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The Top 30 trade candidates for the 2017 deadline

Matt Larkin
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The Top 30 trade candidates for the 2017 deadline

Kevin Shattenkirk and Ben Bishop Author: Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images and Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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The Top 30 trade candidates for the 2017 deadline

Matt Larkin
By:

Who are the best available candidates for contenders to target in trades before the March 1 deadline? We present THN’s top 30.

The best commodities to seek out at the trade deadline are (a) skilled; (b) known or rumored to be available based on their teams’ situations; and (c) not anchored by massive remaining contract term. Our top 30 candidates approaching March 1 mostly meet those criteria, minus a few noteworthy names in Colorado who have plenty of years left on their deals but are worth pursuing nonetheless.

1. KEVIN SHATTENKIRK, D, BLUES

He’s a right-handed shot, he can play massive minutes, he’s a great power play quarterback, he’s a pending unrestricted free agent, and he’s even underrated defensively. He’s everything a contending team should want. The Blues are streaking since axing coach Ken Hitchcock but probably can’t afford to lose Shattenkirk for nothing this summer after doing so with David Backes and Troy Brouwer last year.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

2. MATT DUCHENE, C, AVALANCHE

The Avs must start over. Duchene is still in the middle of his prime at 26, but Colorado might need five years to become competitive again. He can play center or wing on a scoring line and possesses game-changing speed.

Contract: $6-million cap hit through 2018-19

3. BEN BISHOP, G, LIGHTNING

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been inconsistent enough that the Bolts may still need Bishop to make the playoffs. But they can only protect one stopper for the expansion draft. Bishop has to go. He’s had an off year but can still singlehandedly change a team’s Stanley Cup odds.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

4. GABRIEL LANDESKOG, LW, AVALANCHE

He was the youngest full-time captain in NHL history before Connor McDavid beat the record. Landeskog combines scoring touch with physicality. He hasn’t quite realized the potential that made him 2011’s No. 2 overall pick, though.

Contract: $5.57-million cap hit through 2020-21

5. MARTIN HANZAL, C, COYOTES

A dream acquisition for teams seeking a No. 3 center. Towering two-way presence and faceoff maven.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

6. MARC-ANDRE FLEURY, G, PENGUINS

Fleury’s no-movement clause means he must be protected in expansion draft. As long as he remains a Penguin, he’s a threat to force Matt Murray out of Pittsburgh. ‘Flower’ is a must-trade commodity. That hurts GM Jim Rutherford’s leverage and should drop Fleury’s price.

Contract: $5.75-million cap hit through 2018-19

7. PATRICK SHARP, LW, STARS

Three Stanley Cup rings. Big games don’t faze him. Still enough goals in his stick to play in a team’s top nine at 35 years old.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

8. JAROSLAV HALAK, G, ISLANDERS

Ripping up the AHL as he awaits a trade. Has proven in past he can steal a playoff series when hot.

Contract: $4.5-million cap hit through 2017-18

9. THOMAS VANEK, LW, RED WINGS

Numbers look great on paper in his contract year. Vanek has burned teams in past as a trade-deadline buy, however, by disappearing in the post-season. Now hampered by a minor ankle injury.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

10. PATRIK BERGLUND, C, BLUES

Ridiculous goal-scoring binge reminds us why he was a first-round pick in 2006. Would add a dangerous element his new team’s third line.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

11. JANNIK HANSEN, RW, CANUCKS

Brings nice wheels, penalty-killing acumen and a reasonable contract. Lots to like here.

Contract: $2.5-million cap hit through 2017-18

12. RADIM VRBATA, RW, COYOTES

Enjoying a resurgent season in the desert at 35. Can help a contender’s second line and power play.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

13. MICHAEL STONE, D, COYOTES

Offense has really dried up, but he’s a big, strong D-man who can play on a good team’s bottom pair.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

14. JOHNNY ODUYA, D, STARS

Nightmare season in Dallas. He’s shown in the past he can handle big responsibility in the playoffs, though. Someone will pay for the two Cup rings. He should be back from his ankle injury well before spring.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

15. BRENDAN SMITH, D, RED WINGS

Never entrusted with more than 18 or so minutes per game in his career, and he’s now in his sixth season, yet his possession numbers are consistently good. He’s an underrated target.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

16. MARK STREIT, D, FLYERS

Ice time way down as he pushes 40. Teams still covet the power-play ability he brings, though. He’ll draw interest.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

17. DMITRY KULIKOV, D, SABRES

Hard to believe he’s still just 26. Not finished as a useful minutes eater and shot blocker despite horrid numbers with Sabres this year.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

18. JAROMIR JAGR, RW, PANTHERS

The Panthers may hold No. 68 if they get back into the Atlantic race now that they’re healthy. Otherwise, he’ll find a new home on someone’s scoring lines. Turns 45 Wednesday, hasn’t missed a game all year and is on pace for 47 points. Remarkable.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

19. EVANDER KANE, LW, SABRES

A boom-bust acquisition. Could disrupt team chemistry or could be a heart-and-soul playoff warrior. Has been plenty good for Buffalo this season. If Sabres deal him they may need to retain some salary.

Contract: $5.25-million cap hit through 2017-18

20. BRIAN BOYLE, C, LIGHTNING

More useful in the grinding playoff atmosphere than in the regular season. A monster at 6-foot-6 and 244 pounds. Above average on draws. A nice consolation prize for a team that misses out on Hanzal. Boyle is a tougher, less skilled version.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

21. PATRICK EAVES, RW, STARS

Already a career high in goals with 21…at age 32. Shooting percentage doesn’t suggest the production is unsustainable, but he’s been injury prone in the past, which is why I haven’t ranked him higher.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

22. P-A PARENTEAU, RW, DEVILS

Can score a little bit. Underrated possession force. Not a sexy addition but could be a quietly effective one.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

23. ALEXANDRE BURROWS, RW, CANUCKS

Still the type of disruptive, agitating presence that can turn the tide of a series, even if his offense has declined.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

24. JAY MCCLEMENT, C, HURRICANES

Has been one of the NHL’s best penalty-killing forwards for a while now. A target for anyone seeking a specialist.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

25. RON HAINSEY, D, HURRICANES

Versatile. Can play 22 minutes a game. Would be better fit for a contender’s bottom pair, but he’s used to top-four minutes as well.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

26. DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY, RW, DEVILS

He’s a bulldozer in the corners, and he’s shown post-season streakiness in the past. A decent lottery ticket.

Contract: $1.3-million cap hit through 2017-18

27. DREW STAFFORD, RW, JETS

Respectable stopgap for a team dealing with injuries among its scoring-line wingers.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

28. JAROME IGINLA, RW, AVALANCHE

More of a cute, cuddly story than a legit trade target at this stage of his career. Would at least be a wise, respected voice in a new team’s room, however.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

29. SHANE DOAN, RW, COYOTES

See No. 28.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

30. ROMAN POLAK, D, MAPLE LEAFS

A revolving door at even strength, but he’s big, mean and a solid penalty killer. Was part of a package that yielded two second-rounders for Toronto last year. Won’t cost as much this time.

Contract: unrestricted free agent in 2017

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The Top 30 trade candidates for the 2017 deadline