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Top 10 big names likely to be traded before the deadline

Adam Proteau
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Antoine Vermette (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

News

Top 10 big names likely to be traded before the deadline

Adam Proteau
By:

Let the wheelin’ and dealin’ begin! Here are the 10 big-time players most likely to find new NHL homes by March 2. Read this quickly before they're all gone!

Let the wheelin’ and dealin’ begin! Here are the remaining 10 big-time players most likely to find new NHL homes by March 2:

RYAN O’REILLY
Colorado Avalanche, center
Contract status: 1 year @ $6M
Good fit for...ARI, BUF, FLA, MTL, WPG

Although some think O’Reilly, 24, could make the jump to become a bona fide No. 1 center, many pro scouts view him more as a tremendous second-line pivot. He’s a solid two-way forward with exceptional discipline (he had just two penalty minutes in 80 games last season), and he’s not a rental, with one season left on a two-year, $12-million contract. The Avs need a young defenseman in return. It’s more a matter of when he’s traded, not if.

KEITH YANDLE
Arizona Coyotes, defense
Contract status: 1 year @ $5.3M
Good fit for...BOS, COL, DAL, DET

Arizona is bottoming out and facing what GM Don Maloney called a “reset” of the roster. So with Yandle, 28, finishing up his five-year contract at the end of 2015-16, it could be time for him and the Yotes to part ways. His consistency on the back end and lengthy panic threshold in big minutes (an average of more than 24 minutes this season) will put him at the top of the list of available D-men, and there will be no shortage of suitors. His next contract will be pricey, but the elite puckmover’s skills are worth it.

MIKE GREEN
Washington Capitals, defense
Contract status: 2015 UFA
Good fit for...ANA, COL, DET, MTL

The off-season signings of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, and the ascent of young ‘D’ John Carlson and Karl Alzner, have made Green, 29, expendable. He’s no longer the player who averaged more than 25 minutes a game for Washington in 2008-09, but he’s still an above-average contributor on offense and a power play force. And, perhaps most intriguingly in the eyes of inquiring GMs, he’s a right-handed shot. That’s a valuable commodity, and he can be acquired with the long or short term in mind.

JOFFREY LUPUL
Toronto Maple Leafs, right wing
Contract status: 3 yrs @ $5.3M
Good fit for...LA, STL, SJ

At 31, Lupul has sustained more than his share of injuries. He’s already missed more than a dozen games this season and hasn’t played 70 games or more in a season since 2008-09. But when healthy, there’s no doubt Lupul can still produce (nine goals and 17 points in 28 games this year). He’s got three seasons left on his deal after, so if Toronto is motivated to move his money off the books as the franchise rebuilds, the Leafs will have to lower their expectations on the return or assume some of his salary.

ANTOINE VERMETTE
Arizona Coyotes, center
Contract status: 2015 UFA
Good fit for...ANA, BOS, CHI, MTL, NYR, STL

Easily the most talked-about player at this season’s deadline, Vermette, 32, is versatile, a responsible presence at both ends of the ice and almost always produces 20 to 25 goals. The interest will allow GM Don Maloney to drive up the asking price to the point no less than a first-round pick and a better-than-average prospect will suffice. That’s fair value for a player who can be a difference-maker on faceoffs and who plays on both special teams. That’s the kind of player who helps you win playoff games.

JAROMIR JAGR
New Jersey Devils, right wing
Contract status: 2015 UFA
Good fit for...BOS, MTL, NYI, PIT

At 43, Jagr is still getting it done on NHL rinks (10 goals and 27 points in 47 games for New Jersey) and no doubt wants another shot at a Stanley Cup. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello won’t want Jagr to walk away for nothing as a UFA, but we’ll see if he prefers to trade him out of the Eastern Conference rather than send him to a natural rival like the Isles (who could use his poise and experience) or the Penguins (Jagr’s former team). Jagr can still thrive on the power play and, with the right matchups, at even strength.

CHRIS STEWART
Buffalo Sabres, right wing
Contract status: 2015 UFA
Good fit for...BOS, CHI, NYI, OTT, PIT, WPG

A team in need of size and soft hands will see Stewart, 27, as a more affordable trade option than Vermette. The upside to acquiring him is that, once he does get out of the Sabres’ abysmal competitive situation, he should be more than happy to produce for his new team. He’d be a stellar second-unit addition to any Cup contender’s power play and isn’t likely to cost a GM a high pick or an elite prospect. If a trade partner sweetens the pot, Buffalo might assume some of Stewart’s prorated $4.2-million salary.

TYLER BOZAK
Toronto Maple Leafs, center
Contract status: 3 years @ $4.2M
Good fit for...MTL, NJ, NYR, BOS

The Leafs’ major housecleaning is likely to mean the end of Bozak’s time in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean the 28-year-old isn’t worth a gamble. His $4.2 million average annual cap hit isn’t the cheapest contract for a guy who hasn’t broken the 20-goal, 50-point plateau despite playing alongside one of the top players in the league in Phil Kessel. Bozak has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, but with the broken-down state of the Buds, he’ll likely be more than amenable to a team bound for a playoff run and looking for a good second-or-third option down the middle.

JEFF PETRY
Edmonton Oilers, defense
Contract status: 2015 UFA
Good fit for...ANA, COL, DAL, DET, PIT

Petry is far from a household name, but he’s a favorite of the analytics crowd – his relative Corsi percentage ranks with all-star caliber blueliners – and being a right shot makes him attractive to suitors. He can skate with anyone, make a crisp first pass out of his zone and play solid special teams minutes. He’s no star, but he’s only 27 and will surely get a raise on his $3.1-million cap hit. A contender like the Pens or Ducks may see him as a rental, but others (Colorado, Dallas) would be interested in a long-term match.

CURTIS GLENCROSS
Calgary Flames, left wing
Contract Status: 2015 UFA
Good fit for…CHI, PIT, NYR, BOS, ANA, DET

Glencross is precisely the type of asset teams in the salary cap era love to acquire at the trade deadline: a free agent as soon as the season ends, and a player who offers no illusions as to what he gives you. In Glencross’ case, what he gives you is depth on the wing, grit and goals. Although the Flames are fighting tooth-and-nail for a playoff spot of their own, the 32-year-old is less than pleased with the way head coach Bob Hartley has used him – and more importantly, he’ll earn a raise this summer that team management isn’t willing to sign off on – so Glencross will be dealt to a contender. If you’re looking for him to replicate his 26-goals season from 2011-12, you’ll likely be disappointed, but over the short term, Glencross could provide the spark that helps a team win a playoff game (or series) or two.

This is an updated feature that originally appeared in the March 9 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.

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Top 10 big names likely to be traded before the deadline