Each week, NHL.com goes Behind the Numbers, using underlying statistics to identify trends and areas of improvement for teams and players, and predict what could happen in upcoming games.
Today, NHL.com looks at five needs teams will try to fill before the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 24 and players who could be prime candidates to do so.
New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman is the first name that comes to mind in this category. Coleman has been a top-six forward with the Devils since left wing Taylor Hall was traded to the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 16, an indication of how versatile he is. Coleman's underlying statistics show he's improved with additional ice time. His puck possession metrics increased from minus-30 in 5-on-5 shot attempts in an average of 12:25 of 5-on-5 ice time in 32 games before Hall was traded to plus-21 in an average of 14:29 of 5-on-5 ice time in 16 games since the trade. Coleman leads the Devils with 16 even-strength goals and has scored the most goals (19) of any NHL player with at least 140 hits. His combination of physicality and goal-scoring makes him an ideal candidate for any team looking to solidify third-line depth. Coleman is in the second season of a three-year contract.
Video: NJD@WSH: Coleman nets SHG on breakaway
New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev is 12-10-1 with two shutouts and a .910 save percentage in 23 games this season. Despite starting 22 games, one fewer than teammate Henrik Lundqvist, Georgiev leads the Rangers in wins and shutouts, and is an intriguing candidate for a backup role on a contending team, or he could challenge for the No. 1 job on a team fighting for spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Georgiev's success is not exclusive to this season. Last season, he had 14 wins, two shutouts and a .914 save percentage in 33 games. One of Georgiev's strengths is facing opposing teams' power play, where his .887 save percentage is tied for 11th in the NHL with Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights (minimum 23 games). This statistic is impressive considering the Rangers penalty kill is 22nd in the NHL at 78.5 percent. Georgiev can become a restricted free agent July 1 and could be the missing piece for a team needing depth in goal.
Video: NYR@NYI: Georgiev stops Beauvillier, Cizikas in order
One of the most sought-after positions every season at the trade deadline is a shutdown defenseman who can bring physicality and play big minutes. One such player who fits that mold is Brenden Dillon, who leads the San Jose Sharks with 155 hits in 50 games and is fifth in time on ice per game at 19:04. Dillon's versatility is exemplified by the fact that he averages 1:59 of shorthanded ice time per game on the top penalty kill in the NHL (87.7 percent). Dillon excels at blocking shots, ranking fourth on the Sharks with 56, and he is plus-35 on 5-on-5 shot attempts, second among Sharks defensemen after Erik Karlsson (plus-77). Dillon is in the final season of a five-year contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Video: NYR@SJS: Dillon cranks slap shot from the high slot
Ottawa Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau is on pace for an NHL career-high 54 points this season, but he's also excelling in the face-off circle. His 412 face-off wins are 18th in the NHL, and his face-off winning percentage of 52.9 percent is 14th among the 23 players to have taken at least 750 face-offs this season. He's also been successful in crucial situations. He's won 51.4 percent of his defensive-zone face-offs, 10th-most among the 21 forwards to take at least 300 defensive-zone face-offs, and his winning percentage of 48.4 percent in shorthanded situations is 10th among 28 forwards to take at least 100 shorthanded face-offs. Pageau is in the final season of a three-year contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Video: TBL@OTT: Pageau blasts one-timer for game-tying PPG
Rangers forward Chris Kreider is a fixture on their top power-play unit, which is ninth in the NHL at 21.6 percent. Kreider is tied with Mika Zibanejad for the Rangers lead with seven power-play goals and tied with Kaapo Kakko for sixth with 10 power-play points. Kreider is tied for 17th in the NHL (with 17 others) in power-play goals, and his 3:42 of ice time per game on the man-advantage is tied for 21st with Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and T.J. Oshie of the Washington Capitals among NHL forwards to play at least 40 games. He is one of 12 NHL forwards to score at least six power-play goals in each of the four seasons since 2016-17, so he'd be a significant addition for any team trying to improve its power play down the stretch. Kreider can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Video: NYR@NYI: Kreider buries rebound for go-ahead PPG