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Sport5 NHL trades we'd love to see

17:07  15 february  2019
17:07  15 february  2019 Source:   thescore.com

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5 NHL trades we'd love to see© David Becker / National Hockey League / Getty

The abundance of talented pending unrestricted free agents and other notable names who could be available ahead of the NHL trade deadline presents some tantalizing potential deals.

Several surefire Stanley Cup contenders could make their already deep rosters even more formidable, while solid teams looking to close the gap are primed to acquire a major piece that addresses a need. In short, there's no shortage of scenarios that could play out before the clock strikes 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 25.

Here's a handful of deals we'd love to see come to fruition leading up to the deadline:

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Predators pounce on Panarin

Artemi Panarin, the most potent weapon on the trade market, would be a perfect fit for a Nashville team in need of a significant offensive boost. The Predators entered Thursday's action with the NHL's worst power play and ranked outside the league's top 10 in goals per game.

General manager David Poile has never shied away from pulling off blockbusters, and he's consummated a rather large one with the Columbus Blue Jackets before.

For the Jackets, the conversation likely begins with Nashville's top prospect, Eeli Tolvanen. Although the Predators would be reluctant to give up Tolvanen for a rental - Panarin has expressed a desire to test the free-agent market - the Predators need to do something to get over the hump, and it's time for them to go all-in for the Stanley Cup.

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One would think a package of Tolvanen, a relatively high draft pick, and a roster player like Colton Sissons would be enough for Columbus. If Tolvanen's not involved, the price would conceivably have to be a first-rounder plus a different prospect and a roster player, particularly if the Blue Jackets intend to flip what they get for a player that keeps them competitive in the short term.

Jets deal for Duchene

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With Nikolaj Ehlers expected back from injury in a few weeks at most, acquiring a center of Matt Duchene's caliber would be a great play for the Winnipeg Jets.

Much like last year, the Jets are likely looking to add to their top six. Just as the club added Paul Stastny for the stretch drive in 2018, Duchene would provide a similar upgrade at an all-important position.

Duchene, a pending unrestricted free agent, is likelier to sign a contract extension than Panarin, so that could increase the price.

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The Jets have plenty of depth pieces and a wealth of prospects to offer, including promising defenseman Sami Niku and forward Mason Appleton. Plus, they still have all of their first- and second-round picks for the next three drafts to throw in, as well. A prospect, a pick, and a roster player to acquire Duchene would make sense here.

Flames snag Stone

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The Calgary Flames need an upgrade at right wing over Michael Frolik to play with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund, and Mark Stone fits the bill as one of the best in the game to play his position.

While the Flames don't have much wiggle room under the cap to accommodate Stone's $7.35-million hit or what he'll command on a new deal, general manager Brad Treliving has proven to be one of the most creative executives in the league.

Calgary could package a pick, a prospect like Oliver Kylington or Rasmus Andersson, and roster players like Mark Jankowski, Austin Czarnik, and Stone's older brother, Michael to get a deal done.

NHL trade deadline primer: Strategies for all Eastern Conference teams

NHL trade deadline primer: Strategies for all Eastern Conference teams Ahead of the 2019 NHL trade deadline, we examine where each Eastern Conference team stands and what strategies they should employ heading into Feb. 25. Atlantic Division Boston Bruins A first-round matchup against the Maple Leafs seems inevitable for the Bruins, and though they've had Toronto's number before, the Leafs are much deeper than in years past. Boston's top line scares every opponent but its bottom nine pales in comparison to Toronto's. The Bruins need to be aggressive in pursuing one of the top available wingers such as Artemi Panarin or potentially Mark Stone.

The Flames will probably have to trade away a roster player or two in the offseason in order to keep Stone long term, but Treliving can figure that out in the summer. Acquiring the 26-year-old winger would be the best way for Calgary to keep up in the Western Conference arms race.

Maple Leafs haul in Hamilton

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It's not the most likely trade given Toronto's cap constraints, but a potential Dougie Hamilton blockbuster would add even more fireworks to an already promising deadline while providing the Leafs with another right-shot defenseman for both this season and beyond.

Toronto reportedly doesn't want to deal away Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren, or a first-round pick for a rental, but you'd have to think the Leafs would be more willing to offer one or more of those assets in a trade for Hamilton, who has two years remaining on his deal after this one.

They'd probably need to rid themselves of Nikita Zaitsev's contract to make the money work, and that won't be easy. Toronto could make it more enticing by including a prospect or pick in a separate move, or by packaging him with a top prospect or pick in a larger Hamilton swap.

Forward prospects Jeremy Bracco and Trevor Moore, and/or a roster player like Connor Brown - who's on the books for $2.1 million this season and the next - could also be thrown in, depending on the scale of the purely hypothetical blockbuster.

NHL trade deadline primer: Strategies for all Western Conference teams

NHL trade deadline primer: Strategies for all Western Conference teams Ahead of the 2019 NHL trade deadline, we examine where each Western Conference team stands and what strategies they should employ heading into Feb. 25. Central Division Chicago Blackhawks The Blackhawks are in a precarious position. A month ago, selling seemed like the obvious path. Now, with the Western Conference jammed up and the Hawks back in the playoff picture on the strength of nine wins in their last 11 games, the plan is far from concrete. GM Stan Bowman recently stated the decision to buy or to sell hadn't yet been made.

Hamilton would solidify the Leafs' top four for their upcoming playoff run and beyond without significantly compromising the team's future.

Bruins swoop in for Simmonds

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Even if star forward David Pastrnak is able to return from injury shortly after the trade deadline, the Boston Bruins will still need another scoring winger. Although Panarin and Stone are intriguing options for the Bruins, Wayne Simmonds makes a lot of sense for Boston and would come at a lower price.

Complicating matters is the fact that Simmonds has the right to submit a 12-team no-trade list, according to CapFriendly, and his Philadelphia Flyers have been on a roll lately. But, according to reports, Simmonds and the Flyers haven't made progress in contract talks, and he's reportedly more likely than not to be dealt.

Simmonds would bring a mix of skill and physical play to a Bruins squad that would welcome both, especially come playoff time.

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5 NHL trades we'd love to see
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