With the NHL season a few weeks underway, teams are starting to recognize strengths and weaknesses in their lineups, figuring out missing pieces for the playoff push. The 56-game season saw the trade deadline pushed back until April, but NHL trade rumors started almost as soon as the puck dropped on the new season. One big deal has already gone down.
The Pierre-Luc Dubois saga started the season on a dramatic note, as the forward voiced his unhappiness with the Columbus Blue Jackets from the beginning of their season. He played a notoriously lackluster shift that led him to be benched in the opening period of his last game as a Blue Jacket.
Dubois was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Patrik Laine, who also fueled trade speculation early on when he expressed his disinterest in playing for Winnipeg. That landmark swap is just the tip of the iceberg for the 2020-21 season, so we will update this list throughout the season to reflect NHL trade rumors and trades as the season progresses.
Updated: Feb. 23, 8:22 PM EST
When is the NHL trade deadline?
In a regular 82-game season, the trade deadline is typically set for the end of February, with NHL trade rumors hitting their peak in January.
However, to accommodate the late start to the season, the trade deadline was pushed to April 12, 2021. With the addition of the taxi squad and new waiver rules to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic, many teams are doing things differently than usual this season, which could result in less trades, but also makes each move more vital to a team’s success.
Feb 23: With Galchenyuk, Toronto hopes to deal with their injury issues
It’s been a rocky few seasons for Alex Galchenyuk, who officially skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs today following a trade from the Carolina Hurricanes two days after they acquired him from the Ottawa Senators. He’ll be looking to make his presence known in Toronto, hoping to salvage an NHL career that hasn’t gone where many thought it would.
The Leafs are hoping that Galchenyuk will fill in the injury holes in their lineup. Zach Hyman, Joe Thornton, Jake Muzzin and Fredrik Andersen all did not practice, and it was later revealed that Muzzin has a broken bone in his face. Injuries to forward Wayne Simmonds and goaltender Jack Campbell, as well as forward Alexander Barabanov being added to the COVID-19 protocol list compound the team’s woes, and they’re hoping that Galchenyuk can relieve some of the issues.
Feb 23: NHL trade rumors target Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel
On Monday, reports surfaced suggesting that Jeff Skinner–who’s suffered from a disappointing start to the season–would be a healthy scratch for that night’s contest against the New York Islanders. He would later find himself watching the game from the press box, after telling reporters he’d never needed a day off in his 11 years in the NHL, that he was struggling with his confidence, and that he’s not sure what his future holds.
He’s trying to re-spark his offense but, if he can’t, he may become trade bait for the Sabres despite his massive contract. Jack Eichel, of course, is also generating a ton of interest, and Sportsnet notes he may be inclined to leave the Sabres if the club continues their slump.
Feb 23: Are the Montreal Canadiens targeting Eric Staal?
With Buffalo putting up a less than stellar performance so far, they’re likely to become sellers ahead of the trade deadline. TVA Sports’ Jean-Charles Lajoie suggested that the Habs could take advantage of Buffalo’s situation and inquire about Eric Staal, who could add a veteran presence to the squad.
What’s more, Lajoie notes, Staal is in the last years of his career, and has always played well against Montreal–collecting 45 points through 50 career games against the Canadiens. It seems plausible, the reporter says, that Staal could leave Buffalo, a club that seems to be going nowhere fast, to make a final pre-retirement run at the Stanley Cup.
Feb 4: Controversial defenseman Tony DeAngelo sparks NHL trade rumors
After Tony DeAngelo caused a stir by announcing he’d leave Twitter for Parler in defense of Donald Trump, rumors swirled that the New York Rangers were not happy with his social media presence. Then, he got absolutely dangled by New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal. And, after that, he got into a physical altercation with his teammate, goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, which led the Rangers to place him on waivers and announce that DeAngelo had played his last game as a Ranger.
While he cleared waivers, the Rangers are adamant that he will not play for the club anymore, begging the question: what will they do with Tony DeAngelo? TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that there is “a ton” of interest in the defenseman, who could go to a place like Anaheim or Los Angeles (according to Bob McKenzie), where hockey players have low profiles and the team is in rebuilding stages. DeAngelo was told to go home and await a trade, and the Rangers will just have to see what they can get for a player with issues like these.
Feb 4: The Calgary Flames aren’t rushing to trade Sam Bennett
Even though reports have been published for a year indicating that Sam Bennett wants to leave Calgary, the Flames aren’t in a hurry. General Manager Brad Treliving says the trade has to be a good fit for the organization, and the player needs to add to the Flames’ existing roster. Otherwise, he’ll wait and use Bennett’s natural skill to pad the team’s lineup, as he’s a versatile player that can be slotted anywhere. He plays on the wing and as a center, which is a huge advantage for the Flames–and sweetens the pot for potential suitors.
Feb 4: NHL trade rumors: Where will Keith Yandle go?
Rumors began early into the season that Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle would be traded away from his current team, as he fell out of favor with the coaching and management staff. While Yandle has a no-movement clause, which means the Panthers cannot put him on waivers or trade him without his approval, Florida could certainly benefit from unloading his 7-year, $44.5 million dollar contract (which still has three years remaining).
The Panthers overhauled their entire defensive corps, which left Yandle on the outside looking in. According to the latest intel, Yandle, a Massachusetts native, is being linked to the Boston Bruins. They’d slide him into the lineup guide the power play after the loss of Torey Krug, with Florida acquiring a prospect and some draft picks in return.
Yandle could also be sent to the Philadelphia Flyers, where rumors have swirled for a while about his being sent to Philly. Shane Ghostisbehere, currently out of the Flyers lineup due to COVID-related protocols, is involved in the conversation.
Feb 4: The Panthers are involved in additional trade buzz
Speaking of the Panthers, it seems that offensive dynamo Aleksander Barkov has gathered a lot of attention from general managers around the league. Even though Florida GM Bill Zito says he has no interest in moving Barkov right now, his contract expires at the end of next season, and the No. 2 overall pick from 2013 could go to a Stanley Cup contender. The Panthers may want to get something valuable in return if they decide he may not stay.
Feb 4: Carolina and Edmonton are doing a dance around a familiar goalie
Another player on the trading block is Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Anton Forsberg, who wound up on the trade rumor mill shortly after the Canes claimed him off of waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. Carolina has three goalies on their active roster and another on the taxi squad, so it seems that the Canes want to try to squeeze a pick or prospect out of Edmonton to give them their third-string goalie back.
Feb 4: Matt Dumba is sick of being involved in trade talks
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba has been involved in NHL trade rumors, too, but Dumba has made it quite clear he doesn’t want to leave Minnesota. He’s played for the Wild his entire career, and GM Bill Guerin has said he isn’t shopping the defenseman.
Unfortunately, Minnesota may not be able to protect Dumba in the 2021 Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Heading into his eighth season, Dumba has been brought up as a bargaining chip nearly every year, but he told NHL.com ahead of the season that he felt comfortable exactly where he is. It’ll be interesting to see if the Wild can still hang on to him.
Feb 4: The Maple Leafs will need help after injuries
After the Toronto Maple Leafs lost Joe Thornton for at least four weeks, Nick Robertson also went down with a long-term injury. Auston Matthews then was listed as injured with a day-to-day injury, though he was back in the lineup for their matchup against Calgary on January 24. They could turn to the trade market to fill in the holes, and speculation is already starting around forward Travis Dermott, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Feb 4: Trade rumors swirl around Victor Mete
The Montreal Canadiens are outplaying expectations early on in the season, and their defense has been so solid that it’s been tough for 22-year old Victor Mete to crack the starting lineup. According to Sportsnet, the Habs don’t want to put Mete on waivers because they know a team would claim him, and could move him for prospects and picks to solidify their future.