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      Trade Targets: Noah Hanifin is holding the Calgary Flames hostage in trade talks

      The list of teams Hanifin is whispering he's interested in signing with is limiting Calgary's market.

      Published -

      Boom. After one of the longest stretches in recent NHL trade deadline period history without one, a trade finally materialized on Wednesday for the first time in 26 days with the Calgary Flames sending defensive stalwart Chris Tanev to Texas.

      That left GM Craig Conroy’s plate clear to deal with Noah Hanifin, the No. 1 player on our Trade Targets board. But it won’t be an easy transaction – for the reasons explained below.

      Hanifin certainly won’t be on the only defenseman on the move between now and next Friday’s March 8 deadline at 3 p.m. ET. Philadelphia’s Sean Walker rocketed up to No. 2 to replace Tanev, and we’ve got a fresh list of 45 names in play.

      2024 NHL Trade Deadline Countdown: 8 days

      Here is our latest Trade Targets board, which always seeks to blend a player’s impact with his likelihood of a trade:

      Trade Targets 🎯

      1. Noah Hanifin
      Left Defense, Calgary Flames
      Age: 27
      Stats: 59 GP, 11 G, 23 A, 34 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.95 million AAV
      Scoop: The Hanifin file has been a grind for the Flames, as Hanifin’s camp is more or less holding the trade process hostage, flexing his power as a pending free agent to sway interested suitors. Officially, Hanifin can only block a trade to eight teams via his limited ‘no-trade’ clause. In reality, all Hanifin’s camp has to do is quietly signal to an interested party that he will not be willing to sign there long-term and it effectively kills the potential of a deal. So, who is on the list of teams where Hanifin would entertain a new deal? That part isn’t entirely clear, but is believed to include Tampa Bay and Florida, plus potentially Boston, Los Angeles and Vegas. Not entirely sure where New Jersey stands, also believed to be one of the teams interested. The problem for the Flames is that some (many?) of those teams do not have the assets Calgary wants to make a deal. The net result may be a return the Flames feel isn’t commensurate with his value.

      2. Sean Walker
      Right Defense, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 29
      Stats: 60 GP, 6 G, 16 A, 22 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $2.65 million AAV
      Scoop: The Flyers have been engaged with Walker’s camp over the last couple weeks in contract extension talks, but so far have found the asking price to be rich, which increases his likelihood of a trade. The ask is believed to be in the neighborhood of four years approaching $5 million per year, which is nearly a 2x bump in pay. Walker has certainly played well this year, and you can understand why he’d want to be appropriately compensated, but the Flyers probably aren’t in a position to make that kind of commitment. That makes the situation complicated because Philadelphia is already down two defensemen (Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen) and they’re squarely in the playoff chase. But it’s also worth considering not just the long-term picture, but the reality of where Walker was one year ago. In Los Angeles, Walker was as much of a cap casualty as he was a victim of a roster logjam – and he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Check out Walker’s in-depth trade deadline profile here.

      3. Reilly Smith
      Left/Right Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins
      Age: 32
      Stats: 50 GP, 10 G, 15 A, 25 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $5 million AAV
      Scoop: Interestingly enough, the Penguins have more teams on the horn about Smith than they do about Jake Guentzel, who is clearly the best forward available prior to the deadline. For whatever reason, Smith hasn’t worked out as intended in Pittsburgh. The Pens took on Smith’s full $5 million salary from Vegas as a cap casualty and only gave up a third-round pick to get him. It was a worthy gamble but hasn’t paid off. Now, the Penguins could leverage their salary cap space and retain half on Smith to make him a quality addition (with term) that nearly every team in the league could afford. One of the original Golden Misfits, Smith was a horse for Vegas in the playoffs last year, racking up 14 points on the way to their first Stanley Cup win.

      4. Jake Guentzel
      Left Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins
      Age: 29
      Stats: 50 GP, 22 G, 30 A, 52 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $6 million AAV
      Scoop: It’s entirely possible Guentzel has played his last game as a Pittsburgh Penguin. Injured on Valentine’s Day and placed on LTIR, Guentzel is out through the March 8 deadline. The exact nature has been speculated to be a fractured finger, but speaking with teams who are interested in the most impactful forward available, they don’t believe his value will be damaged by the time missed. They’d still have Guentzel for the final month of the regular season, plus an entire playoff run – however long that lasts. There’s not a lot to dislike. Guentzel has been north of a point per game in four of these last five seasons. He has twice hit 40 goals. And he was a force in the Penguins’ 2017 Stanley Cup playoff run, leading the postseason in goals (13) as a rookie. His 34 goals in 58 career playoff games is 30 percent above his regular season pace.

      5. Adam Henrique
      Center, Anaheim Ducks
      Age: 34
      Stats: 57 GP, 16 G, 22 A, 38 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $5.825 million AAV
      Scoop: Is anyone more excited about the way the center market has shaped up than Ducks GM Pat Verbeek? Probably not. By process of elimination, Henrique has become the top rental center available with Lindholm and Monahan off the board. We took a long look at Henrique’s game to explain why he was always the third most attractive option after those two. But now, after both returned first-round picks, Henrique is all that’s left. That thin market has also caused teams to consider other options with term on their contract (see: Scott Laughton). But Henrique is eminently capable of holding down a second line center role. The Ducks are reportedly looking for second and third-round picks, plus another third-round pick to retain half.

      6. Jake Allen
      Goaltender, Montréal Canadiens
      Ages: 33
      Stats: 20 GP, 3.68 GAA, .892 Sv%
      Contracts: 2 years remaining, $3.85 million AAV
      Scoop: With Jacob Markstrom sliding back, Allen could be the goalie most likely to move. After trading Monahan, the Canadiens have been making the rounds on Allen to size up the goalie market. One of the key aspects of the Monahan trade was not retaining any salary, keeping one slot open to either retain on Allen – or to use later at the deadline as a third-party broker. The Habs know it isn’t ideal to go through the entire season with three goalies. They like the growth in Cayden Primeau’s game. Allen is a calming veteran influence and well-respected teammate and tandem-mate. Now with Sam Montembeault extended, it is clear the crease is his for the longer view, and that makes Allen expendable to a team looking for experience and consistency.

      7. Nic Dowd
      Center, Washington Capitals
      Age: 33
      Stats: 45 GP, 8 G, 8 A, 16 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $1.3 million AAV
      Scoop: Dowd has been out since Feb. 20 but is expected to return to the lineup in the coming days. To casual fans, Dowd will feel like a nerdy addition to the Trade Targets board. But not to close Capitals observers. Dowd is a coach’s dream. He’s reliable, has great attention to detail in his game, and his work rate and work ethic are off the charts. He squeezes every drop out of his game. He’s hit double-digit goals each of the last three seasons. You can pencil him in for 25 points a year. And he’s chipped in a couple clutch playoff goals, too. For GMs, the interest will be strong, but the extra year on his deal at $1.3 million has them salivating.

      8. Pavel Buchnevich
      Left Wing, St. Louis Blues
      Age: 28
      Stats: 57 GP, 24 G, 24 A, 48 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $5.8 million AAV
      Scoop: Is there a more unheralded point-per-game player in the league than Pavel Buchnevich? Hard to imagine. Buchnevich has 191 points in 193 games since arriving in St. Louis. It was a shrewd move then by GM Doug Armstrong to seize on the New York Rangers’ inability to pay him as an RFA. He cost just a second-round pick and Sammy Blais. Now, the prevailing thought among rival GMs is that Armstrong might cash in on Buchnevich before having to give him the next big raise. Because Buchnevich has played himself into a longer-term deal in the $7.5 to $8 million range per season. In the meantime, he’s more valuable to a team for two playoff runs at just $5.8 million than he is the Blues.

      9. Anthony Mantha
      Right Wing, Washington Capitals
      Age: 29
      Stats: 54 GP, 18 G, 14 A, 32 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $5.7 million AAV
      Scoop: Mantha has found himself again under new coach Spencer Carbery. He’s up to 18 goals on the season, which is basically his best production since 2018-19 when he collected 25. He’s actually on pace for 26 over a full 78 games, which would be a new career high. The Capitals were ready to move on from Mantha last summer. At $5.7 million, though, that might prove a difficult contract to move. But maybe not if he continues at this pace, given the limited ice time. And if the Capitals are willing to retain half, that will help. It hasn’t quite been three years since the Capitals gave up a 1st, 2nd, Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik for him. Tough trade.

      10. Frank Vatrano
      Left Wing, Anaheim Ducks
      Age: 29
      Stats: 58 GP, 26 G, 19 A, 45 Pts
      Contract: One year remaining, $3.65 million AAV
      Scoop: Ducks GM Pat Verbeek was at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, sparking rumors of a Rangers reunion with Vatrano. The truth is the Ducks really aren’t looking to move Vatrano, their All-Star this year, who has had a tremendous season approaching 30 goals for the first time in his career. If they trade Vatrano, the first thing Anaheim will be looking to do this summer is replace him. The flip side to that scenario is also true: At that production and salary cap hit, Vatrano is probably worth more to a contending team than the Ducks, who don’t have any cap limitations or even real expectations. It’s an interesting spot because outside of the two Penguins, Vatrano is probably the most impactful forward left on the board.

      11. Brandon Duhaime
      Left Wing, Minnesota Wild
      Age: 26
      Stats: 59 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $1.1 million AAV
      Scoop: Bill Guerin’s Wild aren’t waving the white flag, but there has been enough interest league-wide in Duhaime that there is a strong chance he’ll be on the move. We reported earlier this week that the Canucks are one of those teams interested and they’re not alone. Duhaime is certainly intriguing. If you don’t watch the Wild play regularly, Duhaime’s stat line isn’t going to get you excited. But if you watch, his noticeable speed has certainly caught the attention of opposing teams. Duhaime is an ideal fourth line winger on a contender. He harnesses his speed and work ethic to be an aggressive, impact player on the forecheck. He makes smart plays. Last year, he chipped in with nine goals – nearly reaching double digits – and he barely cracks 10 minutes per night. He also has an edge and toughness to his game that is somewhat rare these days.

      12. Nick Seeler
      Left Defense, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 30
      Stats: 60 GP, 1 G, 10 A, 11 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $800,000 AAV
      Scoop: Like with Walker, the Flyers have been engaged in talks with Seeler’s camp on an extension but were believed to be taken aback by the ask. That’s not to say an extension won’t materialize, it’s just that Seeler is definitely still available. Makes sense for Seeler – the one big opportunity in his career to cash in. He deserves it. I’ve been lobbying for a new nickname for Seeler: “Nicky Nails.” He is one of my favorite players to watch, a Human Nail Gun in action on a nightly basis. He is tough, he competes and he wrings every drop of out of his skillset through sheer effort. Did you know that Seeler is actually playing this season on a two-way contract that includes an AHL pay rate? He’s found a full-time NHL role under John Tortorella in Philadelphia, playing more than 17 minutes a night. Seeler is the ideal third pair defensive pick-up.

      13. Max Pacioretty
      Left Wing, Washington Capitals
      Age: 35
      Stats: 23 GP, 3 G, 10 A, 13 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $2 million AAV
      Scoop: Outside of Alex Ovechkin, Pacioretty is the first player in Capitals franchise history to sign a deal with a full ‘no-move’ clause, which gives him complete and total control when it comes to the deadline. Pacioretty is happy in Washington, where he has gotten going of late, scoring power play goals in back-to-back games. If the Caps determine they are out of the race, Pacioretty could indicate that he is open to a trade. One team to watch could be the Florida Panthers. He has earned $2 million in performance-based bonuses coming off of his Achilles tears, and that part of his deal will remain with the Caps since it was accrued with them. But at just $2 million on the salary cap, if the Caps retain half, a contending team could be acquiring a goal-scoring playoff difference maker who is just hitting his stride at a bargain price.

      14. Vladimir Tarasenko
      Right Wing, Ottawa Senators
      Age: 32
      Stats: 55 GP, 15 G, 23 A, 38 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $5 million AAV
      Scoop: Tarasenko has changed agents for the second time in seventh months, hiring teammate Brady Tkachuk’s uncle, Craig Oster, of Newport Sports. What is he seeking with the agent change? We’re not entirely convinced the Senators want to move Tarasenko, who by the way owns a full “no-trade” clause. In what has been a disastrous season, sources say Tarasenko and Claude Giroux have been two important leading voices. They’ve been hugely beneficial to Ottawa’s younger guys mired in another lost season. Tarasenko has also produced above his pay rate. Sens GM Steve Staios recently admitted he hasn’t had discussions with Tarasenko on a contract. And even though he’s an easy UFA to cash in on, he’s not an absolute slam dunk to get traded.

      15. Jacob Markstrom
      Goaltender, Calgary Flames
      Age: 34
      Stats: 37 GP, 2.56 GAA, .914 Sv%
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $6 million AAV
      Scoop: The Flames are in an absolute Prime A No. 1 position on Markstrom. New Jersey has been clearly interested in him, and it’s possible they could rekindle those talks and the mafioso-loving Devils make GM Craig Conroy a Godfather offer he cannot refuse. Or, the Flames can hang onto Markstrom, potentially still challenge for the No. 8 seed in the West and then cash in this summer with what is expected to be a very weak free agent goaltending class. The best free agent goalie this summer could be Kaapo Kahkonen. That means the Flames could have as many as four or five teams clamoring for Markstrom then, as opposed to a mostly limited market right now. The only thing for sure is Markstrom is unlikely to stand in Calgary’s way with his full “no-trade.” He wants to compete for a Stanley Cup and knows with the Flames retooling, he won’t have a chance to do that on this contract.

      16. Matt Dumba
      Right Defense, Arizona Coyotes
      Age: 29
      Stats: 54 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $3.9 million AAV
      Scoop: Now back from injury, Dumba has four points in his last eight games, and you can add him to the list of rental, depth defensemen available ahead of the deadline. The Coyotes aren’t going to make the playoffs despite their best efforts, and they aren’t in a position where they can pass up any assets in return for their free agents. Dumba has been fine in the desert, if not unexceptional. A few teams kicked tires on him last year at the deadline in Minnesota, but his contract largely prevented a move. He lingered on the free agent market until Aug. 6, but Dumba could be a nice third pair addition on a contender at the right price.

      17. Jakob Chychrun
      Left Defense, Ottawa Senators
      Age: 25
      Stats: 57 GP, 9 G, 21 A, 30 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $4.6 million AAV
      Scoop: The Sens are examining their core to see who will be there for the long haul. Multiple teams have inquired about Chychrun, acquired from Arizona a year ago, and they haven’t been told that Chychrun is unavailable. This still feels like a summer deal. But the truth is, the Senators have a logjam on the left side of their defense. Although Chychrun can play the right side, Thomas Chabot ($8 million) and Jake Sanderson ($8.05 million extension) are also both left-shooting defensemen. That’s $20.65 million in left-shooting defensemen, nearly a quarter of the total cap, and the question about an (expensive) extension for Chychrun will come up this summer. Ottawa has some important decisions to make.

      18. Scott Laughton
      Center, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 29
      Stats: 60 GP, 9 G, 21 A, 30 Pts
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $3 million AAV
      Scoop: The market seems to have cooled a bit on Laughton with his high asking price. We did a deep dive on Laughton’s game. Three years ago, as the final minutes ticked down to the trade deadline, it was touch and go as to whether Laughton’s career with the Flyers would continue. He received significant interest on the market as a pending UFA, but the Flyers ultimately re-signed him to a five-year, $15 million extension. He still has two years left, but the Flyers have realized that the center market has gotten thin in a hurry with Lindholm and Monahan off the board, and Laughton may be a better alternative to teams than a rental in Henrique. But the Flyers have set a high price – reportedly a first-round pick. Will anyone pay it?

      19. Mikael Granlund
      Center, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 32
      Stats: 44 GP, 7 G, 25 A, 32 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $5 million AAV
      Scoop: Teams have kept a close eye on Granlund, who returned from a one-month injury layoff two weeks ago. GM Mike Grier has spoken highly of Granlund since he arrived from Pittsburgh as a cast-off in the Erik Karlsson trade. He really struggled with the Pens after being traded for a second-round pick last year, collecting just five points in 21 contests. Granlund looked a lot more like himself this year, netting 16 in his first 20 games as a Shark, and had eight even-strength points in one week in December. The Sharks only have one salary retention slot left, and they’re comfortable keeping him, but Granlund might bring the best trade return on their roster.

      20. Tyson Barrie
      Right Defense, Nashville Predators
      Age: 32
      Stats: 35 GP, 1 G, 11 A, 12 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.5 million AAV
      Scoop: Barrie has been grinding through a tough year in Nashville. He’s been a healthy scratch for a big chunk of the year and he’s been given permission to seek a trade. Put simply: When he does play, one of the best power play defensemen of his generation isn’t getting much of a look to create and increase his trade value. Barrie’s agent has been working the phones to try and find a fit at the deadline, so far to no avail. The good news for Barrie is he’s incredibly well respected as a locker room influence, one of the most connected players in the game, and every day that passes he gets just a little bit less expensive on the salary cap.

      21. Joel Edmundson
      Left Defense, Washington Capitals
      Age: 30
      Stats: 42 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $1.75 million AAV
      Scoop: Once upon a time, Edmundson was a sought after commodity, a defenseman who could be a difference-maker on a Stanley Cup run. He was a linchpin on St. Louis’ back-end in their Game 7 victory over Boston to clinch the first Cup in franchise history. He’s played for three teams in the five years since and while he’s only 30, his game has definitely slowed. Edmundson is playing his fewest minutes (16:19) since his rookie season nearly a decade ago. He is doing it on a current non-playoff team that is not stacked on defense. He is an insurance addition who shouldn’t cost a lot.

      22. Ilya Lyubushkin
      Right Defense, Anaheim Ducks
      Age: 29
      Stats: 55 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $2.75 million AAV
      Scoop: Each of the last two years, Lyubushkin has been traded in the deadline period. In 2022, he went from Arizona to Toronto in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick. Last year, he moved from Buffalo to Anaheim in return for a 2025 fourth-round pick. Not much has changed in Lyubushkin’s game since then. He’s still a defense-first defender who provides little by way of offense, but he’s steady enough to be an everyday NHL player.

      23. Anthony Duclair
      Left Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 28
      Stats: 52 GP, 11 G, 8 A, 19 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $3 million AAV
      Scoop: This season has gone in fits and starts for Duclair, who is highly motivated to be an impact player on a postseason team. The Sharks acquired Duclair from Florida in a salary cap dump, knowing that he might be a nice flippable asset at this time of year. The Duke hasn’t been able to get back to the 31-goal bar he set in 2021-22 in Florida – which has seen an Achilles tear get in the way. But he was really good for the Panthers in the playoffs last year on their run to the Final. His speed is still there, which makes him an attractive piece at a price that won’t break the bank.

      24. Jason Zucker
      Left/Right Wing, Arizona Coyotes
      Age: 32
      Stats: 48 GP, 8 G, 15 A, 23 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $5.3 million AAV
      Scoop: The Coyotes reached a bit with Zucker last summer, paying him a premium to take a one-year deal after a 27-goal season in Pittsburgh. Last year was a bit of a statistical outlier for Zucker, his best year since 2017-18, which also coincided with his best year for health in a while. Zucker has seen mostly middle six action with the Coyotes. The plus side to the premium of a one-year deal is that now Arizona can try to recoup some of that by moving him ahead of the deadline. Zucker does not have any no-trade protection. The down side is Zucker has struggled to produce in 46 career playoff games.

      25. Sam Carrick
      Center, Anaheim Ducks
      Age: 32
      Stats: 58 GP, 8 G, 3 A, 11 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $850,000 AAV
      Scoop: Carrick has received some attention as a bargain bin selection in the fourth line center role. That’s been the Ducks’ specialty, for whatever reason, also moving Derek Grant in recent years to playoff-bound teams to recoup some draft capital. Carrick is also in a position to be packaged up as part of a larger overall transaction. He’s been perfect competitive and productive relative to his cap hit.

      26. Alexandre Carrier
      Right Defense, Nashville Predators
      Age: 27
      Stats: 55 GP, 4 G, 13 A, 17 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $2.5 million AAV
      Scoop: With the Preds holding down a playoff spot, Carrier has slid down the board a bit, as Nashville may even decide to add a piece or two or keep Carrier as an own rental. He checks all the boxes when it comes to a trade deadline acquisition. We called him a “no-maintenance” addition in our breakdown of his game. He’s a rental who has been molded into a reliable, steady defender that can be a positive contributor at both ends of the ice, and he isn’t going to cost too much to add to your blueline. He is a plus-35 player for his career and has two Stanley Cup playoff series under his belt. The bigger question might be: Will the juice be worth the squeeze for Nashville? Or are the Preds better off keeping him relative to value in return?

      27. Mike Hoffman
      Left Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 34
      Stats: 55 GP, 8 G, 10 A, 18 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.5 million AAV
      Scoop: The Sharks took on Hoffman’s contract as a salary cap dump in the Erik Karlsson trade (from Montréal) with the express intention of acquiring a flippable asset ahead of the March deadline. After a solid start to the season, that part is looking a bit in doubt now. He’s currently riding an ugly 28-game scoring drought and has scored in one game since Nov. 25. He’s on track for 11 goals this year, and six of those game in a six-game stretch. The bright side: by the time March rolls around, with the amount remaining on his deal, teams might not even need San Jose to retain salary to bring him in. Hoffman has limited playoff experience but he’s scored at a slightly better rate in the postseason than the regular season.

      28. Jordan Eberle
      Right Wing, Seattle Kraken
      Age: 33
      Stats: 54 GP, 14 G, 21 A, 35 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $5.5 million AAV
      Scoop: Word is the Kraken have been talking an extension with Eberle, but to this point, a contract has not materialized and they are likely to miss the playoffs. That makes him an intriguing rental. Eberle has been pretty productive with 142 points in 215 games for Seattle as one of their original Expansion Draft picks. Perhaps more importantly, he has shed the label of being a poor playoff performer. Since being jettisoned by the Oilers as a scapegoat in 2017, Eberle has 45 points in just 63 postseason games, which is a significantly higher pace than his career regular season totals. Take that, Peter Chiarelli.

      29. Zach Bogosian
      Right Defense, Minnesota Wild
      Age: 33
      Stats: 44 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $850,000 AAV
      Scoop: Calling his time in Minnesota a breath of fresh air, Bogosian has been a solid piece for the Wild in the wake of an injury-riddled campaign. The Wild aren’t giving up hopes on the playoffs, but Bogosian is another right-shooting depth option on an inexpensive contract that is up for grabs. Minnesota only gave up a seventh-round pick for him in November, so the ask wouldn’t be big, but more about suiting Bogosian’s wishes if it came to that point. He has Stanley Cup pedigree and has also been a deadline acquisition who is comfortable adjusting.

      30. Erik Johnson
      Right Defense, Buffalo Sabres
      Age: 35
      Stats: 50 GP, 3 G, 0 A, 3 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $3.25 million AAV
      Scoop: Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when Johnson was benched for the final two periods of the Sabres’ loss in Florida. Then he did not participate in Thursday’s morning skate, but that is because Johnson is expected to sit out against the Lightning recovering from a flu bug that has infiltrated the Sabres. Buffalo brought in Johnson as a free agent for veteran leadership and support on their back end. His game has certainly slowed, but there’s no reason he can’t be a solid insurance piece if he wants to chase a second Stanley Cup, though Buffalo may leave part of that up to him.

      31. Arthur Kaliyev
      Winger, Los Angeles Kings
      Age: 22
      Stats: 44 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 Pts
      Contract: Pending RFA, $894,167 AAV
      Scoop: The Kings are caught between a rock and a hard place with Kaliyev, who was an early second round pick in 2019. He’s clearly an NHL player – as evidenced by his 27 and 28-point seasons – but he’s mostly been on the outside of Jim Hiller’s lineup card since taking over. He’s also played too many games to be waiver eligible. So, he sits. Kaliyev was a healthy scratch for five of seven games before finally starting to draw into the lineup regularly again in the past couple weeks. He wants to play and feels like he’s deserves an opportunity to play. The tough part for the Kings is because he has been sitting a lot, he is a distressed asset, and they’re sledding uphill to try and find value in return. It might take a healthy dose of patience for all involved, or another player on another team who is in a similar situation.

      32. Brett Kulak
      Left Defense, Edmonton Oilers
      Age: 30
      Stats: 57 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 Pts
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $2.75 million AAV
      Scoop: The Oilers like Kulak. The Stony Plain, Alta., native likes playing in Edmonton. Full stop. It’s just that if the Oilers are going to manufacture salary cap space to make a big trade deadline acquisition, Kulak might have to be the casualty. Warren Foegele is also a candidate. Kulak does not have any trade protection. And swapping 22-year-old Philip Broberg with Kulak represents an immediate $2 million in savings on the cap. Broberg has played big minutes since going down to the AHL and has collected 19 points in 29 games. He’s ready to be in the NHL once he recovers from a deep bruise that will keep him out a few weeks. And we know the Oilers are willing to make tough deadline decisions (Tyson Barrie) to improve.

      33. Ivan Provorov
      Left Defense, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 27
      Stats: 58 GP, 5 G, 21 A, 26 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $6.75 million AAV
      Scoop: With president of hockey operations John Davidson taking over as interim GM in the wake of Jarmo Kekalainen’s long-overdue firing two weeks ago, it remains unclear just how active the Blue Jackets will be at the deadline. They’ve got other fish to fry first. But Provorov certainly hasn’t been the answer in Columbus. The Blue Jackets gave up first and second-round picks to get him in the summer. It’s probably likely that they push the Provorov issue to whomever takes over next, but it can’t entirely be ruled out that a team likes Provorov and wants to make a play for him now.

      34. Jordan Greenway
      Left Wing, Buffalo Sabres
      Age: 27
      Stats: 47 GP, 9 G, 11 A, 20 Pts
      Contract: 1 more year, $3 million AAV
      Scoop: It’s been a tough go in Buffalo for Greenway, who was acquired last year on Deadline Day from Minnesota in exchange for second and fifth-round picks. Greenway has posted 13 goals in 64 total games with the Sabres. He’s missed chunks of time due to injury – and also missed a couple games this year for personal reasons. Nonetheless, teams are tantalized by his 6-foot-6 frame and a guy who put up some decent numbers in two shortened seasons with the Wild. He has a year left on that deal originally signed in Minnesota.

      35. Jon Merrill
      Left Defense, Minnesota Wild
      Age: 32
      Stats: 42 GP, 2 G, 4 A, 6 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $1.2 million AAV
      Scoop: He’s one of hockey’s true characters, and the Wild would like some salary cap flexibility heading into next season since Merrill still has one year left. A trade from Detroit to Montreal in 2021 helped put Merrill on the path to rejuvenating his career. He went for a fifth-round pick and Hayden Verbeek at the deadline, then helped the Habs reach the Stanley Cup Final. That earned him a shot in Minnesota, which he parlayed into a three-year extension that is probably one year too long for the Wild. Merrill is back to being an occasional healthy scratch. He’s a decent depth addition for an inexpensive price – and he’s rarely rattled under pressure.

      36. Alexandre Texier
      Left Wing, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 24
      Stats: 54 GP, 8 G, 10 A, 18 Pts
      Contract: Pending RFA, $1.525 million AAV
      Scoop: The Blue Jackets were publicly critical of Texier in discussing their brutal start to the season, lumping him in with a group of players they needed to see more from. He’s on the list of “change of scenery” players. A couple years ago, a few teams were interested when he had 20 points in 36 games, an intriguing name who then missed time with an injury and for personal reasons. Last season, Texier was loaned to Zurich in the Swiss National A league, and it tolled a year on his contract – which makes this year the final year of his deal.

      37. Elvis Merzlikins
      Goaltender, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 29
      Stats: 34 GP, 3.25 GAA, .903 Sv%
      Contract: 3 years remaining, $5.4 million AAV
      Scoop: Did he? Didn’t he? It’s been a bizarre turn of events for Merzlikins in Columbus, who said that he requested a trade, and then the team said he did not. Semantics aside, the easiest way to explain it: Merzlikins needs a change of scenery. The Blue Jackets are keen to grant him one. However, his availability coincides with a market correction, which will likely see pay for mid-tier goalies squeezed considerably. Where does that leave Merzlikins with three years left? Not with much of a market to move, let alone for Columbus to extract value.

      38. Tony DeAngelo
      Right Defense, Carolina Hurricanes
      Age: 28
      Stats: 27 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 10 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $1.675 million AAV
      Scoop: DeAngelo has languished has a healthy scratch as the Canes have opted for Jalen Chatfield. With Chatfield injured, DeAngelo jumped back into the lineup last week, played well in four games and scored, but then was back out of the lineup again. Carolina likes Chatfield, who isn’t as offensive but seen by the team as a better defender and is a less expensive option on the right side. Chatfield earns less than half what DeAngelo does on the salary cap. DeAngelo has lingered for a while now on the trade market without much activity, which is interesting because other teams have selected less impactful defensemen off waivers, despite the fact that Carolina isn’t looking for anything in return for DeAngelo.

      39. Kevin Hayes
      Center, St. Louis Blues
      Age: 31
      Stats: 59 GP, 10 G, 12 A, 22 Pts
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $3.57 million AAV
      Scoop: After getting acclimated in St. Louis, Hayes has been a pretty impactful player for the Blues, including an excellent December. Here’s where things get interesting: If the Blues are willing to retain half on Hayes’ contract, they could net a significant asset, with Hayes only counting as $1.785 million on the books for the next two years. He is on track for north of 30 points. He kills penalties. He is strong in his own end defensively. The Blues traded just a sixth-round pick to Philadelphia to get Hayes last summer. They could get back a lot more now for a relatively inexpensive, ideal third line center on a contender.

      40. Jack Roslovic
      Center / Right Wing, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 27
      Stats: 35 GP, 4 G, 13 A, 17 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4 million AAV
      Scoop: Roslovic returned on Dec. 29 from an ankle injury that kept him out six weeks since mid-November. He had been quiet in the games that followed but has shown signs of life with seven points in his past seven games. He was off to a decent start to this season on a pure point production basis, though not sure anyone in Columbus feels particularly good about this year. Roslovic is a clearly talented player who has struggled to find consistency on a nightly basis in the NHL. Many thought a return home to Columbus would be the answer. At 26, some wonder if what he is now is set in stone, or whether someone can pull more out of him.

      41. Andrew Peeke and/or Adam Boqvist
      Defensemen, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Ages: 25 / 23
      Stats: 20 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 Pts / 28 GP, 1 G, 7 A, 8 Pts
      Contracts: 2 years remaining, $2.75 million / 1 year remaining, $2.6 million (Boqvist RFA on expiration)
      Scoop: The Blue Jackets have been looking to move a defenseman since training camp broke. Here’s the problem: neither Peeke nor Boqvist has much (if any) value. And Columbus is trying to clear a logjam on the back end. The Blue Jackets have hesitated to put either player on waivers, but even that might not clear up the problem. With term on both deals, it’s not likely either gets claimed. Peeke has been a healthy scratch for the bulk of the year and was a minus-41 last season. He could be trending toward an offseason buyout.

      42. Kevin Labanc
      Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 28
      Stats: 35 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.725 million AAV
      Scoop: It’s been an absolute slog in San Jose for Labanc, who began the season as a healthy scratch for consecutive games. Even when he’s been in the lineup, opportunity to produce has been scarce, seeing less than 10 minutes of ice time on nine occasions. It appears from the outside like Labanc’s confidence has been shattered. A fresh start is desperately needed. Will he get one? Tough to say a team is going to take a flier right now even with half retained – and the Sharks only have one salary cap retention spot left.

      43. Luke Kunin
      Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 26
      Stats: 52 GP, 8 G, 2 A, 10 Pts
      Contract: Pending RFA, $2.75 million AAV
      Scoop: Two years ago, Kunin was on the upswing in his career, a 2016 first-round pick who appeared to have found himself in the NHL. He hit double digit goals for the third year in a row and even had a 31-point campaign in a shortened season. But San Jose has been almost no fun for anyone one the Sharks’ depleted roster, and Kunin has felt the brunt of that. Could he rekindle some bottom-six magic in another lineup?

      44. Tyler Toffoli
      Right Wing, New Jersey Devils
      Age: 31
      Stats: 58 GP, 25 G, 17 A, 42 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.25 million AAV
      Scoop: The Devils are trying to add to make the playoffs, not trade away a significant piece like Toffoli, who has been one of the hotter scorers in the league over the last month. Since Jan. 20, Toffoli has racked up nine goals in 15 games, which is tied for 13th in the NHL over that time span. That hasn’t stopped teams from calling, who are watching New Jersey’s precarious position in the playoff push. The Devils are five points back of both the Flyers (who are likely selling) and the Lightning, and New Jersey has two games in-hand on Tampa. They’re very much alive, but if they drop a few critical games between now and March 8, you have to allow for the small possibility that GM Tom Fitzgerald will flip and try to recoup assets for the pending free agent. If the Kings have cap space with an Adrian Kempe injury, that might be an interesting reunion.

      45. Trevor Zegras
      Center, Anaheim Ducks
      Age: 22
      Stats: 20 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 Pts
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $5.75 million AAV
      Scoop: To say that this season has been bumpy for Zegras would be kind. He missed most of training camp after the Ducks played hardball with his bridge deal, opting to pay him $5.75 million per year for three years, sending a message to the rest of the league that maybe they weren’t believers in him after back-to-back 60-point seasons. He scored just once in his first 12 games. Then Zegras missed the next six weeks (from Nov. 7 to Dec. 23) with a lower-body injury. And shortly after the holidays, one of his closest friends in Jamie Drysdale, was shipped off to the Flyers. Is Zegras next? He’s hurt again now, but Zegras is a name to watch this summer.

      Next up: Kaapo Kahkonen, San Jose Sharks.

      Traded: No. 1 Elias Lindholm; No. 2 Sean Monahan; No. 2 Chris Tanev; No. 9 Andrei Kuzmenko.

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