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Looking ahead: three potential deadline deals

2018 NHL Draft Deadline Lisa Gansky via


It is early in the season, but Colorado’s decision to cut ties with Matt Duchene proved it is never too early for some trade talk.

Duchene on Sunday was shipped to Ottawa in a multi-team trade, in which the Avalanche gained a plethora of young prospects and draft picks. In the aftermath of this trade, the hockey world will have to wait roughly four months until the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline craziness. However, an interesting start to the season for several teams may have already shaped future deals. Here are three trades that could shock the NHL in February;


Rick Nash to the Oilers

In my opinion, Rick Nash should have been traded months or even years ago. Since being dealt in 2012 from Columbus, Nash has been on a decline. Granted, he hasn’t played a full healthy season with the Rangers. But his impact has been inconsistent, especially during the playoffs.

Nash’s Production

Through 16 games played this season, Nash has posted an unimpressive 6 points (3G, 3A). Those are not numbers for a guy who was once considered elite. The Rangers have also struggled as a whole, with a 7-7-2 record (16P). Their so called “rebuild on the fly” has not exactly panned out as expected. Furthermore, their future as a playoff contender is currently under question.

So, that is where the Oilers come into play. Edmonton as of right now, are similarly in a bad place. Through 13 games played, they have notched a 4-8-1 record and they currently have scored the fewest goals of any team (30).


“Rick Nash to the Oilers” would only become possible if the Oilers changed their current situation. Saying the Oilers make the playoffs, they will likely be all in. Their roster is Stanley Cup worthy but clearly needs a scoring boost.

It may not even take that much to get Nash, who is currently 33. He is also in the final year of his hefty contract, which carries a $7,800,000 cap hit. Nash likely will not re-sign in the summer and if the Rangers are smart, February would be a great time to dump him off with a playoff contender.

Edmonton have the cap space but it may require some money being sent back. Ryan Strome could be an option, who as of yet has failed to impress since the Islanders traded him in the off-season. Through 13 games played, he’s posted only 5 points (2G, 3A). The Oilers have other options at center, such as Leon Draisaitl, who is currently still playing on McDavid’s wing. The addition of Nash would allow the Oilers to move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to third line center and thus create some much needed depth. So, here’s a look:

Rangers Receive:

Ryan Strome, F

2018 3rd Round Pick

Oilers Receive:

Rick Nash, F

2018 5th Round Pick


Alex Galchenyuk to Winnipeg

When looking into the NHL deadline, it is always a question of whether teams are going to be buyers or sellers. Once February rolls around, expect the Winnipeg Jets to be buyers. In addition to that, expect the Jets to be real playoff contenders come April.

They currently stand second in the Central Division with a 8-3-3 record, but have not been entirely explosive offensively. That may be in part to Patrick Laine’s recent inability to produce, but a trade involving Alex Galchenyuk would certainly help any minor problems the Jets are struggling with.

Galchenyuk’s Recent Stats

Galchenyuk himself, has not by any means been spectacular. Through 15 games played he has only produced 6 points (4G, 2A), and Montreal seems they have little patience for him. He is currently playing on Drouin’s wing despite originally being drafted as a center, because his defense clearly needs work.

However, both teams could improve as a result. The Jets would certainly find a spot for Galchenyuk, whether at center or left wing. Adam Lowry is currently the team’s third line center, but there are questions surrounding him as well. Lowry has been a suitable option at third and fourth line center, but Winnipeg would undoubtedly improve with Galchenyuk as an alternative option.


The Canadiens seem as if a rebuild is inevitable, even after trading for rising star Jonathan Drouin during the summer. Carey Price has struggled, and Montreal as a whole has allowed 55 goals in 15 games. Their defense is shaky, but that could have been predicted after they signed Mark Streit as a top six defensemen in July. Luckily, they quickly realized that was a problem and the 39-year-old agreed to part ways.

So what would it take to pry Galchenyuk off the Canadiens? Most likely a defensive prospect and draft picks, but it will be interesting to see how much it would actually take. Montreal lost its top prospect defensemen Mikhail Sergachev in the Drouin trade and would certainly improve their roster by gaining a similar asset. Although Winnipeg probably would rather lose a forward prospect, they still have promising young defensemen. Galchenyuk is still young which could boost the asking price, but his cap hit of $4,900,000 is reasonable considering his potential. It’s a trade waiting to happen so, here’s what it could look like:

Winnipeg Receives:

Alex Galchenyuk, F

Montreal Receives:

Logan Stanley, D

2018 2nd Round Pick

2018 4th Round Pick

Mike Green to the Leafs; Bozak in Return

The Maple Leafs are struggling defensively which could have easily been foreshadowed. Roman Polak is currently a healthy scratch, Ron Hainsey is a part of the top pairing, and five of their top six defensemen are under the age of 28. They lack experience and often times that’s exactly what it takes to win a Stanley Cup, especially in your own third of the ice.

Mike Green

Exchanging Tyler Bozak for Mike Green could be exactly what the Leafs need if they have any hopes for another playoff push. Green is an offensive-minded defensemen that is reliable on the back end. His services will most likely be wanted by many teams at the deadline which could increase an otherwise modest asking price. Over his first two seasons with the Wings he’s posted 35 and 36 points respectively, and he currently has 13 points (1G, 12A) in 16 games played this year.

Although the Red Wings’ defense isn’t the most frightening on paper, they have allowed a stable 41 goals in 15 games (2.73 GAA). That looks a whole lot better than the Leafs’ 55 goals allowed in 15 games (3.67 GAA), and is large in part to Green’s early contributions.

Both teams could benefit immensely by taking a minor risk at the deadline. It is a minor risk because both players are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and there’s no telling whether either will re-sign. Bozak is 31 and Green is 32, and although Green’s cap hit of $6,000,000 outweighs Bozak’s $4,200,000, the Leafs could certainly manage Green’s contract.

Tyler Bozak

Tyler Bozak is currently playing as the fourth line center for the Leafs, and has been atop trade rumor talk for months. Through 16 games, Bozak has posted 8 points (4G, 4A), which in respect to fourth line minutes is not terrible at all. Bozak has been consistent in the point column through his time in Toronto, averaging right around 50 per year.

His +/- this season hasn’t exactly been great, which may eventually hurt his stock on the trade market. However, The Red Wings would love to have a guy like Bozak on their team. Bozak personally would also possibly benefit from the change of scenery. Henrik Zetterberg isn’t going to be around for much longer which could pose opportunistic to Bozak’s chances of re-signing with Detroit in the offseason. If Dylan Larkin can mature into a first line center with Bozak as a number two, the Red Wings could eventually build a playoff caliber roster.

Breaking it Down

When comparing the two teams, the Leafs are certainly in more need of a trade. They have an abundance of great young forwards that would gladly take Bozak’s position, but lack the defense it takes to win a cup. Detroit would have to be convinced Bozak would re-sign in the summer, but if that happens the deal makes sense for both teams. So here’s a summary:

Maple Leafs Receive:

Mike Green, D

Red Wings Receive:

Tyler Bozak, F


The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline is undoubtedly far away. However, with the Duchene deal completed and an unusually poor first month for some teams, February has started to look a lot closer. Expect the unexpected this year, for the trade deadline could be an interesting one.