Home Market Spotlight Analyzing the defenceman market ahead of the NHL trade deadline

Analyzing the defenceman market ahead of the NHL trade deadline

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Analyzing the defenceman market ahead of the NHL trade deadline

The trade market is starting to pick up some steam, with Josh Manson being sent to the Avalanche and Ben Chiarot for a hefty price to the Panthers.

Colorado and Florida are far from the only teams looking for defence — and these certainly aren’t the only players who will be on the move. So let’s take a closer look at which teams are in the market, and who may be available.

The defender market ranges from playoff teams to retooling clubs, and those in the middle. The Canucks will probably lean towards looking for a younger defender. Similarly, the Kings are in the market as well, more likely for a lefty with term given that they ‘re not just striving for a quick playoff run and have depth on the right in their prospect pipeline.

There’s quite a few in ‘win now’ mode looking for a boost on the blue line. Ideally, the Blues can find a better top-four option than Marco Scandella. The Maple Leafs could use reinforcements on the blue line, probably preferable on the left given the Jake Muzzin injury. The Oilers, Bruins, Rangers, and Wild may bolster their depth too. And while the Hurricanes’ top-four should be healthy down the stretch, don’t count them out of the mix either.

Who may be available ahead of Monday’s deadline for these teams, among others, to acquire?

Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes defender isn’t a rental — the 23-year-old still has three more years on his current contract with a $4.6 million cap hit that’s super reasonable for a top-four back. The highlight of his game is his shot, but he has a knack for retrieving loose pucks in his own zone and transitioning play up the ice with control.

Mark Giordano, Seattle Kraken

Obviously, Giordano is at the later stages of his career, and his offensive impact has trended down this season (though the team he’s on influences that). That said, he’s a frequent shooter who can generate offence from the point. The lefty helps keep his opponents to the perimeter and limits slot shots against and rebound opportunities. That steady, dependable play may be exactly what teams are looking for this postseason.

Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks

Like Giordano, Lindholm is a pending unrestricted free agent. So the Ducks may prefer gaining future assets at the deadline instead of losing him for nothing if an extension isn’t in sight. His play also isn’t at the levels of years past, but the left-handed shooter denies entries against, and limits scoring chances at a high rate, keeps opponents away from the inner slot. Lindholm can also help push play out of the defensive zone with control, often times with an outlet pass at 5- on-5.

Nick Leddy, Detroit Red Wings

Sticking with pending UFAs, a more offensive lefty is Leddy. Catch him bringing the puck out of the defensive end and into the offensive zone at a high rate, where he can distribute the puck to set up his teammates, including in the quality areas.

Robert Hagg, Buffalo Sabres

Teams looking for a stay-at-home, physical defender may consider Hagg. He’ll block shots at a high rate, and generally body checks versus using his stick to make a play and help limit scoring chances off the cycle.

Travis Dermott, Toronto Maple Leafs

This one may look different than the rest, since Dermott’s already on a playoff team. But he’s probably the odd-man-out as they look to bolster their blue line and could be available to clear some cap space. The lefty can possession the puck , make outlet passes out of his own zone, and contribute to his team’s drive to generate slot shots. He’s signed for another year at $1.5 million in cap space.

Jacob Middleton, San Jose Sharks

Another defensive defender available is Middleton in San Jose. Whether with his stick or body, he limits passing lanes and blocks set-ups for opponents. At 26 years old, the lefty will be a restricted free agent so teams maintain control after this year — and at such a low cap hit, of just $725,000, it shouldn’t require financial gymnastics to make him fit. But with less NHL experience, and some struggles away from Erik Karlsson, there may be reservations about him in a top-four role . On a team deeper than San Jose, though, he may not have to step up into those minutes.

Carson Soucy, Seattle Kraken

When opponents do get past Soucy to enter the zone, it generally doesn’t translate into a scoring chance — that’s something he ranks highly in the league at limiting. Overall, he suppresses scoring chances at a high rate, using his stick to check opponents . And like Middleton, he’s not a rental — he has another year on his contract, at a $2.75 million cap hit.

Calvin de Haan, Chicago Blackhawks

Some teams want a more experienced defender for the playoffs, so they can turn to de Haan who could be flipped ahead of Monday’s deadline from the rebuilding Blackhawks. He can be leaned on to be a safe and dependable defenseman at even strength and on the penalty kill, to block shots, protect the slot, and battle for rebounds and loose pucks.

Scott Mayfield, New York Islanders

Mayfield pairs best with a puck-moving defender — think Devon Toews and Nick Leddy, the former helping him play some of his best hockey. He can be tasked with matching up against top competition, defend the blue line, and use his long reach to make stick plays both at even strength and in short-handed situations. The righty has another year on his contract at $1.45 million.

Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils

It’s going to take a lot to get Severson for the next two playoff runs before he hits unrestricted free agency, but it could help solidify a team’s blue line. Severson can deny opponents entry into the zone, close passing lanes, and limit quality chances both off the rush and cycle. He also can retrieve loose pucks and help break the puck out of his own end to spark offensive plays. The righty is an all situation player who can go up against top competition.

Justin Braun, Philadelphia Flyers

For playoff teams looking for an inexpensive depth option, Braun could be a fit seeing as he’s on the downswing of his career, in an expiring contract. He doesn’t thread the needle offensively, but can absorb tough minutes to ease the workload of other defenders. Or, if paired with a possession player, he can provide some balance with his defensive efforts of blocking shots and battling for loose pucks to help spark plays from his own zone.

Data via Sportlogiq and CapFriendly

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