NHL trade-asset tiers: Buyer's guide to the 2019 deadline

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 25, remember that the fortunes of teams can change in a blink during the regular season.

Consider that during our first look at the trade asset tiers in January, the St. Louis Blues were rumored to be selling off everything but the seats in their arena after a disastrous first half. Then came a double-digit win streak, and all of a sudden, the buffet might be closed for teams looking to feast on the Blues.

Then you have a team such as the Minnesota Wild, who are struggling as the NHL trade deadline arrives. With a new general manager and an increasing desire to sell, this team is seeing some of its players creep up the trade board, and one (Charlie Coyle) was dealt Wednesday night.

Here are the players to watch at the trade deadline. We've grouped them by rentals and players with term, with pending restricted free agents in the latter category. All salary and contract information comes from our friends at Cap Friendly unless otherwise noted. All stats are current as of Feb. 20.

Read through the entire list, or skip ahead to a category by clicking the following links:

Wingers to rent

Ryan Dzingel, LW/C, Ottawa Senators

Stats: 22 G | 22 A | 44 points | 57 games
Contract: $1.8 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

Hey, are you interested in a pending free-agent Ottawa Senators forward who is going to cost you significantly less than Matt Duchene and Mark Stone? Then you're probably feeling a Dzingel for an exciting 26-year-old who is having a career year (in a contract year). That cap hit means every team looking for offense on the wing -- from the Bruins to the Islanders to the Sharks to the Avalanche -- will be in the market here. Dzingel is your prototypical "guy who seems like he won't cost much in a trade but someone ends up overpaying because several teams covet him" type of deadline player.

Micheal Ferland, LW/RW, Carolina Hurricanes

Stats: 16 G | 17 A | 33 points | 51 games
Contract: $1.75 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

The Hurricanes' surge up the standings might not affect Ferland's availability, as it comes down to economics. When the Hurricanes added Nino Niederreiter at $5.25 million annually through 2022, it made his future all the more murky. Ferland is a physical winger with offensive pop, and he is a pain to play against. With that upside and that cap hit, it's hard to imagine that the Canes won't pull a low first-rounder out of a contender for him.

Marcus Johansson, LW/RW, New Jersey Devils

Stats: 12 G | 15 A | 27 points | 48 games
Contract: $4,583,333 AAV, UFA this summer, five-team no-trade list

The Devils are finished this season, so the question becomes whether "MoJo" is a player they see as a building block at forward or one they feel has more value as a trade asset. Despite two years of injury issues and a drop in production, he can be a fine offensive complement on a line with better players and a dependable two-way player. He could also be had for a third-round pick and/or a prospect, depending on what the market ends up looking like.

Patrick Maroon, LW/RW, St. Louis Blues

Stats: 4 G | 12 A | 16 points | 51 games
Contract: $1.75 million AAV, UFA after this season, eight-team no-trade list

According to Cap Friendly, Maroon's no-trade clause went from a full one to a partial eight-team one on Feb. 1, which makes him seem like either a man who knows he is portable or a man who wants to be. He has been playing an effective depth forward role as of late for the streaking Blues, whom one imagines have gone from "sell everything" to "maybe buy instead" over the past month.

Gustav Nyquist, RW/LW, Detroit Red Wings

Stats: 15 G | 33 A | 48 points | 59 games
Contract: $4.750 million AAV, UFA after this season, full no-trade

Oh, the irony in Nyquist having an outstanding season in a contract year, considering that's how he landed the no-trade clause that'll potentially keep GM Ken Holland from moving him at the deadline. But if he opts out, there are going to be a great number of teams looking to add his offense to their top six. The Oilers have been mentioned with frequency, but one wonders if a Dallas reunion with GM Jim Nill is possible. Then again, the Red Wings could seek to extend him.

Artemi Panarin, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets

Stats: 24 G | 43 A | 67 points | 56 games
Contract: $6 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

The recent news on Panarin is that the Blue Jackets are looking at three possible paths to take. First, they can trade the pending UFA for the best return possible, for now and the future. Second, they can trade Panarin for a package whose parts are immediately repackaged at the deadline for help this season. Third, they can keep Panarin and add help at the deadline for an all-in run at the championship, emerging from a winnable Metro Division. Simply put: If the Jackets trade Sergei Bobrovsky, their other pending UFA, they have 24-year-old Joonas Korpisalo ready to take over. If the Jackets trade Panarin, there is not another Panarin on this roster or readily available elsewhere, no matter what bounty they get for him. Tough call for the Jackets, for sure.

Wayne Simmonds, LW, Philadelphia Flyers

Stats: 16 G | 11 A | 27 points | 60 games
Contract: $3.975 million, UFA this summer, 12-team no-trade list

The term "last piece of the puzzle" gets tossed around a lot at this time of the season, but Simmonds would certainly complete the picture for a lot of teams. He has a net-front presence offensively. His penalty minutes are indicative of his toughness. He can play top-six minutes. And he's a left wing, which everyone seems to be chasing at the deadline. The Bruins seem like a natural fit here even after the Charlie Coyle move, and they're worth mentioning when it comes to cost: Would Simmonds fetch the kind of bounty that Rick Nash did from the Bruins last season -- a first, a roster player and a prospect (along with a seventh and what was left of Matt Beleskey)? But the Predators, Lightning and others have been rumored to have interest. Simmonds reportedly wants to remain a Flyer; does new GM Chuck Fletcher consider him part of the puzzle?

Mark Stone, RW, Ottawa Senators

Stats: 28 G | 33 A | 61 points | 59 games
Contract: $7.35 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

Last month, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that the Senators have talked to Stone about a deal between $8.5 and 9.5 million AAV for eight seasons. That offer has reportedly included some variations on term and AAV. They want to keep him ... but if they can't, he's the most complete winger available at the deadline. Stone should be mentioned in the same Selke Trophy-contender breath as two-way stars such as Patrice Bergeron and Anze Kopitar. He's that good, except he does it on the wing. He'd easily fetch a first-round pick and a blue-chipper in return. I think whoever snags Stone does so with an eye toward retaining him rather than renting him.

Thomas Vanek, LW/RW, Detroit Red Wings

Stats: 12 G | 17 A | 29 points | 52 games
Contract: $3 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-trade clause

Seeing Vanek available at the trade deadline is like seeing those McDonald's arches on the road during a long drive: familiar, comfortable, but maybe not the thing you really need. Sure, he was effective with 15 points in 19 games for the Blue Jackets after the previous trade deadline ... until he had just two in six playoff games, both coming in Game 1 against the Capitals. You know what you get: some streaky even-strength offense and a defensive liability. Complicating matters: As we noted in our team-by-team deadline primer, Ken Holland gave Thomas Vanek -- a player who exists to be traded at this point in his career -- a no-trade clause.

Mats Zuccarello, RW, New York Rangers

Stats: 11 G | 26 A | 37 points | 45 games
Contract: $4.5 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

Zuccarello has spent the past two months reminding everyone of his offensive pop, with 23 points in his first 19 games of 2019. Few wingers available at the deadline have his knack for creating offense on their own. He's a veteran asset who could bolster a contender such as the Calgary Flames or Nashville Predators. At one point during his first-half slump, it seemed like he'd cost a second-rounder and a mid-level prospect. Has that price gone up?

Wingers with term

Andre Burakovsky, LW/RW, Washington Capitals

Stats: 7 G | 10 A | 17 points | 54 games
Contract: $3 million AAV, RFA this simmer, no trade protection

The talented, 23-year-old Austrian winger's numbers are way off from his career averages as he enters arbitration-eligible restricted free agency this summer. He's a top-nine forward for the Capitals and plays an important role on their third line. I assume they'd like a similar player back in any possible deal.

Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Edmonton Oilers

Stats: 4 G | 5 A | 9 points | 46 games
Contract: $925,000 AAV, RFA this summer, no trade protection

Bob McKenzie of TSN wondered recently if the relationship between the No. 4 overall pick in 2016 and the Oilers is "fractured beyond repair," as they attempted to ship him back to the AHL recently for seasoning. Trading away a 20-year-old winger is specious at best. But all indications are that Puljujarvi is in play for a similar young forward in need of a change. But seller beware here: The most lopsided trades in deadline history are littered with choices like cutting bait with a talented young forward with seemingly stunted development.

Jason Zucker, LW/RW, Minnesota Wild

Stats: 14 G | 15 A | 29 points | 59 games
Contract: $5.725 million AAV, UFA in 2023, no trade protection

Zucker has all the hallmarks of trade bait: a down season after signing a big new contract, which means he has term; a new general manager inheriting him; a team that has quickly slid into sell mode. But the most important factor with Zucker is that he has a 10-team no-trade list that kicks in this summer, but he doesn't have any trade protection now.

Centers to rent

Derick Brassard, C, Florida Panthers

Stats: 10 G | 9 A | 19 points | 49 games
Contract: $3 million AAV, UFA this summer, eight-team no-trade list

The Panthers acquired Brassard from the Penguins in the Nick Bjugstad trade, and there was immediate speculation that he could be flipped again at the deadline. That still seems like the most likely scenario, even with a slight uptick in success for the Panthers as of late. There's chatter that both the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets, who drafted Brassard No. 6 overall in 2006, are interested.

Matt Duchene, C, Ottawa Senators

Stats: 27 G | 31 A | 58 points | 50 games
Contract: $6 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

Duchene's removal from the Senators' lineup this week underscored the fact that he's as good as gone. Duchene will be a game-changer for someone, providing a contender with a dynamic offensive center, but he would certainly cost a first-rounder, a significant prospect and more. The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets have been mentioned most prominently; the question is whether to rent or to buy the 28-year-old center. (One thing to consider: Duchene has played in eight playoff games in his 10-year NHL career.)

Kevin Hayes, C, New York Rangers

Stats: 14 G | 28 A | 42 points | 50 games
Contract: $5.175 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

To the surprise of no one, Hayes is having his best season on average in the NHL right before it's time for that big extension. The 6-foot-5 center has been good for the Rangers, but their future up the gut lies with Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil rather than Hayes. Getting a young pivot such as this at the deadline is increasingly rare. Whoever acquires Hayes will part with a first-rounder and potentially an NHL-ready piece. On a good, deep team (such as Boston), he would be a perfect third-line center rental. But we have a feeling teams are going to be after him to keep him around for a few years. The Rangers have scouted the Avalanche to the point that local media thinks there's a fit.

Eric Staal, C, Minnesota Wild

Stats: 17 G | 20 A | 37 points | 59 games
Contract: $3.5 million AAV, UFA this summer, 10-team no-trade list

The Wild's recent struggles and the strong speculation that they'll be sellers put Staal in the conversation for trade bait. GM Paul Fenton has no loyalty to the 34-year-old center. The last time Staal moved at the deadline, it was for two second-rounders and a prospect. He'd have value for a contender as a rental.

Centers with term

Jeff Carter, C, Los Angeles Kings

Stats: 10 G | 15 A | 25 points | 53 games
Contract: $5,272,727 AAV, UFA in 2022, no trade protection

Carter has plenty left in the tank and is two years removed from a 32-goal season. His contract has "three seasons and a buyout" written all over it. But it's well-known around the league that Carter wants some say in his next destination. If that sounds like something petulant, please ask a Blue Jackets fan what an unmotivated and rainy-faced Jeff Carter does for your team. Or don't. Even as the Kings look to hold a fire sale, Carter should fetch a first-rounder and a good prospect as a starting point.

Brayden Schenn, C, St. Louis Blues

Stats: 11 G | 28 A | 39 points | 55 games
Contract: $5.125 million, UFA in 2020, no trade protection

Schenn was mentioned prominently as a trade asset when the Blues were plummeting, with the Bruins and Golden Knights both reportedly kicking the tires. But in St. Louis' streak back up the standings in February, Schenn has played a big role (13 points in 10 games). Hence, his availability at this trade deadline, while not immaterial, seems a little more ambiguous.

Alexander Wennberg, C, Columbus Blue Jackets

Stats: 2 G | 21 A | 23 points | 59 games
Contract: $4.9 million, UFA in 2023, no trade protection

This is "Wennberg," as in "wenn can we expect another goal?" He isn't exactly Alex Ovechkin, but he's better than one goal since Nov. 10, 2018, and it's easier to put up with that lack of twine-snapping if he's creating offense for others. Alas, his assists-per-game average has declined for a third straight season. He's only 24, and that contract is still a borderline bargain, but if the Jackets need to add something significant after trading Panarin, it isn't difficult to believe that Wennberg could be part of that package.

Defensemen to rent

Jay Bouwmeester, D, St. Louis Blues

Stats: 2 G | 10 A | 12 points | 55 games
Contract: $5.4 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-trade clause

Earlier this season, it looked like J-Bouw was finished. His return from hip surgery was disastrous. He looked like a defensive liability and was getting scratched for the first time in his career. But as the deadline approaches, he's getting back into form and is playing more than 20 minutes per game with regularity. The Blues are back in it in a big way, and he has trade protection. He is worth mentioning as a pending UFA, but the odds that he'll be moved have dropped.

Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa Senators

Stats: 5 G | 15 A | 20 points | 55 games
Contract: $4.3 million, UFA this summer and no trade protection

Certain players can be called "analytics darlings." Cody Ceci would be an "analytics pariah." But that won't stop someone from anteing up for the defenseman, who can give you a warm body in skates for 23 minutes per night.

Ben Lovejoy, D, New Jersey Devils

Stats: 2 G | 5 A | 7 points | 51 games
Contract: $2.6 million, UFA this summer and no trade protection

The 35-year-old right-shot defenseman followed a strong season with an OK one for the Devils and could be a decent add for a contender looking to bolster its third pairing. That Stanley Cup ring from Pittsburgh doesn't hurt, either.

Adam McQuaid, D, New York Rangers

Stats: 2 G | 3 A | 5 points | 35 games
Contract: $2.75 million, UFA this summer and no trade protection

Everything you need to know about McQuaid's value can be learned by listening to five minutes of Toronto sports talk, as he has been upheld as the primary example of "veteran toughness" that a team such as Toronto should be chasing. Never mind that his underlying numbers have been a horror show for two seasons ... when he's been healthy enough to play, that is.

Nick Jensen, D, Detroit Red Wings

Stats: 2 G | 13 A | 15 points | 59 games
Contract: $812,500, UFA this summer and no trade protection

Remember in 2017 when Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith was suddenly a deadline darling, leading many to exclaim, "Who?" Jensen is that guy this year, as he hits every trade board after 180 career games of relative anonymity in Detroit. He's had a terrific season after seeing his ice time increase to 20:45, with a plus-2.18 in expected goals. He's 28, he's right-handed, and he's one of the most affordable options in terms of cost and cap that you'll find at the deadline -- if he's available, that is. The Red Wings want to sign him to an extension. That's the first priority. If they can't make that work, they'll deal him.

Defensemen with term

Trevor Daley, D, Detroit Red Wings

Stats: 2 G | 4 A | 6 points | 35 games
Contract: $3,166,666 AAV, UFA in 2020, no-trade clause

Daley, 35, is the quintessential depth defenseman for a contender. He can play different roles. He can play 20 minutes per night. He has two rings. Problem No. 1: He just returned from a prolonged absence from injury. Problem No. 2: Another Ken Holland no-trade clause, which means Daley can choose to stay or where to go.

Dougie Hamilton, D, Carolina Hurricanes

Stats: 10 G | 14 A | 24 points | 60 games
Contract: $5.75 million AAV, UFA in 2021, no trade protection

Coach Rod Brind'Amour told me that it's on him to "figure out how to get more" out of the 25-year-old defenseman. With due respect to Rod the Bod, that might be a job that falls to the coach on Hamilton's next team. A right-handed defenseman with that kind of offense (and no trade protection) is a tantalizing asset to dangle for a team that's loaded on defense but needs to add scoring to its top six. The question is whether that's a move the Hurricanes make now or revisit in the summer.

Alec Martinez, D, Los Angeles Kings

Stats: 4 G | 11 A | 15 points | 43 games
Contract: $4 million AAV, UFA in 2021 and no trade protection

After Jake Muzzin was moved to the Leafs, Martinez became the next man up on the blue-line trading block for the Kings. Martinez is older (31) and not as good as Muzzin, but he's also signed through 2021 and would cost less in a trade.

Brett Pesce, D, Carolina Hurricanes

Stats: 5 G | 10 A | 15 points | 51 games
Contract: $4.025 million AAV, UFA in 2024, no trade protection

As with Hamilton, the Hurricanes are eventually going to have to deal from their position of strength. Although he's overshadowed by Jaccob Slavin as a defensive defenseman on the Canes, Pesce has a lot of fans in NHL front offices, in particular because of his contract. Carolina would likely not want to move him, but if the right young forward becomes available, things could change.

Mark Pysyk, D, Florida Panthers

Stats: 0 G | 7 A | 7 points | 47 games
Contract: $2,733,333 AAV, UFA in 2020 and no trade protection

Not just a tremendous Scrabble score, Pysyk can get you around 18 minutes per night as a steady depth defenseman. Once a possession monster, many of his metrics are on the negative side, including expected goals (minus-0.41). But that's a great cap number for a defenseman with another year to go on his deal. And the Panthers need to keep shuffling this deck.


Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Columbus Blue Jackets

Stats: 24-18-1 | .904 SV% | 2.89 GAA
Contract: $7.425 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-movement clause

He told the Jackets months ago that he would waive his no-movement clause for the right deal. But the problem with a Bobrovsky deadline deal is one of potential suitors: Which teams have enough of a need in goal to ante up what it would take to land Bob, when they could sign him in the summer? If the answer is "a contender looking to solidify the crease" ... well, he hasn't exactly been a playoff standout. The rumors are hot and heavy that a Panarin-and-Bobrovsky double-flip to the Florida Panthers is a strong possibility.

Jimmy Howard, G, Detroit Red Wings

Stats: 17-16-5 | .913 SV% | 2.80 GAA
Contract: $5,291,666 AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

That's All-Star Jimmy Howard to you, buster. He has had an incredible season on a bad team, and there's no question that some contenders would love to add him as goaltending insurance for the right price. But the bottom line is that Howard probably returns as Red Wings goalie next season, even if he is moved at the deadline. They love him ... and they don't have much in the way of other quality options in the organization.

Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche

Stats: 15-15-8 | .909 SV% | 2.83 GAA
Contract: $5.9 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection

This was the scenario the Avalanche envisioned when acquiring Philipp Grubauer last summer: the flexibility to potentially deal 30-year-old, pending UFA Varlamov at the deadline to a contender. OK, maybe not completely the scenario: They probably thought he'd be better than a .909 save percentage, but he still has value.

Wild cards

Justin Faulk, D, Carolina Hurricanes

Stats: 5 G | 16 A | 21 points | 60 games
Contract: $4,833,333 AAV, UFA in 2020, has a 15-team no-trade list

Again, the Hurricanes are going to have to give to get at some point. Faulk has another year on his deal at a friendly hit, he's right-handed, and he's 26 years old. He also has trade protection, unlike everyone else on the Carolina blue line, and it's entirely possible that has been a factor in his not being dealt previously. It's also entirely possible that the Hurricanes like to have a veteran presence such as Faulk on a young roster and aren't looking to move him unless the deal overwhelms them and the team is not on his no-trade list.

Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings

Stats: 11-14-5 | .899 SV% | 3.09 GAA
Contract: $5.8 million AAV, UFA in 2023, no trade protection

Conventional wisdom is that this is a trade the Kings would pursue in the summer and that trade partners might wait until then to make this kind of commitment to a goalie with term. But one thing to consider: Two Stanley Cups, a .922 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average. Those are Quick's playoff numbers, and no goalie available at the deadline comes close to matching that résumé. But what on earth would the cost be?

Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, Los Angeles Kings

Stats: 13 G | 15 A | 28 points | 49 games
Contract: $6.25 million AAV, UFA in 2021, no-move clause

Kovalchuk has a $6.25 million cap hit through 2021 on an over-35 contract. He has something left in the tank for a contender, but he also has a no-move clause to determine which contender can land his services. There might be too many ancillary factors here for teams to dabble in Kovalchuk at the deadline.

Jeff Skinner, LW, Buffalo Sabres

Stats: 36 G | 18 A | 54 points | 59 games
Contract: $5.725 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-move clause

It's almost inconceivable that Skinner would leave Jack Eichel's wing after this career year, but no one's really sure what the future holds for him. GM Jason Botterill said recently that he and Skinner's reps "continue to work to try to find a resolution." If Skinner tells the Sabres he's done, do they sell sky-high or keep him for a wild-card push? If he somehow becomes available, he rockets to the top of the left-wing options for contenders.