NHL Trade Bait List


With the NHL Christmas break in the rearview mirror, trade talk and rumors will only ramp up from here on out until the trade deadline. Some teams, like the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, have established themselves as playoff contenders, while others are trending toward becoming sellers.

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But just because those organizations may not make the playoffs doesn’t mean they don’t have talent worth acquiring for a playoff run. Here are 15 players to keep an eye on as trade bait, with some new additions via the latest rumors and trade boards published by NHL insiders.

1. Bo Horvat, Center

Entering the 2022-23 season, the odds of the Vancouver Canucks re-signing Horvat seemed high. However, things have changed significantly as the season has progressed. Two weeks ago, Pierre Lebrun reported that the Canucks made an offer to Horvat and his camp but that they had rejected it. He’s on pace for a career-high 56 goals, so there’s ample opportunity for the Canucks to sell high and maximize their return. Stanley Cup contenders looking to shore up their center depth will likely have Horvat atop their list.  

2. Jakob Chychrun, Defenseman

The writing has been on the wall for some time, but it appears Chychrun will be on the move ahead of the trade deadline. With the Arizona Coyotes not going to be contenders for at least a couple of years, he has indicated that he’s open to a move elsewhere. 

Chychrun got a late start to his season after undergoing surgery this summer, but he’s played very well for the Coyotes since returning about a month ago, as he’d be on pace for 66 points in 82 games as of this writing. His price was likely high beforehand, but with a strong start to his 2022-23 campaign, the Coyotes should get a hefty return for the defenseman. 

3. Brock Boeser, Right Wing

Boeser hasn’t asked for a trade out of Vancouver. But per reporting from Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks and Boeser’s camp have agreed to see if there’s a fit for him elsewhere (from ‘What we’re hearing about Brock Boeser on the trade block, Bo Horvat and more’ – The Athletic, 12/4/2022). 

Brock Boeser Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (Photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boeser’s had a down season, but at 25 years old, he is an ideal change of scenery candidate. His contract, which he signed just this past summer, runs through the 2024-25 season at a cap hit of $6.65 million. While the cap hit may be high, the low term could make him an attractive trade target for teams looking to add a plus-shot on the wing in their top-six. 

4. Timo Meier, Right Wing

With the San Jose Sharks staring at a lottery pick, chances are they’ll be sellers ahead of the trade deadline. One name who’s popped up on initial trade boards is Meier, who came in at No. 6 on Frank Seravalli’s trade targets list about a month ago. After a slow start to 2022-23, Meier has picked it up and is just under a point-per-game pace. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, meaning any acquiring team will have control over him. His price will likely be quite high, but he’ll be worth it, given what he adds to anyone’s roster. 

5. Patrick Kane, Right Wing

Kane will go down as one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ all-time great players. But with him set for unrestricted free agency (UFA) in July, there’s a strong likelihood the rebuilding Blackhawks will trade him ahead of the deadline in early March. He has a no-movement clause (NMC), so he’ll have the final say in any trade that Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson approaches him with. Per a July episode of 32 Thoughts, the Colorado Avalanche will be a team to watch if Kane waives his NMC.

6. James Reimer, Goaltender

Reimer will likely be in demand as the trade deadline approaches. Goaltending is the most important position in the game, and he’s as consistent as they come. Even on a team that’s struggled as much as the Sharks, he’s provided them with at least average to above-average netminding since signing with them as a free agent in 2021. 

James Reimer San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer (Photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Reimer is on an expiring contract, so the Sharks shouldn’t have trouble finding a team looking for a rental goalie ahead of the playoffs. With that said, he has a five-team no-trade list as part of his modified no-trade clause. Reimer will have some say in where the Sharks deal him. But given his age and the team’s position in the standings, he may welcome a move to a contender. 

7. Jonathan Toews, Center

Toews isn’t the player he once was, but if he also decides it’s time to move on from the Blackhawks, there will surely be suitors for the three-time Stanley Cup champion. Like Kane, he will also be a UFA this coming summer. But unlike Kane, his playing future is much more uncertain. The 2022-23 season could be his last shot at a Stanley Cup with a contender, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he waives his NMC for one last shot at Lord Stanley.  

8. Erik Karlsson, Defenseman

Karlsson is having quite the late-career revival. After struggling with injuries for a few seasons, he has 46 points in 35 games with the Sharks and could find himself as a Norris Trophy finalist at season’s end. The caveat is Karlsson’s contract, which runs through the 2026-27 season at a cap hit of $11.5 million. San Jose will have to retain 50 percent to push through a deal, and they’d likely have to get a third team involved to make the finances work for any club interested in acquiring him. 

Related: Biggest NHL Trade Rumors 2022: Eastern Conference Teams

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Karlsson also has an NMC, so he’ll have the final say in any trade. Elliotte Friedman reported on a November episode of 32 Thoughts that the Ottawa Senators and Sharks had talks around a Karlsson reunion. But a deal wasn’t close, and it’s unlikely the Senators have the means to pull off a trade. Still, contenders will be interested in acquiring the Swedish defenseman if the Sharks can find a third team to help make his $11.5 million cap hit manageable. 

9. Jesse Puljujärvi

Puljujärvi’s name came up in the rumor mill during the summer, but nothing ever materialized. Instead, the Edmonton Oilers re-signed him to a one-year deal worth $3 million. Puljujärvi has struggled mightily in 2022-23, and it looks like it’s time for a change of scenery for the Finnish winger. The Oilers are unlikely to get anything significant in return for the former fourth-overall pick, but sometimes it’s just time to move on. 

10. John Klingberg

When the Anaheim Ducks signed John Klingberg to a one-year deal this summer, their intentions were pretty obvious: hope he can help them compete early in the season and flip him closer to the deadline. At 9-22-4, the Ducks will be sellers come the deadline, meaning he will be on the move somewhere. 

John Klingberg Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg (Photo by Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At this point in his career, Klingberg will need sheltered minutes. His defensive game has fallen off dramatically, but he still has value offensively, specifically as a power-play quarterback. If a team needs blue-line depth and some offense from the back end, Klingberg should be among their targets. 

11. Shayne Gostisbehere

After getting dealt to the Coyotes as a cap dump by the Philadelphia Flyers when they acquired Rasmus Ristolainen, Gostisbehere has resurrected his career. He finished the 2021-22 campaign with 14 goals and 51 points in 82 games and is pacing for similar production to start this season. He needs sheltered minutes, much like Klingberg. With that said, he’s one the better offensive defensemen in the league at even strength. 

Gostisbehere will be a UFA next summer, but the Coyotes should be able to maximize their return for him, given he’s one of their top point producers. Any team looking for more offense from the back end should have him at or close to the top of their trade board as the deadline approaches. 

12. James van Riemsdyk

On the Dec. 17 segment of 32 Thoughts, Jeff Marek reported that the Flyers had made van Riemsdyk available. Van Riemsdyk had missed the first 23 games of this season with an injury, but he’s played very well since returning. His cap hit of $7 million may pose a problem for interested teams, so this will likely be a deal that happens closer to the deadline as teams accrue cap space. If he stays healthy until then and keeps producing, the Flyers should get a solid return from a contender looking to add a power forward to their roster. 

13. Max Domi

Not much has gone right for the Blackhawks this season, but Domi has played well after signing a one-year deal with the team this summer. As a rental, teams could do much worse than acquiring him. He has scoring upside but also plays with a bit of an edge. The Blackhawks knew that trading him would be the likely outcome when they signed him to that one-year contract, so they should get a decent return with how he’s played.

14. Anthony Duclair

Duclair tore his Achilles training this offseason, so he hasn’t played in a game yet. However, he’s due to return soon, and the Florida Panthers will need to clear cap space to fit him into the lineup. But as it turns out, it’s also possible the Panthers could trade him to get cap compliant; he appeared at No. 7 on Seravalli’s trade target list and No. 16 on Lebrun’s (from ‘NHL trade board 2022-23: Bo Horvat tops our initial list of 25 players to watch’ – The Athletic, 12/15/2022). 

Anthony Duclair Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair (Photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While Duclair has yet to dress for a game this season, he finished with 31 goals in 2021-22. He averaged 29 goals and 58 points per 82 games the previous three seasons and has a $3 million cap hit that only runs through the 2023-24 campaign. If the Panthers decide to move him, they’ll likely have plenty of suitors. 

15. Vladimir Tarasenko

The St. Louis Blues have been one of the streakiest teams in the league this season. But even if they find themselves in playoff contention, trading Tarasenko may be in their best interest. He’s a UFA this summer, and it seems pretty clear that the two sides are heading for a divorce, given the history there. He has a modified NTC, so that will hurt the Blues’ return if they end up trading him. Still, it may be best to get something, especially since it doesn’t appear this team is close to making a deep playoff run. 

Trade Bait Updates to Come

With the holiday break in the past, this article will start receiving more frequent updates as the trade deadline approaches, especially once the calendar flips to 2023 and playoff races begin to heat up.


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