It is an exciting time of year in the NHL as there are around 30 games left in the regular season, meaning that playoff races intensify every day and that competing teams will be looking for a boost to their roster.
There has already been trade activity in 2024, but here are some other teams and potential players to watch as the deadline approaches.
The NHL trade deadline is Friday, March 8th. All trades must be finalized and reported to the league by 3 PM ET.
The Flames’ front office is going to be a popular phone line for GM’s of buying teams. With several players pending unrestricted free agency, chatter all season has been if the Flames do not appear to be contenders by March, they will be sellers.
Unless they win at least six of their next eight games before the deadline, that chatter will likely come to fruition. Calgary is -850 to miss the playoffs.
Calgary players on the final year of their contract include defensemen Noah Hanifan, Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington, Jordan Osterle, and Dennis Gilbert. Center Kevin Rooney also is also on the final year of his deal. Hanifin and Tanev would land the best returns, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to dangle other players for future considerations.
Forwards Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman are under contract through next season. But if teams call about those guys and offer the Flames a package they can’t refuse, both players would be a great pick up for the acquiring team.
Given the Senators look all but a formality to miss the playoffs as they are -10000 to miss out, they will field calls on a couple of key players. Ottawa’s most attractive pending unrestricted free agent is Vladimir Tarasenko. He would garner a nice return for the Senators given his pedigree.
Tarasenko is a Stanley Cup winner who has six 30+ goal seasons under his belt despite missing parts of seasons due to injury. In the playoffs specifically, Tarasenko has 44 goals and 64 points in 97 games played. He would be a very nice veteran and scoring boost to a contender, as well as the Senators landing a nice return.
Similar to Calgary, Ottawa has a few players that are under contract for another year before they hit free agency: Claude Giroux, Jakob Chychrun, and Travis Hamonic. It is difficult to see them being moved because the Senators likely want to run it back next year with these guys. But given the additional year of control, Ottawa would land a haul if they so choose.
The Oilers are in year nine with Connor McDavid but still have not really even sniffed the Stanley Cup Finals. While they reached the Western Conference Finals in 2022, they were swept. This version of the Oilers looks fantastic and fans are rightfully excited that this could be the year.
Despite the good times and having a couple of the best players on the planet, they will still look for areas to improve the team come March. If the Oilers are going to get out of the West, they will have to go through very difficult opponents that can go toe to toe with them.
The Oilers have as much top end talent as any team in the NHL. They do not need to make a splash for a star. They are likely look for more strategic trades for depth players to fill out the back end of the roster. Overall depth, specifically on the back end, is invaluable in the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs are not exactly hitting the panic button, but they are not yet a formality to make the playoffs by any means.
Toronto currently occupies the top wild card spot. With a very competitive and talented division and conference, there is not a ton of room for error. While the Leafs are a very talented team, there is plenty of room for roster improvement.
Toronto’s glaring vulnerabilities, once again, revolve around goal prevention. The defensive side of the puck has been this team’s Achilles heel year after year. This is a very offensively talented team and scoring goals should not be an issue down the stretch or in the playoffs.
That said, look for the Maple Leafs to be active in the market for defensemen. Recent Stanley Cup winners have something in common in that they had fantastic defensive cores that shut down the opposition. Toronto’s back end is not terrible, but it could use another impact player and even added depth to get to that next level.
Odds mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.