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It is getting down to the final hour before the NHL hits the Trade Deadline. On Monday afternoon, NHL teams will be scrambling to make their final deals before the postseason. Earlier this week leading up to the Deadline, transactions have been made by clubs that are in different parts of the standings. The selling clubs are collecting future assets, while the buying clubs are loading their rosters up for a deep postseason run.
With the NHL Trade Deadline just days away, what are the biggest storylines heading into Monday? Which players might get moved over the next few days? Which teams are buying, selling, and on the fence?
OTTAWA AND NEW YORK ARE SELLING
Ottawa is heading into rebuild, amazingly after finishing last season in the Eastern Conference Final. One player the Senators are close to trading is Derick Brassard. He has been connected to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the deal has not been finalized. The Senators are attempting to clean house, and cut payroll. Forwards Mike Hoffman and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are also rumored to be move, in addition to their biggest trade piece, defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The New York Rangers have called for a rebuild and they have already dealt forward Michael Grabner to the New Jersey Devils and defenseman Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins. Forward Rick Nash is still likely to be moved, and defenseman Ryan McDonagh will be highly sought after. Look for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins to draw interest in Ryan McDonagh. Rick Nash will likely have potential suitors in Nashville, St. Louis, Anaheim, and San Jose.
EVANDER KANE LIKELY ON THE MOVE
Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane is a big trade piece on the market. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Kane, 26, has recorded 20 goals and 40 points this season and has recorded 20+ goals in 3 consecutive seasons.
If a team attempts to trade for Kane, they will likely attempt to do a sign-and-trade deal with the Sabres. Kane’s new club will likely want to extend his contract past the season’s end, but Kane should be able to draw a 1st round pick plus a top prospect in a package for him. If Kane is dealt, expect Anaheim, San Jose, Vancouver, and Los Angeles to be interested in his services.
WILL GMGM BE QUIET OR BE AGGRESSIVE?
Before the regular season began, no one thought the Vegas Golden Knights would have the immediate success right off the bat. Vegas is primed to win the Pacific Division, and they are in a great position to have a nice playoff run.
With a handful of draft picks at his disposal, GM George McPhee has an interesting choice to make. Does he hold on to the draft picks, and continue to build for the future? Does he choose to stay put, and maybe be fairly quiet at the deadline? While Vegas is doing well right now, does he risk sacrificing a bit of the future to try and go all the way right now?
THE ERIK KARLSSON PLUNGE
Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is one of the most offensively gifted defenseman the NHL has seen in quite some time.
Karlsson will immediately help any club he gets traded to. However, his deal will be very complex. It will involve multiple picks and prospects, and Ottawa will likely have to eat a little bit of salary if they decided to trade him right now. Ottawa is likely at a major disadvantage with this deal, since they may not get the full return for him.
Karlsson has been tied to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators, and many other teams. While Karlsson will likely get moved, it is more than likely going to happen at the next NHL Draft or free agency period.
By: George Foussekis