We’re still nearly two months from the trade deadline but the ball started rolling yesterday before games got underway for the day.
A pair of trades (which was pretty much a three-way trade) sent defenseman Marco Scandella to the Montreal Canadiens.
Scandella is a 29-year-old left-handed defenseman who has eclipsed the 20 point mark each of the last six seasons. He’s been more of an offensive-minded defenseman over the course of his career but his offensive numbers are down a bit this year with just nine points in 31 games and averaging only about a shot per game while his defensive game has shined posting 1.7 defensive point shares this season.
Scandella is set to become an unrestricted free agent and carries a cap hit of $4 million. The price on the trade market for Scandella was a 4th round pick without any salary being held by the Sabres.
It’s still early, so trade prices will certainly fluctuate a bit as teams fall in and out of contention and the deadline approaches, but a 4th round pick for a mid-range rental gives us a starting point for what it might cost when the Golden Knights are ready to dip their toes into the blue line trade market.
Erik Gustafsson (Chicago)
Gustafsson posted a 60 point season last year while averaging nearly 23 minutes of ice time per night. Also set to become an unrestricted free agent, Gustafsson is currently making just $1.2 million against the cap. He has some defensive shortcomings, but offensively Gustafsson is exactly what the Golden Knights are looking for. He’s a puck-moving blueliner who sees a majority of his starts in the offensive zone and plays on a top power-play unit. Gustafsson is what Scandella was a few years ago with more potential upside and a cheaper cap hit. Projected Price: 2nd Round pick and a prospect
Mike Green (Detroit)
A George McPhee draft pick in 2004, Green used to be one of the NHL’s best offensive-minded defensemen. Father time has caught up to him quite a bit seeing his production dip drastically, but he’s still been around a half-point per game player each of the last four years. This year the numbers are completely in the tank, with Green posting just seven points in 31 games and a 0.2 point share count. Also a pending UFA, Green’s cap hit is enormous at $5.375 million. Projected Price: 6th round pick
Sami Vatanen (New Jersey)
The former Anaheim Duck standout was shipped away in a fairly significant move in 2017 when he was traded for Adam Henrique. His offensive production has rebounded this season as he’s posted 21 points in 36 games with the struggling Devils. Vatanen is a power play QB and has the ability to play big minutes, averaging more than 21 per game for each of the last six seasons. The cap hit of just less than $5 million is steep, but the Devils have retained salary before (Taylor Hall) and they’d likely be willing to do the same again. Projected Price: 2nd Round pick and a prospect
Haydn Fleury (Carolina)
Vegas has been steadfast in their unwillingness to acquire a “rental” on the trade market. Fleury is a 23-year-old former top-10 pick who has never really broken through at the NHL level. He’s put up just 14 points in over 100 games with the Hurricanes but has had offensive success in the AHL. Fleury is an RFA with arbitration rights this summer on a team with an excess of defensemen. Projected Price: 3rd round pick and prospect
These are just a few of the many options that will become available come February 24th. Have a different name you’ve got your eyes on, put it in the comments and we’ll try to project the price on him too.