With just under a month until the trade deadline, the rumour mill is in full swing. Below are some possible targets for every North division team that are totally speculative, as I thought of most of them when I couldn't fall asleep last night.
I'll preface this post by saying that in this COVID - shortened season, trades are even less likely to happen than normal, especially "rentals". For Canadian teams to pay for a true rental makes little to no sense as on top of a two week quarantine, those acquisitions could realistically see about two weeks with their new team before the playoffs.
This is why for the most part,the trades I am suggesting here have to do with long term plans as well. Therefore some of the moves might make more sense in the summer.
Also while I reference some names that have been floating around the rumour mill, I by no means know anything about the league that you don't. The ideas I am suggesting here are more just speculative on what I think could help particular teams improve.
For the first time in a long time, The Maple Leafs biggest need isn't on the back end. Their defense has been absolutely solid and they have a great pipeline in Lilijgren and Sandin. Where they do need help is in their top 6. Hyman with Matthews and Marner is a phenomenal line but the Leafs could be in need of one more top rotation player for the playoffs.
The player I think they should investigate taking a swing at is Bostons Jake DeBrusk. He seems to be in the shithouse in the Bruins locker room and his 3.625 cap hit is definitely moveable. As a guy thats built for the playoffs, the Leafs sending the Bruins a high pick either a 1st or a second plus a solid prospect like Topi Niemela could really be a deal that helps push the Leafs over the top.
The other guy I think the Leafs should take a run at this summer is Patrik Laine. Laines marriage with Torts has gotten off to a rocky start and with Roslovics early success in Ohio I wouldn't be surpised if Columbus tries flipping Laine to acquire players that better fit their timeline and style of hockey. That would cost a lot though and would probably mean both Hyman and Freddy are cut loose this summer.
The Jets have one of the best forward cores in the league and Cole Perfetti in the pipeline. With a vezina caliber goalie in Connor Hellebuyck their one issue is their defense. Neil Pionk and Josh Morrissey are good, but boy oh boy would they be good if Byfuglien didn't quit.
Maybe taking a shot at Nashvilles Mattias Ekholm could serve to strengthen the Jets chances at a long playoff run. Ekholm has one more year after this season at 3.75 and a price tag for the solid top 4 D-man would probably be similar to what Toronto paid for Jake Muzzin a few years back (Perhaps a 1st round pick and David Gustafsson or Dylan Samberg + a roster player to make the cap work).
The Oilers forwards and defensive cores are honestly fine. They have a solid system built around their top guys, but they do still have one glaring need.. Smith and Koskinen have been OK this season but they didn't get the job done in the qualifier last year and are they really a Stanley Cup tandem? I orignially thought they'd potentially target Darcy Kuemper, but given his injury that seems a little less likely. The other goalie that was amongst the rumor mill this summer was the three time cup winner in Vegas. Perhaps taking a swing at Marc-Andre Fleury could be big for them. They'd have to do some work to make the cap make sense, but once Robin Lehners back I am sure Vegas would be intrigued to get something for the lesser half of their star tandem. Maybe by sending Koskinen and a high pick (either a 1st or a second) or even a prospect like Phillip Broberg, they could convince the Golden Knights to make a swap of the two goalies.
The Habs have great depth, solid defense and a phenomenal tandem in Price and Allen. However, Carey Price's contract reeks and Montreal really lacks a superstar. They should really throw the bank at Buffallo for Jack Eichel this summer, something along the lines of Suzuki, Caufield and 2- 1st round picks could maybe interest Buffalo. If I am the Habs I ride it out for the remainder of they year, the team is definitely on the upswing and right now their best bet is to invest in a top guy and somehow find a way to offload Carey Price (Send him to Edmonton PLEASE).
The Flames up and down season has a new head coach with Darryl Sutter. As a team with only one 3 game win streak this season, targeting a rental would be really risky for a team on the outside looking in. However, if they do continue to pull it together, an offensively strong top 6 winger could really help Calgary put together a "hole-free" lineup.
Their best-bet would probably be Nashvilles Viktor Arvidsson, Buffalo's Sam Reinhart or Anaheims Rickard Rakell. Rakell and Arvidsson are both on smaller contracts and would come with an easier path cap wise. While people are speculating on Filip Forsbergs availability, a contract and player this big seems like more of summer-time move. Ideally Reinhart probably fits the mold the best and I'd love to see the success that guy could have in a city not named Buffalo. He would also cost a lot, perhaps the Flames 1st round pick (top 3 protected) Sam Bennett (Cap necessary) and a prospect ranging from Connor Zary to Adam Ruzicka.
The Canucks have found themselves in a similar spot to where the Flames were after the miracle 2015 season. A budding young core coupled with bad contracts from the last generation of the team. At this point the first move the Canucks should make is to get rid of Jim Benning. But anything at the deadline doesn't make much sense this year, perhaps getting rid of Loui Eriksson or Tyler Myers this summer could do a lot for them for as they approach a big prove it year in 2021-22.
Artem Anisimov, Mike Rielly and Erik Gudbranson are all expiry UFA's that the Sens should try and flip for draft capital. I've heard they really like Gudbranson but that doesn't change the fact that this team is still a year or two away from becoming a big threat. If they could aquire some picks that would be great for their already overflowing prospect pool, especially if they try to make a run at Jack Eichel this summer.
If they went for Eichel this summer the trade would probably surround Shane Pinto and the Senators potential top 5 pick this summer. Maybe Pinto, Brannstrom and the Senators pick could bring Eichel to Ottawa.
Let me know what you think about some of these ideas in the comments and feel free to leave your own!!