Regardless of the outcome, the Feb. 26 trade deadline is sure to be one of the most-watched dates on the NHL calendar.
As teams jockey for playoff position, front offices carefully weigh every potential deal, knowing the right player could be the difference between springtime hockey or early nights on the dock.
A number of top trade targets could be on the move in the coming weeks. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages attached to acquiring five of the most talked-about names.
Pros: Top-six forward. Genuine 30-goal threat. Extra year of control.
Cons: Streaky scorer. Questionable leadership skills. Lack of physicality.
As Montreal languishes near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the likelihood of Patches getting shipped out of la belle province increases with each Canadiens loss.
However, he hasn’t scored in six straight games and he’s on pace for one of the worst offensive campaigns of his career, so Montreal might be having more trouble than the club initially expected with securing an acceptable return.
Regardless, the 29-year-old American has the kind of size and skill that could put any competing club over the top.
Pros: Rugged winger with exceptional size. Can contribute offensively. Adds toughness.
Cons: Defensive liability. Poor skater. Inconsistent scorer.
Another guy who’s recently struggled to fill the scoresheet, Maroon has only one goal in his last eight games. But a player of his pedigree is attractive even when he’s lighting the lamp less frequently.
At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Maroon is a perfect fit for a team looking to get bigger and tougher up front. The 29-year-old has also showed his softer side since joining the Oilers at the deadline in 2016, notching 41 goals in 134 games.
Playing on Connor McDavid‘s wing over the past season and a half has obviously boosted Maroon’s offensive output, but he can chip in with a timely goal or assist regardless of his linemates.
A character guy who brings an element of truculence and scoring, Maroon’s services are likely being courted by more than a few general mangers.
Pros: Playoff experience. Affordable. Big shot. Depth scoring.
Cons: Weak possession player. Defensive liability. Slow-footed.
Rumored to be moved at seemingly every trade deadline, Vanek‘s days as an elite sniper are behind him. But the 34-year-old winger can still produce, and he’s proved it this year in a bottom-six role for the Canucks – despite getting limited minutes with offensively challenged players such as Sam Gagner and Alex Burmistrov, or with the aging Sedins.
A seasoned veteran with a propensity to put up points in the playoffs (20 goals, 14 assists in 63 games), Vanek would make a solid addition to any postseason-bound squad looking for a rental with some pop left in his stick.
It’s happened before and it is likely to happen again: Vanek should be rocking yet another jersey before the end of February.
Pros: Top-line potential. Elite skater. Plays with aggressive edge. Pure scorer.
Cons: Lacks vision. Poor playmaking skills. Volatile attitude.
Fans are probably well aware that the Sabres have been heavily shopping Kane for at least a month. Given Kane’s pending unrestricted free agency and the fact he hasn’t even discussed a new contract, expect the speedy forward to be on the move in the coming days.
Though there are concerns about his attitude and his history of locker-room issues, Kane would make an excellent deadline addition to any team seriously vying for the coveted silver chalice. Size, speed, shot, skill – Kane has it all, and he is only 26.
The main reason he hasn’t been dealt is likely Buffalo’s asking price. The Sabres were previously reported to be looking for at least a first-round draft pick and a prospect, according to freelance reporter Chris Nichols.
If a potential trade partner could muster up the courage (or desperation) to sacrifice that amount of future talent for a rental player, Kane is a game-changer that could catapult a team from pretender to playoff contender overnight.
Pros: Power-play quarterback. Excellent skater. Consistent point producer.
Cons: Injury concerns. Prone to defensive lapses.
A locker-room leader with 76 games of postseason experience, Green is the most sought-after rearguard on the trade market.
Despite signing with the offensively challenged Red Wings in 2015, Green’s reputation as a power-play specialist who can rack up points with the best of them hasn’t suffered – he’s on pace for his fifth consecutive 35-plus-point season.
He can log heavy minutes, play special teams, and contribute offensively.
If can avoid the D-zone breakdowns he’s liable to occasionally commit, Green is just the type of blue-liner that can address a playoff team’s defensive needs.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
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