The trade deadline is almost upon us, and so far it is unclear what will happen when it officially rolls around. With expansion on the horizon, trades are at an all time low. The market is stagnant. However, that could change when teams feel the crunch before playoff time. Here are five players likely to move at or before the February 28th trade deadline.
1. Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche
The ex-Calgary Flames captain bounced around for some time in the NHL before landing a four year contract with Colorado. He has reached the last year of that deal, but things are not going well in the Mile High City between player and team.
Iginla only has five goals and 11 points in 39 games this season. The 39 year old right winger has lost a considerable amount of speed and skill over the years.
Despite all that, Iginla can be a valuable asset for a team in the playoff hunt. He provides a great deal of leadership and still has the scoring touch in him that can be revitalized.
If the Flames stay in the race in the Pacific, a trade back “home” would be quite the story. Montreal makes sense as well.
2. Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes
Things are not much better in Arizona than they are in Colorado. The Coyotes sit second to last in the league despite having a promising 2015-2016 campaign.
Lucky for them, they have a number of assets to deal at the deadline, one of them being Martin Hanzal. In the last year of his five year deal, Hanzal, 29, carries a $3.1 million cap hit.
Although he does not put up a large amount of points, Hanzal is revered for his two-way game. His career high in points came last season with 41.
Hanzal is the best fit for any team looking for center help at the deadline. Minnesota maybe?
3. Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes
Stone is another asset the Coyotes hold. He is Arizona’s second best defenseman behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson and he has really solidified himself as a top-four mainstay in recent years.
Stone would likely be classified as a defensive defenseman. He does not put up goals (he has zero in 27 games this year), but you get what you pay for and know what to expect night in and night out with Stone.
I could see a team like Columbus or Edmonton being interested in Stone’s services.
4. Ryan Spooner, Boston Bruins
Spooner has had trouble finding his groove since entering the NHL with Boston, who don’t want to lose him for nothing on waivers.
Spooner was a second round pick in 2010 and had a promising season with Boston last year tallying 49 points, but this season only has 19 points in 40 games.
A big reason for this may be his shift to wing. With the likes of David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci down the middle, it has been tough for Spooner to gain a consistent center spot in the lineup.
Spooner still has loads of potential and could thrive in the right situation. The price for him wouldn’t be high, but you certainly won’t get him for pennies on the dollar.
Possible suitors include Vancouver and Carolina.
5. Cody Franson
After holding out all the way until training camp when he was a free agent a few summers ago, Cody Franson eventually decided to sign a two year deal with Buffalo. That deal is now ending, and with the Sabres at the bottom of the standings, Franson may become subject to trade rumors.
Franson’s time in Buffalo has not been anything to write home about. In 85 total games, he has five goals and 21 assists. However, he can still be utilized as an effective defenseman in a bottom-pair role on the correct team.
Franson is an effective puck mover and is not too far removed from solid seasons with Toronto.
He probably will not cost much from Buffalo, so it may be worth the risk.
The Rangers could look at him, as could the Capitals. A Toronto reunion, if they stay in the race, would be interesting as well.
The trade deadline is 52 days away.