Previewing the NHL Trade Deadline

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) trade deadline is April 12, and teams across the league are looking to make savvy moves that will either bolster their current rosters  or revamp their teams for the future. Here are some big names that may have new hockey homes in the coming days.

Jack Eichel, Center, Buffalo Sabres:

With each passing week, the Buffalo Sabres are mounting their case for quite literally being the worst team in NHL history. They added several veteran pieces this off-season to a roster that already featured some promising young talent. Now, after months of utter embarrassment which included an 18 game winless streak and the firing of head coach and former professional soccer chairman Ralph Krueger, the team out of Western New York sits with a record of 8-23-6 as of April 5. And, it looks like the one bright light in Buffalo is going to burn out soon. Jack Eichel has been sidelined with an injury for most of his team’s journey into the abyss, but frustration with the organization that drafted him second overall has mounted over the past few seasons. He is one of the best players on the planet entering the prime of his career, so his asking price will be monstrous. Still, teams with assets and draft capital such as the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings may try to swoop in for the American, either at the deadline or this offseason.

Taylor Hall, Winger, Buffalo Sabres:

Has Taylor Hall ever played for a legitimately good team? The former league MVP has bounced around the league over the past few years, unable to truly find a place to call home since his breathtaking stint with the New Jersey Devils. He came to Buffalo from the Arizona Coyotes this past offseason with the hope that the Sabres were on the up … and boy was he wrong. The former first overall pick, who tallied a staggering 93 points in 76 games in 2017-2018 now has just two goals this year. Hall will most certainly waive his no-trade clause and look to join a cup contender at the deadline. Perhaps he is the guy to help the Boston Bruins with their lack of scoring, or who knows — maybe he will make his way back to Edmonton and join Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Mattias Ekholm, Defenseman, Nashville Predators:

Earlier this season, the Preds were a mediocre hockey club, Head Coach John Hines was on the hot seat, and everything pointed to the team being sellers at the deadline. Now, Nashville is quietly competing for that fourth playoff spot in the top-heavy Central Division. While it looked like Ekholm, the sturdy veteran presence on the blueline, would be dealt at the deadline in order to retool for the future with picks and prospects, reports suggest that General Manager David Poile isn’t keen on getting rid of important players for his team just yet. Everything depends on whether the Predators want to take advantage of their opportunity and try to mount a surprise playoff run or prioritize building for the future.

Kyle Palmieri, Winger, New Jersey Devils:

While Taylor Hall stands as the biggest name available for teams looking to bolster to their offense, the Devils might just be looking to deal one of the most underrated consistent goal scorers in the league over the past few seasons. The 30 year-old American has scored at least twenty goals in each of the last five seasons, despite only having eight to his name this year. The Devils have been accumulating draft picks and developing young prospects over the past couple of seasons on the long road back to relevance in a stacked division. It doesn’t look like Palmieri is in their plans for much longer and teams like the Bruins or the New York Islanders could really benefit from a player of his skill set to provide depth scoring.