Predicting the Most Active Teams at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Predicting the Most Active Teams at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline

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    Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.

    Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The NHL’s annual trade deadline is
    scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on March 3. While we’re still
    three months away from that date, it’s a good opportunity to get an
    early start on predicting which teams could be the most active
    leading up to deadline day.

    Some teams, like the Chicago
    Blackhawks, are in the midst of rebuilding their rosters and already
    sinking in the standings. They’re the most likely to become sellers,
    attempting to peddle players who no longer fit into their future
    plans for draft picks and promising youngsters.

    Others, such as the defending Stanley
    Cup champion Colorado Avalanche or Boston Bruins, are likely to become buyers as they look to give themselves a better opportunity at winning the Cup.

    Of course, a lot could happen over the
    next three months that could affect how active those teams become in
    the trade market. Nevertheless, we anticipate that the following
    eight clubs—four buyers and four sellers—will be busy as
    deadline day draws near.

    Do you agree or disagree with our
    predictions? Is there a club on this list that doesn’t belong or one
    that you feel we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section.

Buyer: Boston Bruins

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    Boston Bruins

    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Despite starting the season with stars
    Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy recovering from offseason surgeries,
    the Boston Bruins stormed from the gate. With Marchand and McAvoy back in the lineup, the Bruins, who were sitting second in the overall NHL standings heading into play Friday, look like early favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

    manager Don Sweeney has shown a willingness to wheel and deal near
    the trade deadline. Defenseman Hampus
    Lindholm was acquired before last season’s deadline, while winger
    Taylor Hall was brought in at the 2021 deadline.

    Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David
    Krejci are the only Bruins remaining from the 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team. This season could be the last opportunity for those aging stars
    to win a championship. Boston is pressed for salary-cap space, but given Sweeney’s history of deadline deals, it’ll likely be active leading up to March 3.

    The Bruins could consider balancing
    their blue line
    with another right-shot defenseman. They might also
    seek a middle-six forward for their second or third line. That could
    involve trading a salaried player in a dollar-in, dollar-out deal. If
    a Bruin ends up on long-term injured reserve, Sweeney could use that
    salary-cap relief to his advantage in the trade market.

Seller: Anaheim Ducks

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    Anaheim Ducks

    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    The Anaheim Ducks are in the midst of a roster rebuild under general manager Pat Verbeek. He shipped out pending free-agent defensemen like Josh Manson and
    Hampus Lindholm at last season’s deadline. Verbeek also traded pending UFA winger Rickard Rakell to the Pittsburgh

    Stuck at the bottom of the NHL
    standings, the Ducks are unlikely to surge into playoff contention
    before the March 3 deadline. That could send Verbeek into the
    trade market to peddle more pending UFAs for draft picks,
    prospects and young players.

    Verbeek once again has some pending free-agent blueliners to dangle as trade bait for postseason contenders that are seeking
    experienced defensive depth. John Klingberg, Kevin Shattenkirk and
    Dmitry Kulikov could draw various degrees of interest.

    Forwards Adam Henrique and Jakob
    Silfverberg could also become valuable trade chips. Both have a year
    remaining on their respective deals, with annual average values between $5.3
    million and $5.8 million. The 32-year-olds also have modified
    no-trade clauses but might not object to getting dealt to a contender
    before deadline day.

Buyer: Colorado Avalanche

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    Colorado Avalanche

    Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Colorado Avalanche became Stanley
    Cup champions last season in part because of their acquisitions
    leading up to the trade deadline. Defenseman Josh Manson and forwards
    Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Cogliano played key roles in the championship run, earning themselves contract extensions.

    Joe Sakic was the general manager
    behind those moves. He has since moved up to the Avalanche’s
    president of hockey operations, and we can expect his successor, Chris
    MacFarland, to monitor the trade market for deals that improve the team’s chances of successfully defending the Cup.

    The Avalanche will have a projected
    $5.2 million in cap space at the trade deadline. That could provide
    them with some wiggle room to bring in a player or two.

    MacFarland could seek an experienced second-line center to fill the void left by Nazem Kadri’s offseason departure to the Calgary Flames. Bringing in a second- or
    third-pairing defenseman could be another option given Bowen Byram’s
    injury history. The Avs GM could also look at bolstering the checking-line depth.

Seller: Chicago Blackhawks

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    Chicago Blackhawks

    Chris Tanouye/NHLI via Getty Images

    When the Chicago Blackhawks officially
    Kyle Davidson as general manager on March 1, he said that it
    was time for his club to rebuild. He wasted little time getting
    started, trading notable players like Brandon Hagel and Marc-André Fleury by the March 21 trade deadline.

    With the Blackhawks sinking toward the
    bottom of the NHL standings, expect Davidson to become a seller once
    again. His moves last season brought in young
    players Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk (both now 24) along with two conditional
    first-round picks and a second-rounder.

    Longtime Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane
    and Jonathan Toews are slated to become unrestricted free agents in
    July. Each will draw plenty of interest from playoff contenders if
    they agree to waive their no-movement clauses. However, their hefty
    $10.5 million cap hits could require the Blackhawks to retain up to
    half of their remaining salaries.

    Pending UFAs like Max Domi and Andreas
    Athanasiou could be enticing to contenders that are seeking affordable
    secondary scoring. Both are on one-year, $3 million contracts. Jujhar
    Khaira ($975,000 cap hit) could be a good fit with a playoff team
    looking for checking-line grit.

Buyer: New York Rangers

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    New York Rangers

    Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

    The New York Rangers returned to the
    playoffs last season for the first time since 2017, reaching the
    Eastern Conference Final before bowing out to the Tampa Bay
    Lightning. With expectations raised by that performance, general
    manager Chris Drury could be active in the trade market.

    Drury proved last season that he’s
    willing to make moves near the deadline, bringing in rental players
    such as Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, Frank Vatrano and Justin Braun. He
    could be busy again this campaign, especially if New York is still
    jockeying for a wild-card spot when the calendar flips to March.

    Unlike last season, the Rangers aren’t
    as flush with cap space, carrying a projected $6.7 million of room. Nevertheless, Drury will likely attempt to find a deal
    that can not only improve his club’s chances of clinching a playoff
    berth but also stage a run for the Stanley Cup.

    The Rangers lack an experienced scoring
    right winger and are using Jimmy Vesey, Vitali Kravtsov and
    Kaapo Kakko in that role. They could also use a reliable center for
    their second line if Vincent Trocheck or Filip Chytil continues to
    struggle in that role.

Seller: Arizona Coyotes

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    Arizona Coyotes

    Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

    The rebuild continues for the Arizona
    Coyotes. General manager Bill Armstrong has been shipping out
    veterans for young players, draft picks and prospects since taking
    the job in September 2020. Ilya Lyubushkin, Ryan Dzingel, Johan Larsson, Riley
    Nash and Scott Wedgewood were dealt leading up to last
    season’s deadline

    Armstrong is attempting to build up his
    roster with younger players currently in the lineup such as Clayton
    Keller, Matias Maccelli, Dylan Guenther, J.J. Moser and Barrett
    Hayton. He also has promising talent such as Logan Cooley and Conor
    Geekie in his prospect pipeline.

    The Coyotes have 14 picks in the 2024
    NHL draft and 10 in the 2025 draft but just seven picks for 2023.
    Armstrong could attempt to load up with more picks and perhaps add
    some prospects prior to this year’s trade deadline.

    He has one big trade chip in
    defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who’s been the subject of trade rumors for
    some time. Pending free agents such as blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere
    and forward Nick Bjugstad could also become trade candidates.

Buyer: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Vaughn Ridley/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Toronto Maple Leafs’ last Stanley
    Cup was in 1967. Their last playoff series victory was in 2004. This
    is a franchise under pressure from a demanding fanbase. General
    manager Kyle Dubas’ job could depend on the moves he makes leading up
    to the trade deadline.

    Dubas hasn’t been afraid to make deals in years past. He brought in Mark Giordano and
    Colin Blackwell last season; Nick Foligno, Stefan Noesen, Riley Nash, Ben Hutton and
    David Rittich in 2021; Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford in 2020; and
    Jake Muzzin in 2019. Only Giordano, Muzzin and Clifford remain.

    The Leafs have a projected $7.9 million in cap space. With Muzzin potentially sidelined
    for the remainder of the season with a cervical spine injury, Dubas
    could go shopping for a top-four shutdown defenseman or perhaps a
    puck-moving right-shot blueliner.

    That’s not the only spot in the roster
    that Dubas could attempt to address. He might consider adding a
    reliable checking line center. Depending on the health of oft-injured
    Matt Murray, the Leafs GM could look for an experienced, affordable
    third-string goaltender.

Seller: Montreal Canadiens

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    Montreal Canadiens

    Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

    Since Jeff Gorton took over as vice
    president of hockey operations and Kent Hughes became general manager
    last season, the Montreal Canadiens have focused on rebuilding with
    youth. That involved being active in the trade market.

    From February 14 to March 21, Hughes
    traded winger Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames, shipped defenseman
    Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers, dealt winger Artturi Lehkonen to
    the Colorado Avalanche and peddled blueliner Brett Kulak to the
    Edmonton Oilers. The Habs GM should be active again in the weeks
    leading up to this season’s deadline.

    The Canadiens are having a
    better-than-expected start this season after finishing dead last
    in 2021-22. However, they lack experienced blue-line depth, a
    reliable starting goalie and power-play proficiency. Those issues
    should prevent them from reaching the playoffs, leading to several pending free agents hitting the trade block.

    Sean Monahan could become a valuable
    trade target for teams that are seeking a second-line center.
    Fellow free-agents-to-be Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov will also be
    available. Veterans with a year
    remaining on their contracts, such as defenseman Joel Edmundson and
    winger Mike Hoffman, could also end up getting dealt by March 3.

    Salary info and trade histories via Cap Friendly. Line combinations via Daily Faceoff.

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