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NHL Trade Buzz: Devils could move several players

Wild unsure of deadline plan; Flames may bolster defensemen

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 19 days remaining until the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET; Feb. 24), and has all the important news, rumblings and analysis heading toward the deadline.

Here is a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:


MORE DEADLINE COVERAGE: Top trade targets | Maple Leafs could acquire goalie


New Jersey Devils

The Devils (18-24-10), who are last in the Metropolitan Division, could be sellers by the 2020 deadline.

Forwards Wayne Simmonds and Kevin Rooney, defensemen Sami Vatanen and Andy Greene, and goalie Louis Domingue each can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac each has this season and next remaining on his contract before he can become a UFA on July 1, 2021. Zajac and Greene each has a no-trade clause and has met with general manager Tom Fitzgerald about his future. Palmieri, who has an eight-team no-trade clause in his contract, has not.

Palmieri, 29, has 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) in 48 games. Zajac, 34, has 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) and a 52.9 percent face-off winning percentage in 52 games. Greene, 37, the Devils captain, leads New Jersey with 117 blocked shots and is averaging 20:07 in ice time.

"At the end of the day, I still want to have a big part with the [Devils] and I still believe I can play and be an important player," Zajac said. "I'm still in a position where I'm an important part of the team. I play a lot, play in different situations and I'm relied upon as a leader so those are things I value, and I think I can still provide."

Video: NJD@WSH: Simmonds scores from doorstep


Minnesota Wild

The next two weeks could determine whether the Wild will be buyers or sellers before the deadline.

Minnesota (24-22-6) trails the Calgary Flames by six points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with 30 games remaining.

"I'm still to be determined," Wild general manager Bill Guerin told "We have [2 1/2] weeks. I like our players. They love playing in Minnesota and a lot of them are signed. I'm not in a rush to put anybody out the door."

Forward Marcus Foligno, who has this season and next remaining on his contract, has 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) and leads the Wild with 142 hits in 42 games.

"There could be guys in here that we don't want to see go," Foligno told the Pioneer Press. "Or it could be the other way where we're really close and do something to get better; we want to be in that position."

Mikko Koivu is the only potential unrestricted free agent after this season and has a no-movement clause in his contract. The 36-year-old center and Guerin have had discussions. 

"Mikko and I have a really good relationship," Guerin said. "We've gotten to know each other a lot over this season and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. We've had some good conversations, but nothing really in depth or anything like that."


Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are unsure if they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

Buffalo (23-23-7) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division, 11 points behind the third-place Florida Panthers and 12 points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"We have [nine] games before the [deadline]," Sabres general manager Jason Botterill told WGR 550 in Buffalo on Tuesday, prior to a 6-1 home loss to the Colorado Avalanche. "We want to see what materializes in these 10 games. You're having conversations with teams on both sides to be prepared for both scenarios."

Buffalo has several players who could become unrestricted free agents after this season, including forwards Michael Frolik, Conor Sheary, Jimmy Vesey, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson, and defenseman Zach Bogosian.

"There's always urgency to do something … I think you look at our team, you look at portions of our season, we've played very well," Botterill said. "But over the course of the bulk of it, the majority of the season, we haven't gotten the results we wanted. … The entire group … we haven't done it well enough."


Calgary Flames

Mark Giordano's health will likely determine whether the Flames look to add a defenseman prior to the deadline.

Giordano sustained a lower-body injury in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. He missed practice Wednesday and had an MRI.

"He's your captain. It's a huge piece for us," Flames coach Geoff Ward said Wednesday. "Not only are you losing a guy that's your top-two defenseman, you're losing potentially your leader if it turns out to be something serious for some period of time. Anytime you lose a guy of that stature out of your lineup, it has the potential to have a big impact."

The Flames (27-21-6), who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, host the Nashville Predators on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-TN, NHL.TV). They are 1-3-1 in their past five games and 2-4-1 in their past seven.

Giordano has 27 points (five goals, 22 assists) and is averaging 23:57 of ice time in 54 games.

If Giordano is out for an extended period, Oliver Kylington could receive a bigger role. Kylington, who was a healthy scratch Tuesday, has four points (one goal, three assists) averaging 13:33 of ice time in 40 games this season.


Columbus Blue Jackets

Josh Anderson could draw interest from teams seeking a forward, but it's uncertain whether the Blue Jackets would be willing to trade him.

Anderson, who has not played since Dec. 14 because of a shoulder injury, has four points this season. The pending restricted free agent had an NHL career-high 27 goals and 47 points last season.

"He's a big part of our core group here and one of the guys who was valued at the American Hockey League level (with Lake Erie) when we won the championship there (in 2015-16) when he was part of that group," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on Wednesday. "A lot of those guys are here now, and we hope to keep building. So we hope he gets healthy soon and gets back to playing."

The Blue Jackets (29-16-9) lead the New York Islanders by one point for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

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