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Ranking the 10 best trade candidates


The NHL trade deadline is just over a month away, but after Anthony Duclair was shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, it appears general managers have already started burning up the phones.

Many clubs remain on the cusp of a playoff position, meaning the next few weeks could be the tipping point in determining who will look to sell and who will look to load up ahead of the final stretch.

Here are the top 10 players who could very well be dealt ahead of the Feb. 26 deadline:

1. Evander Kane, F, Sabres

Teams that could be interested: Sharks, Blues, Kings

Kane‘s name has been among the most prevalent in trade rumors. It appears to be a given he’ll be dealt, and rightfully so, as he’s producing despite playing on the league’s second-worst team.

Given he’s tallied 35 points in 43 games in Buffalo, it would be interesting to see what he can do with a contender.

2. Mike Green, D, Red Wings

Teams that could be interested: Maple Leafs, Lightning, Capitals

The number of dependable, right-shooting veteran defensemen is slim, and Green is the best of that group.

Related: 3 teams that should be calling the Red Wings about Mike Green

Green, who earned an All-Star nod after tallying 24 points in 41 games, can slot in on the power play and be a huge boost to a club looking to fill out its D core.

3. Mike Hoffman, F, Senators

Teams that could be interested: Blues, Hurricanes, Sharks

Hoffman has one of the most lethal shots in the league.

His production hasn’t been great, but considering the tailspin the Senators have been in, his 11 goals and 29 points are decent totals. Placed on the wing of a setup man like Joe Thornton or in a solid power-play unit, he could be the perfect trigger man.

4. Max Pacioretty, F, Canadiens

Teams that could be interested: Sharks, Blues, Kings

Team captains are rarely traded at the deadline. However, with the Canadiens set to miss the postseason for just the second time in the last six years, rumors about Pacioretty being shopped have already surfaced.

Related – Pacioretty on trade rumors: ‘If it happens, it happens’

A smaller role and less responsibility on a contender could be just what Pacioretty needs to rekindle his scoring prowess.

5. Robin Lehner, G, Sabres

Teams that could be interested: Islanders, Penguins

Few goalies are available and even fewer teams are in need of one heading into the final stretch, but there could be a marriage between Robin Lehner and the New York Islanders.

Goaltending has clearly been the Islanders’ Achilles’ heel, and Lehner has been one of the better Sabres this season, putting up the sixth-best home save percentage in the NHL.

6. Thomas Vanek, F, Canucks

Teams that could be interested: Blues, Kings, Penguins

It’s time for the annual Vanek trade.

It seems teams looking to find offensive depth heading into the playoffs always look to Vanek for a cheap fill. The 29-year-old has recorded a respectable 12 goals and 29 points, including 11 power-play points, on a lowly Canucks squad.

Teams in search of the self-proclaimed power-play specialist need apply.

7. Alex Galchenyuk, F, Canadiens

Teams that could be interested: Sharks, Blues

Galchenyuk needs a fresh start.

The Canadiens forward has faced criticism for his play, been shifted from center to wing, and moved up and down the lineup. He’s just two years removed from a 30-goal campaign, and, at 23 years of age, has more to give.

Related: The time is finally right for Canadiens to trade Galchenyuk

He still has two years remaining on his deal after this season, so this would be more than your average rental.

8. Erik Gudbranson, D, Canucks

Teams that could be interested: Maple Leafs, Rangers, Islanders

Teams bidding for Gudbranson won’t get much offense, but they’ll add a dependable two-way defender who can slot nicely into a bottom pairing.

Gudbranson ranks third on the Canucks in both blocks and hits per game, while averaging 2:15 of shorthanded ice time per night.

9. Patrick Maroon, F, Oilers

Teams that could be interested: Capitals, Penguins, Sharks

Things haven’t gone according to plan for Maroon this season after he showed glimpses of promise playing alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl last year.

After erupting for 27 goals in 2016-17, he’s on pace to finish with 10 fewer this time around. That being said, he’s your quintessential sandpaper-type player with the ability to finish – ideal for playoff hockey.

10. Petr Mrazek, G, Red Wings

Teams that could be interested: Islanders, Penguins

After Lehner, Mrazek is the best goalie likely to be made available.

The Red Wings netminder will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, and while he has served largely as a backup this year, he has experience as a starter. He’s still only 25, and could serve as a depth option on a team like the Penguins.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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January 12, 2018

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