Aaron Doster – USA Today
The 2016-17 regular season has now hit into the new year and it is now in high gear. There are many teams still alive, and in the hunt for a playoff picture. The NHL has seen very little trade activity in the regular season because there are still so many teams in the hunt.
Even though there has been little activity, the rumor mill continues to run and change every single day. So, who are the latest names in the rumor mill? Who could be on the move at the next NHL Trade Deadline? Let’s look at some of the biggest names that could be traded soon:
The Avalanche have been under turmoil over the past few seasons now. The team lacks chemistry and depth behind their stars. Landeskog, 24, is the Avalanche Captain and he is off to a bit of a slow start this year. He has 7 goals and 13 points through 29 games this year.
Landeskog was named one of the youngest Captains in NHL history, until Connor McDavid came into the league. He was the second overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. Landeskog brings that gritty element to the Avalance, and is not afraid to stick his nose in the dirty areas of the ice.
Landeskog remains under contract through the 2020-21 season. He has a cap hit of $5.5 million.
Like with Landeskog, Duchene is another top Avalanche player that is in the NHL’s rumor mill. The 3rd overall pick of the 2009 NHL Draft ranks 2nd on the Avalanche in points behind Nathan MacKinnon. He has 13 goals and 24 points through 35 games.
Duchene brings elite level speed and skill up the middle of the ice. The Ontario native has won Olympic gold for Team Canada and has won gold at the World Championships.
Duchene remains under contract through the 2018-19 season. He has a cap hit of $6 million.
St. Louis Blues
Shattenkirk is the biggest name available with unrestricted free-agent defenseman. The 27-year old New Rochelle, NY native is one of the top point producing defenseman in the league right now.
Shattenkirk has put up 8 goals and 26 points through 40 games this year. He is coming off 3 straight 40+ point seasons. He brings excellent puck mobility to the Blues blueline.
The Blues were expected to re-sign Shattenkirk last summer, but things did not get done. If he decides to walk during free agency, will the Blues attempt to trade him before the deadline to get an asset for him? If the Blues decide to hold on to him for a Stanley Cup playoff run, will they risk losing him for nothing after their postseason ends?
Shattenkirk is coming off an expiring 4-year $17 million deal. He has a cap hit of $4.25 million, and is expected to get a nice bump in pay on his next contract.
The Ottawa Senators are in the middle of a playoff mix right now. While the Senators have performed well, Ryan has not. Through 32 games, Ryan has just 7 goals and 14 points. In 2015-16, Ryan put up 22 goals and 56 points.
Ryan was scratched mysteriously in a game against the Washington Capitals on January 7. Guy Boucher and the Senators were very mum on the situation, so it will be interesting to see how this situation plays out.
Ryan signed a long-term deal with the Senators in late 2014 and is under contract until the 2021-22 season. His contract includes a modified no-trade clause, and a no-move clause. His contract carries a cap hit of $7.25 million. It would be a long shot to see Ryan moved in the middle of the season, but he is a player that could possibly use a fresh start sometime soon.
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have plenty of new faces this year, and their youth movement is in high gear. With players like Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner taking over big minutes for the Leafs, what is going to happen to a player like van Riemsdyk?
The Leafs could use more help on their blueline, and van Riemsdyk is a perfect trade chip to acquire a piece like that. He has recorded 14 goals and 33 points through 39 games. van Riemsdyk is a big skater that knows how to get to the dirty areas around the net.
van Riemsdyk has one more year remaining on his current contract. He has a very friendly cap hit of $4.25 million.
The 29-year old Czech centre is a big man. He stands at 6’6” tall and is very rangy. He was a 2005 1st round pick of the Coyotes, and he will likely be one of the top rentals at the deadline.
Hanzal has put up 9 goals and 15 points in 34 games this year. He is excellent at screening the opposing goaltender, and causing havoc in front of the net.
Hanzal is coming off an expiring 5-year deal worth $15.5 million. He has a cap hit of $3.1 million. The Coyotes will likely move on from Hanzal, as they continue to rebuild and get younger. Hanzal will likely be traded to a Cup contender, and give his next team additional depth up the middle of the ice.
By: George Foussekis