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Behind The Numbers

Analyzing top NHL Trade Deadline candidates

Patrick Sharp of Stars, Radim Vrbata of Coyotes could be on move before March 1

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent

The NHL Trade Deadline is March 1, and some prominent names have been circulating in the rumor mill, including forwards Jarome Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche, Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres, Patrick Sharp of the Dallas Stars and Radim Vrbata of the Arizona Coyotes.

Each of these players would eat up a good chunk of salary-cap space, but based on their underlying numbers, they would add some combination of grit, experience, high shot volumes, and secondary scoring down the stretch.

In each of the past two weeks, we dove into the underlying numbers to gain more insight into eight other players (Feb. 2, Feb. 9) rumored to be available at the trade deadline. This week, we'll use similar statistics to get a better understanding of this batch of players who might be changing jerseys soon.


Jarome Iginla, RW, Colorado Avalanche

As one of the most accomplished players in League history who has never won the Stanley Cup, Iginla may be eager to move to a top contender by March 1. At 39, time is running out for Iginla to accomplish one of the few achievements that has eluded him.

Iginla's even-strength ice time has dropped from 15:14 per game in 2014-15, his first in Colorado, to 12:26 this season, tied for eighth among Avalanche forwards. His scoring has dropped from 29 goals and 59 points in 82 games in 2014-15 to seven goals and 15 points in 54 games this season.

Despite his decline in production, and his cap charge of $5.33 million, according to, Iginla could be the perfect addition for a team looking to add experience, leadership and grit at the deadline. Among active NHL players, Iginla ranks second in games played (1,528) and goals (618), and is third in points (1,288).

Video: SJS@COL: Iginla buries a one-timer for a PPG


Evander Kane, LW, Buffalo Sabres

If he doesn't figure prominently into Buffalo's long-term plans, then Kane could be available as a more permanent upgrade to another team, even one that's not ready to compete for the Stanley Cup this season.

Kane takes a lot of shots, plays a highly physical game, and can handle a lot of minutes. His 1,640 shots on goal in 471 NHL games work out to 3.5 per game, which ranks second in the NHL among active players behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (5.0). He is ninth in the NHL with 79 penalty minutes. Since the 2012-13 season, Kane has averaged 20:06 of ice time per game, which is ninth among active NHL forwards with 250 or more games played over that span.

Kane, 25, has another season left on his contract, which carries an annual cap charge of $5.25 million, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Unlike veteran players set to become UFAs on July 1, acquiring Kane will require offering a significant asset.

Video: BUF@TOR: Kane goes top shelf to open the scoring


Patrick Sharp, LW, Dallas Stars

Given the importance of experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, general manager Jim Nill may get some offers for Sharp, a pending UFA who won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015, and whose 87 points in 142 playoff games are 11th among active NHL players.

Between 2013-14 and 2015-16, Sharp scored 70 goals (T-40th in NHL) and had 176 points (T-35th) in 226 regular-season games. This season, Sharp has 13 points in 32 games playing primarily with younger players like Devin Shore and Radek Faksa.

Even with his reduced scoring, Sharp remains capable of high shot volumes. With 92 SOG, he is second on the Stars with 2.9 per game, not far removed from his average of 3.4 since 2008-09, which is tied for 10th-most in the NHL over that span.

Sharp, whose cap charge is $5.9 million, has 439 SOG in 142 career NHL playoff games, for an average of 3.1 per game. He led the League in postseason SOG the first two Cup runs with Chicago, in 2010 (76) and in 2013 (91).

Video: DAL@NSH: Sharp sweeps a rebound into the cage for PPG


Radim Vrbata, RW, Arizona Coyotes

With a Coyotes-leading 38 points in 55 games playing on Arizona's top line with Martin Hanzal and Max Domi, Vrbata could be one of the most sought-after rentals at the deadline because of his $1 million cap charge.

Vrbata's 168 SOG lead the Coyotes, and he is one of 40 NHL players averaging 3.0 or more SOG per game this season. With 36 NHL shootout goals in 81 career attempts, he also could help a team earn some additional points down the stretch.

Video: TBL@ARI: Vrbata squeaks wrist shot past Bishop in 1st

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