There was plenty of speculation over which players could be moved in the weeks leading up to the NHL’s Feb. 24 trade deadline. Several, such as Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Sami Vatanen, and Andreas Athanasiou, wound up changing teams by deadline day.
Some who were considered trade bait, however, remained with their current teams as the deadline passed. A handful were players under contract beyond this season. While they weren’t traded this season, they could end up getting shopped this summer.
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
Wild general manager Bill Guerin already made one significant move, shipping Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins in early February. On deadline day, it was revealed he was attempting to ship Parise to the New York Islanders. While the deal fell through, Guerin hinted the two clubs could revisit those discussions this summer.
Parise, 35, is still a productive winger, but he has five seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of over $7.538 million. The Isles were trying to get Guerin to take winger Andrew Ladd and his $5.5 million salary-cap hit, but the two sides had trouble getting the dollars to fit. Both players waived their no-trade clause to make this happen, so perhaps this deal takes place in the off-season.
The speculation over these two defensemen emerged as the Wild seemed in danger of sliding out of the playoff race. Their recent resurgence, however, may have given Guerin reason to pause.
It’s believed Guerin wasn’t actively entertaining offers for Dumba or Brodin, but he could’ve been open to offers. How the Wild finish this season could determine the two blueliners still have futures in Minnesota.
Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils
Signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $4.625 million, Palmieri surfaced in the rumor mill after the Devils traded Taylor Hall to Arizona in December. He was frequently linked to the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues approaching deadline day.
Devils acting GM Tom Fitzgerald said he wasn’t shopping Palmieri, who expressed his desire to stay put. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald could listen if someone makes an interesting pitch this summer.
Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks
Like Dumba and Brodin, Saad seemed to surface in the rumor mill depending on where his club was in the standings. He was linked to the Boston Bruins before their acquisition of winger Ondrej Kase before the deadline.
The 26-year-old Saad has a year left on his contract with a salary-cap hit of $6 million. With the Blackhawks giving more playing time to younger, more affordable wingers, perhaps he becomes a cost-cutting casualty.
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
With Byfuglien sidelined by ankle surgery and at loggerheads with Jets management, there was talk he could be available in the trade market. Following the deadline, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff didn’t rule out trying to peddle the big blueliner.
It’s more likely the two sides could agree to mutual contract termination. Still, if Byfuglien decides to continue his playing career and the Jets can find a taker, perhaps he could be dealt in the summer.
Kasperi Kapanen, Toronto Maple Leafs
Kapanen frequently came up in media trade chatter whenever the talk got around to the Leafs’ defensive needs. However, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was reportedly reluctant to part with him.
The speedy 23-year-old winger is under contract for two more seasons with an affordable $3.2-million annual average salary. If defense once again proves the Leafs’ downfall in the playoffs, Dubas could end up listening if someone offers up a top-four blueliner.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
Inconsistency and injury hampered Gostisbehere’s performance this season. The 25-year-old blueliner also struggled to adjust under head coach Alain Vigneault. He was briefly linked last fall to the Montreal Canadiens.
Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said he wasn’t shopping Gostisbehere before the deadline. Even if he was, the rearguard’s declining performance hurt his trade value. That might change this summer if a rival GM seeking offense from the blueline decides to take a chance on Ghost Bear and his $4.5-million AAV through 2022-23.