With the NHL trade deadline being a little bit over a month away, teams are beginning to find out if they will be buyers, sellers, or just do nothing in terms of trading. Here’s what I think each team’s status should be as of right now:
Anaheim Ducks: Sellers
Listen, everybody loves the unexpected run the Ducks have gone on this season, it’s been exciting to watch the young guns in Trevor Zegras, Sonny Milano, Troy Terry, etc do their thing.
BUT, the Ducks, in my opinion, are still in the retooling period, and with the likes of Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and Rickard Rakell all on expiring contracts heading into the deadline, I think the smart thing to do is move them, especially considering you could probably net two first-round picks and one second, minimum for the three of them.
The Ducks are going to be really good in the future, but for now, they’re a first-round exit to Colorado, Las Vegas, or basically any other Pacific Division playoff team at best. Sell pieces, retool this offseason, and begin the hunt for the playoffs next season.
Arizona Coyotes: Sellers
I think this is an obvious one, but expect the Coyotes to be sellers at the deadline.
They’ve got their main selling piece in Phil Kessel, and some depth options to sell in Johan Larsson, Travis Boyd, and Ilya Lyubushkin. They’ve obviously got the big fish in Jakob Chychrun, but I wonder if that’s more of an offseason trade.
Also expect the Coyotes to take on salary to help contending teams navigate trades at the deadline, collecting more draft picks and prospects along the way.
Boston Bruins: Buyers
The Bruins should 100% be buyers at this years deadline.
For starters, Patrice Bergeron is a UFA after this season, and he’s considering retirement. Along with that Brad Marchand is getting older, and David Pastrnak will become a UFA in the 2023 offseason. This may be the last season that the Bruins have a chance at a Stanley Cup in a very long time.
They have trade chips in their 2022, and even maybe 2023 first-round pick, along with some options in Jake DeBrusk, and prospects. They should be one of the biggest buyers at the deadline this year.
Buffalo Sabres: Sellers
For the last decade, the Sabres have been sellers at the deadline, and that’ll be no different this year.
Admittedly, the team doesn’t have a hot commodity of wanted players, but there’s some depth options in Mark Pysyk, Colin Miller, Robert Hagg, and Cody Eakin that’ll get some looks.
The Sabres are another team I could see taking on salary at the deadline to help facilitate trades in order to get draft stock back.
Calgary Flames: Buyers
Brad Treliving hasn’t been known to make big splashes throughout his career in Calgary, but that trade to acquire Tyler Toffoli has suddenly given the fanbase some hope.
The Flames are still looking to add to their offensive depth, and are also in the market for a top-four defenseman, according to reports. I think they’re going to do their best to land both needs, but it’ll be hard to do so without a first-round pick in this years draft class.
Nonetheless, expect the Flames to be active buyers.
Carolina Hurricanes: Buyers
There’s been many reports saying that the Hurricanes are willing to look at any trade options to acquire at the deadline, so I expect them to be heavily active buyers as well.
Thanks to their elite scouting, they’ve got a plethora of prospect options to use as trade bait at the deadline to make up for their lack of a 2022 first-round pick. I don’t think they’ll be shy with moving their 2023 pick either.
The Hurricanes, like the Flames, will be active in the forward and defensemen market, and they’ll have the advantage of actually attracting players to their market because it isn’t in Canada.
Chicago Blackhawks: Sellers
The Blackhawks came into this season with a plan: make the playoffs.
That didn’t happen. In fact, they’re so far below .500 that playoffs are virtually impossible at this point, even as a second wild card spot. So now, they move to being sellers.
The Blackhawks have some trade chips to work with in Marc-Andre Fleury, Dominik Kubalik, Calvin de Haan, and Kevin Lankinen, which gives them the opportunity to stockpile picks and prospects, which they’ll desperately need.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they likely won’t have their first this year unless it miracously lands in the top-two of the draft, so they’ll be looking to add a first to their arsenal at the deadline. I’m not sure if any of the pieces they’re selling would land them that, though.
Colorado Avalanche: Buyers
The Avalanche are all but confirmed to be buyers at the deadline this year.
They have their first-round pick, they have the assets to facilitate a trade, and they’re believed to be the main place that Claude Giroux wants to go.
There’s not much to say here. It’s obvious they’ll be looking to add, and they probably will. This is going to be a hard team to beat in the playoffs.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Stay Put
The Blue Jackets haven’t been bad enough to tank, and haven’t been good enough to contend for a playoff spot, and that’s okay.
They have their own first-round pick, along with the Blackhawks’ pick (once again, assuming it isn’t top-two in the draft), they have a ton of really nice prospects, and a solid foundation to build around in the NHL.
I don’t think they’ll do much, if anything at this deadline, and that’s fine. The future of the Blue Jackets is in good hands.
Dallas Stars: Stay Put
This might be a hot take, but I think the Stars shouldn’t do anything at the deadline.
To me, the Stars, no matter what they do, just aren’t going to contend for a Stanley Cup this season. They’re not the best at anything in the league, they’ve had rough stints through the season, and their coaching staff isn’t great either.
Will they sell? No, Jim Nill isn’t going to rebuild at this stage of his career. Is the team in a position to buy? No.
Detroit Red Wings: Stay Put
The Detroit Red Wings are going to be a playoff team next season, but they’ll be on the outside looking in this year, and like the Blue Jackets, that is okay.
The Red Wings have the youth in Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. They’ve got the foundation in Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Jakub Vrana. They’re going to be fine.
They may be light sellers, moving guys like Marc Staal, or Nick Leddy. But I don’t expect them to have a full-on firesale considering how close they are to finally being good again.
Edmonton Oilers: Buyers
This is pretty obvious. When you have two top-five players in the world, you better be a buyer every single season.
The Oilers could use some depth scoring, some help defensively, and hell, even some goaltending. I don’t think they’re contenders this year, but if they want a chance to be, they better be active on the phones.
A few weeks ago, Ken Holland said he doesn’t want to use a pick from the first, second or third round in any trades. We’ll see if that has changed since then.
Florida Panthers: Buyers
Personally, I think if the Panthers didn’t make a single move at the deadline, they’d still win the Stanley Cup.
BUT, I do think they want to acquire one more defenseman, preferably a top-four guy. This will be hard considering they don’t have a first-round pick in this years draft class.
I think they’ll look at guys like Ben Chiarot, Mark Giordano, and Colin Miller.
Los Angeles Kings: Stay Put
The Kings are going to run the Western Conference for at least five years after this season, so for the love of god please be patient.
Even if you add to this team, can they contend against the juggernauts of the West? Probably not, so there’s no need to sacrifice the youth for what will be a stopgap.
This team is a playoff team, run with the lineup you have now, let the youth in Byfield, Durzi, Kaliyev, and Petersen gain some playoff experience, and move into next year with a more confident squad.
Minnesota Wild: Buyers
The Wild will definitely be buyers at the deadline. We all know Bill Guerin isn’t shy to shake things up at any time, that’s what makes him an entertaining GM to focus on, whether he wins or loses the trades.
The Wild are likely in the market for some forwards, but I think their main focus should be a goaltender. I don’t think the current tandem they have is enough to push for a Stanley Cup.
No matter what they do, the Wild will be active in the trade market. So be ready.
Montreal Canadiens: Sellers
Do I even have to write anything?
They’re by far the worst team in the league this season, but they have a ton of assets to sell, and will likely end up with 3-4 first-round picks in this years draft alone if they play their cards right.
Nashville Predators: Stay Put
I know, I know. The Predators have had a magical run.
What I also know is that they aren’t beating the Avalanche or Golden Knights in a seven-game series, Filip Forsberg is a pending UFA, and Juuse Saros has been a large reason that this team is in a playoff spot.
Should they sell? No, definitely not. But let’s be realistic here, this team isn’t in a position to buy at the moment.
New Jersey Devils: Sellers
I so desperately want the Devils to get out of mediocrity, but every year we seem to be writing the same story come trade deadline time.
The team is currently sitting so far out of a wild card spot that they can’t even see it with a telescope. I’m not sure what assets they have to sell.
Pavel Zacha? Damon Severson? Whatever they have that people are interested in, sell and move on.
New York Islanders: Stay Put
1.There’s still a chance they push for the 2WC spot.
2.Nobody wants what they have.
New York Rangers: Buyers
I love the Rangers, I don’t think they’ll win a Stanley Cup no matter what they do, simply because you have to lose in the playoffs before you can win it all, that’s just the way that it happens in the NHL.
However, I do think they can enhance their chances of going further with some additions at the deadline, specifically at forward.
I think they’ll be the team that brings in Artturi Lehkonen, I just hope they don’t break the bank at this deadline. They’re still a young team with a bright future, no need to waste it all on one run this early.
Ottawa Senators: Stay Put
I just personally don’t think the Senators have much to sell? Their foundation is practically set within their franchise, it’s just too young to be contending for a playoff spot yet.
Maybe they sell guys like Nick Paul and Zach Sanford, but those won’t net much. Just chill out, make your moves in the offseason and start fresh next season.
Philadelphia Flyers: Sellers
The Flyers will sell whatever they can at this deadline.
Claude Giroux is as good as gone. I’d expect that they want Rasmus Ristolainen and Martin Jones gone for whatever they can get as well. I’d have added Keith Yandle in there too, but c’mon, it’s Keith Yandle.
The Flyers will, I think, go into a more aggressive rebuild this offseason, but these expiring contracts at the deadline will be the first move towards a full-on rebuild.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Buyers
It’s year 2,789 of “this is the last run for the Penguins with Sidney Crosby.”
But seriously, I’d expect the Penguins to be buyers at the deadline, not sure where they hope to improve, but they’ll definitely be active, like they always are.
San Jose Sharks: Stay Put
A couple of months ago I would’ve had them at sellers, even in a playoff spot, but I think with recent reports of there being a chance of an extension between the Sharks and Tomas Hertl, the team should just stay put.
Of course, this all changes if Hertl says he wants out, or doesn’t want to sign a contract before the deadline. However, I think he wants to be in NorCal, so for now, I have the Sharks staying put.
Seattle Kraken: Sellers
Ron Francis hasn’t really put this team in a prime position to sell, as he went cheap in the expansion draft, and heavy in free agency, but there’s still some pieces that could be moved.
For starters, Mark Giordano, as mentioned earlier, is one. He’ll likely net a first and a prospect. After him, Calle Jarnkrok is an option that many around the league seem to be fond of.
But yeah, it’s… not looking great in Seattle.
St. Louis Blues: Buyers
It’s been reported that the Blues are set to be buyers at the deadline, and that they’re even willing to give up their first-round pick for the right player.
I think they’ll buy quite a bit, as this seems like their best chance at contending since that 2019 run. They’ve got an even better roster this season than they did that season.
Ben Chiarot is a name I’ve seen them linked to countless times, and I think they really want to add a defenseman, so…
Tampa Bay Lightning: Stay Put
Don’t even think about circumventing the cap.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Buyers
The Maple Leafs will once again be buyers at this years deadline, let’s hope it goes better than the Nick Foligno acquisition.
I think the Maple Leafs will be in the market mainly for a veteran top-four defenseman. I could see Ben Chiarot, I could also see a player like Colin Miller.
I don’t think they’re in the market for a forward.
Vancouver Canucks: Stay Put
Wait until the offseason, then let Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin build the team they want to build.
Don’t make panic moves just for the sake of making moves at the deadline. You’ve got a ton of valuable assets with term, just take your time.
Vegas Golden Knights: Stay Put
You have no money.
Washington Capitals: Buyers
The Capitals are going to be buyers at the deadline, there’s no doubt about that.
I think they’re mainly looking for a starting goaltender, which is why Marc-Andre Fleury would’ve been such a good fit. Sadly, he is too loyal to his old-team in Pittsburgh, and has declined going to the nation’s capitol many, many times.
That being said, don’t expect the Capitals to be shy. They want to contend with Ovechkin, they’re willing to move any picks and prospects to make it happen.
Winnipeg Jets: Honestly, no clue.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I have no clue what the Winnipeg Jets should do now, or in the future.
They’re too good to tank, too bad to contend. They can’t attract any big name free agents because the team is placed in Manitoba, and basically no trade chip with a NMC is willing to waive it for Winnipeg, either.
You can’t have a firesale because this is the closest your team has been to good since Ilya Kovalchuk was in Atlanta, but you can’t buy because, as I said, Winnipeg.
I love the Jets, but their market just makes it tough to acquire basically anybody of value, and it’s hard to build a team into a contender there.