Every NHL Team’s Dream Trade Deadline Target

The NHL trade deadline is one of the most entertaining times to be a hockey fan. Only the opening day of free agency and the draft offer as much room for speculation on player movement, and the 2021-22 edition is shaping up to be special.

Usually, contenders only have a small handful of needle-movers to pick from. This leads to some pretty gnarly overpays as top teams look for that last player who will put the Stanley Cup within reach. Still, moves at or approaching the deadline did wonders for the Tampa Bay Lightning the past two seasons.

This season, however, there are some big names available, ranging from Claude Giroux to Filip Forsberg to Jakob Chychrun. It’s difficult to think of a more loaded trade big board than the one developing as the March 21 deadline approaches.

It’s one thing to look at realistic trade possibilities, but here we’re going to try and cook up the biggest, most dream-worthy deals for each organization in the NHL. We’ll try to make the ideas make at least a little sense, but keep in mind that these aren’t the most likely of moves.

It’s a fun exercise that helps identify the biggest need for each team. If we can pinpoint that and figure out who the best fit would be, then we can easily work backward to trades that might be more realistic.

We’re only going to be looking at players who are reportedly available. Otherwise, this would just be 32 slides of Connor McDavid deals.

 

Anaheim Ducks: Filip Forsberg

Let’s start things off with a doozie: Filip Forsberg to the Anaheim Ducks. This is a team in the thick of the playoff race in the Pacific Division, with MoneyPuck.com giving them roughly a 16.2 percent chance to make the cut.

It would probably make more sense for new general manager Pat Verbeek to trade away pending UFAs such as Ryan Getzlaf and Hampus Lindholm if a new deal can’t be reached, but where’s the fun in that? As a freshman GM, we don’t know what Verbeek’s tendencies are.

So let’s pretend for one second that he wants to give this version of the Ducks every chance to make the playoffs in 2021-22. Anaheim has the 17th-ranked offense in the league in terms of average goals scored per game. Adding a finisher of Forsberg’s caliber would make them considerably more dangerous.

Imagine adding the 27-year-old sniper to a young core that already includes electric offensive talents like Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry. This deal would be even sweeter for the Ducks if Forsberg would consider a sign-and-trade.

Pie in the sky? You bet, but like any good hockey player, we’re setting the tone for what is to come.

 

Arizona Coyotes: Owen Tippett

Not the biggest name we’ll see on this list, but when the Arizona Coyotes are actively trying to move a player like Chychrun, it’s clear that they’re trying to take this rebuild all the way down to the floorboards. General manager Bill Armstrong has rightfully received praise for how he’s weaponized his team’s cap space, and he’ll likely continue to do that as the deadline approaches.

That doesn’t mean that the Coyotes can’t afford to take some swings on reclamation projects, however. For instance, we saw Armstrong take this approach with Shayne Gostisbehere, and that gamble has paid off.

The Florida Panthers don’t seem to have room in their top-nine for Owen Tippett, as they recently demoted him to the AHL. He’s a former 10th-overall selection that just hasn’t been able to put the pieces together in the NHL.

Florida is one of the most loaded offensive teams in the league, and Tippett has only averaged 12:32 of ice time through 42 games this season. He just turned 23, though, and would have every opportunity to stick in Arizona’s top six moving forward.

It wouldn’t be the biggest piece of business for the Coyotes, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be worthwhile.

 

Boston Bruins: Jakob Chychrun

Chychrun is a player who will make multiple appearances on this list. He would fit in differently with most teams that he’s been connected to, but the Boston Bruins might be the best match for him. In Arizona this season, it’s become pretty clear that the 23-year-old defenseman shouldn’t be asked to carry a pair alone.

That doesn’t mean he’s not an effective blueliner; the number of skaters who can carry a top defensive unit alone is few and far between. In Boston, Chychrun wouldn’t be asked to do as much heavy lifting. That top spot happens to belong to one of the defenders who actually can single-handedly anchor a line in Charlie McAvoy.

With that kind of dynamic defenseman already in place, the B’s would be able to shelter Chychrun to some degree on their second pairing. That’d really round out the team’s top-four and would make their blue line a source of strength for years to come.

Some wise analysts argue that he wouldn’t be worth the acquisition cost, but this is still a player the Bruins covet, and for good reason.

 

Buffalo Sabres: Max Domi

The Buffalo Sabres have taken successful swings on players like Max Domi recently. Tage Thompson needed a few seasons to settle in after coming over from the St. Louis Blues in the massive Ryan O’Reilly trade but has emerged as a solid top-line center in 2021-22.

Alex Tuch is now playing almost 20 minutes a night after being a part of the Jack Eichel deal, and he’s scoring at a point-per-game clip for the Sabres. Back in 2019, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t have room for Henri Jokiharju on their blue line, and now he’s playing more than 21 minutes a night on the back end for Buffalo.

Domi hasn’t worked out with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and his $5.3 million cap hit might make it tough for a contender to take him on. That’s why this could be the perfect opportunity for the Sabres to swoop in and take a shot in the dark on Domi.

He’s on pace for 15 goals this year and would fit in nicely in Buffalo’s middle-six group. Adding a young talent like this seems to be a goal for the Sabres, and the asking price wouldn’t likely be more than a second-round pick or prospect of that caliber.

Author: Lucy Green