As the new year begins, the NHL playoffs are quickly approaching. With teams looking to pad their roster, make a playoff push, or accelerate a rebuild by acquiring top picks in the upcoming NHL draft, it’s worth digging into NHL trade rumors and what blockbuster moves could be on the horizon as trade deadline day approaches.
The bottom-of-the-barrel teams have their eyes on the Connor Bedard-shaped prize, but so many teams are competing for a playoff spot, and adding one player could make the difference in making the playoffs.
Some of the biggest names from the rumor mill include Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, San Jose Sharks blue liner Erik Karlsson, Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser, and, of course, Patrick Kane. With Bo Horvat officially off the market, a bunch of new targets just got a little more interesting across the league. As the trade deadline approaches, we’ll update this list to reflect NHL trade rumors.
Before checking out the latest rumors you can also take a look at the best hockey movies ever and where to stream them.
When is the NHL trade deadline?
For the second season in a row, the NHL has returned to a normal schedule. So, this year’s NHL trade deadline is scheduled for March 3 at 3 PM EST, accommodating the slight delay to begin the season.
With many teams pinching on salaries to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic and salary cap woes, we could see teams agree to retain percentages of salaries or big, blockbuster deals with high-value players involved.
Breaking down the latest NHL trade rumors
Where is Patrick Kane going to go?
This rumor is different than the rest, in the sense that it’s not a matter of if Patrick Kane will leave the Chicago Blackhawks. He is, without a doubt, leaving. It’s a matter of when and where. The three-time Stanley Cup champion is a pending unrestricted free agent and has been very vocal about wanting to leave Chicago. NHL trade rumors have been swirling since Chicago struggled last season, especially considering Kane is the kind of player that scores big points and is no stranger to deep playoff runs.
At Christmastime, news outlets like Sportsnet narrowed their Kane watch down to five teams. Sure, they reckon, he’s having his worst statistical season ever, but he can quickly turn that around with a fresh (read: better) squad around him. Speculation has the top five teams in the running as the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kane recently expressed disappointment that the Rangers opted to trade for Tarasenko instead of him, and said he would only go to the Rangers or the Leafs but, as both teams don’t seem to have the cap space to acquire him, speculation has now started that he may just stay put.
Sean Monahan could be a valuable piece moving forward
Though the Canadiens forward is on IR, many outlets have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche as a depth player. With the Avs heating up again, they could seek to add depth at the deadline (like they did last season, with the likes of Andrew Cogliano and Darren Helm up front) and build on the trade they already made to re-acquire Matt Nieto.
The Avalanche management is used to moving bottom six players, and Monahan, who was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens from the Flames to make room for former Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri, could fit the bill in Colorado. He’s in the last year of a deal worth $6.375 million, with a modified no movement clause. Of course, in return, the Avalanche would likely have to move a player, and Samuel Girard’s name has long been at the centre of NHL trade rumors in Colorado.
Jakob Chychrun’s trade-related scratch
It feels like the Coyotes’ defenseman has been a mainstay in NHL trade rumors forever. While the Arizona Coyotes are asking a lot for, really, one of the few guys on the roster worth paying attention to, many feel the price is worth a player that could be a bonafide superstar on a better team. TSN reported at the beginning of December that trade talks were picking up.
“It seems like it’s picking up, and there’s a couple of reasons to consider for that. Obviously, we’re at a point in the regular season where the pressure on general managers and on owners have progressed. So, they’re feeling the heat, in other words,” TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said. “I still think there’s apprehension among clubs with the most interest to pay the price that Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is looking for, but I think there’s also a group of teams that are getting to a point that they realize they may have to.”
The Coyotes finally got to that point, scratching Chychrun for trade-related reasons since February 11. But, no deal has been made official at the time of writing, with analysts like Daniel Nugent-Bowman tweeting that it “doesn’t sound like” Chychrun would go to the Los Angeles Kings or the Edmonton Oilers, and Jeff Marek adding that the Leafs are also not in serious contention.
Who will win the Timo Meier sweepstakes?
The San Jose Sharks forward has been a big name in NHL trade rumors for most of the season. He has been strongly connected to the New Jersey Devils as the deadline gets ever closer, and some analysts believe the Devils have the assets to make a deal happen. The Devils sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division, and a ton of teams are inching closer to their spot in the standings. And, 26-year-old Meier could be the piece they need to secure a ticket to the post-season, especially as he’s in the last year of a contract and could slot into the lineup as a rent-a-player before testing the free agency market.
He’s expected to look for a multi-year deal worth upwards of $8 million, and the Devils have the issue of re-signing Jesper Bratt to contend with, so he may just wear a Devils jersey for a half season, but he is certainly a prime target in New Jersey as they look to the post-season.
Chicago could move Jonathan Toews and Max Domi too
While the Patrick Kane saga still doesn’t have a clear resolution, another pair of names has been added to the mix. Captain Jonathan Toews could be on his way out of the sinking Chicago ship, taking journeyman Max Domi with him, according to NHL trade rumors.
Toews has a no-movement clause on his deal, which is worth $10.5 million. He’s in the last year of the contract, though the hefty price tag means Chicago will likely have to retain some of Toews’ salary as he moves on to a potential rent-a-player situation. Toews and Kane both won the Stanley Cup with the Hawks three times, and have an abundance of playoff experience.
Granted, Toews has not been the same player since he missed an entire season with a chronic immune response syndrome, impacted by long-term Covid effects. He has just 28 points in 46 contests this season, but that could flip easily with a better team around him, and if he slots into a roster in a lesser role, he could be a big impact player down the stretch.
As for Max Domi, he is the current points leader for the Hawks, with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 48 games. He, like Toews, is a pending UFA at the end of the season, and could generate interest as he carries a more team-friendly contract (without a no-movement clause), valued at just $3 million. The 27-year old centre signed a one-year deal in Chicago after stints in Carolina, Columbus, Montreal and Arizona, but his solid play this season could see him on the move again.
Is Dylan Larkin on the market?
The Detroit Red Wings captain is in the last season of a five-year deal worth $6.1 million. And, while contract talks are ongoing, apparently things are not going smoothly. At the All-Star game, he said he only sees himself as a Red Wing and expressed interest in staying, but admitted that extension talks are difficult, even conceding that there is no guarantee he will stay in Detroit.
Larkin leads the Red Wings in points this season with 43, and plays a complete game that could prove a valuable addition for a team looking to make a playoff run. Of course, NHL trade rumors are running rampant at the mere possibility that Dylan Larkin could be on the move. The 26-year old captain’s trade talks continue but, if a resolution is not found before the deadline, he could be dealt to continue the Wings’ rebuild.
Columbus scratches Vladislav Gavrikov
Jakob Chychrun wasn’t the only defenseman watching his bottom-of-the-barrel team this week. The Columbus Blue Jackets also scratched Gavrikov for their February 14 contest against the New Jersey Devils, citing “trade-related reasons.” A TSN report from Chris Johnston says a deal is not imminent, but that the Blue Jackets are looking to move their options.
“It’s hard waking up and (trying to) figure this out,” Gavrikov told Aaron Portzline. “I try to not think about it. Try to be busy and do something, because it’s gotta be in your head and the guys are wondering. There’s not much I can say right now because I know literally nothing, but we’ll see what’s happening.”
27-year old Gavrikov is set to be come an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and has three goals and seven assists on the campaign. He signed a three-year deal with an AAV of $2.8 million with the Blue Jackets in 2020.
Luke Schenn is the latest trade scratch
More players than ever are being scratched for trade-related reasons this season, and Luke Schenn is the latest defenseman to find himself sitting out. The Vancouver Canucks announced Tuesday that Schenn was sent home to Vancouver and scratched for the team’s contest against Nashville for trade-related reasons. The stay-at-home defenseman is a pending UFA and carries a team-friendly cap hit of $850,000.
With the Canucks struggling this season, they’ll likely look to move Schenn for picks and prospects. NHL trade rumours suggest he’s in high demand, and teams like the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in beefing up their blue line for a relatively low price. If a deal isn’t reached soon, Schenn is likely to sit out for the club’s tilt against St. Louis on Thursday, too.