Fri 26/02/2016 - 06:52 EST

NHL Trade Deadline Preview And Odds Analysis

NHL Trade Deadline Preview And Odds Analysis

NHL trade action has already started taking place just days prior to the deadline. It’ll be a whirlwind day on Feb. 29, as some teams look to clean house and reset for next season, while the contenders want to add a few parts to ensure their Stanley Cup chances. 

Starting with the Ottawa-Toronto trade on Feb. 9, which saw the Leafs move Dion Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey to Ottawa for Jared Cowen, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, Tobias Lindberg and a second round draft choice. 

Since then the Leafs have made two moves, shipping Shawn Mathias to Colorado, followed by Roman Polak and Nick Spaling to the San Jose Sharks.

Another big rivalry was put on hold for a trade later in February, as Calgary swapped Markus Granlund with the Vancouver Canucks in return for Hunter Shinkaruk.

On Feb. 23, the NHL-leading Washington Capitals swung a deal for Buffalo Sabres defeneman Mike Weber.

Here's our thoughts on the buyers and sellers come deadline day

Buyers:

Washington Capitals

Chicago Blackhawks

Dallas Stars

St. Louis Blues

Los Angeles Kings

Anaheim Ducks

San Jose Sharks

Florida Panthers

New York Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning

Colorado Avalance

Sellers:

Toronto Maple Leafs

Columbus Blue Jackets

Buffalo Sabres

Montreal Canadiens

Edmonton Oilers

Winnipeg Jets

Calgary Flames

Who could get moved?

The Leafs have already made three deals in February, but should not be counted out of deadline-day proceedings. They've still got guys like Brad Boyes, PA Parenteau and Michael Grabner who could be flipped, plus rumours are flying that Nazem Kadri, despite his age and upside, could be sent packing.

Vancouver’s Radim Vrbata, Calgary’s Jiri Hudler, Montreal’s Dale Wiese, Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd and Edmonton’s Justin Schultz highlight other top targets on Canadian teams.

Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin has been drawing interest all year. The 2013 third overall pick is uber talented, but doesn’t like his situation in the Sunshine State and demanded a trade a few months back. This lead to the Lightning demoting him to the AHL, where Drouin refused to play. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman can wait until the draft to swap him, but it’d be more beneficial for his team if he can get a deal done sooner. Ottawa was rumoured as a front runner for Drouin.

Teams looking for defensive help can call the Calgary Flames to discuss shot-blocking wizard Kris Russel, while Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis is also a trade candidate. According to TSN’s Trade Bait List, Schultz (Oilers) and Schlemko (Devils) are the only other D-men ranked in the top 20 for a trade. 

The only goalie on the list is the Leafs’ James Reimer, but Sportsnet mentioned Jonas Hiller (Flames), Cam Ward (Hurricanes) and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard as possibilities. While Anaheim has gotten out of the league’s basement and are looking like contenders, they’d be crazy to trade Frederik Andersen, who becomes a UFA at the end of the year. He could leave the team for no return in the off-season, but his play has been hot as of late.

Players who are in for big raises at the end of the season but don’t sound like they’ll come to terms with their current teams include Ladd, Loui Eriksson (Boston), Boedker (Phoenix) and Eric Staal (Carolina). These ‘rental’ players are often in high-demand and can provide a huge boost to a playoff-hopeful team, so it’ll be interesting to see if they’re traded and where they end up.

Before the deadline, the current Stanley Cup Odds for the top five teams are shown below. Check back after the trade deadline for a recap of the moves, plus the teams with the biggest changes in odds, both positively and negatively. 

Team

Bovada

topbet

Washington

+400

+350

Anaheim

+900

+1200

Chicago

+500

+700

Los Angeles

+900

+1000

Dallas

+900

+800

The best underdogs to take? The Pittsburgh Penguins have a ton of firepower, and if they squeak into the playoffs they'll probably make some noise. They're +2000 on Bodog and +1800 on bet365. Ottawa is another team. While they sit far outside of the postseason picture currently, they made a miraculous run last year and are currently riding a four-game streak. Don't discount them yet (+6600 odds from Bodog and +4000 on bet365).

Washington is the bookies' clear favourite, but it could all change after the deadline, depending on where specific players go. For example, if Chicago acquires Ladd from the Jets like rumours state, the Hawks’ odds will likely jump.

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