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Playoff Team Needs, and Who Can Fill Them as the NHL Trade Deadline Approaches

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It’s almost that time. The NHL Trade Deadline is getting closer and all hockey fans are anxiously waiting to see what their team will do to either try and improve for the future, or acquire that one missing piece to make a deep playoff run. Unless of course you’re a Vancouver fan, then the Trade Deadline just makes you want to gouge your eyes out. Let’s take a look now at what each playoff team needs, what some potential options are, and who they have to offer

NOTE: Only teams currently in a playoff spot, or within 5 points of one are included. Differing games played are not included. Draft picks and prospects are default pieces to offer for every team. Descriptions only added for certain teams that it’s necessary. 


Needs: Depth at D

Possible Options: Andrej Sekera, Zbynek Michalek, Matt Bartkowski

To Offer: Matt Beleskey, Emerson Etem, Ben Lovejoy


Needs: Grit at F

Possible Options: Zack Kassian, Chris Stewart, Antoine Vermette

To Offer: Loui Eriksson, Ryan Spooner, Malcolm Subban, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski

I must take just a brief moment to laugh my head off at Peter Chiarelli. He has dug himself a bad hole and a hole that is very likely going to cost him his job. The Tyler Seguin trade has backfired miserably as has the Johnny Boychuk one. Now Chiarelli is in a position where he needs his team to make the playoffs or else he will likely lose his job. The problem is, it’s going to take an upgrade to do that, and that will likely cost the Bruins one of their prospects, leaving an already lackluster prospect pool even worse. The Bruins are winless in 5 games and now Florida is breathing down their backs making it very clear that Boston could miss the playoffs (which I’m sure the fans of 29 other teams will be heartbroken over.)


Needs: None

Possible Options: N/A

Players to Offer: Curtis Glencross

Calgary is a team that really, really needs to stay put. They’re still a very young team, and making the playoffs this season is far from a necessity to this team’s future success. Curtis Glencross is only listed due to recent reports that they asked him to submit a list of teams he would be willing to be traded to. Glencross is a pending UFA and has been upset with his lack of ice time since returning from injury so Calgary would be smart to trade him to a team in more serious contention in an effort to stockpile more picks and prospects to add to an already young core.

Not worth really analyzing here. The Blackhawks lack the cap space to make any real additions, and don’t really have a need to make any serious additions considering they’re pretty comfortably in a playoff a spot and are nearing the time where they get hot. IF the Blackhawks really felt a need to add anyone it would be for a very cheap, depth defenseman such as an Andre Benoit who’s on a 1 year, 800k thousand deal which is something Chicago should be able to fit under the cap (how much do we miss capgeek?). Thoughts and prayers with Matt Wuest on that note too. On a later note however, it appears Chicago is in serious talks with Calgary over Curtis Glencross, a trade that would likely require cap space to return to Calgary, most likely in the form of Bryan Bickell in addition to a pick or prospect.


Needs: Right handed Defenseman

Possible Options: Jeff Petry, Zbynek Michalek

Players To Offer: Jakub Kindl, Tomas Jurco, Dan Cleary


Needs: None

Possible Options: N/A

Players to Offer: Sean Bergenheim, Tomas Kopecky, Scottie Upshall, Tomas Fleischmann

Florida is in the exact same place as Calgary. They’re a very young team who’s best yards are still ahead. Selling young prospects and picks for rentals would be a poor strategy for Dale Tallon to entail. He is better off dealing the pending UFA’s and stockpile more youth and future players. None of the 4 listed will net a hefty return but they should all be able to net at least a 3rd or 4th round pick or a lower level prospect. Nothing that’s going to make Florida instant contenders, but nothing that’s going to sell out the farm either. A side note to this, but next season when Florida will more than likely be a playoff team, I would not be surprised if they ended up ponying up one of their top young guys for Phil Kessel.

Los Angeles:

Needs: Defense

Possible Options: Andrej Sekera, Zbynek Michalek, Matt Bartkowski, Jeff Petry, Robert Bortuzzo

Players to Offer: Justin Williams, Mike Richards

The Kings are really, really tight on cap room and almost any move would have to include Williams or Richards going the other way, which could drive potential suitors away due to their large cap hits and shaky production. At the end of the day, the Kings are the Kings and they’ll do what they always do. Make a push in late March and April and sneak into the playoffs. Jonathan Quick turns  superhuman and the Kings become dominant.


Needs:  Defensive Depth and Center Depth

Possible Options: Jakub Kindl, Matt Bartkowski, Robert Bortuzzo, Antoine Vermette

Players to Offer: Darcy Kuemper, Kyle Brodziak

Minnesota is on a hot streak right now thanks entirely to Devan Dubnyk but if they really want to make a playoff push then there must be an upgrade in the bottom part of their defense. A mix of Nate Prosser, Christian Folin, Matt Dumba and the other AHL guys is not a good enough support to a strong group of Scandella, Suter, Spurgeon and Brodin. Also, with Granlund and Coyle struggling to find their strides this season, grabbing a veteran such as Antoine Vermette may prove beneficial in making a late playoff push.

Needs: Forward Depth

Possible Options: Sean Bergenheim, Curtis Glencross, Antoine Vermette, Jaromir Jagr

Players to Offer: Lars Eller, Tom Gilbert


Nothing to see here. Best team in the NHL and absolutely no need to make any kind of changes after the acquisitions of Franson and Santorelli. Only possible move the Predators may make is dealing unnecessary players like Viktor Stalberg and Matt Cullen.

New York Islanders:

Needs: Backup Goalie

Possible Options: Jonas Gustavsson, Eddie Lack, Michal Neuvirth

Players to Offer: Chad Johnson, Matt Donovan, Lubomir Visnovsky

The Islanders are a very strong team but Chad Johnson has been a glaring weakness this year and down the stretch. The Isles may want to be able to give Jaroslav Halak some rest and have confidence of who’s going between the pipes. Gustavsson may the most viable option here with Detroit having Petr Mrazek waiting in the wings (heh, pun.) Lack seems very unlikely considering he is outplaying Ryan Miller at the moment and Neuvirth is the starter in Buffalo and goaltending is the one thing the Sabres absolutely do not have.

New York Rangers:
Needs: Gritty Forward Depth

Possible Options: Jay McClement, Torrey Mitchell, Sean Bergenheim

Players to Offer: J.T. Miller, John Moore

Needs: Scoring punch

Possible Options: Jaromir Jagr, Loui Eriksson, Curtis Glencross, Joffrey Lupul

Players to Offer: Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Chris Kunitz, Robert Bortuzzo

San Jose:
Needs: Defensive and Forward Depth, Stability in Net

Possible Options: Cam Ward (maybe better suited for summer), Sean Bergenheim, Jeff Petry, Lars Eller, Josh Gorges

Players to Offer: Antti Niemi, Scott Hannan, Tyler Kennedy, Andrew Desjardins, James Sheppard

St. Louis:
Same deal as Nashville. One of the NHL’s elite and a team who will only be making a move if it’s dumping off an unnecessary player such as a Patrik Berglund or a Magnus Paajarvi.

Tampa Bay:
Needs: Depth on a banged up defense

Possible Options: Andrej Sekera, Jeff Petry, Zbynek Michalek, Andrew MacDonald

Players to Offer: J.T. Brown, Brett Connolly, Brenden Morrow

Another team who is well set for the rest of the season and playoffs and doesn’t need to make a big move but may want to add to some depth without Matt Carle and Radko Gudas who both could miss the start of the playoffs.


Needs: Defense:

Possible Options:  Andrej Sekera, Matt Bartkowski, Zbynek Michalek

Players to Offer: Zack Kassian, Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen

The Canucks offense has been up and down all season and while they have hit a strong patch lately, it’s still inconsistent. However, selling the farm for offense would be a foolish move on the part of Jim Benning. Defense is something the Canucks badly need though. Thursday night they sported a defense of Alex Biega, Dan Hamhuis, Luca Sbisa, Yannick Weber, Ryan Stanton and Adam Clendening. Injuries to Chris Tanev, Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Frank Corrado have decimated the Canucks defense so it’s a bit of a curious case how they’ve won four of their last 5 games. But anyway, a defense of the aforementioned six players isn’t going to last for long and even with the 4 injured players back there is still a large drop off on the third pair. Some extra blueliners would be of pretty considerable help to get Vancouver to the playoffs.

Needs: None

Possible Options: None

Players to Offer:  Mike Green,  Joel Ward, Aaron Volpatti, Jay Beagle

Caps are in a pretty steady place and don’t have any glaring needs and they’re like Calgary and Nashville as teams who don’t have a total necessity to win right away as they have young players like Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andrei Burakovsky and prospects like Madison Bowey and Jakub Vrana. Oh and that #8 guy. He’s pretty good. Along with Nicklas Backstrom (the most underrated player in hockey), Washington has no inclination to trade away the farm for rentals so they’re a team who should absolutely stay put.


Needs: Forward Depth

Possible Options: Sean Bergenheim, Jaromir Jagr, Torrey Mitchell

Players to Offer: Alex Burmistrov,  TJ Galiardi,  Paul Postma,  Adam Pardy,  Jay Harrison

Winnipeg is more than likely to stay quiet after the Evander Kane blockbuster, but adding some forward depth wouldn’t hurt. Winnipeg doesn’t have a whole lot to offer besides unsigned KHLers, depth forwards and 7th/8th defenseman. It’d take more of a mix of prospects and picks to get any of the forwards listed and that’s probably not a trade the Jets will want to make.


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