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Trade Coverage

Trade Deadline primer for Atlantic Division

NHL.com assesses team needs, assets, whether GMs are likely to buy, sell or stand pat

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

The NHL Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 1, and the 30 general managers in the League have until then to decide if they are going to buy, sell or stand pat. NHL.com is taking a division-by-division look at where each team stands with less than a month to go before the deadline.

Beyond the Montreal Canadiens, who hold an eight-point lead, the standings are tight in the Atlantic Division. The Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers are clustered within four points of each other, with two guaranteed Stanley Cup Playoff spots to split between them. There's a chance that by the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1 some of them will have soared, adding space, and some may have dropped out of the race, becoming sellers rather than buyers. 

Here is a Trade Deadline primer for the Atlantic Division:

NOTE: Salary-cap figures from capfriendly.com

 
MONTREAL CANADIENS (30-17-8, 68 points)

 

Where they stand: First place in Atlantic Division

What they need: No. 2 or 3 center. They added Nikita Nesterov from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 26 to address their depth on defense, but could still benefit from reinforcements up the middle.

Pending UFAs: RW Alexander Radulov, C David Desharnais, RW Brian Flynn, D Andrei Markov

Pending RFAs: C Alexander Galchenyuk, LW Jacob De La Rose, RW Sven Andrighetto, D Nathan Beaulieu, D Nikita Nesterov

Projected cap space at deadline: $4 million

Current contracts: 46 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 6 (1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Potential targets: C Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes; C Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers

Potential assets: RW Michael McCarron, C Tomas Plekanec, D Mikhail Sergachev, D Noah Juulsen

Biggest trade chip: McCarron (6-foot-6) could bring back a sizable return. He has two career NHL goals in 35 games and has yet to stick in the League, but the No. 25 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft has a lot of promise.

2016 deadline: The Canadiens made two trades, first sending forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Phillip Danault and a second-round pick in 2018. They also traded forward Devante Smith-Pelly to the New Jersey Devils for forward Stefan Matteau.

GM's deadline track record: Marc Bergevin hasn't made too many big splashes at the deadline, but two years ago he acquired center Torrey Mitchell and defenseman Jeff Petry prior to it. Of course, any GM willing to trade P.K. Subban for Shea Weber -- even though that came in the offseason -- can never be counted out.

 

OTTAWA SENATORS (27-18-6, 60 points)

 

Where they stand: Second place in Atlantic Division

What they need: Top-tier scoring. The Senators are 18th in the NHL in goals per game (2.61), so a true scorer would bolster a run to the playoffs.

Pending UFAs: C Tommy Wingels, RW Chris Neil, C Chris Kelly, C Tom Pyatt, G Mike Condon

Pending RFAs: C Jean-Gabriel Pageau, RW Curtis Lazar, LW Ryan Dzingel, D Fredrik Claesson

Projected cap space at deadline: $23.3 million

Current contracts: 44 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 4 (1, 3, 4, 6)

Potential targets: C Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes; C Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; LW Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche; RW Radim Vrbata, Arizona Coyotes

Potential assets: G Andrew Hammond, Lazar

Biggest trade chip: Lazar has the credentials as the No. 17 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, though he hasn't quite converted on that promise. In 172 League games, Lazar has 36 points (12 goals, 24 assists), but he could be a nice pickup for a team interested in nurturing him along.

2016 deadline: Former GM Bryan Murray acquired defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a nine-player trade on Feb. 9. He also traded defenseman Michael Sdao and forwards Eric O'Dell, Cole Schneider and Alex Guptill to the Buffalo Sabres for forwards Jason Akeson and Philip Varone, defenseman Jerome Leduc and a conditional 2016 seventh-round pick two days before the Feb. 29 deadline. There were two other less-complicated deals, with the Senators trading center Shane Prince and a 2016 seventh-round pick to the New York Islanders for a 2016 third-round pick, and trading defenseman Conor Allen to the Minnesota Wild for forward Michael Keranen. 

GM's deadline track record: General manager Pierre Dorion, in his first season, began his trade deadline moves by acquiring forward Tommy Wingels from the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 24, but he has no prior trade deadline history, having been hired April 10, so he'll get his first crack at it leading up to March 1. It helps that he has more cap flexibility than most other teams. 

 

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (25-17-10, 60 points)

 

Where they stand: Third place in Atlantic Division

What they need: Top-four defenseman. The Maple Leafs could use some help on defense, though it's far from assured they'll make any big moves at the trade deadline. A backup goaltender also could be a target.

Pending UFAs: RW Ben Smith, C Brooks Laich, LW Milan Michalek, C Colin Greening, D Stephane Robidas, D Roman Polak, D Matt Hunwick, G Curtis McElhinney

Pending RFAs: C Zach Hyman, RW Connor Brown, D Nikita Zaitsev, D Frank Corrado

Projected cap space at deadline: $5.5 million

Current contracts: 49 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 8 (1, 2*, 2*, 2*, 4, 5*, 6, 7) *conditional pick

Potential targets: D Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues; D Johnny Oduya, Dallas Stars 

Potential assets: F William Nylander, F James van Riemsdyk, Hunwick

Biggest trade chip: Draft picks. It seems unlikely the Maple Leafs will trade one of their exceptional rookies - like, say, Nylander - but they certainly could give up a draft pick. The Maple Leafs have one of the better crops of young players in the League and can get away without a No. 1 pick this season.

2016 deadline: The Maple Leafs were busy, trading Dion Phaneuf. They also traded forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche for forward Colin Smith and a 2016 fourth-round pick. The Maple Leafs made two trades with the San Jose Sharks. Toronto sent Polak and forward Nick Spaling to San Jose for forward Raffi Torres, a 2017 second-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick. It also traded goaltender James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin to the Sharks for goaltender Alex Stalock, Smith and a conditional 2018 conditional fourth-round pick. The Maple Leafs traded forward Daniel Winnik and a 2016 fifth-round pick to the Washington Capitals for Laich, defenseman Connor Carrick and a 2016 second-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: Though he may not make a splash this year, Lou Lamoriello has long history of making moves prior to the trade deadline, including trades for Peter Stastny, Ilya Kovalchuk and Doug Gilmour.

 

BOSTON BRUINS (26-23-6, 58 points)

 

Where they stand: Fourth place in Atlantic Division, one point behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Scoring help and a top-six wing would bolster a group that could then get stronger by being able to demote a player (or players) to improve its struggling third and fourth lines; backup goaltending. 

Pending UFAs: C Dominic Moore, D John-Michael Liles

Pending RFAs: C Ryan Spooner, RW David Pastrnak, C Austin Czarnik, LW Tim Schaller, D Joe Morrow, G Zane McIntyre

Projected cap space at deadline: $17.6 million

Current contracts: 44 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 6 (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 7)

Potential targets: C Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; D Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues; D Johnny Oduya, Dallas Stars; G Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders; G Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils

Potential assets: Spooner, D Brandon Carlo 

Biggest trade chip: Forward Zach Senyshyn was a reach at No. 15 in the 2015 NHL Draft, but he has progressed nicely, scoring 45 goals in 2015-2016 for Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League, and scoring 30 more this season as of Tuesday as a 19-year-old. 

2016 deadline: The Bruins made two trades, acquiring Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Anthony Camara, a 2016 third-round pick and a 2017 fifth-round pick, and also acquiring forward Lee Stempniak from the New Jersey Devils for a 2016 fourth-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: General manager Don Sweeney has been through one trade deadline but he was active, perhaps to the detriment of the Bruins. Sweeney traded four picks for Liles and Stempniak and kept forward Loui Eriksson in an unsuccessful effort to make the postseason. The pressure is on Sweeney and the Bruins again this season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014, especially after the firing of coach Claude Julien on Tuesday.

 

FLORIDA PANTHERS (23-19-10, 56 points)

 

Where they stand: Fifth place in Atlantic Division, three points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: After getting back forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to start February, it would be easy to believe the Panthers already have gotten what they need before the deadline. Perhaps some additional depth would come in handy.

Pending UFAs: RW Jaromir Jagr, LW Shawn Thornton, D Jakub Kindl, G Reto Berra

Pending RFAs: C Greg McKegg, C Michael Sgarbossa, D Mark Pysyk, D Alex Petrovic, C Steven Hodges

Projected cap space at deadline: $43 million

Current contracts: 47 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 6 (1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6*) *conditional pick

Potential targets: RW Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings; C Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; RW Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche

Potential assets: C Jared McCann, Jagr

Biggest trade chip: Jagr. It seems likely the Panthers are going for it after firing coach Gerard Gallant midway through the season, so there's no reason to trade Jagr. But if the Panthers decide they're out of it, maybe the ever-young Jagr sees a new address.

2016 deadline: The Panthers made four trades. They began by acquiring Kindl from the Detroit Red Wings for a 2017 sixth-round pick and trading for center Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames for future second- and fourth-round picks. Florida acquired forward Teddy Purcell from the Edmonton Oilers for a 2016 third-round pick and sent center Brandon Pirri to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2016 sixth-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: The brain trust was busy last trade deadline, trying to get the Panthers over the hump and deep into the playoffs. That didn't quite work, but president of hockey operations Dale Tallon and GM-coach Tom Rowe certainly could make a move if Florida remains in the hunt.

 

BUFFALO SABRES (22-21-10, 54 points)

 

Where they stand: Sixth place in Atlantic Division, five points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Young future talent. The Sabres could have been in the mix for the postseason had they not endured early injuries. If Buffalo is a seller at the deadline, it will need to find future assets that can augment some of the existing talent.

Pending UFAs: RW Brian Gionta, C Cody McCormick, C Cal O'Reilly, D Dmitry Kulikov, D Cody Franson, D Taylor Fedun, G Anders Nilsson

Pending RFAs: LW Marcus Foligno, C Zemgus Girgensons, C Johan Larsson, G Robin Lehner

Projected cap space at deadline: $7.6 million

Current contracts: 43 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 8 (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 6, 7)

Potential targets: None

Potential assets: Gionta, Girgensons, Foligno, Kulikov, Franson

Biggest trade chip: Kulikov. For the teams that can't get (or afford) a top defenseman on the market, like Kevin Shattenkirk, Kulikov could be an option. His cap hit is $4.33 million this season.

2016 deadline: The Sabres made three trades. They sent defenseman Mike Weber to the Capitals for a 2017 third-round pick, then traded forward Jason Akeson, forward Philip Varone, defenseman Jerome Leduc and a conditional 2016 seventh-round pick to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Michael Sdao, forward Eric O'Dell, forward Cole Schneider and forward Alex Guptill. The Sabres also got a 2016 conditional third-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks for forward Jamie McGinn.

GM's deadline track record: Tim Murray generally has been known as a dealer with the Sabres. That's unlikely to stop now, when Buffalo can acquire some useful assets in a disappointing season.

 

DETROIT RED WINGS (22-21-10, 54 points)

 

Where they stand: Seventh place in Atlantic Division, five points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Cap space. The Red Wings are all but out of the race for the 2017 playoffs and could see their 25-year postseason streak end. But general manager Ken Holland would do well to shed salary before the offseason, when he will need to find room for some important RFAs.

Pending UFAs: LW Thomas Vanek, C Steve Ott, C Joe Vitale, LW Drew Miller, D Brendan Smith

Pending RFAs: LW Tomas Tatar, RW Tomas Jurco, C Andreas Anthanasiou, D Xavier Ouellet, D Nick Jensen

Projected cap space at deadline: $4.1 million (with LTIR relief)

Current contracts: 46 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7)

Potential targets: None

Potential assets: Vanek, D Mike Green, D Brendan Smith, G Petr Mrazek

Biggest trade chip: Vanek. The pending UFA has rebounded this season, with 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 41 games for the Red Wings after scoring 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 74 games with the Minnesota Wild last season. Vanek could be a good pickup for a team in need of offense.

2016 deadline: The Red Wings made one trade, sending Kindl to the Florida Panthers for a 2017 sixth-round pick.

GM's deadline track record: Holland has gotten more conservative in recent years at the trade deadline after a record of being aggressive. But it will be different for Holland this year; he has no experience as a seller. 

 

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (24-24-6, 54 points)

 

Where they stand: Eighth place in Atlantic Division, five points behind Philadelphia Flyers for second wild card in Eastern Conference

What they need: Defense. The Lightning are building for the future, not for this season, but it would behoove them to acquire defensive help if they are able to move assets before the deadline. 

Pending UFAs: C Brian Boyle, D Luke Witkowski, G Ben Bishop

Pending RFAs: C Tyler Johnson, LW Ondrej Palat, LW Jonathan Drouin, LW Michael Bournival, C Gabriel Dumont, D Andrej Sustr, D Jake Dotchin

Projected cap space at deadline: $8.2 million (with LITR relief)

Current contracts: 47 of 50

2017 NHL Draft selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7)

Potential targets: None

Potential assets: Bishop, F Alex Killorn, F Vladislav Namestnikov

Biggest trade chip: Bishop. He could make the difference for a team on the cusp of a postseason run without a reliable goaltender - say, the St. Louis Blues or Dallas Stars. The Lightning already have their goalie of the future in Andrei Vasilevskiy, making Bishop expendable for a good return before he becomes a UFA.

2016 deadline: The Lightning did not make any trades.

GM's deadline track record: Any GM who trades Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan prior to the trade deadline, as Steve Yzerman did in 2014, is one who will do what he must. Steve Yzerman has proven to be smart and savvy and will be looking to improve the Lightning for the future.

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