palmieri is a 25-30 goal scorer that makes a positive impact defensively. He can help any contending team he ends up playing for.

[UPDATE: Palmieri has been deal to the Islanders]

Nick Foligno, Blue Jackets (33 years old/ UFA this summer/ $5.5 million salary cap hit): The Blue Jackets’ season is starting to slip away from them and the best course of action at this point is probably to sell their pending free agents like defenseman David Savard and Foligno. He is probably not a top-line producer at this point, at least not as someone that can carry his own line, but he can still provide some depth without costing a fortune in terms of money, cap space, or trade assets. The Blue Jackets would have no trouble moving him.

Rickard Rakell, Ducks (27 years old/ Signed through 2022/ $3.789 million salary cap hit): Rakell would be the Ducks’ most marketable trade asset right now. Not only because he is an excellent top-six winger, but also because he is signed through the end of next season at a very affordable salary cap number.

The Ducks are in a tough spot where they are more than a couple of players away from contending in the near future and it might make sense to cash in on Rakell now while his value is as high as it is going to be. He seems like the kind of forward that could excel in a new environment, similar to the one Tyler Toffoli did when he was traded away from the Los Angeles Kings.The only concern here in the short-term is that he is currently on injured reserve and there is no timetable for his return. That could complicate a trade.

Trade deadline primer: Rickard Rakell and Ducks could both use a change

Dustin Brown, Kings (36 years old/ Signed through 2022/ $5.875 million salary cap hit): Brown has experienced a bit of a resurgence this season offensively, at least as it relates to his goal scoring, as his 15 goals in 34 games is the best pace of his career. He has been such a crucial member of the Kings’ organization that trading him would probably be a tough move for the organization, but it might be the most sensible. At 36 he is not going to be a factor on the next contending Kings team, and his production this season has probably lifted his value up a little.

Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks (35 years old/ UFA this summer/ $8.25 million salary cap hit): Speaking of trading long-term core building blocks, Getzlaf is not a No. 1 center anymore but he can absolutely still contribute in a bottom-six role. Cap hit is signifiant and might require the Ducks retaining some salary (or maybe even taking a bad contract back) but if he wanted another shot at another Stanley Cup there is probably a trade to be made here.

Bobby Ryan, Red Wings (34 years old/ UFA this summer/ $1 million salary cap hit): Ryan signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Red Wings and has scored seven goals and seven assists in 35 games. His salary cap hit should not be an issue for any team and would probably only cost a mid-round draft pick.

Ryan Dzingel, Senators (29 years old/ UFA this summer/ $3.375 million salary cap hit): The Senators reacquired Dzingel earlier this seaon and he really does not have much long-term value to them given where their rebuild is and the fact he is an unrestricted free agent after this season.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2020-21 NHL Trade Tracker]

Sam Bennett, Flames (24 years old/ RFA this summer/ $2.55 million salary cap hit): His name has been in trade rumors for what seems like an eternity at this point, and there was even a trade request earlier this season. It seems to only be a matter of time until the Flames do trade him, and you know there is at least one team out there that thinks they can turn his career around.

Alex Iafallo, Kings (27 years old/ UFA this summer/ $2.425 million salary cap hit): Iafallo is a very good “middle six” player that could play on any team’s second-or third line and make a positive impact. Could the Kings re-sign him before he reaches the open market? Or could they get enough in return in an NHL trade deadline deal that makes a move worth it?

Scott Laughton, Flyers (26 years old/ UFA this summer/ $2.3 million salary cap hit): This would probably depend on whether or not the Flyers believe they are still in the playoff race or not. Laughton would be a popular trade chip given his age (26), cheap contract, versatility, and the fact he has been pretty productive with 20 goals and 24 assists in 82 games over the past two seasons.

Jake DeBrusk, Bruins (24 years old/ Signed through 2022/ $3.675 million salary cap hit): This is an interesting one because the Bruins need more scoring depth, not less, and DeBrusk is still at an age where he should theoretically be considered part of the Bruins’ future. He has also been pretty good over the first three years of his career. But he has been mentioned in trade speculation for most of the season and could be part of a larger deal. The problem is that moving DeBrusk now would be risky because his value is probably at its lowest possible point. That is not a good way to get value in trades.

[NHL Power Rankings: Playoff races getting close in Central, West divisions]

Carl Soderberg, Blackhawks (35 years old/ UFA this summer/ $1 million salary cap hit): Soderberg just seems like the type of veteran that gets moved from a bubble team to a solid playoff team for a fourth-round pick at every trade deadline. The Blackhawks signed him just before the season to address their center depth issues.

Mattias Janmark, Blackhawks (28 years old/ UFA this summer/ $2.25 million salary cap hit): Given the way the Central Division playoff race is starting to shake out the Blackhawks are far from a lock at this point, and Janmark, like Soderberg, is another short-term contract that could be flipped ahead of the deadline for a pick.

Luke Glendening, Red Wings (31 years old/ UFA this summer/ $1.8 million salary cap hit): He is not going to provide much in the way of offense but NHL general managers love to trade for players like Luke Glendening ahead of the deadline because they value their defensive play so much. Is Glendening’s defensive play good enough to warrant that? It only takes one general manager to think it is.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.