Early NHL Trade Block Hot List

With each passing season, the Blackhawks core gets older. The time to win is now. This was made evident by Stan Bowman going “all in” last season acquiring Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, and Tomas Fleischmann for a 1st, 2nd, Marko Dano, and Phillip Danault. With the Blackhawks window starting to close over the next few seasons, Stan Bowman will try to maximize the rosters talent at each trade deadline, as not to waste the talents of the current core. Therefore, its never too early to take a peak at possible trade targets for this years deadline acquisition(s).

Chicago has plenty of depth on the defensive end this season, but could use more help at forward. From last years playoff team, they lost Ladd, Weise, Fleischmann, Shaw, and, Teravainen. This off-season, they added Nick Schmaltz, Tyler Motte, and Jordan Tootoo. Needless to say, they could use some help at the forward position.

My trade block contains only forwards who are in the last season of their contract and impending unrestricted free agents. I’ve also selected these players from teams I suspect will be sellers at the deadline. Things could change. Injuries could continue to riddle the Dallas Stars for example, turning them into sellers. This list will change and increase in size as the season moves along.

Note: all cap hits are rounded to the nearest decimal.

C – Martin Hanzel – $3.1M – Arizona Coyotes

This could be to the most sought after forward in a weak trade year. He’s a top-6 forward with a very reasonable cap hit. He has good goal, assist, shot generation, and shot suppression numbers equivalent to that of a top-6 forward. At 6-6, 220 lbs, Hanzal is a big 2-way center that is perfect for a second line role. The biggest knock on him is his health. He gets injured often and hasn’t reached the 70 games played mark in a season since 2010. Chicago could acquire him and be set at the center position with Toews, Anisimov, Hanzal, and Kruger. Hanzal has a limited no trade clause. This means he has a set number of teams that he can decline a trade to. This is often something like a 10-team no trade clause where he can decline a trade to 10 teams, but can’t decline a trade to the 19 other teams not on his list.

LW/RW PA Parenteau – $1.3M – New Jersey Devils

Statically, Parenteau puts up possession and production numbers of a top-6 winger, yet he is often under appreciated. Parenteau scored 20-goals last season, but he was waived by the Islanders this year. Last season, only 4-Blackhawks had at least 20 goals (Kane, Panarin, Toews, and Anisimov.) Parenteau is a right shot and a nice scoring left winger. This is the type of player that can produce similar to how a Teuvo Teravainen or Andrew Shaw last season. 35-40 points and the ability to play a top-6 role if needed.

LW/RW Shane Doan – $3.9M – Arizona Coyotes

The 40-year-old winger put up decent numbers last season for his age. He performed comparable to a high end 3rd liner or low end second liner in goal scoring, assist rate, shot generation, and shot suppression. Although, I should note his shooting% was high last season. Depending on how this season goes, he should be able to bolster the bottom-6 of a playoff team. Doan has a full no move clause, so he would have to approve any trade.

Radim Vrbata – $1M – Arizona Coyotes

Vrbata is an interesting player as he use to be a top-6 caliber forward, until last season when he produced only 27 points in 63 games. At age 35, it looked like he could be destined for a bottom-6 role. This season, however, he already has 6-goals and 5-assists in 14 games. He will be a player to track to see if he can bounce back from last season. I don’t think he can be a top-6 level forward on a playoff team, but he could go from low end 3rd-liner to high end 3rd-liner with a bounce back season.

Kris Versteeg – $0.950M – Calgary Flames

Versteeg could be a cheap depth option if he can remain healthy this season. In past seasons, he drove possession like a 1st liner, and scored like a low end second liner. His passing ability is off the charts, as he was one of the best players in the league last season in passes that directly led to shot attempts. Versteeg would make a good depth winger paired with a sniper who he could feed the puck to.

LW/RW Viktor Stalberg – $1.5M – Carolina Hurricanes

Stalberg is a proven bottom-6 level player that could help improve a teams forward depth for a cheap cap hit.

RW Jarome Iginla – $5.3M – Colorado Avalanche

At age 39, Iginla is well past his prime. His possession numbers aren’t good, even for Colorado. However, he did score 47 points last season with good 5v5 goal and assist rates. He’s off to a slow start this season with only 3 points through 15 games. At this point, he is a high cap hit player that should be able to provide some depth scoring in the bottom-6. If this is his last season in the NHL, Colorado could look to move him to a playoff team. Iginla has a full no move clause, so he would have to approve any trade. I don’t see Chicago making a move for Iginla. I just added him as this could be a prominent player who will retire after the season.