One Trade Every Team Should Make: The West Division

Mike Hoffman traded

With the April 12th trade deadline now upon us, it is time to speculate over potential deals for each team. This series will look at a trade each team should make as the final stretch of the regular season begins. In this edition, we focus on one trade every team should make in the West Division.

*This article has used CapFriendly in order to formulate realistic trade ideas and partners.

West Division: One Trade Each Team Needs to Make

The following order is based on points percentage standings.

Colorado Avalanche

Buy Another Goalie – {Already Actioned}

On Saturday, Joe Sakic acquired veteran goaltender Devan Dubnyk, which addresses Colorado’s obvious flaw, at least, to a certain extent.

While Dubnyk has been on a steady decline over the last few years, it is clear that this acquisition is more for insurance purposes; the best-case scenario for the Avalanche is that Dubnyk isn’t needed at all in the postseason. Although, he can certainly do a job in the here and now.

Up to this point, Philipp Grubauer has already played 33 games in 89 days, a rate that ranks second in the NHL. Given that the Avalanche’s starting goaltender is just a season removed from a lower-body injury that ended his (and the Avalanche’s) postseason, Sakic has wisely opted for some depth to avoid burnout before the playoffs arrive.

It is certainly not a sexy pick-up but it addressed a need all the same.

Suitors (they passed on): Jonathan Bernier (Detroit Red Wings), Linus Ullmark (Buffalo Sabres), Dave Rittich (Calgary Flames)

Vegas Golden Knights

Buy Scoring Depth

Currently, Vegas is jammed right up against the cap ceiling which makes any transaction that bit more challenging. However, considering Saturday’s ingenious circumvention by the Lightning to claim David Savard from Columbus, there is no reason there can’t be a similar play for the Golden Knights out there. Plus the urgency to act will have ramped up now that Tampa has gone out and levelled-up, again.

What Peter DeBoer’s side really needs is a bit more scoring oomph in the bottom-six.

So far this season, Alex Tuch is a one-man band in that department with more than double the number of goals (13) as the next closest depth forward and 10 more points than him too.

In terms of potential trade partners, Philadelphia must be strongly considering selling some pieces and St Louis hasn’t beaten around the bush with regards to its disappointment in Mike Hoffman this year.

Suitors: Scott Laughton (Philadelphia Flyers), Mike Hoffman (St Louis Blues), Mattias Janmark (Chicago Blackhawks)

Minnesota Wild

Buy Mike Hoffman

Thomas Drance, a senior writer at The Athletic suggested this trade on a Hockey PDOcast episode and honestly, it is perfect.

Mike Hoffman instantly upgrades this team and the cost to acquire him will not be as steep as a first-round pick. What’s more, St Louis clearly wants rid of him and may jump at the chance to acquire some assets even if it means trading within the West Division.

Hoffman would give the Wild a real shot in the arm on the powerplay, which is something they desperately need. Minnesota is 27th on the man-advantage (15.08 percent) while Hoffman has the ninth most powerplay goals (30) since the start of the 2018-19 season. It is a match made in heaven.

The sole issue in all of this is how general manager Bill Guerin feels about giving up prospects for short-term gain. By trading, he is trying to strike a balance between staying the course on this retool while simultaneously rewarding his team for its performance this season. It is a tough juggling act and one I’m guessing he might prefer not to indulge in.

St Louis Blues

Resist Becoming A Buyer

Up until this weekend, St Louis was a nailed-on seller and then two things happened:

1) Robert Thomas sustained an upper-body injury on Friday against the Minnesota Wild and is week-to-week

and

2) St Louis went on a three-game win streak for just the third time this season.

As a result of the latter, the Blues have now propelled themselves into the final playoff berth in the West Division, giving Doug Armstrong plenty to think about on the trade front.

Although if you were going to sell before an injury and a small win streak happened, it probably isn’t worth changing course. I don’t think those two events alone are enough to tip the scales to become a buyer. Especially since it is effectively booking a First Round meeting with the Avalanche.

What’s more, if history tells us anything, St Louis won’t be afraid to sell at the deadline; take Paul Stastny and Kevin Shattenkirk as proof. This year’s iteration of that type of deal could be pending UFA, Mike Hoffman who has disappointed this season despite scoring 11 goals.

Whatever happens, the Blues should probably, at the very least, stave off buying. Whether they stand pat or sell, is another matter. Though I imagine, they are currently listening to plenty of trade offers for the likes of Hoffman, Tyler Bozak, Vince Dunn or Jaden Schwartz, as they should. If any are reasonable, I daresay Armstrong will be tempted.

 Suitors: Minnesota Wild for Hoffman, Boston Bruins for Dunn

Arizona Coyotes

Sell to Acquire Picks

Arizona’s main issue is its lack of draft capital after the team was stripped of its first-round pick in 2021 for violating the combine testing policy. Replacing this is an obvious priority but the problem is it’s so difficult to pry blue-chip picks away from buyers with the flat salary cap in play.

What complicates matters further is that the Yotes are currently in the playoff hunt with the Blues. Therefore the question for Bill Armstrong becomes: is it worth shedding the unrestricted free agent contracts if there are only mid-round picks on offer for them?

UFAs like Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers aren’t eye-popping by any means. But stripping away the frayed edges around this team for draft capital is certainly a stepping stone towards the reset this franchise needs. Mind you, you could also argue mid-round picks have the potential to be more valuable this year with less intel on the incoming draft class.

Alternatively, for Arizona, there was also talk of making a hockey trade with someone like Conor Garland but I can’t see how the Coyotes would benefit from giving away one of their most dominant forwards. Besides, the market is not favouring sellers right now.

Suitors: Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets

San Jose Sharks

Get Draft Picks at the Deadline, Goalie Focus in the Offseason

San Jose is without a second-round pick in 2021 after they traded it away as part of the package for Erik Karlsson in 2018, (yet another aspect of that trade that stinks.) Ideally finding a way of recuperating one would be nice but the chances of that happening are slim. The problem is there simply isn’t anyone on an expiring contract (Matthew Nieto, Marcus Sorensen and Patrick Marleau) who warrants that sort of payout.

Moving forward, the Sharks should take whatever they can get for those players while keeping a keen eye on the goaltending market for the upcoming offseason. Having traded Devan Dubnyk to the Avalanche, San Jose can now peruse the open market in the offseason which will feature names like Chris Driedger, Linus Ullmark and Jonathan Bernier.

Los Angeles Kings

Go after Eichel in the Offseason

The Kings should be looking at long-term plays, which is why their priority shouldn’t be centred around selling over the next 24 hours.

On Monday, they could look at trading Andreas Athanasiou and Alex Iaffalo, which will return some minor draft pieces but there are bigger fish to fry in the offseason.

Given the disarray of the Buffalo Sabres, it would be remiss of LA not to put their hat in the ring for Jack Eichel when the season is over. With the Kings’ farm system jam-packed with grade-A prospects, it wouldn’t be hard to strike up a reasonable deal with Buffalo that doesn’t have them mortgaging their future.

Anaheim Ducks

Shed Contracts with Term

For a team in full rebuild mode, Anaheim still has some hefty contracts that they would like to free themselves of. Although, the painful reality is they’ve been trying to trim the fat all year; previously they placed Adam Henrique and David Backes on waivers in an attempt to de-clutter the roster but both players cleared.

Yet from a buyer’s perspective, there are some attractive pieces that Anaheim has to offer, like defenseman Josh Manson or winger Rickard Rakell. Even Hampus Lindholm, subject to injury status, could bolster any contender’s blue-line. However, the Ducks would have to eat some salary in order to attract a legitimate trading partner.

All in all, if the Ducks aren’t busy on Monday, they probably end up being the most disappointed team at the trade deadline in the West Division.

Suitors: Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins


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