It’s a customer market this year, but given that the demand for depth of defense is always high, could this be the position where we see the most movement in the NHL’s trading term?
Anything can happen within that timeframe – especially in a year as unpredictable as this one, while a few teams are still crossing the line between competition and not. But when we’re close to 3pm on Monday, here’s a group of reserve guards to keep an eye on.
All contract information can be obtained at CapFriendly.com
David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap hit: $ 4.25 million (pending UFA)
With Mattias Ekholm (mostly?) Off the board, Savard is the new player of the blue line in the deadline. And while Columbus ’heavy fortune continues with a string of defeats and a string of injuries, everything is just assured that Savard will be on the move.
Whoever puts this 30-year-old right bullet on hold until UFA gets their physicality and sandpaper – and a lot of it. Savard plays a really tough game, eats the hardest minutes and could be a serious force in the off-season when the opponent is especially tough to play. We see the same things over and over again: finesse and offensive strength lead you to the playoffs, and toughness keeps you in them. And it’s worth a lot there.
Another blue jacket to look out for: Michael Del Zotto, 30, could fill an in-depth role for a team that envisions a long and exhausting playoff series. His $ 700,000 hit is certainly tempting.
Brandon Montour, Buffalo Sabers
Cap hit: $ 3.85 million (pending UFA)
Buffalo Sabers are open for business and motivated to sell, and should not have a shortage of interested buyers inquiring about Montour. Although there are generally more sellers than buyers coming this year, Montour could still bring Buffalo a decent return given the high demand for veterans and the somewhat shallow talent fund. This is especially true when it comes to clean rented spare parts, such as Montour. With teams hesitant to accept players with a term in this flat cap, the time before the expansion we live in, Montour feels like a safe bet for a team in need of defense and it’s worth wondering if Saber will drive the price by offering to keep a small salary.
This 26-year-old right-winger is currently in the Sabers ’third pair, but from his days in Anaheim we know he is able to play a bigger role in the right situation and can also contribute offensively. Late we see some glimpses of that offense – all five of his goals this season have arrived in the past month, and four of them have been scored in the last five games.
Another Saber that could be on the move: Colin Miller has another year left on his contract, $ 3.875 million per contract. A 28-year-old right-handed shot from a right-handed weapon would be a strong candidate for a deeper role as an opponent.
Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks
Cap hit: $ 4.1 million (still in contract for 2021-22)
If Manson isn’t moved by the deadline, it probably won’t be due to a lack of teams calling him and trying to take him away. Since the Ducks are leaning towards rebuilding, they are motivated to sell – but with a player like Manson, who is still on a one-year contract with $ 4.1 million, this doesn’t look like a deal they should rush to if the real buyer doesn’t comes before the deadline. He fits in great with the Ducks, but he may not fit well into what this team wants to achieve by starting a youth movement.
Manson’s term provides good value to a solid defender who can play a physical match, but may actually prevent some teams from calling. Like GMs like Kyle Dubas of Toronto, they were reluctant to add money even after this year because of the flat cap. However, another year of a strong defender with 4.1 million dollars must be attractive, for example, to Florida or Carolina – it is rumored for both of them to watch the right D.
Manson has missed much of his time this season with a hair injury and is limited to just 14 games. After a failure in early March, he has now returned to the squad for two weeks and looks good. Manson has some control here, as a modified trade-off clause allows him to submit a list of 12 trade-off destinations.
Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues
Cap hit: $ 1.875 million (pending RFA)
This one feels like a little strained and certainly wouldn’t be your typical hiring scenario – RFA is finally on hold – but the Blues are in a tough spot and you have to wonder if GM Doug Armstrong is going to shake things up a bit in an attempt to get his team back in quarrel.
Dunn has long projected itself as a promising young part of this blue line, but this is not a late smooth connection. He was vocal in his desire for a bigger role, but struggled when it was given to her, and a stalemate in a contract that ended with a one-year deal on Dec. 31 means new negotiations follow, and this one has all the changes — the landscape is coming. Young offensive men with a limit below $ 2 million don’t often make money in the trading market, and it might just be the Blues ’ticket to scoring goals or regaining property. With an abundance of assets and a bit of newfound flexibility, maybe Montreal is calling?
Dmitry Kulikov, New Jersey Devils
Cap hit: $ 1.15 million (pending UFA)
The New Jersey Devils shared their two most acceptable strikers with Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajc. Can I supply a few blue lines now? Of those who qualify, Kulikov makes no effort at all. He got a small kick and matches the depth defender’s account that we so often see is moved on time, and he’s on the team motivated to sell.
Two more devils to watch: Sami Vatanen (29 years old, $ 2 million hit) and Ryan Murray (27 years old, $ 4.6 million hit) are on hold for UFAs that could move.
Alex Goligoski, Arizona Coyotes
Cap hit: $ 5.475 million (pending UFA)
CEO Bill Armstrong is currently sitting in a difficult position. The Coyotes are currently in the playoffs. Stay in that fourth place and run into the league’s best team in Colorado Avalanche with little chance of survival. Sell a few pieces in an attempt to recoup much-needed assets to rebuild, and you send the worst message to your players who have fought so fiercely and to the fans who support them.
If he decides on some arrangements, a player like Goligoski’s defender could be a candidate for hire. The waiting UFA is heating up, putting together a series of five-game assists in the last 10 days. However, he had a hard hit and a modified NTC that allows him to secure eight banned teams. Niklas Hjalmarsson, if he can be healthy, could be the one to watch.
Jamie Oleksiak, Dallas Stars
Cap hit: $ 2.1375 million (pending UFA)
If you’re a Leafs fan, think of Elliotte Friedman’s 8th place latest release 31 Thoughts aroused your interest:
If Toronto opts for a defensive defender, I could see Jamie Oleksiak of Dallas thinking.
Like the Blues, the Stars are a powerful team ready for the playoffs that simply has no success. None of the players are responsible for that – a severe COVID outbreak, a brutal winter storm in the area and injuries have largely taken root here, and Dallas has responded wonderfully. But like the Blues, a jump may be needed here before it’s too late. Waiting for UFA, which was previously traded and returned, Oleksiak could be a strong candidate with a decent market.
Marc Staal, Detroit Red Wings
Cap hit: $ 5.7 million (pending UFA)
Trading a $ 5.7 million limit in this climate? That seems impossible. But there may be some massage to get this job done.
Making a veteran experience is always a smart move and you have to believe that Staal will welcome the opportunity to fight again and give up his no-move clause. With the flexibility of Detroit’s cap, the club is one of the few that could take advantage of salary retention – and even take on a higher limit for other assets – at the right price as part of any potential deals.
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators
Cap hit: $ 3.75 million (still in contract for 2021-22)
So you say there is a chance …
Honestly, probably not. But given how many trading lures were at the top just a month ago, it seems still worth mentioning here at the bottom. Just in case. An incredible run of wins completely changed Nashville’s fortunes, changing David Poile’s GM priorities moving down the stock, while the Predators considered “kings” from this year’s deadline became a team to chase the crown on their own. Ekholm still has a year of contract, which makes it less and less desirable as a deadline – maybe he agreed on a draft enlargement this summer? – given that teams might be reluctant to add an appointment now. But if the price for Poile is appropriate, do you think he made this move?