NHL trade rumors: Will Panthers part with Hoffman?
These five players have been popping up in the rumor mill throughout the season and could be dealt by the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Let’s take a look at where some of the NHL’s top talent may land in the near future.
Chris Kreider (Rangers)
Kreider being moved by the Rangers at the deadline would not be a surprise, as he currently tops TSN’s Trade Bait List. He’s No. 1 on no fewer than eight teams’ wish lists for deadline day, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.
The Rangers are hoping to swing a deal, akin to the one they made with the Jets for Kevin Hayes last season, when they landed a first-round pick and depth forward Brendan Lemieux. The Blues have been mentioned as potential suitors, with highly touted prospect Jordan Kyrou potentially in the mix.
Sami Vatanen (Devils)
Vatanen is an attractive option for teams looking to add a little offensive talent to their group of blueliners. He’s also the only right-handed defenseman in the Top 10 of TSN’s Trade Bait List, so New Jersey is bound to get plenty of calls for the impending free agent.
According to LeBrun, the Hurricanes have an interest in Vatanen as a replacement for the injured Dougie Hamilton. The Jets, who are apparently working toward terminating Dustin Byfuglien’s contract, are another potential suitor for Vatanen.
Mike Hoffman (Panthers)
General managers are rarely this frank, but Florida’s Dale Tallon openly declared Tuesday that he’d like to “acquire a veteran (defenseman) ... to play with (Aaron) Ekblad and settle things down a bit back there. We need to be more consistent on the blue line.”
A possible solution could be to deal from a position of strength, as impending free agent forward Mike Hoffman is a name generating some interest on the market. According to LeBrun, the Panthers “asked for (Hoffman’s) 10-team no-trade list in late December … they are a high-scoring team, (and) they have young players coming up the pipeline … who can fill in if they ever dealt Hoffman. The bottom line is Florida needs a defensive addition on the back end.”
Melker Karlsson (Sharks)
The Sharks are expected to sell off a significant portion of their team by the deadline, and two-way forward Melker Karlsson may be one of those pending free agents on the move. He would fit nicely on the third or fourth line of a contender like the Avalanche, who could also use an experienced penalty killer (bottom 10 in shorthanded goals against this season).
Dylan DeMelo (Senators)
DeMelo would be a fine compensation prize for those who lose out on the Vatanen sweepstakes. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, interest in DeMelo has been “extreme.” The Senators are still firmly in rebuilding mode and have 11 draft picks to use in June. However, per Dreger, “they’d like to have 15 or more. Dylan DeMelo would fetch a decent return.” Carolina, Winnipeg, and Toronto have all been linked to DeMelo in recent weeks.