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NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Pacific Division

As we get closer and closer to the highly anticipated NHL Trade Deadline, our team here at We Live For Hockey is going to go through each division, with deadline primers. With many teams in the mix of rumours and some just merely out of the playoff picture, moves are expected to be made.

We continue this series today with a look at the Pacific Division. This division has had a few surprises this year, none more than Edmonton going from 29th last year to currently sitting 9th in the NHL. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the L.A kings who have fallen from 8th to 20th. This division is in the middle of a transition period as the age and wear and tear on players on the three Californian teams is making some of them regress.

San Jose Sharks | 35-18-7, 77 Points| 1st Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Top-Six Goal Scorer, Stable Veteran Top 4 D-Man, Solid Backup Goalie

Projected Deadline Cap Space: 871,546$

The San Jose Sharks will definitely be buyers at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. Last year they were a Stanley Cup finalist and have the core pieces to again get there. Led by standout D-man Brent Burns who is currently challenging for most points in the NHL. Other solid defenseman being Marc-Eduard Vlasic, Paul Martin, and Justin Braun who make up a solid top 4. Up front they are led by captain Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Thomas Hertl Logan Couture, and Patrick Marleau. This team has a very solid core but beyond that have some holes in their roster. Outside their core they have a lack of scoring depth.

Three forwards meant to produce are not, Hertl, Ward, and Boedker have been disappointments and are all under 30 points this season. Boedker is the worst offender signed in the off season to bolster their top 6, the winger has amassed only 19 points this season. The lack of production from the middle 6 has made a need for a top 6 winger. There are always depth wingers available at the deadline and I believe that Sharks will pick one up at the deadline.

Goal tending for the Sharks isn’t necessarily weak. They have a very strong starter in Martin Jones who last year at time stole games for them during the playoffs. If he goes down with an injury (knock on wood) the Sharks will be in a tough spot as Aaron Dell is not at this point capable of being a starter. The smart route for the sharks is to acquire a veteran backup much like last years addition of James Reimer. Possible additions for the role are either of Philadelphia’s goaltenders, Ondrej Pavelec, or as a stretch add Ben Bishop.

Potential Targets:

Patrick Sharp, Shane Doan, Patrick Eaves, Radim Vrbata, Kyle Quincey, Mark Streit, Dmitri Kulikov, Ondrej Pavelec, Michal Neuvirth or Steve Mason

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Joe Thornton, 37, 6.75 million
  • Patrick Marleau, 37, 6.66 million
  • Micheal Haley, 30, 675,000

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Melker Karlsson, 26, 1,65 million
  • Joonas Donskoi, 24, 925,000
  • Chris Tierny, 24, 711,667

Edmonton Oilers | 33-21-3, 74 points| 2nd Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Scoring Winger, Third Line Center, Backup Goaltender

Projected Deadline Cap Space: 4,749,852

The Edmonton Oilers have been a pleasant surprise this season. They’ve gone from 2nd last in the league to challenging San Jose and Anaheim for 1st place in the pacific division. A lot of this success is on the back of NHL point leader Connor Mcdavid as he has on many nights taken over games. Another huge factor has been the play of Cam Talbot who has started more games than any other goalie. He is also is tied for 2nd in wins with 31.

Edmonton’s needs at the deadline hinge a lot on the struggles of players Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Milan Lucic. They are all having okay seasons but all of them are expected to produce consistently and none of those three have. Since the Oilers starts are underperforming, they now have a need for two forwards to build a stronger top 9. They have a need for a scoring winger such as Vrbata or Sharp. If they also are keen on playing Draisaitl with McDavid they will need a 3c such as Boyle or Hanzal.

They also have a big need for a back up goalie. Jonas Gustavsson has been a colossal failure and a terrible signing by Chiarelli, he’s no longer an NHL caliber goal tender. Laurent Brossoit, his replacement has struggled and is still a prospect and not capable of playing NHL hockey. Options for the Oilers are plentiful this year and they should add a goaltender by the deadline.

Potential Targets:

Ales Hemsky (a man can dream), Patrick Sharp, Radim Vrbata, Thomas Vanek, Martin Hanzal, Brian Boyle, Valtteri Filppula, Michal Neuvirth or Steve Mason, Jaro Halak, Ondrej Pavelec

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Matt Hendricks, 35, 1.85 Million
  • Kris Russell, 30, 3.1 Million
  • Eric Gryba, 28, 950,000

RFa’s with their age and salaries:

  • Zack Kassian, 26, 1.5 Million
  • Leon Draisaitl, 21, 925,000
  • Jujhar Khaira, 22, 875,000
  • Tyler Piltick, 25, 725,000
  • Iiro Pakarinen, 25, 725,000

Anaheim Ducks| 32-20-10, 74 points| 3rd Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Buyer

Needs: Top 6 Forward, Bottom 6 forward

Projected Deadline Cap Space: 0 (2,798,815 with LTIR relief)

The Anaheim Ducks are once again one of the best teams in the Pacific Division. They are led by their big three forwards Kesler, Getzlaf, and Perry. These three are supported by other top 6 forwards Jakub Silfverberg and Richard Rakell. On the back end they are led by Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, and Hampus Lindholm. These three are insulated by a trio of rookies in Montour, Theadore, and Manson. In net John Gibson and Jonathan Bernier are an extremely effective goaltending tandem and show their stability in net.

If the Ducks want to finally go deep into the playoffs they’ll need to add some pieces. Outside of the aforementioned Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, Silfverberg, and Rakell, none of their forwards have more than 30 points. They also have a goal scoring problem with only 3 players over 15 goals. *NOTE* The Ducks have helped fix their scoring problems by trading for Patrick Eaves and his 21 goals.

The Ducks also hold a lot of pieces on the back end and it is rumored they are interested in acquiring a top 6 forward. It is rumored that the Ducks and Avalanche have been in talks so the Ducks can acquire either Duchene or Landeskog. The piece/s going back to Colorado would most likely be Lindholm and another D prospect so one of Montour, Manson, or Theadore. The Ducks are in an excellent position to acquire another top forward as Tampa Bay and Colorado are both looking for a Dman. Look for them to potentially make a swap.

Potential Targets:

Patrick Sharp, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Thomas Vanek, Patrick Eaves, Radim Vrbata

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Nate Thompson, 32, 1.6 Million
  • Patrick Eaves, 32, 1 Million
  • Korbinian Holzer, 29, 700,000
  • Jonathan Bernier, 28, 4.15 Million
  • Johnas Enroth, 28, 750,000

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Joseph Cramarossa, 24, 724,500
  • Logan Shaw, 24, 660,000
  • Nicolas Kerdiles, 23, 925,000

Calgary Flames | 31-26-4, 66 points| 4th Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Buyer, Maybe Seller

Needs: Top 4 Defenseman, Top Line Right Winger, Third Line Center, Another Starting Goaltender

Projected Deadline Cap Space: -642,530 (2,849,204 with LTIR relief)

The Calgary Flames have for the second year in a row, have failed to live up to their preseason projections. Many had them finishing second or third in the division and firmly in the playoffs. As of right now they are currently in a battle to hold on to one of the wild card positions. If they finish very strong they may yet be able to overthrow one of Anaheim or Edmonton to place third in the division. They’re struggles once again mainly stem from their goaltenders being unable to provide quality starts consistently.

At forward they are led by Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Matt Tkachuk, and Michael Frolik. Outside of those forwards flames offense has struggled. The rest of the forward group has not been good, none of them with more than 25 points. Troy Brouwer has struggled the most of all the Flames forwards. He was signed to be a top 6 option but has only been able to put up 19 points, and is a -12 on the season. On the back end they have 3 excellent options in Brodie, Giordano, and Hamilton, who is having an excellent season. Outside those three the Flames are weak on the back end and need to add a top 4 defender. *NOTE* The Flames have acquired Micheal Stone in exchange for a third and a conditional 5th round pick.

The Flames have had a lot of struggles in net this year. At times Chad Johnson has looked like a starter but is most suited to a backup role. His numbers looking okay currently sitting at 17-13-1 with a .912 save percentage.  Brian Elliot however, has been a disappointment this year. He is currently 14-13-3 with an .896 save percentage. This is a far cry from his numbers last season in St. Louis. Last season he was 23-8-6 with a .930 save percentage which led the NHL in 2015-16. This year however his struggles have paved the way for the flames to acquire a big name starter. Watch for Calgary to acquire one of Bishop, Fleury, or Howard at the deadline.

Potential Targets:

Kevin Shattenkirk, Michael Stone, Thomas Vanek, Patrick Sharp, David Desharnais, Cody Franson, Radim Vrbata, Brendan Smith, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop, Jimmy Howard

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Kris Versteeg, 30, 950,000
  • Dennis Wideman, 33, 5.25 Million
  • Deryk Engelland, 34, 2,916,667
  • Michael Stone, 26, 2 Million
  • Brian Elliot, 32, 2.5 Million
  • Chad Johnson, 30, 1.7 Million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Sam Bennett, 21, 925,000
  • Micheal Ferland, 24, 825,000
  • Alex Chiasson, 26, 800,000
  • Jyrki Jokipakka, 25, 900,000

L.A Kings | 29-27-4, 62 points| 5th Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Buyer or Seller

Needs: Cap Relief, Top 6 Forward, Top 6 Defender, Bottom 6 Forward

Projected Deadline Cap Space: 1,512,511

The L.A Kings are a team in franchise no-man’s land. They have a bunch of aging forwards who are on the decline such as Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown. Their top 2 forwards are Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter and both are older than 30. Kopitar this year has had a mountain of struggles in his first year as the King’s captain. He dealt with injury issues early in the season and after coming back has not done well. He has amassed 33 points this season, and only has 6 goals. Jeff Carter has been one of the bright spots for the Kings this season, amassing 53 points in 60 games.

On defense they are a veteran group led by all star Drew Doughty and solid veterans Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez. The rest of the defense is made up of a myriad of young defensemen such as Derek Forbort, Kevin Gravel, Paul LaDue, and Brayden McNabb. They should be interested in acquiring a veteran defenseman if their goal is to grab a wildcard spot. As good as some of these young players have been they will need a veteran for insurance down the stretch.

In net Jonathan Quick has returned and instantly solved the King’s goaltending troubles. He is very much an interior deadline acquisition for the Kings organization. His presence turns them into a playoff competitor instead of a bubble team. Peter Budaj has had an incredible season to say the least. He is one of the big reasons that the Kings aren’t in the league’s basement. Losing Quick was a ginormous loss but with Budaj’s play, they are in an excellent position to make the playoffs.

Potential Targets:

Gabriel Landeskog, Thomas Vanek, Radim Vrbata, Cody Franson, Brendan Smith

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Dwight King, 27, 1.95 Million
  • Peter Budaj, 34, 600,000
  • Teddy Purcell, 31, 1.6 Million
  • Rob Scuderi, 38, 1,130,625

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Tyler Toffoli, 24, 3.25 Million
  • Tanner Pearson, 24, 1.4 Million
  • Nick Shore, 24, 600,000
  • Andy Andreyoff, 25, 587,500
  • Paul Ladue, 24, 925,000
  • Kevin Gravel, 24, 667,500

Vancouver Canucks | 26-28-6, 58 points| 6th Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Seller

Needs: Draft picks, Prospects, Top 6 Forwards, Top 4 Defenders, Goaltenders

Projected Deadline Cap Space: 180,183 (3,338,078 with LTIR relief)

The Canucks are a team with no current direction. For years they have been a bubble playoff team and they seem to want to continue that trend this year. Jim Benning doesn’t even know if he’ll be a buyer or seller at this deadline. They are still technically in the playoff race, however I doubt they’ll be buyers. If they make moves at the deadline it will more than likely be to sell of some of their veteran players. To see a more in depth analysis of the Canucks franchise on WeLiveForHockey.com click this link.

The Canucks are currently being led by Horvat, the Sedins, Sutter, and Baertschi up front. The Sedins are nearing the end of their careers and would probably fetch top dollar at the deadline. The Canucks have a couple of young forwards who are contributing, however they need to add more to be competitive. On defense they are led by Edler and Tanev and have outstanding rookies in Hutton, Tryamkin, and Stetcher. This defense looks like it should be competitive for a while. If they wanted to however, adding a big name top 2 defenseman would help their team immensely.

In net they have two goaltenders who are average at best. Ryan Miller is past his prime and should be let go this summer or traded at the deadline. Possible suitors for Miller’s services are the Kings, Ducks, or Sharks. Jakub Markstrom may or may not have the ability to be a starter long term. Currently at a .910 save percentage he may yet show that he can be a starter at the NHL level.

Potential Assets To Move:

Jannik Hansen, Alexandre Burrows, Alex Edler, Ryan Miller, Philip Larsen

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Alex Burrows, 35, 4.5 Million
  • Jack Skille, 29, 700,000
  • Alex Grenier, 25, 600,000
  • Jayson Megna, 27, 600,000
  • Philip Larsen, 27, 1.025 Million
  • Ryan Miller, 36, 6 Million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Anton Rodin, 26, 950,000
  • Bo Horvat, 21, 894, 167
  • Brendan Gaunce, 22, 863,333
  • Reid Boucher, 23, 715,000
  • Michael Chaput, 24, 600,000
  • Erik Gudbranson, 25, 3.5 Million
  • Nikita Tryamkin, 22, 925,000

Arizona Coyotes | 21-31-7, 49 points| 7th Pacific

Buyer/Seller? Seller

Needs: Draft picks, assets, Top 4 Defenseman, Goalies, Top 6 Forwards

Projected Deadline Cap Space: 0 (5,085,403 with LTIR relief)

Finally we have the Arizona Coyotes at last place in the Pacific division. They are definitely sellers at this years deadline. They have many attractive pieces and should be able to procure a decent amount of prospects/draft picks. The biggest story line to follow is the possible departure of long time captain Shane Doan. He is rumored to going to the Sharks. Another big piece rumored to be on the move is Martin Hanzal. The big center will be a hot commodity at the deadline. Many teams are looking for a center, most notably the Montreal Canadiens.

The Future of the Arizona Coyotes on the ice is bright. They have an absolute bevy of prospects and in time will become an extremely good team. At forward they have Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Perlini, and Lawson Crouse, and that’s just at the NHL level. On defense they have all star Oliver-Ekman Larsson, and young defenders Anthony Angelo, Jakub Chykrun, and Connor Murphy. These players represent an excellent future top 4 in the future for the desert dogs. In net they have Mike Smith. Louis Domingue has struggled in his second season at the NHL level. Outside of him there aren’t a lot of goaltending prospects in Arizona’s prospect pool. They should look to add a young goaltender with promise either at the deadline or at the draft.

Potential Assets To Move:

Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal, Radim Vrbata, Ryan White, Jamie McGinn, Luke Schenn, Zybnek Michalek

Expiring Contracts: 

UFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Shane Doan, 40, 3,876,134
  • Martin Hanzal, 30, 3.1 Million
  • Radim Vrbata, 35, 1 Million
  • Ryan White, 28, 1 Million
  • Chris Pronger, 42, 4,935,714
  • Zybnek Michalek, 34, 3.2 Million

RFA’s with their age and salaries:

  • Alex Burmistrov, 25, 1.55 Million
  • Peter Holland, 26, 1.3 Million
  • Anthony Duclair, 21, 772,500
  • Jordan Martinook, 24, 612,500
  • Josh Jooris, 26, 600,000

And there it is! The NHL Trade Deadline Primer for the Pacific Division.

Ryan Boonstra

Heya, name’s Ryan, I’m a blogger from Edmonton, Alberta and I write for FansTalkSports.com. I mainly talk about hockey related topics but am also an avid football fan (go Patriots!).

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