With the 2019-20 calendar of the NHL entering a new calendar year, the trading deadline of February 24 is less than eight weeks. Speculation will soon grow among fans and experts about which players might be available in the commercial market.
Most teams that are sellers can wait until the deadline to buy their available assets approaches in the hope of attracting better returns. Potential buyers, especially those in danger of getting out of the playoff dispute, could aggressively pursue that talent throughout January.
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Here is a look at several players who could be on the move long before the exchange deadline.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
With Taylor Hall no longer available, Kreider can become the most desirable player in the commercial market. Rangers under reconstruction could separate from the 28-year-old left wing, which is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Blueshirts tend to wait until the deadline for sending players approaches, but they may be attracted to separate from Kreider earlier for the right price.
Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings
If the Rangers hold on to Kreider until the day of the deadline, Toffoli could become a more attractive business target. The versatile 27-year-old is also scheduled to become a UFA at the end of the season and may not fit into the Kings' long-term reconstruction plans.
Los Angeles must replenish its portfolio of potential customers and could use Toffoli as a commercial chip to address that need. A recent report linked Toffoli with the Edmonton Oilers.
Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet recently speculated that several clubs might show some interest in Saad, 27, who is currently sidelined three weeks for an ankle injury. Unlike other players on this list, Saad has one more year remaining in his contract, and an annual salary cap of $ 6 million.
If the Blackhawks are willing to absorb part of that blow of the cap, Saad could look for a young and promising defense.
Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators
The 27-year-old forward has had problems since joining the Minnesota Wild Predators on the exchange deadline last season. Having reached or exceeded 41 points five times during his seven-year term with the Wild, Granlund scored only 19 points in 48 games in Nashville. Adam Vingan, of Athletic, suggested that he could make an interesting business card for the Predators and, as a free agent without restrictions in July, he could hit the commercial block again if the Predators fail to gain ground in the classification.
Alex Galchenyuk, Pittsburgh Penguins
Like Granlund, Galchenyuk is a pending UFA who struggles to score with his current club. The 25-year-old works on the fourth Pittsburgh line and has scored only 13 points in 30 games, well below the pace of more than 40 points from his previous five seasons in Montreal and Arizona.
As penguins devastated by injuries become healthier, Galchenyuk could become the strange man in his attack lines.
Zach Bogosian, Buffalo Sabers
According to reports, the 29-year-old defender requested an exchange before the recent freeze on the vacation list. Bogosian's injury history and the $ 5.14 million salary hit could make it a difficult sale. Given the lack of quality blueliners available in the commercial market, perhaps a club that is looking for defensive depth could take a risk in the rear right-handed shot.
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Most business talks involving senators focus on the pending center of the UFA, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but there is no certainty that they will buy it before the trade deadline. With Anders Nilsson now considered the Ottawa starter, the team could separate from the 38-year-old Anderson.
His contract entails a cap of $ 4.75 million and a list of 10 teams without an exchange, but a contender who needs goal assistance could consider Anderson a viable option as a backup, especially if senators get part of their salary.