As expected, the trade deadline is fraught with more uncertainty than usual. However, that does not mean teams aren’t in need of some bolstering. The rumor mill keeps churning. As such, here are the buyers and sellers in the West Division.
The Ducks are sure to sell at the deadline. Unfortunately for them, most of their contracts are locked up for years to come and no contending team is able to afford them under the current cap structure.
They have already acquired forward Alexander Volkov from Tampa Bay in exchange for a forward prospect, Antoine Morand, and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick. Ideally, they’d be able to move Ryan Getzlaf to a contender for a decent haul, but he has a full no-movement clause and has stated that he has no interest in going anywhere.
Their best option to move anyone from the current roster would be Josh Manson. Any team that misses out on Mattias Ekholm could turn to Anaheim for a rugged defenseman that plays a very physical game, which could come in handy come playoff time.
Yes, they currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. However, as with a couple of other teams on this list, if I have to choose between buyers and sellers, this team isn’t buying at the deadline. At best, there could be a couple of “hockey deals” (for those not familiar, those are the rare trades that immediately address needs for both teams, involving active players).
If anyone on the roster is likely to move, there’s talk that Alex Goligoski could be heading to Winnipeg. The Jets currently have some LTIR cap space to work with, and it wouldn’t hurt the Coyotes to retain some salary on an expiring contract.
Their goaltending situation essentially guarantees they’ll be a buyer, but at what cost and where is the goalie help coming from? They did acquire goalie Jonas Johansson from Buffalo for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick, but it’s more of a stop-gap than an actual remedy. Arizona’s health in the net doesn’t help the situation. Columbus should be moving one of either Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo, but the asking price might exceed what General Manager Joe Sakic is willing to pay.
If that’s the case, San Jose would be willing to part ways with Devan Dubnyk, and there are rumors that Detroit is listening to offers for Jonathan Bernier. With other teams like Washington and Edmonton on the hunt for goaltending depth as well, a bidding war could escalate prices quickly.
Los Angeles: Seller
Another team falling securely on the seller side. Already quite active, Los Angeles is trading a 2021 fourth-rounder to the Rangers for Brendan Lemieux and adding defenseman Christian Wolanin from Ottawa for forward Michael Amadio.
What else could we expect? If the goalie market heats up enough, someone might make General Manager Rob Blake an offer he can’t refuse for Jonathan Quick. It would almost assuredly entail him retaining some salary on the remaining two years, $5.8 million per season, but some team desperate enough could make it worth his while.
The Wild are basically locked into a playoff spot, but I don’t see them giving up assets or prospects just to make a run this year. In fact, they may have already made their biggest move by signing forward Matt Boldy out of Boston College. Unless something dramatic happens in the next week, the team will probably stand pat.
If anyone does move, it’s likely defenseman Matt Dumba. Due to the upcoming expansion draft rules, it’s unlikely the Wild will be able to protect him, and at 26, he could be a great building block on defense for Seattle. I’m sure General Manager Bill Guerin would prefer to get something rather than lose him for nothing.
San Jose: Seller
Another team that, even though they are within striking distance of a playoff spot, I think they fall pretty securely as a seller. While the team would like to sell, the question becomes: who gets moved?
Ageless wonder Patrick Marleau has stated that he wouldn’t mind getting traded to another contender, but the word is that no one has really inquired about his services.
As previously mentioned, it looks like their best and perhaps only move is to play the goaltending market and see who is willing to pay for Devan Dubnyk.
St. Louis: Seller
As far as buyers and sellers go, St. Louis needs to be a seller. They have an outside shot at a playoff spot but haven’t been playing particularly well lately, going 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the health of their defense, but they can’t exactly buy their way out of this without cap space.
So, if they’re sellers, who do they sell? Their top candidate has to be Mike Hoffman. For a pure scoring threat, he’s reasonable at $4 million, and with it being a one-year deal, teams aren’t on the hook if things don’t work out.
Grumblings within the fan base want Jayden Schwartz and his $5.35 million contract to move, but I don’t think that is going to happen (nor should it).
Based on their cap situation, I can’t see the Golden Knights making too large a move if they even make one at all. They might be the most balanced team in the division when completely healthy. Alex Pietrangelo was in and out of the lineup for a couple of months, Chandler Stephenson is currently serving a suspension, and Robin Lehner just returned from injury.
The only place they may want to bolster is depth scoring. With players like Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud developing a little faster than expected, Nick Holden could become expendable. Adding someone like Bobby Ryan would then fit neatly in the cap space created.