After the holiday break, the trade deadline starts becoming more relevant. The buyers and sellers become clearer and there is enough action to break down what each team needs. Many journalists start discussing trade scenarios, which leads to good business for us with NHL Rumours. Today we will look at a possible New York Rangers deadline targets, the Colorado Avalanche looking for a middle-six forward and a possibility of Patrik Laine being moved again. Let’s dive in!
New York Rangers
Rumour: Arthur Staple of The Athletic writes that Calvin De Haan and Rielly Smith could be fits for the New York Rangers.
Analysis: Staple identifies Calvin de Haan and Reilly Smith as Rangers trade targets. New York is excellent defensively giving up the fifth-fewest goals against per game. However, there is room for improvement. None of the Rangers defencemen are above 50 percent in Corsi for percentage (according to Natural Stat Trick). Calvin de Haan is second among Chicago Blackhawks with a 47.65 Corsi for percentage and gives the Rangers a boost. He would also be third among Rangers defencemen for even-strength defence goals above average according to data from Evolving Hockey. He is a pending free-agent defenceman on a struggling team in Chicago, so he will be available.
New York is also thin on right-wing. Kaapo Kakko is their leading scorer from that position with 11 points in 27 games. Smith’s 26 points will certainly be helpful. Once the Vegas Golden Knights activate Jack Eichel they will have to move money and Smith is the likely candidate to head out with Mark Stone and Evgenii Dadonov being the top-six right-wingers. Reilly Smith is familiar with Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant. The Golden Knights will also be happy to ship him to the Eastern Conference, making a trade between the two sides ideal.
The Rangers have two second-rounders in the upcoming draft, one of them can pry De Haan out of Chicago. Depending on the market for Smith, the Rangers might be able to get him for a decent prospect, a second-round pick and a later-round round pick like the Los Angeles Kings got for Tyler Toffoli two years ago. But if the bidding war is high enough they may have to fork over a first-round pick.
Rumour: Peter Braugh of the Athletic writes that if Colorado’s roster is healthy they will look to add a middle-six forward.
Analysis: Considering Colorado is tight against the cap with a healthy lineup, I don’t see them adding a big name. Braugh brought up Vladislav Namestnikov‘s name and he’s an intriguing fit. He’s scored 16 points in 31 games this year for the Detroit Red Wings and he’s no stranger to the Avalanche. He was traded at the deadline to them two years ago and scored five points in 12 playoff games. He’s also not expensive, both in cap hit and trading cost. It’s unlikely the Anaheim Ducks move pending unrestricted free-agent Rickard Rakell with how well they’re playing. But if Rakell is expendable, his scoring touch and $3.79 million cap hit makes him attractive.
The Avalanche are hungry for a Stanley Cup. Therefore, I expect them to be a frequent flyer on NHL rumours as they try to find the right pieces for a Cup run.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: In his 3 Bold Predictions for 2022 article, Sportsnet’s Luke Fox predicts Patrik Laine will get traded.
Analysis: Fox’s rationale is that Laine is one-year away from unrestricted free agency, and he might not want to commit long-term to a rebuilding Columbus Blue Jackets team. The threat of losing him in a year may force Columbus to trade Laine. Laine’s decision will be clear in the off-season at the latest because he is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. The Blue Jackets will know what his intentions are about re-signing and go from there.
If Laine decides to not commit to Columbus, where could he go? The New Jersey Devils are a natural fit with a young play-making centre in Jack Hughes but not a lot of talent on the wings. However, would Columbus be willing to deal him within their division? The Anaheim Ducks also make sense. Imagine a duo of Trevor Zegras and Patrik Laine. The Nashville Predators are trying to re-tool on the fly and Laine would be a good fit along with playmaking centres Mikael Granlund or Matt Duchene. The Los Angeles Kings could also land Laine. Maybe they trade an unproven sniper in Arthur Kaliyev in a package for a proven one in Patrik Laine? I don’t think a Laine trade is imminent, so this could be a recurring theme in NHL rumours.