NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Filip Forsberg trade would not be easy

NHL Trade Deadline Rumors Filip Forsberg
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The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be on the move. We continue today with Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg.

There was an interesting name added to the NHL’s trade deadline rumor mill this past week when reports surfaced that the Nashville Predators could potentially be shopping forward Filip Forsberg.

This is significant because Forsberg is one of the Predators’ best players and having an outstanding season, and also because the Predators are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race and look to have a strong shot at a playoff spot. Selling one of their best players would not seem to be ideal given those circumstances.

The problem is that Forsberg is a pending unrestricted free agent after this season and Nashville would probably prefer not to lose him for nothing after the season if they can not reach an agreement on a new contract. A new deal would almost certainly cost between $7-9 million per year against the cap (and the Predators certainly have the salary cap space to afford that) over a long-term contract. Forsberg is 27 and scoring on a 50-goal pace (27 goals in 40 games) this season and should still have several high level years ahead of him.

But would they actually consider trading him this season if they can not get him signed?

What the return might look like

This is tricky because there really is not much precedence for a team in a playoff spot trading a player this good before the deadline, even if they are pending unrestricted free agents. Remember a couple of years ago when Columbus was a fringe playoff team and faced a similar situation with Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky? Not only did they keep both players (before losing them in free agency) but they actually added pending free agents at the trade deadline.

Typically if you have a chance to make the playoffs you keep these players and deal with the free agent situation in the offseason.

If the Predators were out of it and clear sellers, this would be easy: A first-round pick, top prospect, and maybe a throw-in NHL player to the highest bidder.

But again, Nashville is a potential playoff team. Would it want to deal him to another Western Conference contender? One that they might have to play in the playoffs, or one that could potentially keep them from the playoffs? And given the Predators’ current spot in the standings it is probably going to want somebody that can help right now, as well as a player that is still under contract and under team control beyond this season. Another playoff team is not going to be quick to trade that type of player.

The most logical landing spots

• New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators (staying right where he is)

Eastern Conference contenders would seem to be the logical landing spot here, and the Rangers really jump out as a possibility.

They are swimming in salary cap space, have a great spot in the standings, and they clearly need more scoring depth. You want to make a splash that you are going for it and that you think you can win this season? There it is.

The Bruins are also in the market for more depth scoring, but center is probably their main focus. It should be, anyway.

Still, the most logical landing spot? Right where he is in Nashville. The Predators can still sign him, he is still their most impactful forward, and they still have a shot to make the playoffs this season. A very good shot. Trading him and getting something back in return that can help that goal this season would be tricky.

Nashville has more than $24 million in salary cap space to work with this offseason and 16 players under contract with no other major players needing raises. If Forsberg wants to stay, they can pay him.

Wild Card team: Pittsburgh Penguins

This would be difficult with the salary cap, but the Penguins could use an upgrade to their second line wingers around Evgeni Malkin (Kasperi Kapanen is not getting the job done right now) and they should still be all in on trying to make another Stanley Cup run with Sidney Crosby, Malkin, and Kris Letang still on the roster and playing at a high level. If Jim Rutherford was still running this team you know it would be on the table. Ron Hextall seems to be a little more reserved in that regard as a general manager.

Spot I want to see just for fun: Washington Capitals

This would be hilarious just to see Forsberg go back to the team where his career started. The Capitals initially drafted Forsberg in the first round of the 2012 NHL draft, traded him for Martin Erat one year later, and then got next to nothing from Erat during his brief time in Washington. Forsberg, meanwhile, has gone on to become a top line player. It was not a great trade for the Capitals. Though, to be fair, they did eventually win the Stanley Cup so, probably not worth getting too mad about.

NHL Trade Deadline prediction

As much fun as it would be to think that a player like Forsberg could be on the move at the trade deadline, it just does not really seem to make much sense unless Nashville really starts to lose a bunch of games over the next couple of weeks and falls out of a playoff spot. He stays in Nashville.

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    Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

    The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

    Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

    Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

    Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

    The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

    Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

    Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

    These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

    In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

    “Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

    Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

    “He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

    Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

    “I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

    Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

    “I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

    Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

    “I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

    Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

    The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

    One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

    “It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

    Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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    SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

    Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

    “Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

    The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

    Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

    Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

    Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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    The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

    The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

    General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

    The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

    Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

    Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

    “I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

    Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

    “Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

    After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.