The 2021 NHL Trade deadline on April 12 is now less than a month away. At least five NHL teams are out of playoff contention and everyone expects heavy NHL trade chatter to pick up this week.
Contending teams are starting to identify NHL trade targets and the belief is we could see some movement sooner than later. One complicating factor which could push teams to act sooner is the Canadian 14-day quarantine. As of now, there’s not much indication that the two-week quarantine for any NHL player acquired by a Canadian club will be lifted. Teams in the North Division need to get a head start if they want their acquired players to have enough time to get acclimated into the lineup before the regular season ends on May 8, or thereabouts.
All eyes are turning to the Ottawa Senators. In the latest ‘Off The Record’, we take a look at one Senators player getting mentioned again in the NHL Trade chatter. And could money issues force one up-and-coming team to sell? as well as two American-based NHL teams to keep on an eye on as the deadline gets closer.
Some Boston boys are front and center.
1.) Sens UFA’s Are In-Play But What About White?
It’s no surprise that the Ottawa Senators’ upcoming unrestricted free agents are available. Artem Anisimov, Ryan Dzingel, Erik Gudbranson, Mike Reilly, and Brayden Coburn are all there for the taking at the right price right now. There’s a belief that Sens GM Pierre Dorion is interested in locking up Dzingel, whom he dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline. The new/old Senator isn’t the most interesting name being bantered about when it comes to Ottawa.
The name others are talking about is forward Colin White, who still has four seasons left on a six-year contract with a $4.7 million cap.
Off The Record:
“His name was out there at the deadline two years ago before he signed that summer,” an NHL management source said of the Boston, MA native and former Boston College star that the Senators drafted in the first round at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (15th overall).
“The Sens clearly have a lot coming through the pipeline and will have plenty of entry levels expiring at once or in consecutive years. They’re trying to filter those players in now and be a contender in a couple of years so they need to free up some term. He’s 24, he’s got term and maybe he needs a change of scenery too?”
2.) Will Coyotes Money Issues Force Firesale?
The trade many within the NHL and NHL fans outside of Arizona would love to see would be a lifelong supply of poutine, a free stay at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and whatever money it takes for the Arizona Coyotes to relocate to Quebec City. Sadly the Quebec City economy and the NHL’s seemingly unwavering life support system for the Arizona franchise won’t let that happen. However, those financial struggles and more ownership issues that were brought to light last month, have many around hockey wondering if there could be a firesale in the desert before or after the 2021 NHL trade deadline.
Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was close to being a Boston Bruin or the Vancouver Canuck this past offseason and Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong is listening again on his captain. Soon to be UFA defenseman Alex Goligoski’s name is already flying around the NHL trade rumor circuit. One would also expect to hear the names Phil Kessel, Drake Caggiula, Nicklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, and Jordan Oesterle bantered about more too.
Could Clayton Keller actually be dealt in or just after his first season of the eight-year, $56.8 contract he signed last offseason?
Off the record:
“It sounds crazy I know but prior to the contract, I heard his name more than you’d expect and now I’m hearing it again,” an NHL source told OTR when asked about a trade rumor surrounding the 22-year-old the Coyotes selected seventh overall at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
“I think we’re either going to see crickets in the desert or we’re going to see a nuclear explosion with that lineup and the direction they take going forward. I don’t know how Billy [Yotes GM Bill Armstrong] plays this. He walked into a shitstorm. I’d think trading a stud like Keller would make it worse but this is the Coyotes.”
Note: This source did stress this Armstrong isn’t shopping Keller right now. The source also suspected that a trade of this magnitude is much more likely to happen at the draft or in the offseason than prior to the NHL trade deadline.
3. Watch Out For The Wild At NHL Trade Deadline!
Raise your hand if you had the Minnesota Wild at 16-8-1 with 33 points and tied for second place in the West Division on March 14? Yeah, me neither.
Yet, Minnesota has arrived. They are proving they’re no fluke with two straight wins over the first-place Vegas Golden Knights and five of a possible eight points in one week. The Wild trail the Knights by just four points and believe they’re contenders. They’ve got cap issues with the monstrous Zach Parise and Ryan Suter contracts which will have over them for most of this decade. Minnesota will have even more problems after they sign Calder Trophy favorite Kirill Kaprizov to a well-deserved mega-extension, but GM Bill Guerin still wants to add for what he hopes to be a significant playoff run.
Don’t forget, Guerin learned at the feet of the always aggressive Jim Rutherford in Pittsburgh. Rutherford loved early deals that beat others to the punch.
Off the record:
“Billy’s going to have some cap issues to deal with that’s for sure,” an NHL scout told OTR. “He’s got other RFA’s up too. He knows that and he’s ready for that, but if he can find a good fit with a UFA before the deadline, he’ll add. This team is for real, and he doesn’t want to waste a chance.”