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.
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.