Wednesday evening, the first domino fell in what could be a very active NHL trade deadline. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac were dealt to the New York Islanders. In return, the New Jersey Devils received a first-round pick in 2021, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022, and two prospects to provide depth: Mason Jobst and A.J. Greer.
The trade between the Islanders and Devils set a precedent for the market this season. It is obvious at this point that buyers are not willing to give up much for immediate impact. Palmieri and Zajac were dealt for nothing significant. The draft class this year is inadequately scouted due to the pandemic so a first-round pick is not as valuable as previous years. Let’s take a look at some hypothetical trades to bolster some rosters for teams in the hunt.
Mock Trade One
Toronto Maple Leafs Receive: Dustin Brown (50% retained)
Los Angeles Kings Receive: 2021 First Round Pick, a Conditional Second Round Pick (Toronto reaches Conference Finals), Wayne Simmonds
While the Leafs have an outstanding offense, their bottom-six is abysmal. Nearly all of the Leafs’ production has come from their top-six forward group. Brown can bolster the bottom-six and bring in quality leadership experience. He is a two-time Stanley Cup Winner who could guide a young team to ending their championship drought. They also would need to dump Simmonds’s contract on the Kings to make Salary Cap work.
The Kings have fallen out of the West Division race and should maximize what they can get for Brown. They can get significantly more value now at this trade deadline since he is under team control until the end of the 2022-2023 season. The Kings have a chance at getting back into the playoff picture, but this could be the finishing touch on their rebuild. The Kings would need a quick turnaround to get back in the hunt and their 3-7-0 record in their last ten isn’t doing them any favors.
Mock Trade Two
Florida Panthers Receive: Brandon Montour and Taylor Hall
Buffalo Sabres Receive: 2021 First Round Pick, 2021 Second Round Pick, 2021 Seventh Round Pick, Noel Acciari
The Panthers could use reinforcements on offense and defense. They will have to play the remainder of the season without Aaron Ekblad. Additionally, first-line winger Anthony Duclair has been absent from the lineup, and even when he returns Hall is a much better fit to play alongside Aleksander Barkov.
Both, Montour and Hall are unrestricted free agents after the season that Buffalo should get rid of to get some value for the two. It helps the Panthers this season and if they play well, perhaps they stay in Sunshine for a couple of years. Noel Acciari is a solid prospect who hasn’t lived up to the hype in Florida. All three players in this deal are due for a change of scenery.
Mock Trade Three
Minnesota Wild Receive: Sean Monahan and a 2021 Third Round Pick
Calgary Flames Receive: Victor Rask and a 2021 First Round Pick
The final mock trade is essentially a center swap. Monahan has one more year of team control than Rask and has been more productive this season. To account for the swap leaning in value towards the Wild, they will give up a First-Rounder and get a Third-Rounder in return. This deal is essentially trading up in the draft for Calgary as they have had significant struggles and will not contend until Monahan would be due a big contract.
So, the Flames get back a more salary-friendly player and a better pick in the draft while the Wild improve their chances of making a push over the next three years. Are any of these deals going to be made before the deadline? Leave your thoughts in the comments section down below!