With the NHL season reaching its halfway point and the March 3 trade deadline inching closer, we have a pretty good idea as to which teams need to make a trade, either to add to their roster for a Stanley Cup run or to add future pieces for a rebuild.
But what about the players that are in need of a trade? Either for a fresh start in a new city or for an opportunity to add to their career resume by playing for a Stanley Cup?
That is the focus of today’s piece as we dig into six players that could use a trade away from their current situation.
Let’s get into it.
Everything about this season has been a disappointment for the Canucks, with only a few exceptions.
One of those exceptions has been team captain Bo Horvat, who is in the middle of a career year that has seen him score at 58-goal pace through the first half of the season.
So why does he need a trade?
Because with the way he has played the past few years, he deserves an opportunity to play for a contending team and show what he can do in the playoffs. He is not going to get that opportunity in Vancouver, and with the way contract negotiations between the two sides seem to have stalled, he is probably not going to be back in Vancouver beyond this season, anyway.
Which brings us to the next question: Even if the Canucks did come back with a better contract offer, what is his incentive to return? The Canucks have been a dysfunctional mess this season, and there does not seem to be much immediate hope in the near future given the team’s weaknesses and salary-cap situation.
He could likely find an offseason offer that matches whatever Vancouver could throw at him.
Get him to a good team so this great season does not get wasted.
Jesse Puljujärvi still has a chance to be a good NHL player, but it is becoming increasingly clear that is not going to happen in Edmonton.
His ice time has been reduced to 12 minutes, 51 seconds per game, and heading into Friday’s game he had only totaled three goals and nine total points in 43 games this season.
It just is not working out with the Oilers.
And that is a shame for both sides because there was so much potential here, and over the past two years there was an argument to be made that he was one of the most underappreciated players in the league. He has always been a strong possession driver, and his teammates always seemed to play better when he was on their line versus when he was not.
He is still a good possession driver, but Oilers management and the coaching staff clearly do not trust him, and he has expressed a desire to leave Edmonton before.
A team in need of a good complementary winger should be looking at him as another potential Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin’s career started off with him being a top pick who consistently posted strong underlying numbers but never turned it into actual production as the Dallas Stars lost faith in him. All it took was a fresh start with Colorado for him to become a star.
That can still happen for Puljujärvi, but it is not going to happen in Edmonton. Get him to a new team where he can start with a clean slate.