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      Trade Targets: Vegas Golden Knights shopping for a winger with Mark Stone injured

      The Golden Knights could be in a position to weaponize their LTIR space.

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      Tick tock. The clock is ticking for the NHL’s general managers, but there’s been lots of talk and very little action. We’ve seen just one trade consummated in nearly three weeks – the last being Sean Monahan to Winnipeg on Feb. 2 – and a relatively thin trade market is to blame.

      There is no shortage of players available. Our Trade Targets board is now 40 names deep. But GMs have bemoaned a lack of true impact players available, on top of the usual suspects such as a lack of assets to trade or cap space complaints.

      A trade is just a phone call away, and there may be a break in the market. Sources say the ever-aggressive Vegas Golden Knights, who love chasing the shiny toy in their quest for a second straight Stanley Cup, are active in seeking an impact winger for their roster. In fact, they were on that trail before captain Mark Stone went down with another injury – which the club says will keep him out “for a while.” Reading between the lines, that means the GM Kelly McCrimmon could have Stone’s $9.5 million to play with on LTIR.

      Would the Golden Knights target Jake Guentzel? Or could a reunion with Reilly Smith be in the cards? The Penguins, now nine points out of a playoff spot, are believed to have made Smith available. While there was no salary retention in his trade last summer, the league’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits retention on any deal in which a team reacquires a player after trading him within the same calendar year, so that would be one roadblock to overcome.

      Smith and Guentzel are just two of the names available.

      2024 Trade Deadline Countdown: 15 Days

      With just over two weeks until the NHL’s March 8 trade deadline, here is our latest Trade Targets board, which always seeks to blend a player’s market with the likelihood of a trade:

      Trade Targets 🎯

      1. Noah Hanifin
      Left Defense, Calgary Flames
      Age: 27
      Stats: 50 GP, 9 G, 21 A, 30 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.95 million AAV
      Scoop: It seems more like a matter of ‘when’ and ‘where,’ not ‘if’ the Flames will be moving Hanifin. They put what was believed to be an eight-year, $60 million deal in front of him – almost exactly what Hanifin asked for – but he got cold feet and left the Flames at the altar. Now, with it widely known that Hanifin prefers to sign his next contract with an American-based team, the Flames are having trouble drumming up a market for him. We reported on Monday that Hanifin has indicated he’s interested in signing with Tampa Bay, but that may have to be in July. Because it’s not that teams like Tampa Bay aren’t interested in Hanifin, they just might not have the assets to pull off a trade. They don’t have a first-round pick until 2026.

      2. Chris Tanev
      Right Defense, Calgary Flames
      Age: 34
      Stats: 53 GP, 1 G, 11 A, 12 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $4.5 million AAV
      Scoop: Unlike with Hanifin, there is no shortage of teams lined up for Tanev. Dallas, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto and Winnipeg are just some of them. Check out our deep dive on Tanev’s game. To get more juiced up, interested teams can just cue up his video from before the holidays in which he dove face first to quite literally eat a shot from the point. His reasoning? “Just trying to do whatever it takes to not get scored on,” Tanev said after the game. He oozes commitment and strong defensive play. He’s a warrior. It’s just also that willingness to do whatever it takes that gets him into trouble, as it seems like he’s going down the tunnel with a ding or dent on a near nightly basis. There are questions about his durability. But he’s only missed 20 games in 4 seasons with the Flames – and that makes him the perfect rental. But at least one non-playoff team (Ottawa) sees him as much more than that.

      3. 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 of the injury is unknown, 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.

      4. Adam Henrique
      Center, Anaheim Ducks
      Age: 34
      Stats: 55 GP, 16 G, 20 A, 36 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.

      5. Jake Allen
      Goaltender, Montréal Canadiens
      Ages: 33
      Stats: 20 GP, 3.66 GAA, .894 Sv%
      Contracts: 2 years remaining, $3.85 million AAV
      Scoop: After moving 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 love 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.

      6. Sean Walker
      Right Defense, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 29
      Stats: 57 GP, 5 G, 15 A, 20 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $2.65 million AAV
      Scoop: Check out Walker’s in-depth trade deadline profile here. The Flyers are open to just about anything that will make them better for the long haul. In Los Angeles, Walker was as much of a cap casualty as he was a victim of a roster logjam – particularly on the right side of that defense. Sean Durzi was also moved and the Kings still have Drew Doughty, Jordan Spence, Matt Roy and then Brandt Clarke. Playing with fellow pending free agent Nick Seeler (see below), Walker is playing north of 21 minutes for the first time his career and is making the most of his new opportunity. The Flyers stand to reap the rewards of that, too. They’ve set a reasonable bar, and if it isn’t met, they won’t be afraid to keep him for what looks like a playoff run.

      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 left Tuesday’s game with an injury and has been listed as day-to-day by the Caps. He won’t travel to Tampa, which makes a return next week likely. 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. Reilly Smith
      Left/Right Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins
      Age: 32
      Stats: 47 GP, 10 G, 13 A, 23 Pts
      Contract: 1 year remaining, $5 million AAV
      Scoop: For whatever reason, Smith hasn’t worked out as intended in Pittsburgh – and he isn’t the only Kyle Dubas summer acquisition that can be said about. 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.

      9. Scott Laughton
      Center, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 29
      Stats: 57 GP, 7 G, 19 A, 26 Pts
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $3 million AAV
      Scoop: 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? We did a deep dive on Laughton’s game.

      10. Jacob Markstrom
      Goaltender, Calgary Flames
      Age: 34
      Stats: 35 GP, 2.60 GAA, .913 Sv%
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $6 million AAV
      Scoop: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so it’s impossible to say how close, but the Flames and New Jersey Devils were well down the track on a deal that involved Markstrom. That was two weeks ago. Markstrom has undeniably been Calgary’s MVP this season, the only reason they are even within sniffing distance of a playoff spot. What does that mean for his future in Calgary? Can the Devils and Flames rekindle talks? Is there another team willing to step up to pay a big acquisition cost for two more years of stability in net? Carolina and Colorado are two of the other teams looking for goalies. Allen is available for less, with fewer dollars and less term. 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.

      11. Pavel Buchnevich
      Left Wing, St. Louis Blues
      Age: 28
      Stats: 53 GP, 19 G, 24 A, 43 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 186 points in 189 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.

      12. Jakob Chychrun
      Left Defense, Ottawa Senators
      Age: 25
      Stats: 53 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 just 10 months ago, and they haven’t been told that Chychrun is unavailable. 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.

      13. Alexandre Carrier
      Right Defense, Nashville Predators
      Age: 27
      Stats: 51 GP, 4 G, 12 A, 16 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $2.5 million AAV
      Scoop: Carrier 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?

      14. Vladimir Tarasenko
      Right Wing, Ottawa Senators
      Age: 32
      Stats: 51 GP, 15 G, 22 A, 37 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 admitted this week 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. Anthony Mantha
      Right Wing, Washington Capitals
      Age: 29
      Stats: 50 GP, 17 G, 11 A, 28 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $5.7 million AAV
      Scoop: Mantha is finding himself again under new coach Spencer Carbery. He’s up to 17 goals on the season, which is basically his best production since 2018-19 when he collected 25. He’s actually on pace for 27 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.

      16. Mikael Granlund
      Center, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 31
      Stats: 42 GP, 6 G, 25 A, 31 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 last week. 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.

      17. 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.

      18. Matt Dumba
      Right Defense, Arizona Coyotes
      Age: 29
      Stats: 52 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.

      19. Anthony Duclair
      Left Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 28
      Stats: 50 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.

      20. Joel Edmundson
      Left Defense, Washington Capitals
      Age: 30
      Stats: 38 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $3.5 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 (16:09) since his rookie season nearly a decade ago. He is doing it on a non-playoff team that is not stacked on defense. He is an insurance addition who shouldn’t cost a lot.

      21. Jason Zucker
      Left/Right Wing, Arizona Coyotes
      Age: 32
      Stats: 46 GP, 8 G, 14 A, 22 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.

      22. Brett Kulak
      Left Defense, Edmonton Oilers
      Age: 30
      Stats: 53 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.

      23. Mike Hoffman
      Left Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 34
      Stats: 53 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 26-game scoring drought and has scored in one game since Nov. 25. He’s on track for 12 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.

      24. Arthur Kaliyev
      Winger, Los Angeles Kings
      Age: 22
      Stats: 40 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 has been a healthy scratch for five of the Kings’ last seven games. He wants to play and feels like he’s deserves an opportunity to play. The tough part for the Kings is because he is sitting, 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.

      25. Marc-Andre Fleury
      Goaltender, Minnesota Wild
      Age: 39
      Stats: 27 GP, 2.96 GAA, .897 Sv%
      Contract: Pending UFA, $3.5 million AAV
      Scoop: The Wild aren’t waving the white flag. They’ve been hot, climbing within two points of the eighth and final wild card spot, and some even say they have the inside track to land it. Minnesota doesn’t want to trade Fleury. And Fleury hasn’t raised his hand asking to be traded, which is the perfect reminder that he is in complete control of his destiny and destination with a full “no-move” clause. The 39-year-old has been asked to do a lot this season in Minnesota, sometimes without a lot of help in front of him. He has climbed to second all-time in wins and became the fourth goalie to hit 1,000 games played. In order for Fleury to move, the Wild will need to be definitively out of the playoff chase over the next two weeks (which seems unlikely) and Fleury would have to see a perfect situation where he can play and contribute to want to go.

      26. Ivan Provorov
      Left Defense, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 27
      Stats: 55 GP, 4 G, 20 A, 24 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 last week, 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.

      27. Jordan Greenway
      Left Wing, Buffalo Sabres
      Age: 26
      Stats: 44 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 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 61 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.

      28. Jordan Eberle
      Right Wing, Seattle Kraken
      Age: 33
      Stats: 51 GP, 10 G, 20 A, 30 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 137 points in 212 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. Brandon Duhaime
      Left Wing, Minnesota Wild
      Age: 26
      Stats: 56 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $1.1 million AAV
      Scoop: Like Marc-Andre Fleury above him, the Wild probably aren’t seeking to sell as they’re squarely in the race. But 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.

      30. Morgan Frost
      Center, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 24
      Stats: 46 GP, 9 G, 18 A, 27 Pts
      Contract: 1 more year, $2.1 million AAV
      Scoop: Hold all tickets, but there may have been a breakthrough between John Tortorella and Frost several weeks ago, with Tortorella praising Frost for asking for a meeting and getting a few things off his chest. Up until that, things were, ahem, a little frosty between coach and player. Frost has been healthy scratched 11 times already this season. His ice time is down more than a minute from last season, when he put up 19 goals and 46 points. The Flyers aren’t opposed to moving Frost, but to this point, no team has stepped up with a legitimate offer for a change of scenery. They likely aren’t in a rush to move him during this playoff push with Frost still under team control. He’s been significantly better of late, with 11 points in 13 games over the last month, and twice played north of 20 minutes per night.

      31. Jon Merrill
      Left Defense, Minnesota Wild
      Age: 32
      Stats: 39 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.

      32. Alexandre Texier
      Left Wing, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 24
      Stats: 53 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.

      33. Elvis Merzlikins
      Goaltender, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 29
      Stats: 32 GP, 3.33 GAA, .900 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.

      34. Nick Seeler
      Left Defense, Philadelphia Flyers
      Age: 30
      Stats: 57 GP, 1 G, 9 A, 10 Pts
      Contract: Pending UFA, $800,000 AAV
      Scoop: After signing Owen Tippett and Ryan Poehling to extensions, they’re also leaning toward keeping Seeler now. 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.

      35. Tony DeAngelo
      Right Defense, Carolina Hurricanes
      Age: 28
      Stats: 24 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 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 this week, but he has played just four games in 2024. 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.

      36. Kevin Hayes
      Center, St. Louis Blues
      Age: 31
      Stats: 55 GP, 10 G, 12 A, 22 Pts
      Contract: 2 years remaining, $3.57 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 35 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.

      37. Jack Roslovic
      Center / Right Wing, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Age: 27
      Stats: 32 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 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 five points in his past four 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.

      38. Andrew Peeke and/or Adam Boqvist
      Defensemen, Columbus Blue Jackets
      Ages: 25 / 23
      Stats: 20 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 Pts / 25 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.

      39. Kevin Labanc
      Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
      Age: 28
      Stats: 34 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.

      40. 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: Frank Vatrano, Anaheim Ducks.

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

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