With the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching, 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.
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.
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.
Updated: April 7, 10:00 AM EST
April 7: Could the Anaheim Ducks finally move Josh Manson?
For years, the Ducks have been insistent that they will not move the big defenseman. His gritty, physical gameplay adds a lot to their special teams, and they love what they have when he’s on the blue line. But, now, with the Ducks in the midst of a rebuild and close to the bottom of the league, general manager Bob Murray could have changed his tune. Dealing Manson could see them receive solid picks in return, and maybe even a prospect or two, which could be really helpful for the club’s much-needed rebuild. The Ducks and Josh Manson are not new to NHL trade rumors, but this seems to be the first year they’ve gained some traction. There is still no word yet, though, on whether or not Manson is actually available.
April 7: Kyle Palmieri sits out, sparking NHL trade rumors
Over the weekend, New Jersey Devils alternate captain Kyle Palmieri was pulled from the lineup for the club’s contest against the Washington Capitals, and then again for their game against the Buffalo Sabres, in an attempt to prevent injury should a trade happen. Even though Palmieri and the Devils have been trying to reach an agreement regarding a contract extension, there have been several teams that have expressed their interest in Palmieri, including the Boston Bruins.
Palmieri is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, which likely makes him a rent-a-player for a playoff contending team (like Boston). While Palmieri’s production has not been what he’s capable of this season, he has been a 20 and 30 goal scorer in the past, and could lend offense to a team looking to make a push.
April 7: Taylor Hall is scratched, too
Former Devil Taylor Hall has been on a huge scoring drought in Buffalo, posting only two goals on the season. His $8 million cap hit almost demands more production but, in Buffalo, production is hard to come by. Hall is on a one year contract and, while both parties expressed an interest in extending his contract this season, he seems to be the center of NHL trade rumors these days. Hall has been a rent-a-player before, dealt to the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline last season. That may happen again, as the rumors gained traction when he sat out for the Sabres’ contest against the New Jersey Devils on April 6 in order to prevent injury.
March 30: The Nasvhille Predators may not be sellers after all
Earlier in the season, NHL trade rumors essentialy focused on the Nashville Predators, and were fueled by comments from general manager David Poile. But, then, something happened. The Preds picked up their game, winning five straight and seven of their last ten games. Suddenly, they’re in a playoff position, and everything has changed.
This means Mattias Ekholm may not be available after all, as they’d want to keep him for the playoff push. It also means NHL trade rumors surrounding other unrestricted free agents, including Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund have quieted. Everyone that is desirable for a playoff push is suddenly extremely important to the Nashville roster.
March 30: The Panthers may look to replace Aaron Ekblad after his injury
When news broke that Aaron Ekblad’s injury would cost him the rest of his season, NHL trade rumors began swirling almost immediately. The Panthers are in a tough fight with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes for the top three spots in the Central Division, and would likely search for someone who could slot into the power play and match Ekblad’s offensive production. NHL trade rumors have given Mattias Ekholm a lot of attention, but other defenseman that could match Florida’s needs include Brandon Montour, David Savard, and Sami Vatanen.
March 30: NHL trade rumors zero in on Taylor Hall
The Buffalo Sabres are in the midst of a franchise-record 18 straight losses, and desperation has taken over the organization. Evidently, firing the head coach didn’t make much of a difference, and roster moves seem to be the next option. Former Hart-winner Taylor Hall is listed as number four on TSN’s trade bait list, likely because of the talent he’s shown in previous seasons.
He only has two goals this season–adding 16 helpers–through 34 games, and his $8 million price tag seems a bit steep. But, he is capable of adding offense to a team making a playoff push, and could be a valuable rent-a-player to a team that needs to generate more offense. Rumors have begun swirling that he would make a good fit in St. Louis with the Blues, who are also struggling of late. When he announced that he would listen to trade offers, the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs also became contenders.
TSN also noted that Brandon Montour could be dealt from Buffalo, too, placing him at number 15 on their trade bait list. The young defenseman was dealt from the Anaheim Ducks, in a trade that saw Brendan Guhle head to California. Montour, like Hall, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, as are six other Sabres (which stirs even more NHL trade rumors). The Sabres could be interested in getting something in return for Montour instead of losing him in free agency.
March 24: Patrick Marleau is open to a trade from the San Jose Sharks
Patrick Marleau, a 41-year old veteran, spent most of his career in San Jose, but has yet to secure a Stanley Cup victory. And, as his career winds down, he’s looking for that big win to cap off a productive career. So, he told The Athletic, he’s open to being dealt, sparking NHL trade rumors.
“I wouldn’t actively maybe look for it, but if it does happen or it does come, or a team wants me, that’s something you have to seriously consider,” he said. “Obviously, that’s still my goal, to win a Stanley Cup. It would definitely be something to consider.”
While he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the shortened season, Marleau would like to continue his career and could opt to head somewhere that could sign him to a new contract while giving him a shot at a Stanley Cup.
March 24: The Philadelphia Flyers will be aggressive ahead of the trade deadline
With their recent struggles, the Philadelphia Flyers have been hugely involved in NHL trade rumors. General Manager Chuck Fletcher was candid about his activity, too, saying he’s made more calls than he’s received:
“We’re certainly not looking at selling right now,” he said Wednesday. “I would say to you in my calls with managers around the League, first of all, I’ve received very few calls. It’s been really quiet in terms of receiving calls. I’ve made many. I’ve been much more aggressive, I think, than a lot of people, just looking at different options.”
He noted, though, that few clubs can take on long-term contracts and high salaries in a COVID-impacted season, but noted that he is focusing on improving the club’s defensive corps.
March 17: The Toronto Maple Leafs could be looking for a rental player before the trade deadline, according to NHL trade rumors
The Leafs currently sit first place in the North division, but seem to be losing solid grip on the position during the club’s current slump. GM Kyle Dubas offered some insight into the team’s mindset Tuesday. “It’s a rare time where probably a rental is a better fit, but that said, if it’s something we feel can improve our team long term, we’ll find a way to make it work,” he said. Considering Toronto has a quieter schedule in the coming days, they’d likely make a trade sooner rather than later to minimize impact of the mandatory 14 day quarantine (unless, of course, they made a deal with a Canadian club).
March 17: Montreal could be quiet on the trade deadline
The Montreal Canadiens started off the season with a strong push, exceeding all expectations. But, then, Carey Price struggled and the Canadiens took a nosedive. They’re now fighting for the last playoff place in the North division, which immediately prompted NHL trade rumors. But, they’re working with limited cap space, which means they’ll likely stay quiet around the deadline. General manager Marc Bergevin indicated, though, that this frees up room for prospect Cole Caufield to see some NHL ice time this season. He could join the Montreal Canadiens lineup soon after the NCAA season ends, according to Bergevin, who seems impressed with the prospect’s play so far.
March 11: The Nashville Predators will likely be sellers this season
As Elliotte Friedman noted earlier, the Nashville Predators, who hold an 11-14-1 record, have indicated that nearly everyone on their roster (save Pekka Rinne, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi) are available for trade talks. Then, Predators general manager David Poile spoke to 102.5 Sports Radio in Nashville and added another player to that list.
“I really don’t think that Filip Forsberg is going to be a guy that we have any interest in trading at this time,” he said.
That means Viktor Arvidsson, who could be a valuable addition to any team looking to make a playoff run, could be available. Arvidsson is only 27 years old, and has three years left (after this season) on a pretty tolerable contract: the average annual value is $4.25 million. Arvidsson was a 30-goal scorer in the past, and could very well light the lamp frequently on a team with more talent around him.
March 11: Washington’s goalie situation sparks NHL trade rumors
For the Capitals, the issue in the blue paint isn’t about skill. Rookie Vitek Vanecek has proven himself solid: through 20 games, he’s produced 11 wins and posted a 2.88 goals against average with a .904 save percentage. They’re impressive numbers for a 25-year old rookie. And, his partner Ilya Samsonov has looked good in the three games he’s started, too: even though he was out for a month on Covid protocol, he’s found some time to show off his skills.
In five games, Samsonov has three wins, a .907 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. While he may not be the best fantasy player, he’s off to a solid start. The issue is that neither Samsonov nor Vanecek has seen an NHL playoff game. The Caps’ third goalie, Craig Anderson, may be a veteran netminder, but he’s not stable enough to hold down the team come playoff wise. If the team is going to make a push and really compete through Alex Ovechkin’s final few years of his career, they may consider making a trade for a veteran goaltender, as Tom Gulitti reports.
March 3: Toronto’s not out of the NHL trade rumors conversation
The Maple Leafs are running away with the NHL North division, insiders are reporting that they’re looking to add depth to their roster. Darren Dreger notes that the Nashville Predators could be a viable trade option for the Leafs, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Preds have only three untouchables: Roman Josi, injured Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne.
Everyone else, Friedman says, is on the trade block. That includes Mikael Granlund, who could be on the move if the Preds retain some of his salary. He could provide depth for the Leafs’ playoff run, Friedman notes, and his versatility and ability to play on the wing and as a center provide insurance for potential (and current) injuries. While the Leafs definitely don’t have issues offensively for the time being, the extra security up front could only be beneficial.
March 3: Philadelphia is looking for a veteran defenseman
Ivan Provorov has been lights out in Philly, and is among defenseman who average the most ice time per game in the league. But, outside of Provorov and Travis Sanheim, the Flyers are struggling in their own zone. They could be looking for a solid, stay-at-home defenseman, and Mattias Ekholm’s name has come up as one of the most sought-after defensemen this season.
With the Nashville Predators, the left-handed shooter holds a $3.75 million cap hit, and can play two-way, smart hockey. The issue becomes what the Flyers–or anyone else–would have to give up in return. In a strange year cap wise, and considering Ekholm’s desirability, the defenseman could have a high price tag, which likely means a draft pick and a young prospect. While the Flyers have a serious shot at the Stanley Cup and have been playing some good hockey, they may not want to compromise their future that much–especially as the expansion draft looms.
March 3: NHL trade rumors land in Vancouver
The Canucks are playing well below expectations this season, and it’s no secret that players–including J.T. Miller–are unhappy with the team’s performance this year. The team’s amassed 20 points through 26 games, and sit second from the bottom in the Canadian division. It might be time to make some changes. By coach Travis Green’s own admission, those NHL trade rumors have honed in on Jake Virtanen.
Multiple outlets reported that a trade with the Anaheim Ducks would see Virtanen heading to California, and Vancouver would receive Danton Heinen in return. Issues with cap space and salary caps became an issue, but both players–who have struggled so far this season–could benefit from a change of scenery. Heinen is from the Vancouver area, and is a restricted free agent with a $2.88 cap hit that expires at the end of the season. Jake Virtanen has one goal through 19 games, and hasn’t scored since January 18. It would be a low-tier deal, if it still happens.
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.
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