With the second half of the season underway and with a two-and-a-half week Olympic break coming up, the NHL’s March 5th Trade Deadline isn’t that far off and teams will be making decisions on how to bolster or rebuild their lineups. As always there are a few rental players who are available, but it is unlikely that we will see any blockbuster deals. Today’s NHL simply does not allow for that. Too much parity in the League and too many teams who think that they have an actual shot at making the playoffs. Not to mention that there appears to be a trend of General Managers who are fearful of losing their jobs so they are hesitant to make any major deals. Oh how we long for the days of long ago where we saw seven player blockbuster deals. Ah the digital age keeps us on top of all of the trade rumors so the days of a surprise blockbuster are few. In an earlier post we discussed a handful of players that could be on the move prior to the trade deadline. We thought that we would revisit this and predict which players may be wearing new NHL jerseys come March 5th.
2014 NHL Trade Deadline Player Movement Predictions
Here is a look at ten players whom could be on the move prior or at the NHL trade deadline on March 5th. There are teams looking to add small pieces for a playoff run, others are looking for a top four defenseman or a top six forward. Still others are looking for goaltending help. Teams like the Edmonton Oilers are looking for all of the above. Well here are ten players that we would expect to attract some interest before or around the 2014 NHL trade deadline.
- Ryan Miller – goaltender currently with the Buffalo Sabres. While Miller’s stock has fallen there are still a number of teams who could be interested in his services. Potential Suitors: St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers or Philadelphia Flyers. There is no way the Oilers are on Miller’s list of teams he would agree to be traded to so St. Louis would make the most sense here.
- Dustin Byfuglien – defenseman with the Winnipeg Jets. Big “Buff” would be a welcome addition to any NHL team or would he? Some say that he comes with an attitude and we all know that he is not the fitness freak that a Rob Brind’Amour was. Regardless there are not too many top two defensemen who might be available. Potential Suitors: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres or Montreal Canadiens. As much as we would like to see “Big Buff” in Buffalo with the Sabres, the Edmonton Oilers are one team that could really use a player of Byfuglien’s nature.
- Sam Gagner – former centerman now winger with the Edmonton Oilers. Gagner is a streaky scorer who has yet to find his defensive game. However playing with the right players and in the right system Gagner could be a 60-70 point man. Potential Suitors: Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks. We could see Gagner going to either the Pens or the Leafs if Edmonton could get a roster player back in return.
- Paul Stastny – forward with the Colorado Avalanche. This guy quietly puts up respectable numbers. Another of those players who if given decent amounts of ice time can play well. Potential Suitors: Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets or Montreal Canadiens. I could see Stastny landing in Toronto.
- Blake Wheeler – current winger with the Winnipeg Jets. A big player who a number of teams have shown interest in. Potential Suitors: Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils. The most likely candidate to land Wheeler will be the team most willing to move a roster player. This might mean the Oilers or Flyers might be the ones to land him although the Pens have shown great interest as of late.
- Matt Moulson – currently with the Buffalo Sabres. Potential Suitors: New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks or Carolina Hurricanes.
- Jake Gardiner – defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Apparently the Leafs are not shopping him but there are some teams that would have interest in Gardiner. Potential Suitors: Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars or Philadelphia Flyers. The best fit here might very well be the Edmonton Oilers.
- Michael Del Zotto – defenseman currently with the New York Rangers. Potential Suitors: Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks.
- Andrew Ladd – forward and captain of the Winnipeg Jets. Not sure if he will be moved but there are teams that are interested in acquiring the big center. Potential Suitors: Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers or Nashville Predators.
- Devin Setoguchi – forward with the Winnipeg Jets. This guy just has not been the same since leaving the San Jose Sharks. Potential Suitors: Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks or Florida Panthers. We could see the “Gootch” going back to San Jose for a playoff run.
The lower salary cap and tight budget for many teams explains why we have not see many trades this season and we may not see a lot happen during this year’s trade deadline. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see a could of blockbusters though? Like a Shea Weber to Edmonton or Vancouver or a Pavel Datsyuk to St. Louis or Dallas? One can dream can’t he?