By: Luke Johns, KCOU Sports
With the end of February coming fast, NHL teams need to start considering potential trades to be made before the trade deadline. Every sports fan knows that when it comes to trade deadlines, there are buyers and sellers. What can get complicated is sometimes general managers have a tough time deciding which one their team is.
In the NHL, the playoff race is wide open, particularly in the Eastern Conference. That means it’s a sellers market. Here is a look at some big name players rumored to be traded and a destination that I think makes the most sense.
Dion Phaneuf — Dallas Stars
The Maple Leafs aren’t playing good hockey and will likely be a seller. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think they’ll go nuclear and clear the house to dump contracts. If Dallas is willing to take his contract and bank on him being healthy, this makes a lot of sense. The Stars are three points out of the playoffs and could use a defenseman. Phaneuf would provide depth to the relatively young Dallas defensive core and he has never made it past the first round, so he should be ecstatic to have an opportunity to play for a potential playoff team.
Phil Kessel—Nashville Predators
Despite the fact they just acquired Cody Franson, the Predators should still go after Phil Kessel of the Maple Leafs. Kessel is another player who could be involved in the Maple Leafs “blowing it up.” He has had run-ins with reporters this season and the media has been calling for Kessel to be benched. It seems he may need a change in scenery. Kessel would fit in perfectly on the Predators second line and could even compete with Filip Forsberg as the top line winger. With Kessel’s scoring ability, Nashville could put distance between themselves and Anaheim and St. Louis.
Jeff Petry—Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins have been in the market for a defenseman since the news broke that Olli Maata is out for the season. Petry could easily fill that void and since he’s a free agent at the end of the year so the Oilers likely would welcome the idea of trading him.
Jaromir Jagr—Montreal Canadiens
Jagr still has value being in his 40s. He has numerous deep playoff runs under his belt and wants to be traded to a contender in the east. The Montreal Canadiens are exceptional on defense and between the pipes but, besides Pacioretty, don’t have a lot of scoring on the wings. The Canadiens plan to build the team with young talent has worked extremely well and adding a veteran like Jagr would be the perfect veteran to rally around. And for what it’s worth, both Jagr and Thomas Plekanec have played together on Czech Republic national teams.
Other smaller name players could be on the move as well and could very well be “bigger trade acquisitions” when the season concludes. Though as of now, I think these are the main players to keep an eye on during trade deadline season.