The 5 NHL players most likely to be traded | Launderer’s report

0 out of 5

    Francois Lacasse/Getty Images

    It’s starting to look a lot like a critical moment.

    Even though the 2021-22 season is only halfway through for most teams, NHL general managers are already feeling the stress shifting as the post-season races start to take shape early.

    Which means the line between buyers and sellers is also starting to become clear.

    And that March 21 becomes a particularly important date in the future.

    Given that the trade deadline is only 63 days away, there is no doubt that the deals that will take place in the final hours leading up to it are already being discussed here in mid-January.

    Some will happen because of player requests. Some will happen because of onerous contracts.

    And some will happen because leaders are simply looking to save their jobs.

    The B/R hockey team sat down to discuss the transactional landscape and compile a list of the five players most likely to become the next dominoes on the league’s trade table.

    Click through to see what we found and let us know how we did with a comment or two.

1 out of 5

    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Phil Kessel has done it all, or at least most of it when it comes to the NHL.

    He won a Masterton Trophy for his individual achievements, was part of two Stanley Cup championship teams, scored 20 or more goals in 12 seasons and scored 34 goals in 96 playoff games.

    That means – even at 34 and on the home stretch of a 16-year career – he has plenty to offer a team looking for an experienced striker who can produce in the clutch.

    But something else is just as obvious.

    His Arizona Coyotes, whose eight wins in 36 games were second-fewest in the league on Sunday, won’t have much use for a clutch player anytime soon.

    from Kessel desire to play for a competitor has been a topic of conversation since the start of this season. Now that the deadline is approaching, it’s getting closer to a lock that Arizona general manager Bill Armstrong will look at the market and take the best deal he can get for an expiring asset while continuing to rebuild in the desert.

2 out of 5

    Joe Puetz/Associated Press

    Where some may be moved out of the necessity of the salary cap, it’s possible Seattle defenseman Mark Giordano could see his tenure with the freshman Kraken cut short by the promise of a solid comeback.

    The 38-year-old was a veteran of nearly 950 games spanning 15 seasons with the Calgary Flames before the Kraken selected him in last summer’s expansion draft. And he’s been a solid asset during a tough season in Seattle, contributing 12 points in 31 games while averaging more than 21 minutes per game.

    Yet, as valuable as his skills are to a team trying to establish themselves, he’s even more coveted by teams hoping to add a final piece or two on the way to an extended postseason streak in a few months. .

    Giordano will be an unrestricted free agent after signing a six-year, $40.5 million deal this season. He will be an attractive hire for some GMs and a potential target for a multi-year deal for others, perhaps even opening the door to a return to Calgary as the Flames buckle up for the second half.

    Either way, the number of draft picks and/or players he could bring in a trade must be too many for Seattle’s Ron Francis to turn down as he continues to build a competitive roster for the to come up.

3 out of 5

    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    There are rentals. And then there are longer-term purchases.

    Arizona Defender File Jakob Chychrun among these latest proposals.

    The 23-year-old Floridian was a first-round pick of the Coyotes in 2016 and has been an NHL regular ever since, recording 50 or more games in each of the past five seasons. He had 18 goals and 41 points in 56 games in the abbreviated 2020-21 schedule and earned 19 top-five votes as he won 10th place in the Norris Trophy ballot.

    This season hasn’t been as prolific, but the fact that he’s still a mobile defender who stands 6’2″ and weighs 220 lbs.– not to mention he’s signed through 2024-25 at $4.6m a year– can make him a prime target for teams looking to add a proven left-handed defender with some tenure remaining.

    It will likely take a significant number of draft picks and young players to do that, which eliminates as many teams as not, but that doesn’t lessen the likelihood of at least one GM calling Armstrong from Arizona with a an offer he can’t refuse.

4 out of 5

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Finals in the inaugural season before losing to the Washington Capitals and have spent every moment since trying to get back on the verge of an NHL title.

    And make no mistake, Reilly Smith is a guy who can help that process.

    He’s scored 82 goals in four full seasons with the team and has 11 goals and 29 points in 39 games this season as coach Peter DeBoer tries to find the right combination to compete in the Pacific Division.

    But given the imminent arrival of Jack Eichel and his $10 million annual contract following surgery following a trade with Buffalo in early November, something is going to have to change to maintain salary cap comfort.

    The team is currently about $5.7 million under the cap, which means it will take about an additional $4.3 million to accommodate Eichel’s addition to the active roster.

    That makes Smith, who is in the final year of a deal that pays him $5 million a year, expendable.

5 out of 5

    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Another defender. Another player in the final year of a deal.

    And another current team whose position in the standings indicates little reason to stay.

    So add Ben Chiarot to the list of defenders most likely to finish 2021-22 at a new location.

    The 6’3″, 234-pound player is in his third season with Montreal after six seasons in Winnipeg and has scored exactly 100 points in 448 games. He has also played 20 minutes or more in 21 of 22 games ( topping 30 twice) in the Canadiens’ unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Final last summer against Tampa Bay.

    Tax-wise, he’s in the final year of a $10.5 million contract and will become a free agent at the end of the season. That makes him another attractive hire for another team looking for a stable commodity with proven playoff credibility – a situation he’s comfortable playing in.

    Will he seek a first-round pick to provide the final piece to a candidate?

    The guess here is yes.

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