With lower than a month to go till the deadline, we’ve bought you coated day-after-day at Daily Faceoff with one trade-focused story main as much as deadline day.
Today, we’re 5 aggressive golf equipment with prospect belongings they’ll use to usher in somebody notable on the deadline. Which prospects get moved is an entire thriller – they’re virtually by no means in commerce rumors, and who will get moved actually is dependent upon the specifics of a deal.
So we’re basing immediately’s checklist on the groups with prospects that they might be prepared to maneuver to get the items wanted for an extended playoff run. It doesn’t imply they’re being shopped, or that groups will think about shifting them. But the chance to get the spicy goal they want might be extra accessible if one of many listed gamers will get moved.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Possibly obtainable: Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten, Roni Hirvonen, Nick Abruzzese, 2023
The Maple Leafs have to do no matter it takes to make it out of the primary spherical this yr, and no prospect within the system needs to be untouchable. That contains Matthew Knies and Fraser Minten, two of the workforce’s extra notable ahead prospects.
Knies could be the one that draws probably the most consideration. He had a point-per-game season as a rookie on the University of Minnesota final yr and has 30 factors in 28 video games as a sophomore. He’s surrounded by high-quality teammates like Jimmy Snuggerud and Logan Cooley, which helps, however he’s been the goal-scoring chief of the three. That potential to be a good middle-six scorer might entice groups to half with a present roster participant, and if it provides the Leafs some further scoring depth proper now, it’s price it.
Minten has put up good numbers with Kamloops within the WHL, however he’s fifth in workforce scoring (principally behind older gamers, thoughts you) and there’s doubt surrounding his ceiling within the NHL. His worth is as a middle-six bodily ahead, and whereas that will be a pleasant match with the present lineup, he’s undoubtedly somebody price shifting.
One intriguing identify is Topi Niemela, who already has an entry-level contract. He’s having a little bit of a down yr with Karpat in Finland, however he’s nonetheless the workforce’s prime defensive prospect and has arguably probably the most upside in Toronto’s system. Teams love younger, cellular puck-moving defenders, and he’d be a first-rate candidate to come back over to North America subsequent yr.
Nick Robertson’s season-ending damage seemingly takes him out of the equation. But one identify that might undoubtedly garner consideration is goaltender Joseph Woll. He’s one of many hottest goalies within the AHL and is taking part in properly sufficient to earn a shot within the NHL. He in all probability would not repair any workforce’s fast issues, however possibly he’s used as a sweetener to land a scoring ahead they want. Roni Hirvonen and Nick Abruzzese might additionally act as sweeteners, particularly with Abruzzese taking part in some nice hockey proper now.
The Leafs earn the No. 1 rating not just because they’ve some intriguing belongings but additionally as a result of they’re positioned to make just about any of their prospects obtainable.
2. Carolina Hurricanes
Possibly obtainable: Jackson Blake, Alexander Nikishin, Massimo Rizzo, Domenick Fensore, 2023
After years of constructing top-of-the-line prospect swimming pools, the Hurricanes have jumped close to the highest of the NHL standings. And even after graduating gamers like Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis, the pool nonetheless seems to be robust.
They’re strong within the NCAA with forwards Massimo Rizzo, Jackson Blake and Cruz Lucius, in addition to defensemen Scott Morrow and Domenick Fensore, amongst others. So they’ll afford to maneuver just a few items round to seize one other high-impact participant with out an excessive amount of hesitation.
The actual wild card is 6-foot-4 blueliner Alexander Nikishin. The 21-year-old is among the finest defensemen within the KHL, taking part in round 23 minutes and about to hit 50 factors whereas taking part in an enormous function on SKA St. Petersburg, the highest workforce within the league. But Nikishin signed a three-year deal within the KHL simply earlier than getting drafted 69th total by the Hurricanes, which is why he hasn’t come over but.
He’s so bodily superior for his age and the offense is exhibiting up, too. His deal is ready to finish this yr, and he has authentic top-four potential, so it’ll be fascinating to see if his rights are utilized in a deal so as to add some further depth within the fast future.
3. Calgary Flames
Possibly obtainable: Jeremie Poirier, Matthew Coronato, Jakob Pelletier, Connor Zary, Matthew Phillips, 2023
The Flames have some respectable prospects within the system, however it appears like coach Daryl Sutter desires nothing to do with them most nights.
Forward Jakob Pelletier was referred to as up in early January however solely skated in 4 video games, seeing below eight minutes in two of them. He instantly jumped again to the AHL and grabbed a pair of factors, giving him 16 objectives and 36 factors in 32 video games. Those are robust numbers for a 21-year-old, and it’s clear he deserves a greater look within the NHL. With the Flames on the skin wanting in, however with the talent to make some noise within the post-season, might they use him as a key bargaining chip?
Similar sentiments might be mentioned about Connor Zary and Matthew Phillips. Both have been wonderful with the Wranglers, and it’s been seven years since Phillips, specifically, was drafted by the Flames. Zary would maintain extra worth being three years youthful, however all deserve an actual look with the Flames or elsewhere.
Two prospects unlikely to be moved, however who might be intriguing relying on the asking worth, are goaltender Dustin Wolf and ahead Matt Coronato.
Coronato is among the finest NHL-drafted prospects within the NCAA and will fetch a reasonably penny as a sophomore that could be prepared to show professional sooner slightly than later. Wolf is among the finest goalies outdoors the NHL proper now, however Jacob Markstrom is signed till 2026 and Daniel Vladar has two extra years on his deal.
4. Los Angeles Kings
Possibly obtainable: Alex Turcotte, Jordan Spence, Tyler Madden, Aidan Dudas, Kenny Connors, Francesco Pinelli, 2023
The Kings desperately want a goalie in the event that they’re going to make critical noise heading into the playoffs. And whereas the workforce’s prospect pool has cooled off over the previous two years, they nonetheless have sufficient belongings to usher in somebody who can fill a right away want.
Forwards Francesco Pinelli, Alex Laferriere, Quinton Byfield, Tyler Madden, Aidan Dudas and Kenny Connors are all nonetheless comparatively younger. They even have Brandt Clarke, Kirill Kirsanov and Jordan Spence as future blueliners, too. If the Kings are searching for a short-term reply – somebody like Cam Talbot, James Reimer or Alex Stalock – it shouldn’t take a high-end prospect to make it occur.
The greatest factor holding again the Kings is their terrible goaltending, which, proper now, is being led by traditional third-stringer Pheonix Copley. The membership’s core has sufficient expertise up entrance and on the blueline. If they’ll transfer even just a few of their youthful belongings, equivalent to Pinelli, Connors or Spence, they wouldn’t be hurting in the long term.
5. Seattle Kraken
Possibly obtainable: 2023 second-round decide (3x)
Seattle has gathered an unbelievable treasure trove of draft decide belongings over the previous few seasons, and it could be price making an attempt to maneuver just a few to spice up the present group. Because, whether or not you might predict it or not, the Kraken have a authentic shot to go all the best way within the west.
They’re unlikely to maneuver any prospects as a result of they don’t have an enormous pool to work with. They do have three second-rounders, two fourth-rounders and two sixth-rounders in 2023 and two third-round picks in 2024. If we’re working with simply these belongings, that’s not going to land a high-value participant on the commerce block, however it would possibly get you a good bottom-six ahead or a bottom-four defender that may complement the workforce’s lineup. You don’t all the time have to make a giant splash to get large outcomes, and that’s precisely what the Kraken realized after selecting up Eeli Tolvanen on waivers.
The Kraken want to remain forward-focused. The 2023 NHL Draft is strong sufficient that even the twenty fifth total decide will probably be precious. Moving a few second-rounders gained’t damage the workforce’s future a lot, and it might be exactly what it takes to provide the group an thrilling, lengthy playoff run. It’s all about tinkering with out mortgaging the long run, and the Kraken could make it occur.