NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Is there a surprise trade to be made this year?

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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 some players that you might not be expecting to move but could if the right offer presents itself, similar to what we saw a year ago with the Anthony Mantha for Jakub Vrana trade.

Every year there are typically three types of trades that happen at the NHL Trade Deadline. The most common of these trades is the rental, where a non-playoff team that has given up on the season trades a pending unrestricted free agent to a playoff team to help fill an area of weakness for whatever they can get. This is usually what we see.

The second type of trade involves the rebuilding team that deals a player with term on their contract to really kickstart their rebuild, hoping a team that wants to get multiple playoff runs out of that player will pay a premium price.

Then there is the “hockey trade.” This is is the least common trade involving players under contract, maybe even players on playoff teams or playoff hopeful teams. Maybe somebody has a glut at one position and is thin at another and they find a team that complements that. Maybe a team outside the playoffs has hopes of competing next season and jumps at a opportunity. It is players you did not expect to be traded.

The Anthony Mantha-for-Jakub Vrana trade a year ago fits the latter two categories quite well.

Is there anybody that could be involved in such a deal this season?

Some potential candidates and the possible returns

Travis Sanheim, Philadelphia Flyers. Honestly it is really difficult to understand what, exactly the Flyers are doing here. The team is lousy, is probably going to trade Claude Giroux after his 1,000th game on Thursday, and they are not even close to competing, meaning anybody could be on the table. But they also just re-signed Rasmus Ristolainen for five years for some reason. Could that make Sanheim expendable? It should not because he is the one that has driven that defense pairing this season, but Sanheim carries a reasonable salary cap hit for another season after this and if some team is going to give up a nice pick for pending free agent Ben Chiarot, you have to imagine Philadelphia could do well here.

John Marino or Marcus Pettersson, Pittsburgh Penguins. The deal here is the Penguins need another top-six winger to play next to Evgeni Malkin because Kasperi Kapanen is just not getting the job done. The Penguins do not have many tradable assets that other teams are going to covet and general manager Ron Hextall wants to add a player that has term left on their deal (perhaps as insurance for a seemingly inevitable Bryan Rust departure this offseason in free agency). That means some money has to go out.

Marino and Pettersson are mid-level players with fairly significant contracts for a few more years so trading one of them makes sense. They are good enough to have some trade value, but are expendable within the Penguins’ lineup. Especially since Pettersson has been the odd man out lately due to the recent emergence of Mark Friedman. You do not want to give away too much of your depth, but this is a situation where the Penguins have a lot of options on the blue line and need forward help. This is classic hockey trade territory. Is this is a potential match for Jim Rutherford (who acquired and signed both players in Pittsburgh) and one of his forwards (Brock Boeser or Conor Garland?).

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes. There has not been any indication of this happening, but consider this: If Arizona is willing to trade Jakob Chychrun, and has already traded Garland, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Christian Dvorak, and Darcy Kuemper, and will almost certainly sell off any pending free agent it can (Phil Kessel, etc.) then what purpose does Keller serve in Arizona? Yeah, you have to keep somebody. Yeah, you have to pay somebody. But if you are going so deep into a rebuild that not even Chychrun is safe from trade talks, then nobody is off the table.

[Related: NHL Trade Deadline: Primer: This is not the time for a Jakob Chychrun trade]

Keller has a massive contract that might be difficult for teams to take on, but he is also having an outstanding year and averaging a point per game. Would Arizona really turn down a first-round pick, a top prospect, and some other filler right now? Can not hurt to put it out there.

Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are in an interesting spot here. They are reaching a point in their rebuild where it is time to take a big step toward the playoffs next season. They have two cornerstone players in place in Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, a heckuva veteran in Dylan Larkin, and a healthy Jakub Vrana now healthy and coming back. They also have gobs of salary cap space this offseason and can be very aggressive.

[Related: 2021-22 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker]

Bertuzzi is having a great year offensively, but he is going to be an unrestricted free agent after next season and be 29 when his new contract kicks in. Will he repeat this performance? How much is he worth in the future as he gets into his 30, and is his trade value right now worth more than than that hypothetical value to the Red Wings as a player? If you could get similar value to the Mantha trade here, it might be worth exploring.

Brock Boeser or Conor Garland, Vancouver Canucks. J.T. Miller‘s name also surfaced in trade speculation for a while but there seems to be little chance of that happening. Nobody is going to pay the justifiably high price Vancouver will almost certainly set for him, and there is also the fact the Canucks are not out of this thing. They have been great under Bruce Boudreau, while the Vegas Golden Knights are self destructing and I am not sure how much you should trust the Edmonton Oilers.

[Related: NHL Trade Deadline Primer: J.T. Miller should carry high price for Vancouver Canucks]

They are in this. For that reason they should be very cautious when it comes to selling at the trade deadline. Boeser is due for a new contract as a restricted free agent after this season, and the salary cap is tough for the Canucks, but maybe you see what these guys can do and worry about the offseason and salary cap in the offseason when you need to. Maybe this is where Pittsburgh is a match with one of their defenders (Marino or Pettersson) for a good hockey trade.

Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens. This could be this year’s Blake Coleman. Lehkonen is an outstanding possession driver and having a really good year offensively and on pace for close to 20 goals and 40 points over 82 games. With his two-way play and possession ability that is an incredibly valuable player, and he is still only a restricted free agent after this season. The Canadiens could aboslutely get a strong return here if they wanted. Almost certainly a first-round pick at minimum.

Trade Deadline Predictions

These types of trades are pretty rare, which is why the Mantha trade a year ago was so surprising. So anything along those lines happening again this season seems like a pretty significant stretch. Those types of trades tend to happen more in the offseason when more teams are involved.

Arizona is not trading Keller, the Flyers are going to keep Sanheim, and a Bertuzzi trade really seems like a stretch to imagine, even if general manager Steve Yzerman is willing to listen to offers for all of his players outside of Raymond and Seider.

But maybe there is a match with Pittsburgh and Vancouver (most likely Garland?) where both teams can address a need, and it would not be a surprise to see Montreal get a strong deal for Lehkonen.

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    Capitals sign Dylan Strome to five-year, $25 million extension

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    FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Washington Capitals signed forward Dylan Strome to a five-year extension worth $25 million.

    The team announced the contract during NHL All-Star Weekend, which is taking place in South Florida – the place Strome was drafted third in 2015.

    Strome will count $5 million against the salary cap through the 2027-28 season. He was set to be a restricted free agent this summer.

    “Dylan is an intelligent and skilled center and has been a great addition to our organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We are pleased to sign him to a long-term contract. We feel his skill set is a great fit for our team as he enters the prime years of his career at an important position.”

    Strome is getting a raise from the $3.5 million deal he signed with the Capitals after the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to tender him a qualifying offer and made him a free agent. Strome has 11 goals and 25 assists in 36 games this season and ranks third on Washington’s roster with 14 power-play points.

    The Mississauga, Ontario, native who played his junior hockey alongside Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters has 206 points in 325 regular-season NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, Blackhawks and Capitals.

    Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

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    LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced.

    The Knights termed the procedure as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

    This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

    But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

    Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

    Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

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    DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

    Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released on $500 bond.

    The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

    According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

    The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

    Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

    Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

    The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

    The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.

    Stars aligned with new coach DeBoer, Nill-constructed roster

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    DALLAS — General manager Jim Nill sensed things were coming together for the Dallas Stars even before the season started with new coach Pete DeBoer and a roster mixed with proven veterans, up-and-coming young players, and even a teenaged center.

    At the NHL’s All-Star break, after 51 games together, these Stars are leading the Western Conference.

    “Every year you start, you put a team together, and there’s always going to be question marks,” said Nill, in his 10th season as the Stars GM. “You have ideas how you think you’re going to come together, but there’s always the unknown. . This year has been one of those years where right from the start, you could just see everything was kind of jelling.”

    The Stars (28-13-10, 66 points) have their trio of 2017 draft picks that just keep getting better: All-Star winger Jason Robertson, goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The seemingly ageless Joe Pavelski, at 38 and already re-signed for next season, is on the high-scoring top line with Robertson and point-a-game winger Roope Hintz. Wyatt Johnston, their first-round pick in 2021 and half Pavelski’s age, has 13 goals.

    There is also the resurgence of six-time All-Star forward Tyler Seguin two years after hip surgery and 33-year-old captain Jamie Benn, who already has more goals (19) than he did playing all 82 games last season.

    The Stars have a plus-40 goal differential, which is second-best in the NHL. They are averaging 3.37 goals per game, more than a half-goal better than last season when they were the only team to make the playoffs after being outscored in the regular season. They are also allowing fewer goals, and have improved on power plays and penalty kills.

    “Where we sit at this break, I think guys are happy with that,” Seguin said, before being asked the keys to the Stars leading the West and on pace for a 100-point season with their new coach.

    “Our style, our team speed, our puck speed, being predictable. All the clichés, knowing where the puck’s going. Really how we play the five-man unit,” he said. “Our pace this year, it’s been a lot quicker. There’s been some solid depth scoring this year while we’ve got one of the best lines in hockey.”

    The Stars went into the break on their only three-game losing streak of the season, all 3-2 overtime losses at home.

    “Those aren’t real losses,” said DeBoer, who twice has gone to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with a new team. “I’m happy where we’re at. I like how we’re playing.”

    Plus, Dallas won’t have to worry in the playoffs about 3-on-3 hockey, which has been the only real stain on their season so far. Only one team has more than its 10 losses after regulation.

    “We’ve played a lot of good hockey. We’ve made a lot of good strides in our game,” DeBoer said. “We still have another level we have to get to when we get back, but there are a lot of good things that have happened. They’ve worked to have us where we are right now in the standings. Good spot to be in.”

    The Stars have 31 games left in the regular season. The first four after the break at home, like the last four before their week-long hiatus.

    Robertson’s 33 goals rank sixth in the NHL, and the 23-year-old has the same number of assists while averaging 1.29 points a game even after he missed most of training camp before signing a four-year, $31 million contract. Pavelski has 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) while playing every game, and Hintz 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in only 43 games.

    Oettinger, who is 21-7 in regulation, has a .923 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average since signing his three-year, $12 million contract. That deal came after 223 saves in a seven-game playoff series against Calgary last May, capped by 64 in the series finale that went to overtime.

    Nill said Robertson’s production has improved even with the league adjusting to the high-scoring forward, and that Oettinger is proving to be one of the league’s best goalies. But they are just part of what has been a tremendous team effort.

    “They kind of had that mojo right from the start, and it was kind of this team’s got the right mix,” Nill said. “It’s come together well, and it’s shown in the standings. It’s been good to watch.”