The NHL trade deadline is March 2 and contending teams are looking for that last piece or two that will unlock the door to the Stanley Cup.
Defense is at a premium in the playoffs and some teams will be looking to bolster their top two defensive pairings. Others look for a scorer who can help them on the power play.
NHL.com came up with the top 15 trade prospects and who might be interested in them. Here are a few:
Keith Yandle, Arizona Coyotes
Contract: 1 year remaining, $5.5 million salary-cap charge
Yandle might be the most coveted defenseman who could be available for contending teams, but he also might be the most expensive because he’s not strictly a rental player. He’s ideal for any team looking to bolster one of its top-two defensive pairings, but that team would likely have to be willing to part with a high-end forward.
Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers
Andrej Sekera, Carolina Hurricanes
Contract: Pending UFA
Other than being a left-handed shot, Sekera is very much like Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, in that he’s a safe player who can log upwards of 20 minutes, join the rush, be reliable on the back end, and contribute on the penalty kill. He is a valuable asset for any team looking to bolster its defensive depth because he has the ability to play on any pair. He has a $2.75 million cap charge.
Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks
Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils
Position: Right wing
Contract: Pending UFA
Jagr is a rental player who wouldn’t cost too much, but could have an impact down the stretch for a contending team in need of a right wing on one of their top three lines and on the power play. What Jagr lacks in speed he makes up for in puck possession. He’s 43 years old but he still has the ability to control the play and create scoring chances off the wall.
Potential suitors: Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jagr is a crafty veteran and is dying to win another cup before he hangs them up. The Penguins may be tempted to try for him, given the many years he spent playing there. But Minnesota is in desperate need of offense to go along with their stellar defense and probably has the combination of prospects and young players New Jersey is looking for.
Much of the activity at the trade deadline may revolve around Toronto and their bevy of overpaid, underperforming players. It’s been a disastrous year for the richest team in hockey, trailing Boston for the last playoff spot by 14 points. It’s a dysfunctional team from top to bottom and changing the names on the backs of the jerseys is only the beginning.
Many teams will want to improve, but find the price too much to pay. As usual, expect a flurry of activity in the last hours as general managers lay their cards on the table and hope for they can pick a gem out of the trash heap.