The NHL’s annual trade deadline will be at 3 pm ET on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. However, several clubs could attempt to make moves well before that date.
Non-contenders, such as the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, could wait until the deadline to maximize the returns on the players they attempt to shop. They’ll be approached by clubs that are struggling to stay in the playoff chase hoping to convince those sellers to part with their expendable talent
Keep an eye on the following five clubs throughout the opening month of 2020.
After another promising start, the Sabres are once again on the verge of falling completely out of the playoff race. They need additional scoring punch, especially with Jeff Skinner sidelined for the next three or four weeks with an upper-body injury. They can draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait. Those who could be available, such as Zach Bogosian and Marco Scandella, might not fetch the return they need.
Speaking of clubs tumbling down the standings following a promising start, the Oilers dropped from first in the Pacific Division on Dec. 1 to fifth by month’s end. The goaltending’s gotten shaky, the defense porous, and there’s a lack of sustained scoring punch beyond top-line stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Recent rumors link them to Chicago’s Brandon Saad, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, and Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
An eight-game winless skid threatened to scuttle the Canadiens’ season before they reeled off six wins in their last 10 games before Christmas break. Jockeying for playoff position in the tight Atlantic Division, the Canadiens need an experienced left-side defenseman and another scoring forward. With over $7.9 million in salary-cap space and considerable depth in draft picks and prospects, they have the ammunition to make a big move. General manager Marc Bergevin said he won’t sacrifice his club’s future for a quick fix, but he could be on the lookout for an affordable deal.
The once-dominant Predators look nothing like the club that won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018. Their usually reliable goaltending tandem of Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros is struggling while their special teams are terrible. The Predators have the talent to contend for a playoff berth, but GM David Poile could shake things up if they fail to gain ground in the standings.
San Jose Sharks
After reaching the Western Conference Finals last spring, the Sharks are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Goaltenders Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have one of the league’s worst combined goals-against per game (3.40) while their teammates are struggling to score, especially on the power play. The Sharks’ lack of tradeable assets will make it challenging to swing a significant move. Nevertheless, GM Doug Wilson has a history of making bold in-season trades.