Today I’m going to focus on the highest younger property obtainable on contenders heading into the 2023 NHL commerce deadline. To outline a “contender,” I’m utilizing the groups which have a 5 p.c likelihood or higher of successful the Cup based mostly on Dom’s model. That includes Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, New Jersey, Toronto and Tampa Bay. I selectively excluded a couple of gamers like Luke Hughes, Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway as a result of them being on the roster or having likelihood to be on the playoff roster for his or her respective golf equipment or a latest No. 2 choose like Simon Nemec that I can’t see being in the marketplace. Available doesn’t imply I’ve heard they’re being shopped, however I feel there’s a minimum of a believable likelihood they could possibly be moved.
1. Alexander Nikishin, LHD, Carolina
It by no means hurts to ask. Do I feel it will be clever to commerce an enormous, cellular, bodily 21-year-old defenseman who’s prime 10 in KHL scoring as of this writing? No, it will be a horrible concept. But each staff that calls Carolina will seemingly a minimum of inquire about the opportunity of getting Nikishin and if there’s an opportunity Carolina feels they’ll’t get him signed then perhaps he could possibly be moved.
2. Logan Stankoven, C, Dallas
Stankoven has arguably been one of the best participant in junior this 12 months not named Connor Bedard. He’s an electrical offensive expertise between his nice skating, ability, and goal-scoring skill to go along with a tenacious compete stage. He has all the things besides dimension. The second-round choose by Dallas in 2021 appears like somebody who could possibly be within the league quickly, and it will be fairly a bit to maneuver however Dallas additionally has a really robust ahead group already.
3. Matthew Knies, LW, Toronto
Knies is an attention-grabbing prospect for the sort of article as a result of I see a world the place he’s serving to Toronto within the playoffs. He has an enormous, thick body to go along with his nice ability and work ethic, and will realistically make the soar this spring and be an honest top-nine winger for Toronto. He would be the identify each staff asks about in commerce calls although, particularly if somebody is providing a serious improve.
4. Lian Bichsel, LHD, Dallas
Bichsel was excellent on the World Juniors and was Dallas’ most up-to-date first-round choose. He’s an enormous, cellular, extremely bodily defenseman whose offense shall be secondary as a professional. He’s a prime NHL prospect, however his NHL timeline is probably going the furthest out in comparison with Stankoven or Thomas Harley within the Stars system which is one thing to contemplate on the commerce entrance.
5. Shakir Mukhamadullin, LHD, New Jersey
Mukhamadullin is an attention-grabbing commerce chip. He’s an excellent participant. He’s an enormous defenseman who skates properly and has proven offense on the KHL stage too. He initiatives as a top-four NHL defenseman, however New Jersey has Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec coming and already has a powerful membership. Mukhamadullin could find yourself the odd man out within the roster battle and due to this fact makes numerous sense to make use of in a deadline transfer.
6. Colorado and Edmonton’s first-round choose within the 2023 NHL Draft
I’m making a delineation between Colorado and Edmonton’s first-round choose and the opposite golf equipment as a result of as of now they’re selecting nearer to twenty presuming they don’t make the ultimate 4 or go on an enormous run within the ultimate months, which is kind of attainable. Putting these picks above some latest first-round picks just isn’t a commentary on the 2023 draft. I feel by the point you get to the twentieth choose within the draft it would begin to appear to be a normal draft. But for a staff drafting round there, they may seemingly suppose they’ll get a premium identify on their listing given they may most likely have somebody of their private prime 10-12 on the board nonetheless.
Holtz has usually been a wholesome scratch this season for New Jersey so I’m skeptical he’s a part of their present playoff plans. It can be fairly a transfer to deal the seventh general choose from the 2020 NHL Draft, however his improvement has stagnated not too long ago. I do suppose he’s an excellent younger participant, he’s obtained a ton of ability and an elite shot, however his lack of tempo and vitality are considerations. New Jersey has an excellent group of forwards, and in the event that they don’t see a sensible path to Holtz being part of their on a regular basis prime 9 as of subsequent season, then he could possibly be a commerce chip.
8. Reid Schaefer, LW, Edmonton
Schaefer has been an necessary a part of a prime WHL membership in Seattle this season. He is a participant sort groups will covet as an enormous, bodily winger who could not have superb offensive talents or footspeed however initiatives to attain at an honest clip as a professional. He’s nonetheless fairly younger as a 2022 draftee, which might make him extra interesting as a commerce chip for the Oilers given they’re attempting to contend now.
9. Thomas Harley, LHD, Dallas
Harley hasn’t damaged via but within the NHL, however he has been a prime defenseman within the AHL this season. A defender along with his dimension and mobility who exhibits some offense versus males shall be a precedence ask for golf equipment and he appears like a possible second-pair defenseman within the NHL at some point. I’m certain Stars followers want to see each him and Bichsel on their blue line for a decade although.
10. Xavier Bourgault, RW, Edmonton
Bourgault is a extremely expert winger. He lit up the QMJHL as a result of his nice ability and offensive sense. His first-year professional has gone properly. The scoring hasn’t been there in large numbers however he’s one of many youngest gamers within the AHL. Given their want for secondary scoring, I might see this being a tricky piece for the Oilers to let go of, however Bourgault shall be somebody groups will ask about.
11. Boston, Carolina, New Jersey, and Toronto’s first-round choose within the 2023 NHL Draft
Using the identical evaluation as above, whereas I’ve excessive prospect grades on the gamers beneath these picks, any staff utilizing a late first rounder will seemingly have that prospect on the highest 20 of their listing and suppose they’ve likelihood to wager on a powerful middle-six ahead or a second-pair defenseman.
12. Scott Morrow, RHD, Carolina
Morrow is having a down 12 months in comparison with his 2021-22 season, however he stays a powerful prospect and commerce chip for Carolina. He’s a good-sized defenseman who can skate, is very expert, has nice offensive hockey sense and might rating targets. The situation is he’s not an incredible defender however his offensive instruments are so good I feel one other staff would covet him.
13. Nolan Foote, LW, New Jersey
Foote has already been a part of one deadline deal already, so it’s not a lot of a take that he suits the factors for a commerce. He’s participant. He’s massive, he works exhausting, can rating targets and has good hockey sense, however his skating limits him so there’s some concern about whether or not he can deal with the NHL tempo. I see sufficient of a participant there to the place I feel he can, but it surely hasn’t occurred but and the clock is ticking on the 22-year-old.
14. Mavrik Bourque, C, Dallas
Bourque’s first professional season began off bumpy, however he’s been scoring extra these days and initiatives to have offense versus males. He has numerous ability and arguably higher hockey sense. He can run an influence play and create lots within the offensive zone. Bourque lacks superb dimension and skating for the NHL although. He is a extra typical commerce piece in that he has numerous potential, however isn’t a certain factor both.
15. Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina
With each Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta set to develop into free brokers this season, I don’t see Kochetkov being moved. He has proven he can appear to be an NHL goalie although in a restricted pattern. His hockey sense is simply effective however he’s an incredible athlete and appears like professional goaltender.
16. Arseni Gritsyuk, RW, New Jersey
Gritsyuk has been fairly good within the KHL during the last two seasons. He’s a powerful skating winger with excellent offensive expertise and a goal-scoring risk from vary. He appears like a really good fifth spherical choose. For New Jersey, they should ask although does he have an actual future of their prime 9 or simply as high quality depth? If Holtz can’t make their staff can Gritsyuk? Maybe, perhaps not. But these are questions I feel administration must ponder forward of this deadline, particularly as Gritsyuk’s KHL deal is about to run out this spring.
17. Topi Niemela, RHD, Toronto
Niemela’s offense is down this season in Finland, however I do suppose if he was in the marketplace there would nonetheless be curiosity. He has glorious two-way hockey sense and is an effective skater. He is undersized although and never that dynamic for a smaller defenseman so there’s some threat. Those sorts of prospects are typically a part of deadline offers.
Other property of curiosity (alphabetical order):
Kevin Bahl LHD, New Jersey
John Beecher, C, Boston
Jackson Blake, RW, Carolina
Seamus Casey, RHD, New Jersey
Nico Daws/Akira Schmid, G, New Jersey
Jack Drury, C, Carolina
Jack Finley, C, Tampa Bay
Jean-Luc Foudy, RW, Colorado
Gage Goncalves, LW, Tampa Bay
Noel Gunler, RW, Carolina
Dennis Hildeby, G, Toronto
Isaac Howard, LW, Tampa Bay
Niko Huuhtanen, RW, Tampa Bay
Raphael Lavoie, RW, Edmonton
Mason Lohrei, LHD, Boston
Fabian Lysell, RW, Boston
Fraser Minten, C, Toronto
Nikita Okhotyuk, LHD, New Jersey
Oskar Olausson, RW, Colorado
Ryan Suzuki, C, Carolina
Jack Thompson, RHD, Tampa Bay
Carolina, Edmonton and New Jersey’s second-round choose within the 2023 NHL Draft
(Top picture of Nolan Foote: Stan Szeto / USA Today)