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Big Names on the Move: NHL Trade Deadline Preview

Dec 2, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jake Guentzel (59) reacts / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the Trade Deadline fast approaching, it is time to look at the names that are going to be the topic of conversation this week. If you are among the optimistic bunch, this part of the season always brings hope. Sellers look ahead to new prospects, draft picks, and a potentially fruitful future. While buyers are gearing up for a postseason run with the hopes of adding a household name to an already successful roster.

The most dangerous spot to be in sports is when your team is stuck between being very bad and very good. An average team with an aging roster can cause management jobs to become vacant and fans to lose their gleam. This year we are seeing teams like Pittsburgh, Washington, Calgary, and Ottawa stuck in this dangerous zone. The next week will decide the trajectory of these franchises as they decide how to handle their aging superstars and whether to tear it down or try to make a late push into the postseason.

Come Friday many of these names will have new homes. Here is a categorization of the names we will potentially see on the trade block. Alongside them are the teams potentially looking to fill their void with a player of that caliber.


Jake Guentzel, Adam Henrique, Noah Hanifin, Brock Nelson, Juuse Saros, Boone Jenner.

Teams looking to make a big splash: Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Names like these will have you walking with your head held high, feeling invincible. For the most part, adding a first-line superstar at the deadline rarely leads to a Stanley Cup. But seeing a name like this acquired by your team across the ticker during the deadline frenzy. This will have you feeling like it’s about to be your year.

Veteran Forwards

Jason Zucker, Tyler Toffoli, Vladimir Tarasenko, Lars Eller, Rickard Rikell, Rielly Smith, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Eberle, Anthony Mantha, Max Pacioretty, Claude Giroux, Frank Vatrano.

Teams with cap space and building: Vegas Golden Knights, New York Rangers, LA Kings, Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, and the Winnipeg Jets.

Adding one of these players is the equivalent of finding a twenty-dollar bill between the couch cushions. It’ll make your day a little better but nothing life-changing. Veteran forwards are arguably the most valuable piece to add to a cup-contending roster.


Matt Dumba, Jakob Chychrun, Justin Schultz, K’Andre Miller.

Teams who need stability on the backend: Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Vancouver Canucks.

If your team adds a stable defencemen to your squad at the deadline what does it mean? It’s like getting new tires on your car. They add safety and maybe a subtle shine but ultimately aren’t the flashy goal scorer every team hopes for. Ultimately adding a name like these listed is invaluable come the grind of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Stable Goaltenders

John Gibson, Jacob Markstrom, Elvis Merzlikins.

Teams looking for an anchor in the net: The New Jersey Devils and The Carolina Hurricanes.

Rarely does a team win the Stanley Cup without their goalie single-handedly winning games along the way. These goalies can change the makeup of a roster. For teams like the Devils and Hurricanes, adding a quality goaltender could be the difference between a first-round playoff exit/making the playoffs and a deep run.

Depth Pieces

Jack Roslovic, Kaapo Kahkonen, Kyle Okoposo, Tyler Johnson, Anthony Beauvillier, Tanner Pearson, Jake Allen, David Savard, Cal Clutterbuck, Dominik Kubalik, Scott Laughton, Mike Hoffman, Marco Sacndella, Kasperi Kapanen, Nic Dowd, Joel Edmundson.

Teams needing depth: Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, and the Boston Bruins.

Names like these barely get you to stop scrolling. Maybe they will get you a goal or two down the stretch but often are just fillers to an already stacked roster.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this. Come 3 pm Eastern on Friday, March 8th, the league will be separated into buyers/sellers & winners/losers. Regardless of what you added or lost, appreciate the highs of a playoff push or the spark a young prospect can add to a lost season. If your team has 30 wins and there’s nothing left to play for, the draft is right around the corner.

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