4 storylines leading up to NHL Trade Deadline

The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is six weeks from Monday.

“It’ll be interesting,” New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider said.

Interesting might be an understatement when describing what the next month and a half in the NHL will be like, up to the March 21 deadline.

This phase of the season will feature several important parts. Here are four:

 

1. Catching up

The NHL rescheduled 95 games that were postponed because of COVID-19 to be played in what was previously the Olympic window, a period starting Monday and running through Feb. 22.

The wide margin in games played between teams in each division will shrink in the next 16 days and allow for a clearer picture of the standings without so much focus on games in hand.

For example, the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers each have 64 points, tied for first in the Metropolitan Division, but the Hurricanes have played five fewer games (47-42). They will each have played 50 by Feb. 21.

The Hurricanes will play four games, all on the road, before the Rangers play next on Feb. 15.

The Calgary Flames are fourth in the Pacific Division, three points behind the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. That could change with the Flames playing seven home games from Feb. 9-21, and the Ducks and Kings playing a combined seven games in that window.

With fewer discrepancies in games played, teams will have a better idea where they stand in the Stanley Cup Playoff races going into late February and early March, and a clearer delineation between buyers and sellers going into the trade deadline will emerge.

 

2. Decision time

Claude Giroux, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tomas Hertl, Phil Kessel, and possibly Joe Pavelski and John Klingberg, will be headliners in trade rumors and discussions.

Each is an impact player and can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and could be the missing piece for a Stanley Cup run.

Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers forward and captain since the 2012-13 season, has a full no-movement clause and an $8.275 million NHL salary cap charge. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has said it’ll be Giroux’s decision if he gets traded or stays in Philadelphia.

Author: Lucy Green