The Florida Panthers gave a semi-jolt to the final days before the NHL trade deadline by acquiring veteran forward Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils Thursday. It’s a slightly noteworthy trade based off Jagr’s incredible 24-years-worth of longevity and his 29 points this season possibly helping Florida move up from ninth in the Eastern Conference, but the move isn’t exactly earthshattering around the league.
Rather, any trade that does happen between now and Monday, March 2’s deadline will come down to who believes they are contenders, and thus whether they are buyers or sellers. Another factor is whether or not a team believes they can retain a pending free agent.
No major names have been linked to trade speculation this year compared to last, when the likes of Martin St. Louis and Marian Gaborki found new homes.
But there are still several top players who could be donning a new shirt before the start final stretch of the regular season.
Arizona Coyotes, C, Antoine Vermette
The 32-year-old has spent the last four seasons with the Coyotes, but he will be a free agent after this season and the team, and many around the league, believe Vermette won’t re-sign. The Ottawa Sun reported the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins have all shown “interest” in Vermette, who’s 35 points have really been the only bright spot for 13 th-place Arizona this season.
Edmonton Oilers D, Jeff Petry
The Sun also reported the Oilers have tried to re-sign Petry, but contract negotiations have gone nowhere and he’s expected to be moved before the deadline. The Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Penguins are all interested in Petry. Last in the Western Conference with only 46 points, Edmonton could even move forwards Taylor Hall of Jordan Eberle.
The New York Daily News reported the Rangers would like to acquire Petry, but don’t currently have the salary cap space to pull the deal off.
Carolina Hurricanes,C, Jordan Staal
Salary cap space is also a factor for the No. 6 seed Penguins as they look into former player Staal, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The report indicates that Pittsburgh is really only trying to determine what Carolina would want for Staal, who signed a 10-year, $60 million contract with the Canes after Pittsburgh originally traded him in 2012. Pittsburgh has a little less than $1 million in salary cap space, so it’s believed they will try to re-attain Staal after the season.
Staal was a major contributor to Pittsburgh’s last Stanley Cup run, racking up 49 total points, with 22 goals. He's come up with 15 points, highlighted by 11 assists, for Carolina this season.
The Canes’ have also been linked to trades involving forward Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Andrej Sekera
Boston Bruins, D, Dennis Seidenberg; F, Loui Eriksson
The New York Post suggested the recent “threats” by Bruins president Cam Neely to blow the team up are likely empty threats, especially any chance the team has of moving 38-year-old superstar defenseman Zdeno Chara, but reported Eriksson and Seidenberg could be moved to relieve some of the team’s salary cap issues.
Ericsson represents a $4.5 million cap hit next season, and will then be an unrestricted free agent in 2016, while Seidenberg will be $4 million cap hit for the next three seasons.
Perhaps squashing any more chatter of a Chara trade, Sportsnet reported that the Bruins won’t ask him to waive his no-trade clause. He’s signed for three more years at $7 million per on the cap.
New York Islanders, D, Johnny Boychuk
In a dead heat for the top spot in the Metropolitan division with the crosstown rival Rangers, the Islanders are poised for their second playoff run in the last three seasons and much of the success is due to Boychuk’s play. However, The Post reports the 31-year-old pending free agent has been linked to a return to his hometown Oilers for most of the season.
If the Islanders think Boychuk bolts after this season, they’d rather attain something for him now.
Calgary Flames, LW, Curtis Glencross
The Flames are one point out of the final spot in the West, but Glencross gave the team a list of squads he would waive his no-trade clause to join, the Calgary Sun reports. Though the actual teams on the list are unknown, the Sun broke down several teams in need of a left wing: the Ducks, Bruins, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Rangers, Penguins and Lightning.