NHL trade board 2022-23: Could Bruins deal for Bo Horvat? Or Hurricanes? Updates on the top deadline targets

view original post

Bo Horvat has been the top name on The Athletic’s NHL trade board since its first 2022-23 installation, and for good reason. He’s a player who can help any team that acquires him ahead of the league’s March 3 trade deadline. And all the top contenders seem to be checking in on what it would take to get him.

Advertisement

Case in point: After Horvat previously had been connected with the defending champion and preseason favorite Avalanche, this week in conversations with executives and agents around the league, The Athletic heard about the potential for the Canucks captain to head to either one of the top two teams in the 2022-23 league standings: the 34-5-4 Bruins or the 27-9-8 Hurricanes.

We’ll start the 3.0 update of the trade board there, with some meaty notes on Horvat developments. What else are we hearing? Check below for new reporting on 11 of our 25 top targets, with whose stock is rising and whose is falling and a few new names to monitor — which means others dropping off.

Players, as in the past, have been placed in order of who’s generating the most buzz, taking into account both the potential impact of the player and the probability he’d actually be traded.

Analysis is from The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek, Pierre LeBrun and Michael Russo.

Note: This list will be a living document, with frequent updates to rankings and analysis, based on the latest rumblings and the market’s ebbs and flows, so bookmark it and check back regularly.


1. Bo Horvat, Canucks

Previously: 1

If the Canucks go forward with the major roster “surgery” promised by president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford, one of the first casualties is likely to be their captain, Horvat, who remains among the NHL’s goal-scoring leaders. The two sides have been unable to agree on fair value on a contract extension — and as a rental, Horvat is an extremely attractive option. He’s on an expiring contract with a modest $5.5 million average annual value, and he would add production, experience and leadership to any contender. Any team with a hole at the No. 2 center spot could benefit from adding him. We’ve mentioned the defending champion Avalanche in the past. He could also be a fit with this season’s top team, the Bruins. He would add even greater depth to a team with virtually no holes. In theory, the Bruins could do a deal for Horvat similar to what they pulled off last year when they acquired Hampus Lindholm from Anaheim and promptly signed him to an eight-year, $52 million contract extension. The Bruins would then have an in-his-prime center ready to step in if one or both of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired following the season. The Hurricanes could be another possibility and talks there have happened, but the price is too high for now. That is to say, Carolina won’t trade a younger player of Martin Necas’ caliber for a rental, and that’s the type of return the Canucks are looking for. — Duhatschek and Russo, Jan. 18

Previously: 2

Advertisement

The Coyotes remain patient on the Chychrun trade front, because well, they don’t actually have to move him before March 3. He’s signed for another two years after this season. But the desire is still there to move him for the right price. Speaking of which, while the price generally remains two first-round picks plus a prospect in exchange for Chychrun, I’m told the Coyotes are willing to be flexible depending on the quality of the prospect, for example. So there appears to be another avenue to make a deal happen, but the assets offered would have to equal the original asking price in the eyes of Arizona. — LeBrun, Jan. 11

Previously: 3

It’s not 100 percent that Kane wants to move, although it’s more likely than with his longtime teammate Jonathan Toews. Agent Pat Brisson, reached by phone last week, said he would chat with both players in the “next three weeks” to get a sense of what they want to do at the deadline. Kane controls his own destiny with a full no-trade clause, and Brisson said he didn’t think an extension with the acquiring team would be part of trade negotiations, though he also didn’t rule it out. This could play out similarly to how the deadline did with another of Brisson’s clients, Claude Giroux, last season, with Brisson surveying the market and potentially providing a limited number of suitors Kane favors. The Rangers have always made the most sense — and were the prediction in recent Athletic staff voting. The Blueshirts need to look the contender part to attract Kane and have played better after a slow start. I think they will be attractive. But don’t discount Kane deciding he doesn’t want to be traded, either. That’s his option. — LeBrun, Jan. 3

Previously: 4

The key with Meier is the structure of his contract. He carries a $6 million cap charge in the final year of a four-year contract, after which he becomes a restricted free agent. But because Year 4 of the contract is paying Meier $10 million in actual cash, that’s the number the Sharks would have to issue him in a qualifying offer. Tricky because with apologies to Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture, he is arguably the Sharks’ best forward and would play top-six minutes for any contender. With salary retention, it’s a contract that most of them could absorb, as well. But they may have to treat him as a short-term rental and not a long-term solution. Per The Athletic’s Corey Masisak, there have been discussions between Meier’s agent, Claude Lemieux, and Sharks general manager Mike Grier on a contract extension, which would avoid the qualifying offer — and while Grier says there haven’t been numbers exchanged, he described the talks as “good, open, honest, positive.” — Duhatschek, Jan. 13

Previously: 6

Advertisement

The price on the pending UFA defenseman starts with a first-round pick, or at least that’s what the Ducks have told some clubs. Never say never, but given Klingberg’s struggles so far this season, I just don’t see a team jumping up to pay that price. There’s no doubt in my mind that Klingberg on a contender would begin to look like his old self again, but still, that just seems like too high a price. I don’t blame the Ducks at all for trying. It’s still January. Lots of time before March 3. — LeBrun, Jan. 11

Previously: 7

The plan coming into the season was for the Blues and their pending-unrestricted-free-agent captain to talk extension in January. And agent Pat Morris confirmed last week there was “Nothing new to report,” as of then. That was before the Blues announced Monday that O’Reilly was going on injured reserve with a broken foot and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. General manager Doug Armstrong told The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford it doesn’t really change his approach, though: “Not really because we talk and we work behind the scenes every day. … We have to want the players other teams are trading, and vice-versa; they have to want what we’re considering trading. Our record will dictate what we do at those times.” If O’Reilly returns and is able to show he’s healthy and productive, there should still be a market. He doesn’t have no-trade protection and was the 2019 playoff MVP. I think the Maple Leafs had talked about him internally, prior to the injury. Like with Horvat, the Avalanche would make sense. Any contender could. — LeBrun, Jan. 3

7. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks

Previously: 5

Toews himself said in the offseason that he had little to no trade value if he wasn’t playing at a high level, yet here we are in mid-December and Toews has been one of Chicago’s best performers. He can still skate, still score, still win big draws and, as we all know, is as competitive as heck. So would his first-quarter play entice teams with playoff aspirations in desperate need of a center? You betcha. Toews made clear in the summer that a rebuild wasn’t all that appealing to him, so if a contender comes calling, one expects that he’d waive his no-move despite the fact that he has played, by all accounts, with a great attitude. — Michael Russo, Dec. 15

Previously: 8

Tarasenko had 29 points in 34 games before getting injured in a New Year’s Eve game by blocking a Matt Dumba shot on his hand. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks, which is not the same as saying he’ll be ready to play in four weeks. That means no trade is imminent. On the other hand, if Tarasenko’s absence, along with Ryan O’Reilly’s and Torey Krug’s, cause the Blues to fall out of playoff contention in the next two months — and assuming he gets back playing by the end of February — he could be a valuable, 11th-hour rental, a proven scorer, from a recent Stanley Cup championship team. Even in the years when the Blues were a playoff contender, GM Doug Armstrong wasn’t afraid to make a bold statement. Tarasenko’s original trade request came more than a year ago; but now that his eight-year, $60 million contract is down to its final months, he’ll be easier to move. — Duhatschek, Jan. 3

9. Matt Dumba, Wild

Previously: 11

Advertisement

During an interview with The Athletic on Tuesday, Dumba said he knows his time is coming to an end with the Wild. It’s just a matter of whether he’s traded in advance of the deadline or leaves on his own accord this summer as a free agent, as the Wild plan to move on either way. Dumba said Wild general manager Bill Guerin has been honest with him and his agents that he could be traded after years of outlasting trade rumors and surviving two expansion drafts. The Wild have started to get calls (the Oilers and Senators have reportedly shown interest), but Guerin has been candid in the fact that he’d only trade Dumba if he can get another defenseman in return or in a coinciding trade. If worse comes to worst, the team does have Alex Goligoski sitting nightly as a seventh defenseman. He could fill in if a defenseman can’t be acquired at the same time Dumba is. Dumba, a 2012 first-round pick, once looked like he would be as good an offensive sharpshooter as there was in the NHL — until he got into a fight with Matthew Tkachuk in December 2018 and tore his pectoral muscle to smithereens. He hasn’t been the same since but has picked up his play of late after a slow start. He’s an energetic heart-and-soul guy who is beloved in the Wild room. — Russo, Jan. 18

Previously: 10

Word is that teams keep poking around on Boeser and are exploring it in a more realistic manner — trying to see how they could make it work. He still has another two years on his contract after this season at a $6.65 million average annual value, so it’s possible the only way he gets dealt is if Vancouver retains money. The Wild have talked to Vancouver about it, and Boeser returning to his home state would be a good story, but it doesn’t sound like Minnesota feels it can make it work cap-wise unless the Canucks eat a significant portion of the contract. — LeBrun and Russo, Jan. 18

Previously: 9

The Blue Jackets are hoping to re-sign Gavrikov, who’s a pending unrestricted free agent, but if they can’t, expect them to use their trade of David Savard to the Lightning two years ago as a template for how to handle trading him ahead of the deadline. Gavrikov plays the most minutes on the Blue Jackets and is at a higher level than Savard was at the time of his trade. They got a first-round pick and a third-rounder for Savard, who was also pending UFA. That is to say, when teams are making offers, a first-round pick alone may not be enough. It might take a second asset. More than 10 teams have already shown interest or listed him internally as a target. — LeBrun, Jan. 18

Previously: 12

If you’re looking for an offensive-minded defenseman and power-play quarterback on the cheap, Ghost may be your man. The Coyotes usually trade their pending free agents, and while Gostisbehere may not be the most defensively sound, he’s still a puck-mover who can help a team get up the ice and into the offensive zone. Plus, an acquiring team would owe him only a prorated portion of his $1 million salary from a real-cash standpoint while his cap hit stands at $4.5 million barring potential salary and cap retention. — Russo, Dec. 15

Previously: 16

Advertisement

One of the nice comeback stories of the season, Monahan has been playing reliable five-on-five minutes and averaging better than 55 percent in the faceoff circle for the Canadiens after landing in Montreal as a part of a Flames salary-cap dump. He’s been valuable enough that the Canadiens could still look to re-sign him. They received a first-rounder for taking on his contract, and if the decision is to move him, they’ll be seeking a further high draft choice from any team that wants to add center-ice depth for the playoff run. — Duhatschek, Dec. 15

Previously: 15

The Flyers are going nowhere, meaning JvR’s going somewhere. In the last year of his contract, he just returned to Philly’s lineup and almost immediately put up a four-point game in Arizona. If he continues to produce in the new year, he could move up our board because he’s a guy who gets to the net and knows how to pot goals. He shouldn’t be expensive, either — think a mid- to late-round pick, even though he’s at a point per game in short spurts. If he continues to produce, general manager Chuck Fletcher can perhaps up the ante for a forward who can assist any team’s power play. — Russo, Dec. 15

Previously: Unranked

Barbashev has not been able to build on last season’s breakout campaign, in which he scored 60 points in 81 games — 49 of them at even strength. His usage in 2022-23 hasn’t changed much overall, either, getting just above 16 minutes per night. But he’s the sort of useful, all-situations, playoff-experienced utility forward who could help almost any team looking for a steady third-line contributor. Could he be this season’s Artturi Lehkonen? — Duhatschek, Jan. 18

Previously: 18

The Canadiens have had a little cottage industry these past few years of sending defensemen out the door to teams looking for blue-line help — Ben Chiarot to Florida and Brett Kulak to Edmonton last year — and they could do the same with Edmundson, who has this season and next left on his contract at $3.5 million per. Edmundson played 22 games in the Blues’ 2019 run to the Cup and 22 again in Montreal’s 2021 run to the final. At age 29, on a reasonable contract, he’d have some value. — Duhatschek, Dec. 15

Previously: Unranked

The first priority for the Red Wings is to try to get Bertuzzi, a pending unrestricted free agent, signed to a contract extension. Failing that, they will almost certainly want to see what they can get for a 27-year-old hard-nosed winger who will drive to the net and produced 62 points in 68 games last season, second-best on the team. Bertuzzi has seen limited action this year — he broke one hand back on Oct. 15, missed 13 games, then shortly after returning to the lineup, broke the other hand. He only just returned to action in the second week of January. He earns a reasonable $4.75 million in the final year of his deal. — Duhatschek, Jan. 18

Previously: Unranked

The 25-year-old has two goals — one an empty-netter — and four assists this season and has been part of one of the team’s best lines over the past few seasons, but he may have written his ticket out of town after being scratched recently for oversleeping and missing pregame meetings before a game. The Wild have a significant cap crunch this summer, especially with the recent $7 million-per-year extension for Matt Boldy, and trading Greenway, who’s signed through 2024-25, would free up $3 million. He could be replaced by less expensive pending restricted free agent Brandon Duhaime. The 6-foot-6 power winger is respected in the league, especially by Sharks coach and mentor David Quinn and Sabres coach Don Granato. An acquiring team could still look at him with scout’s eyes. He should be much better than he has been. — Russo, Jan. 18

Previously: 20

Nyquist missed the entire 2020-21 season recovering from major shoulder surgery, but he played all 82 games last year and scored 53 points, and he’s played all 35 games in 2022-23. So the injury issue should be settled. He is a versatile, experienced forward who can play both the left and right side. He has modest scoring totals — 18 points, all at even strength, so far — but has been almost a point-a-game player in the last couple of weeks. He’s on a hefty deal — $5.5 million average annual value — but it expires after this year. In the years he’s been a seller, GM Jarmo Kekalainen has been able to extract great value for his rentals. — Duhatschek, Jan. 3

Previously: Unranked

Bjugstad is 30 and signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with Arizona as an unrestricted free agent last summer, knowing that he was at a career crossroads. He’s a 6-foot-6 behemoth playing reasonable minutes (16:44 per night) and providing modest scoring numbers (18 in his first 43 games) for a thin Coyotes team. The good news: After years of missing long stretches because of a variety of issues, including a sports hernia surgery and then a spinal surgery to repair a herniated disc, he has played every game thus far this season, so his health issues seem to be thing of the past. For the price of a mid-round draft pick — we hear Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong thinks he can get as high as a second-rounder — he would be a decent depth addition for any team wanting to add size at the deadline. After that, he could even return to the Coyotes in the offseason. — Duhatschek and Russo, Jan. 18

Previously: 24

The Canucks are getting lots of calls on the NHL’s hits leader (203 in 43 games). Because of his physicality and the fact that he’s a right-shot defenseman, which is always coveted at the deadline, and a good “team” guy, Schenn will be highly sought at the deadline. The Wild are one team with significant interest, but don’t be surprised if his former team, Tampa Bay, comes in hard to try to reacquire the two-time Cup champion for extra depth. If he’s traded, it wouldn’t be surprising if agent Ben Hankinson attempts to work out an extension soon after with the acquiring team. — Russo, Jan. 18

Previously: 22

Domi has been a hockey vagabond, playing for three teams in the past three years. As a rental (from Columbus to Carolina last year), he produced modest results — six points in 14 playoff games. He signed a one-year, $3 million prove-it contract with the Blackhawks, where he’s had a chance to play top-line minutes with Patrick Kane and has been a good fit overall, leading to suggestions the Blackhawks could even sign him to an extension rather than dangling him as trade bait. The reality is, though: If the Blackhawks get an attractive offer for Domi, they would almost certainly move him as a rental, because there is nothing to prevent them from signing him to a new contract next July, as a UFA. The Blackhawks are in the asset-accumulation stage of their rebuild. Nothing, even a pleasant surprise such as Domi, is likely to trump that main, overriding directive. — Duhatschek, Jan. 3

Previously: 21

Anaheim is Kulikov’s fifth team in four years, but he’s a sturdy (6-foot-1, 201 pounds), experienced stay-at-home defender, who is third in time on ice for the Ducks. In short, he’s just the sort of depth player who just about any contender could use. His cap charge is a reasonable $2.2 million, and he has a limited no-trade clause. Verbeek was shipping out everything that moved at last season’s deadline. There’s no reason to think he won’t do the same this year, given how poorly Anaheim has played. — Duhatschek, Dec. 15

Previously: 23

Talbot, unwilling to share time with Marc-Andre Fleury in Minnesota, was flipped to the Senators last summer, where he’s had an up-and-down season (10-12-2, .906 save percentage, 2.86 goals-against average). He’s 35, on an expiring contract, making modest dollars ($3.666 million) and could be a temporary solution on a team such as Los Angeles, which is currently getting solid work from minor-league call-up Pheonix Copley but could use a goalie upgrade. Goalie trades rarely happen at the deadline, and when they do, they usually don’t have much of an impact. But there might be a fit with the Kings because the coach, Todd McLellan, had Talbot in Edmonton and rode him hard in 2016-17 (Talbot had 73 appearances and 42 wins that season, with a league-leading 4,294 minutes played). The Kings are in something of a goalie quandary, as age is catching up with Jonathan Quick, while the nominal goalie of the future, Cal Petersen, is in the minors trying to find his game. — Duhatschek, Jan. 18

Previously: Unranked

Eller was a healthy scratch Monday, in part because the Caps have suddenly gotten healthier up front, with Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie and Nick Backstrom all back in the lineup (though Nic Dowd did then leave Monday’s game with an undisclosed injury). The 33-year-old Eller is big — 6-foot-2, 215 pounds — strong and has playoff experience, so he checks a lot of important boxes. He’s on an expiring contract at $3.5 million. Washington, I’m told, would entertain offers for him if it could get help on defense, where the injury to John Carlson has really thinned the ranks. One possible fit: Los Angeles, which is deep on the right side and at some point could move on from either Sean Walker or Matt Roy. — Duhatschek, Jan. 18

The Athletic’s NHL trade board at a glance

(Editor’s note: This is not an exhaustive list of players who could be traded before the deadline. These are the players we’re hearing the most buzz about right now.)

Player Team Pos. Age Contract

1

Canucks

C

27

2023 UFA

2

Coyotes

LD

24

2025 UFA

3

Blackhawks

RW

34

2023 UFA

4

Sharks

LW

26

2023 RFA

5

Ducks

RD

30

2023 UFA

6

Blues

C

31

2023 UFA

7

Blackhawks

C

34

2023 UFA

8

Blues

RW

31

2023 UFA

9

Wild

RD

28

2023 UFA

10

Canucks

RW

25

2025 UFA

11

Blue Jackets

LD

27

2023 UFA

12

Coyotes

RD

29

2023 UFA

13

Canadiens

C

28

2023 UFA

14

Flyers

LW

33

2023 UFA

15

Blues

RW

27

2023 UFA

16

Canadiens

LD

29

2024 UFA

17

Red Wings

LW

27

2023 UFA

18

Wild

RW

25

2025 UFA

19

Blue Jackets

LW

33

2023 UFA

20

Coyotes

C

30

2023 UFA

21

Canucks

RD

33

2023 UFA

22

Blackhawks

C

27

2023 UFA

23

Ducks

RD

32

2023 UFA

24

Senators

G

35

2023 UFA

25

Capitals

C

33

2023 UFA

No longer ranked: Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Duclair, Alex Goligoski, Jesse Puljujarvi, James Reimer, Nick Ritchie, Jack Roslovic.

(Top photo of Bo Horvat: Rich Lam / Getty Images)