With the trade deadline just 18 days away, there’s no shortage of noise around the league on who’ll be on the move. There are plenty of big names on the market this year, and I’m here to help sort out which of those names will actually be packing their bags.
Marc Andre-Fleury, G, Pittsburgh:
Word on the street is the Penguins and Stars are in the preliminary stages of a deal that would send the 32 year old Fleury to Dallas. There’s no current word on the return, but I’d imagine it’d be Anti Niemi along with a prospect and a pick. This deal makes plenty of sense for both sides with the expansion draft looming this summer. However, Pittsburgh is once again a legit Stanley Cup contender and may want to keep Fleury in the case that Matt Murray goes down. The deal makes sense, but unless Pittsburgh is blown away by an offer, I expect them to hold onto Fleury.
Matt Duchene, F, Colorado:
Duchene’s name has been swirling around the rumor mill ever since Colorado’s tumultuous season got under way. The #3 overall pick back in 2009 would be a massive offensive upgrade for any team in need of a top 6 forward. The only thing that may keep Duchene with the Avs is the fact that it’ll take a serious package to pry him out of Colorado. 2 teams I keep seeing come up are Nashville and Chicago. Chicago desperately needs to find a running mate for Jonathan Toews as the Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik combo isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, and Duchene would be a perfect fit to slide in next to Toews. I love the idea of this deal for Chicago, but their lack of prospect depth/salary cap issues make it very unlikely. Nashville is a team that certainly doesn’t lack assets, and with a GM that’s traded the likes of Seth Jones and Shea Weber in the past year, I could certainly see Duchene suiting up for the Preds in the near future. I’m sure Mattias Ekholms name will be brought up, but I think Nashville would prefer to send a package involving either BU product Dante Fabbro or young winger Kevin Fiala.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, St. Louis:
Shattenkirk’s name has been bounced around since last year’s draft. The 28 year old is a top 4 defenseman on any team, but has a contract expiring at the end of the season. The 2 teams making the most noise for ‘kirk are the Bruins and Rangers. Assuming the B’s won’t move BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy (I’ll personally kill Don Sweeney if they do) they’d have to build a package around Jakub Zboril and other prospects, but I don’t think that’s what St. Louis is looking for. They lost budding star Robbie Fabbri for the year and desperately need a top 6 forward to replace him. The Rangers are a natural fit with ‘kirk being from Connecticut, but their cap will be tight this off season, and they can’t afford to move a top forward with the chance they can’t re-sign ‘kirk. This brings us to Edmonton, they’re desperate for a top defenseman, and Jordan Eberle is in dire need of a change in scenery. I believe this is the best deal out there for both teams, so don’t be surprised if Edmonton and St. Louis start flirting as the deadline approaches.
Ben Bishop, G, Tampa Bay:
Just last year Bishop had his team in the conference finals and finished 2nd in voting for the Vezina trophy, but this year has been a different story as his Lighting are tied for dead last in the Eastern Conference. Bishop’s contract expires this summer, and my sources are saying there aren’t many teams willing to give up and assets for the big American. Dallas and St. Louis have been mentioned as possible suitors, but what do you give? A 3rd and your backup? I expect Bishop to be moved so that Tampa can give young Andrei Vasilevskiy more minutes, but where he ends up remains a mystery.