NHL Trade Deadline Targets & Rumors 2022

The NHL Trade Deadline is only a week away on Monday, March 21.  Throughout the league, there is a general feeling of anticipation and excitement of what contending clubs might do and what rebuilding teams could get in return to help return them to playoff contention.  Some teams will be looking to secure a top-four position and home-ice advantage in their respective conferences, while other teams are simply looking to lock down a wild-card berth in the 2021-22 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The top contenders for the Stanley Cup the Colorado Avalanche, who are the favorites at +425 followed by the Florida Panthers at +700, Carolina Hurricanes (+1000) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+1100) will all be looking to make moves; the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning (+750) seems to have their lineup set and the Vegas Golden Knights (+1100) already have made a big trade this season acquiring Jack Eichel from Buffalo in November.  Teams such as the Boston Bruins (+1400), Los Angeles Kings (+5000), Minnesota Wild (+2200), New York Rangers (+2000), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1600), St. Louis Blues (+2500) and Washington Capitals (+3000) will all look to makes move to improve their chances of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.  The Calgary Flames, +900 to win the Stanley Cup made one of the first big moves of 2022, when they acquired two-way forward Tyler Toffoli from the Montreal Canadiens; through his first 10 games with Calgary, he scored six goals.  The deal helps to provide secondary scoring and keep the team at the top of the Pacific Division. 

Notable NHL Trade Targets

Claude Giroux: Philadelphia Flyers – Center

Claude Giroux, the Flyers captain has 41 points this year (17 goals and 24 assists).  The 2021-22 All-Star Game MVP has 12 points on the power play this season (three goals and nine assists).  He’s versatile, capable of playing all three forward positions and still a competent offensive player.  Playing in his 15th season, he has been excellent in the face-off circle winning 61.1% of his draws.  Giroux is second in Flyers’ history in games played, assists and points, only behind two-time Stanley Cup champion and Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke in all three categories.

Philadelphia’s asking price for Giroux could be a combination of a first-round pick, a young NHL player, and a quality prospect.  He carries a cap hit of $8.275 in the final season of an eight-year contract he signed in 2013.  Giroux does have a no-movement clause in his deal, but I imagine he would waive it to play for the Stanley Cup; having lost his only chance to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.

He would instantly slot in on one of the two top lines on the Avalanche and could be the offensive piece that makes them a juggernaut.  Currently, Colorado is the favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +425, with the injury to Gabriel Landeskog is this a trade the Avalanche now need to get done?  Giroux would address one of the biggest roster weaknesses for the Bruins at second-line center.  Florida would also be an excellent spot for Giroux as he could put the Panthers over the top in the Eastern Conference.  They probably could offer the best package with young forward Owen Tippett and a prospect such as Michael Benning or Mackie Samoskevich in return.   The Rangers looking for scoring depth would be interested in the Flyers captain, but would Philadelphia trade Giroux to their division rival?  If New York dangled backup goalie Alexander Georgiev or prospect Vitali Kravtsovin a trade package, would the Flyers have second thoughts?

Marc Andre-Fleury: Chicago Blackhawks – Goalie

2020-21 Vezina Trophy winner, Marc Andre-Fleury has started 43 games in his first season with the Chicago Blackhawks.  “The Flower” is 19-20-4 with a .908 save percentage and a 2.92 GAA.  The 18-year veteran is tied for third in the NHL with four shutouts.

The 37-year-old goaltender has hoisted the Stanley Cup three times while with the Pittsburgh Penguins and has played in the Stanley Cup Finals five times; including leading the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 to the Stanley Cup Finals in which they ultimately lost to the Washington Capitals.  Fleury’s career playoff record is 62-51 with a save percentage of .908 and a 2.65 GAA.

I see three teams a legitimate landing spots for Fleury, they are the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals. For the Colorado Avalanche the time is now to win the Stanley Cup.  If you’re Colorado GM Joe Sakic, do you truly believe Darcy Kuemper could backstop the club to a championship or do you swing for the fences and add a goalie with Marc Andre-Fleury’s resume?  Would you offer the Blackhawks current backup Pavel Francouz or 20-year-old defenseman Bowen Byram who was the fourth pick in the 2019 draft (and currently away from the club due to personal reasons) and/or a combination of draft picks and prospects?  The Maple Leafs number one goalie Jack Campbell suffered a rib injury and is out for at least two weeks.  The 2021-22 All-Star is 24-9-4 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.65 GAA.  But since January 8th he is 7-4-2 with a 4.00 GAA and an .872 save percentage in 15 games, allowing at least three goals 12 times.   Toronto will go with Peter Mrazek for now, but an upgrade to Marc Andre-Fleury would certainly improve the Maple Leafs to win their first Stanley Cup since 1966-67.  Per TSN.ca, Petr Mrazek could be part of a package going to Chicago, as his $3.8-million salary could offset the $3.5 million that would count against the cap if Toronto were to acquire Fleury with Chicago retaining 50% of his salary.  But I highly doubt the Blackhawks would have interest in Mrazek.  No doubt Chicago would ask for a young NHL player along with a draft pick and/or a high-level prospect.  If the Capitals acquired the Blackhawks netminder, his addition would provide the stability and veteran presence with playoff experience they’re currently lacking in their crease with Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek.  With Fleury between the pipes, the Capitals safely secure in the second wild card spot with 74 points (through March 13) could move up the Metropolitan Division standings and possibly secure home-ice advantage for the opening round of the playoffs (and improve their chance for a deep playoff run).  In return, the Capitals could offer Vanecek to Chicago if they still believe Samsonov is their future starter who could benefit from Fleury “showing” him how to win in the playoffs?

John Klingberg: Dallas Stars – Defenseman

John Klingberg has 31 points in 50 games this season.  He has 16 points on the power play in 2021-22.  The puck moving defenseman’s name has been in the rumor mill for the whole season; this has intensified after he made comments to the media about the lack of progress on a contract extension.  He has a cap hit of $4.5 million this season, so any team acquiring him would have to have room under the salary cap to acquire him. 

Dallas is one of several teams trying to secure a playoff berth: through mid-March they’re battling multiple teams for a wild card spot including Los Angeles, Edmonton, Nashville, and Vegas. 

The Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings are the teams I see as possible landing spots for Klingberg who just broke his 25-game streak without a goal. 

When Carolina’s top scoring defenseman Anthony DeAngelo returns from injury, Klingberg could be the final piece in the Hurricanes attempt to win their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.  He could play the right side in the first or second defensive pairing for Carolina.  The Hurricanes do not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft but per NHL.com have extra picks in the sixth and seventh rounds. A package that could be offered is either Martin Necas or Seth Jarvis and/or has been suggested on TSN.ca, Carolina could also offer Ethan Bear and his $2 million cap hit.

Per CapFriendly.com, the Panthers have approximately $4.6 million in deadline cap space to fit in the remainder of Klingberg’s salary. Florida does not have a first-round pick in the 2022 draft to offer but has their first-round pick in 2023.  An offer that could be reasonable is a second or third round pick in this year’s draft plus either Owen Tippet (if he’s not traded to Philadelphia for Claude Giroux) or defenseman Ollie Juolevi, who has appeared in 10 games for Florida this campaign.

The Predators have not been able to replace Ryan Ellis after dealing him to the Flyers last summer.  The right-handed Klingberg’s puck-moving abilities would fill the void on the right side of their defense.  Salary-cap space wouldn’t be an issue with the Predators.  Per CapFriendly, with a cap payroll of $71 million Nashville can absorb Klingberg’s cap hit if he chooses.  They can offer Dallas their first-round pick in this year’s draft and an extra third-rounder, which would be enticing. 

With $7.9 million in projected trade-deadline cap space, Los Angeles has enough room to take on the remainder of Klingberg’s $4.5 million cap hit.  Per NHL.com, the Kings have $57.9 million invested in 12 active roster players for the 2022-23 season, which is enough room to sign the defenseman to a long-term extension worth around $7.5 million annually.  If I’m Klingberg this is the club, I’m pushing to be traded to because of the possible contract extension.  Los Angeles could offer a combination of draft picks and/or players such as Alex Turcotte, the fifth pick in the 2019 draft, Helge Grans and Gabriel Vilardi, the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft who had 23 points in 54 games for the Kings last season.

Jacob Chychrun: Arizona Coyotes – Defenseman

Jacob Chychrun is one of the most desirable players on the trade market due his age, 23 and the fact he is signed through the 2024-25 season at a very team-friendly salary cap hit of $4.6 million, per CapFriendly.com.  He is an excellent player capable of making a difference at any point of the game. The Coyotes number six is a legit top-four defenseman who’s averaging 22:59 of ice time per game this season.  The 23-year-old is a contributor on the power play (37 career points on the man advantage) and penalty kill while playing on the left side of the blue line.  On the season, Chrychrun who has dealt with injuries has 21 points in 47 games (seven goals and 14 assists).  He did leave Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins with a lower body injury, teams will have to monitor that before they’d acquire him.  It’s been reported on Sportsnet, that Arizona is looking for a package that includes a young player, a prospect, and a first-round pick.

The Boston Bruins would be a good fit for the sixth-year defenseman.  A defensive first pairing of Chychrun and Charlie McAvoy, or a second pairing of Chychrun and Brandon Carlo would be a significant boost to Boston’s blue line.  The Bruins would have to give up at least one first round pick, a second-round pick, and a quality young NHL player. 

Another good fit for Chychrun would be the New York Rangers, where he could pair with either Adam Fox or Jacob Trouba.  New York has players such as Vitali Kravtsov, ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft, Nils Lundkvist, drafted 28th overall by New York in the 2018 draft, young NHL defenseman K’Andre Miller, 14 points in 59 games with the Rangers this campaign and possibly backup goaltender Alexander Georgiev, 7-9-2 with a GAA of 3.15 and a .893 save percentage to offer Arizona plus draft picks.    

The Florida Panthers aiming for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, with 85 points in mid-March also has eyes for the Coyotes defenseman.  Pairing up the left-handed Chychrun with Aaron Ekland would arguably give Florida the best defensive pairing in the league.  The Panthers seem willing to trade Owen Tippett, who seems to be mentioned in any big trade Florida would like to make.  

Los Angles could also be great spot for him.  They most likely have to offer a similar package in which they would for John Klingberg (see above).

Tomas Hertl: San Jose Sharks – Center

Tomas Hertl’s name seems to now be popping up more in trade rumors as the deadline quickly approaches.  He’s a player I could see San Jose moving for a young NHL ready plus draft picks and/or prospects.  Hertl is tied for the team lead in goals on the Sharks with 25 and places second on the club in points with 46 through 58 contests (on pace for about 65 points).  On the power this season he has 12 points (four goals and eight assists) and averaging 19:46 of ice time per game.  Hertl is as reliable an offensive contributor as they come, never dropping below a 60-point pace since the 2018-19 season. He has scored 20 goals in a single season four times and 24 career playoff goals in 62 Stanley Cup playoff games.

The Sharks’ center is a versatile two-way threat, who also plays a prominent role on San Jose’s penalty kill.  One of Colorado’s weaknesses on the season is their penalty kill but remember teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks during their title runs from 2010-16 had poor penalty kill units but managed to outskate and dominate teams offensively on a nightly basis; that’s a blueprint the Avalanche can look to as well.  Hertl also provides insurance for Nadri Kadri who’s having a career year and can make up for the loss of Gabriel Landeskog to a knee injury. 

Hertl’s two-way skills would make him a prime fit as the Bruins’ second-line center. However, they would have to give up a lot for a possible playoff rental.  Per CapFriendly.com, Boston has approximately $5.56 million in cap room at the deadline.  Hertl’s contract pays him $5.625 million, would Boston dare offer Charlie Coyle, who’s salary cap hit is $5 million and/or a package centered around winger Jake DeBrusk. 

The Minnesota Wild would also be players for the Sharks ninth year center, but they could have salary cap issues.  The Wild have young players such as center Marco Rossi, defenseman Calen Addison and goalie Jesper Wallstedt that they could offer San Jose.

Other teams such as the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers will make offers to the Sharks if they do intend to trade Tomas Hertl.

Scott is graduate of Hofstra University and has worked in the sports media for over 20 years as a Producer and Writer. His dream is to see the New York Jets one day hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He lives outside of Chicago with his wife and two children.

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