The first week of March is now almost in the books. This means that the NHL Trade Deadline is a little over two weeks out. With the rumor mill beginning to heat up around the league, multiple teams in the hunt for the postseason have been linked to big names as they look to add pieces to their respective rosters. Along with this, franchises that are already out of the playoff chase have begun shipping off assets as they look to build for the future.
Multiple moves have already been made. The Montreal Canadiens shipped out winger Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a first-round pick and multiple players. Furthermore, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent Nick Ritchie to the Arizona Coyotes.
Make sure to check out our NHL Trade Deadline Previews.
Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets
Domi is currently in the final year of his two-year extension that he inked with the Canadiens in 2020. He struggled to fit in during his first year with the Columbus Blue Jackets a year ago. The 27-year-old tied his career-low in goals with nine while racking up just 24 points in 54 games. Bouncing back this season, the former first-round pick is currently seventh on the team in scoring while playing over 13 minutes per night. Best suited to play in the bottom of a team’s lineup, he still can move up and play inside the top six. While his $5.3 million cap hit could prevent some groups from targeting him on the market, the Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and the New York Rangers have emerged as suitors.
Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks
Playing in his eighth season in the NHL, Manson has been a staple inside the Duck’s top four. A physical presence on the back end the 6-foot-3 defenseman has appeared in 49 games in 2021. He has racked up just seven points. However, the Illinois native has recorded 49 penalty minutes and 112 hits. Along with this, he is also averaging over 19 minutes of ice time per night while amassing 24 takeaways and a 66 percent zone start percentage. A strong addition for clubs looking to upgrade on their blue line, the pending unrestricted free agent can play in all situations. Furthermore, he is a right-hand shot, which is a coveted trade piece around the league.
Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes
Almost guaranteed to be moved by the trade deadline, Kessel will head to his fifth home in the NHL. The 34-year-old has spent two and a half seasons with the Arizona Coyotes after they acquired him from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has racked up 34 goals and 47 assists over his last two seasons. Enjoying a down year in 2021, the Wisconsin native has recorded just six goals through 54 games. Along with this, his shooting percentage has fallen from 17.4 percent in 2020 to 5.3 this season. He is still capable of producing offensively lower down in the lineup for a playoff group. Not likely to command a huge return on the open market, as he has a cap hit of 6.8 million dollars.
Justin Braun, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers are currently in the midst of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. This makes them probable to be massive sellers at the deadline. One of the most likely candidates to be shipped out will be Braun. Still playing inside their top four in his fourth season with the group, the 34-year-old is currently averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per night. Furthermore, he has recorded a 67.2 percent defensive zone start percentage while racking up 99 blocks and 10 takeaways. Capable of playing top-four minutes on any playoff team, the 34-year-old will be a hot commodity on the market. He currently carries a cap hit of just 1.8 million dollars and would bolster any defensive core across the league.
Who is Most Likely to Move?
With the Coyotes looking to amass as many draft picks as possible to build for the future, the name that remains most likely to move on this list is Kessel. Likewise, Braun will be shipped out with the Flyers struggling mightily as the second half of the season begins. Furthermore, the Anaheim Ducks are beginning to fall lower and lower down the Western Conference standings. This makes it more and more likely that Manson will be on the move. Arizona can most likely recoup some assets for the young defenseman.
Follow Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images