NHL Trade Buzz: Stars road trip will determine deadline decisions

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Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 11 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:

 

Dallas Stars

Whether the Stars will be buyers or sellers before the NHL Trade Deadline will be determined by how they fare during their six-game road trip that continues at the Nashville Predators on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; BSSO, BSSW, NHL.TV), general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News.

“When we come out of this trip it’ll be close to the deadline on April 12 and we’ll know where we’re sitting pretty well by then,” Nill said in remarks published Wednesday. “The games are going by fast, we’re playing every second day, so we’ll have a good feel of where our team’s at. And then also, over this next week, 10 days, have a good feel of where the League’s at.”

The Stars are seven points behind the Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks, who are tied for the fourth in the eight-team Discover Central Division. The top four teams in each division make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dallas, which has played four fewer games than Nashville and Chicago, ends its trip at Chicago on April 6 and 8. The trip also includes games against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and Sunday.

Forwards Andrew Cogliano and Blake Comeau and defensemen Jamie Oleksiak, Mark Pysyk and Joel Hanley can become unrestricted free agents after the season and could be trade candidates if made available.

Tweet from @dmn_stars: As Ben Bishop nears a return, Stars GM Jim Nill sheds light on the future of Dallas��� goalie situation https://t.co/J2XoMB6DMJ

 
Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights might be content to stand pat now that they are full strength after Alex Pietrangelo returned Wednesday. The defenseman missed 12 games with an upper-body injury.

That doesn’t mean Vegas won’t explore options on the trade market, but with a deep group of defensemen and Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner in goal, coach Peter DeBoer said he’d be fine if no additions are made.

“I don’t think there’s a coach in any sport in the world that doesn’t feel that an addition somewhere in some area can help them,” DeBoer said Wednesday. “At the same time, if this is the group that we go to war with down the stretch and into the playoffs, then I’m comfortable there too.”

General manager Kelly McCrimmon said similar last month and, with the Golden Knights one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for first in the Honda West Division, there isn’t pressure for them to change much if there isn’t a trade available that makes sense.

“I think we’ve shown that we’ve got depth,” DeBoer said. “We’ve got guys that can play up and down the lineup. I think we’re really strong from a depth perspective, especially in goal and on defense. Those for me are the two areas that are really critical come playoff time.”

 
Pittsburgh Penguins

Injuries to Evgeni Malkin (lower body) and Teddy Blueger (upper body) have the Penguins exploring trade options at center, president of hockey operations Brian Burke told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.

Burke noted that Jared McCann and Frederick Gaudreau have done solid jobs filling in, but Blueger will miss his ninth straight game when the Penguins play at the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SPN+, SN, NESN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV) after practicing in a no-contact jersey Wednesday, and Malkin remains on long-term injured reserve.

Centers who can become unrestricted free agents after the season and could draw interest if available include Mikael Granlund of the Nashville Predators, Luke Glendening of the Detroit Red Wings and Scott Laughton of the Philadelphia Flyers.

“I’m not sure it was as dire a need as it was,” Burke said. “But when two of your top four centers go down, you start looking around.”

General manager Ron Hextall told the Penguins Radio Network on Wednesday that the Penguins are looking for a big, physical forward and Burke said they’d like to add some toughness. If the Columbus Blue Jackets decide to become sellers before the deadline, forward Nick Foligno, who can be an unrestricted free agent after the season, would be an attractive option for multiple teams.

Tweet from @PGSportsNow: ICYMI: Brian Burke doesn’t want Penguins ‘going to a gun fight with a knife’ https://t.co/Ix3eq6IVrd

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