Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are two days remaining until the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET; April 12). Here’s a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:
Forward Mattias Janmark will be scratched against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, BSOH, NBCSCH, NHL.TV). Coach Jeremy Colliton called it an “organizational decision.”
Scratching Janmark would protect him from injury ahead of a potential trade. He has scored 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 41 games and can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Chicago is fifth in the eight-team Discover Central Division, four points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators. The top four teams make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I’m pretty used to it,” Janmark said March 22 when asked about the deadline. “I’ve been on one-year deals the last four years, so I’m trying not to think much about it. You’re always aware when the deadline’s coming up, but it’s out of your control. I signed a one-year deal to improve my value and set myself up for the future, whether that’s here or [somewhere] else. But I’m trying to play my best hockey, and that’ll help me later on.”
Colliton said Saturday a lot of teams were dealing with situations like this.
“It’s the time of year,” he said. “Obviously, you address it. The message is, focus on what you can control, things I can and can’t control.”
St. Louis Blues
The Blues players made a statement that they want to keep the team together when they defeated the Minnesota Wild 9-1 on Friday.
“Yeah, absolutely,” center Ryan O’Reilly said.
The Blues looked like they could be sellers after a 6-1 home loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday. They had scored eight goals and gone 0-6-1 in seven games and had lost eight in a row (0-6-2) at home.
But with a 3-1 win against the Golden Knights on Wednesday and the win Friday, they have won two straight at home. They’re fifth in the eight-team Honda West Division, one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes. The top four teams make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
St. Louis could trade forward Mike Hoffman, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has scored 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 36 games and has been a healthy scratch the past two games.
But what about forwards Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz, who also can also become unrestricted free agents after the season? Bozak had two assists Friday. Schwartz scored two goals.
“I love this place and want some more shots at winning another Cup,” said Schwartz, who has spent his entire 545-game NHL career with the Blues and scored 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 26 playoff games when they won the Stanley Cup in 2019, “so that’s definitely in the back of my mind.”
San Jose Sharks
Patrick Marleau has said twice publicly that he would consider a trade if something comes up. The center has played 1,762 games, second in NHL history, and has not won the Stanley Cup. He can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
But will the Sharks trade him?
Marleau has scored in each of their past two games, and they’re sixth in the eight-team Honda West Division, two points behind the St. Louis Blues for fifth and three behind the Arizona Coyotes for fourth. The top four teams make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
If Marleau stays in San Jose, he is scheduled to tie Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767 games played at the Minnesota Wild on April 17 and break it at the Vegas Golden Knights on April 19.
That alone has value to the Sharks. Marleau ranks first in San Jose history in games played (1,590), goals (522) and points (1,110). He’s second in assists (588) to Joe Thornton (804).
“Patty’s been real good in the last few weeks,” coach Bob Boughner said after a 5-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. “It’s nice to see him being at the top of his game as he’s approaching that record.”
The Oilers hope to upgrade their roster before the deadline, but general manager Ken Holland said Friday he won’t trade a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft for a player eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
“I’m not going to trade a first for a rental,” Holland said Friday. “I guess if a player had some term, I would be open to it.”
Edmonton traded its second-round, third-round and fifth-round picks in the 2021 NHL Draft, so it’s understandable the Oilers don’t want to move the first-round pick, too.
But that limits what they have to offer teams looking for pieces for the future.
It wasn’t surprising that Holland also said he doesn’t intend to trade potential unrestricted free agents such as forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, defensemen Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie and goalie Mike Smith. Edmonton (25-14-2) is second in the seven-team Scotia North Division and will need those players over the remainder of the regular season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The top four teams in the division make the playoffs.
“In my mind,” Holland said, “when you have a team that’s a playoff team and you have some unrestricted free agents, there is always the risk that they are not with you next year and that’s a risk that I’m prepared to take. I think the goal for 2021 is to try and make the playoffs and try to go on a playoff run. Then I’ll deal with the offseason in the offseason.” – Tom Gulitti