March 14, 2022

5 Hockey Players Who Could Be Dealt By 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

It’s T-minus one week and counting until the 2022 NHL trade deadline, and general managers around the league are usually looking to do one of two things. They are looking to strengthen their teams and improve their chances of making a run at the Stanley Cup while others are hoping to acquire players who will help both now and in the future.

For those who have teams that are either out of playoff contention or are extreme longshots, it’s about long-term improvement by trading current assets for future ones. That usually means draft picks or minor league players who have a chance to play in the NHL as soon as the 2022-23 season.

But there’s a little wrinkle this season that could cause some established players on contending teams to be traded. Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators will be a free agent at the end of this season. The Predators would be playing postseason hockey if the season ended today as the No. 1 wild-card team in the Western Conference. They have a chance to overtake the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues and finish second in the Central Division.

But longtime GM David Poile has to figure out what to do. Can he move Forsberg and get a positive return that will help the team now and in the future? If he can, trading the 27-year-old center could make a lot of sense. It might not be a popular move in the Nashville lockerroom because Forsberg has scored 29 goals and 22 assists.

If Forsberg goes to another contending team – likely in the Eastern Conference – he could be a game-changing player through the end of the regular season. However, if he goes to a rebuilding team or one that is out of the playoff picture, he won’t have as much inspiration to finish the season with anything but a desire to stay healthy so he can reap the advantage of being a free agent this summer.

Forsberg is just one star who could get dealt prior to the March 21 deadline. Here’s a look at four other players who could be major late-season pickups if they are traded.

Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks

Dylan Strome could be a significant asset for any team that acquires him.

Strome has been playing some of the best hockey of his career in recent games, and he has 16 goals and 16 assists this season. He has notched seven goals and three assists in his last five games, and his improvement has been noteworthy. Instead of getting rid of the puck quickly, Strome is looking for his shot and asserting himself on a regular basis. A contending team looking for a depth player who can make a solid contribution would be wise to look at the 24-year-old Strome. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and that means he will likely stay with the team that acquires him. The Blackhawks will be in the market for a mid-round draft choice and a solid minor-league asset.

Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins

The Bruins are surging and they should have an excellent chance to overtake slumping Toronto and possibly Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division. DeBrusk has been upgraded to a spot on the Bruins' No. 1 line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and he has been productive since moving to that spot. However, DeBrusk put in a trade request earlier this season after a couple of disappointing seasons in Boston. He has not backed off from that request, and multiple scouts have been following his play for weeks. DeBrusk has 15 goals and 10 assists this season, and while that total is not overly impressive, he plays with incredible speed and aggressiveness when motivated.

He has kept a professional attitude since asking to be traded, and a surge is likely once he is traded.

Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks

Tomas Hertl could be the most sought after player in the league at the trade deadline. The Sharks are not contenders, but the 28-year-old Hertl has scored 25 goals and 21 assists and appears perfectly suited for the role of a No. 2 or 3 center on a contending team. Hertl, in his ninth year with the Sharks, has the size at 6-2 and 215 pounds to take a pounding and still make productive plays. It could be a huge adjustment for Hertl to leave San Jose and move to a contender in the Eastern Conference, and it may take some time to get used to new surroundings.

By the time the playoffs start, he could be a dependable asset. Hertl has 24 postseason goals in his career, including 10 in 2019, the last time the Sharks made the playoffs.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Chicago Blackhawks

There is little doubt that the 37-year-old Fleury will find his bust in the Hockey Hall of Fame once he becomes eligible. He has had a brilliant career, starring for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights before the 37-year-old came to the Blackhawks in the offseason. There are a couple of playoff teams that are likely to try and upgrade their goaltending this year, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche being two of them. Fleury would have to believe he can make a difference for the team that acquires him. If he is traded, look for Fleury to play a major role for his new employer as he will be re-energized and motivated.  

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