The NHL trade deadline is nearly here, which means time is of the essence for would-be contenders to load up for a run at the Stanley Cup.
The 2018 rumor mill already features a great many compelling storylines. And while pipe dreams of a John Tavares or Erik Karlsson blockbuster might qualify as a little too bold for the NHL's taste, there's enough rumors and speculation to keep things interesting right down to the final cutoff.
This year's trade bait list features your usual crop of rentals. Buffalo's Evander Kane, Detroit's Mike Green and the Rangers' Rick Nash — all pending unrestricted free agents — figure to swap their basement dwellings for a taste of the playoffs. And then there's a bounty of big names with term toiling on teams fixing for a reset — Ottawa's Mike Hoffman, Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to name a few.
Of course, it could always turn into an anticlimactic snoozefest like the 2017 version. Let's not think that way, though.
Here's everything you need to know as the NHL trade deadline approaches.
When is the NHL trade deadline?
The NHL trade deadline is Monday, Feb. 26. Teams have until 3 p.m. ET to report trades to the league office, though news of some of the last-minute transactions may leak out shortly after the deadline.
Who are the top targets at the NHL trade deadline?
Rick Nash, Rangers
Evander Kane, Sabres
Mike Hoffman, Senators
Max Pacioretty, Canadiens
Patrick Maroon, Oilers
Derick Brassard, Senators
Alex Galchenyuk, Canadiens
John Tavares, Islanders
TRADE TRACKER: Rumors, reported deals before the 2018 deadline
Ryan McDonagh, Rangers
Jack Johnson, Blue Jackets
Mike Green, Red Wings
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Coyotes
Erik Karlsson, Senators
Latest NHL trade rumors and news
Bruins trade for Rangers defenseman (no, not that one)
Those hoping for Ryan McDonagh in Beantown experienced a fleeting moment of joy with Tuesday's announcement of a trade between the Bruins and Rangers. Instead, a different Rangers defenseman, Nick Holden, is on his way to Boston in exchange for AHL blueliner Rob O'Gara and a 2018 third-round draft pick.
Canucks re-sign Erik Gudbranson
The trade market lost a veteran defenseman Tuesday when the Canucks re-signed Erik Gudbranson to a three-year, $12 million extension. Gudbranson, somehow still only 26, is something of a polarizing figure in Vancouver. A would-be unrestricted free agent this summer, he had garnered a fair share of interest as a rental, but opted instead to see the Canucks' rebuild through, at least for the next three years.
Flyers find fill-in goalie for playoff push
Petr Mrazek is headed from Detroit to Philadelphia to man the Flyers' net in place of injured Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth. The Red Wings receive a pair of conditional draft picks in return: A 2018 fourth-rounder and a 2019 third-rounder. Detroit also agreed to retain half of Mrazek's salary.
TSN's Bob McKenzie has the details on the conditions of the second pick:
DET guaranteed no less than a 4th round for Mrazek. If PHI makes playoffs and Mrazek wins 5 games for PHI in reg season, 4th becomes a 3rd. If PHI advances to CF, and Mrazek wins six playoff games, the 3rd becomes a 2nd. If PHI re-signs him next season, DET gets PHI 3rd in 19.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 20, 2018
So the minimum DET gets for Mrazek is a fourth-round pick, that could become a third- or a second-round pick, dependent on how Mrazek/Flyers perform. The additional pick, a third-rounder, is conditional only on Mrazek re-signing in PHI.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 20, 2018
Kings get Dion Phaneuf from Senators
Dion Phaneuf is headed to the Kings as part of a four-player trade that officially ushered in the NHL trade season. The veteran defenseman was whisked away mid-game Tuesday while the Senators were playing the Penguins, stoking trade chatter. An hour later, it was announced Phaneuf is dealt to Los Angeles along with forward Nate Thompson with forwards Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore headed to Ottawa.
Predators, Lightning plan for Stanley Cup push
A bunch of NHL teams are still posturing, and the next three weeks will determine whether many become a buyer, seller or stands pat. The league-leading Lightning and defending Western Conference champion Predators already have a pretty good idea about their plans as Stanley Cup front runners.
Via TSN's Bob McKenzie:© (SN illustration) NHL trade deadline 2018
...I would say the appetite to do everything possible to set themselves up for a run is as high or higher in TB and NSH than anywhere else in the league. Both franchises are extremely well positioned to sacrifice picks/prospects to get immediate help...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
TB has all of its own draft picks for the next three years; NSH still owns its first-round picks for the next three years and while they have dealt some 2nd and 3rd round picks the Preds are still relatively well positioned in that regard...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
TB, in particular, have a lot of prospects in the pipeline that could also be included in a trade. TB primary desire is for a veteran defenceman; NSH primary target would be a top six scoring winger...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
...I think TB and NSH are keeping open minds on all possibilities, which is to suggest they won’t limit themselves to either “rentals” or guys with term. Whatever makes sense in each specific case, whatever could make them better...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
...Both teams appear to looking at the usual (trade bait) suspects. Bearing in mind “looking at” isn’t the same as “trading for,” TB, for example, would be doing due diligence on a bunch of D, including a guy like NYR Ryan McDonagh amongst others...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
...NSH, meanwhile, would be looking at all scoring winger possibilities and that list may include guys like Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar in DET, though no one is suggesting DET is for sure moving those guys...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
...as much as rentals may seem the way to go for financial/cap reasons, TB and NSH would both feel they’re positioned well for the next number of years to contend, so if the right deal for a term player could be struck, it may be a better option...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018
That's a lot to digest and, as McKenzie notes, is little more than food for thought at this stage.
Henrik Lundqvist committed to Rangers rebuild
Details: A New York Post report detailed the Rangers' willingness to trade off veterans such as Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello, all of whom carry contracts which expire this offseason or next. In other words, the Blueshirts may blow things up. And while that would seem to place 35-year-old Henrik Lundqvist's future with the franchise in question, the longtime Rangers netminder says he wants to stick around and "battle through the ups and downs, the good and the bad."
Islanders GM: 'I'm not trading John Tavares'
John Tavares, a pending unrestricted free agent, remains without a contract extension. And as the Islanders slip up in the Metropolitan Division playoff race, speculation grows about whether GM Garth Snow should trade the face of the franchise rather than lose him for nothing July 1. It sounds like that speculation is unfounded.
“I’m not trading John Tavares,’’ the Islanders general manager told The Athletic.
Source : http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/nhl-trade-rumors-deadline-date-top-targets-latest-news-as-trade-talks-heat-up/ar-BBJqAEt