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NHL Trade Buzz: McDavid injury could impact Oilers' deadline approach

Penguins can be patient after acquiring Zucker; Kings UFAs drawing interest

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 13 days remaining until the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline (Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. ET), and has all the important news, rumblings and analysis heading toward the deadline.



Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid's absence could affect what the Oilers do prior to the trade deadline.

McDavid will be out 2-3 weeks with a left quad injury he sustained in a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. He had 81 points (30 goals, 51 assists) in 55 games this season.

"Good question: yes and no," Edmonton general manager Ken Holland said Tuesday. "First off, the win-loss record is going to affect my thinking. We still have four games this week, then we play Wednesday. We have seven games before the deadline, so certainly we have to win some hockey games to be in a position to do something."

The Oilers (29-20-6) are in second place in the Pacific Division, three points behind the Vancouver Canucks. The Calgary Flames, who hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, are tied in points with the Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights. Edmonton plays the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Place on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNW, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV).


Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins acquired forward Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild on Monday in a trade for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft or the 2021 NHL Draft. Zucker, who has three years remaining on the five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed with the Wild on July 25, 2018, has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 45 games this season.

Will the Penguins do more before the deadline? General manager Jim Rutherford said he'll see how the next few games play out. The progress of injured defensemen John Marino and Brian Dumoulin is key too. Marino is out 3-6 weeks after having facial surgery Monday and Dumoulin was expected to miss at least eight weeks after having surgery on his left ankle Dec. 1.

"We'll watch our team play here," Rutherford said Monday. "Probably 48 hours before the deadline we'll have a better idea of if we have to add somebody somewhere. Of course, we'll have a better idea then when Marino and Dumoulin are coming back. The nice thing about this deal is it gives us a little time to see where we're at."

The Penguins (34-15-6) are second in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals and two points ahead of the third-place New York Islanders after a 2-1 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.


Los Angeles Kings

General manager Rob Blake said he's received plenty of phone calls regarding Los Angeles' pending unrestricted free agents as the deadline approaches.

"I think you look at the UFAs and the teams that are out in the playoffs, they're ready to move those UFAs," Blake told on Sunday. "The teams that are looking for something, they're all checking options. Those calls are made here pretty regularly."

Forwards Tyler Toffoli and Trevor Lewis, and defensemen Ben Hutton, Joakim Ryan and Derek Forbort are among the pending UFAs for the Kings (19-33-5), who are last in the Western Conference. Defenseman Alec Martinez, who has one year remaining on his contract, also could garner interest ahead of the deadline. The Kings have made one move, trading goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Trevor Moore, a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2021 Draft on Feb. 5.

The Kings are looking for draft picks and prospects.

"We've been very vocal this year about that," Blake said. "Last year and this year when we sat back and we looked at the structure of our team structure, the contracts, expiring contracts at hand, and the lack of draft picks over the years there, we had to replenish that. Last year and this year, the main focus has been on that."


Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings defenseman Mike Green could be traded before the deadline and he knows it.

"You realize the business part of it," Green told the Detroit Free Press before the Red Wings lost 3-2 at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. "The situation we're in, we're more vulnerable here. But the commitment to the day-to-day process within this dressing room doesn't change."

The Red Wings (14-40-4) are last in the Eastern Conference. Green, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 43 games this season.

Minnesota Wild

If the Wild don't improve in the standings in the next few weeks, there could be more changes coming to the lineup.

Minnesota traded forward Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft or the 2021 NHL Draft.

"I can promise you this. If there is quit, there will be more trades," general manager Bill Guerin said before the Wild played the Vegas Golden Knights at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday. "So, I wholeheartedly expect this team to compete for a playoff spot. We're right there, and if there's any signs of anybody taking their foot off the gas, that will be an indication."

The Wild (26-23-6) are five points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

"Player-wise, trades are hard. I know first-hand," Guerin said. "They're tough when you're the guy getting traded and it's tough when you see one of our teammates and your buddies going the other way. But it's part of the life we signed up for."


Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury he sustained in the third period of Colorado's 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, coach Jared Bednar told Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM on Tuesday. 

"It's a big loss for us, but we've done a nice job over the course of the year, other guys stepping up their games," Bednar said. "With what we've done at previous portions of the year, I'm confident the rest of the team can step up and fill that void. The most important thing is that [Kadri] takes some time here and gets healthy and gets ready to go. Hopefully it's sooner rather than later, but it will be weeks, not days."

Kadri has helped the Avalanche's scoring depth, with 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 51 games. His absence means Colorado's search for another forward at the deadline becomes that much more important.

The Avalanche (32-16-6) are second in the Central Division, three points behind the first-place St. Louis Blues and three points ahead of the third-place Dallas Stars. Colorado plays the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, RDS, TSN5, NHL.TV). 


Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks could be making a few moves at the trade deadline, and Michael Del Zotto could be one of those departing. But the defenseman, who was traded from the Ducks to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 25, 2019, only to re-sign with the Ducks on July 16, is familiar with the possibilities this time of year.

"It is what it is," Del Zotto told The Athletic. "You got to look at it as every game is either a showcase for your team or another one. Whether it's the team you're on trying to retain you or team trying to move for you. Every game you got to prove you belong in the League and you belong on the ice every single night."

Del Zotto has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 36 games for the Ducks (23-26-7), who are 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Ducks play the St. Louis Blues at Honda Center on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-MW, NHL.TV).

Tweet from @TheAthleticLA: "You got to look at it as every game is either a showcase for your team or another one.���Ducks defenseman Michael Del Zotto explains to @icemancometh what it's like being a trade target as the deadline nears. independent correspondent Wes Crosby contributed to this report.

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