NHL Rumors: Central Division buyers and sellers

The NHL Trade Deadline is on March 3 and the picture on who will likely be buyers or sellers is starting to take shape. We attempt to clarify this over the next several installments of NHL Rumors.

Yesterday we reviewed the Atlantic Division, today we check out the Central.

NHL Rumors: Central Division’s Buyers

Winnipeg Jets: 29-14-1, 59 points (1st place)

Trade Targets: Max Domi, Ivan Barbashev, Dmitry Kulikov, Olli Maatta
Trade Chips:
2023 first-round pick, prospects

Buzz: The Jets have been a pleasant surprise this season as they currently lead the Central Division. They’ve done it with stellar goaltending, and sheer will thanks to a number of injuries. Like many teams, they’ll look for depth on the blue-line and bottom six.

Dallas Stars: 25-12-7, 55 points (2nd place)

Trade Targets: Vladimir Tarasenko, James van Riemsdyk, Max Domi
Trade Chips:

Buzz: The Stars will want to add more scoring to their lineup for the playoffs but really won’t be in a good position to do so. After trading a first-round pick to the Rangers for Nils Lundqvist to set up their defense longterm, they will likely miss out on the big names at the deadline. They could make a successful play for the Blackhawks Max Domi.

Minnesota Wild: 24-14-4, 52 points (3rd place)

Trade Targets: Ryan O’Reilly, Jonathan Toews, Bo Horvat
Trade Chips:
2023 first-round pick, prospects

Buzz: The Wild need a center if they hope to make any noise in the postseason. Joel Ericksson Ek is good, but they really need more than Sam Steel down the middle. GM Bill Guerin may make a play for a rental like Jonathan Toews or he could think bigger and longer term by going after Bo Horvat. If he goes that route, Matt Dumba’s time in Minnesota is likely done due to the salary cap.

Colorado Avalanche: 21-17-3, 44 points (4th place)

Trade Targets: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly
Trade Chips:
2023 first-round pick, prospects

Buzz: The defending Stanley Cup champs are currently out of a playoff spot, but we still have them as buyers. As the team starts to get healthy again, more wins should follow. They’ve been linked to the biggest name out there in Patrick Kane. However, after losing Nazem Kadri via free agency a center makes more sense. Both Ryan O’Reilly or Jonathan Toews would be a fit.

NHL Rumors: Central Division’s Undecided

nhl recaps blues
Nov 14, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) celebrates defeating the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Blues: 21-20-3, 45 points (5th place)

Trade Targets: Bottom six forwards
Trade Chips:
Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, Ivan Barbashev, Niko Mikkola

Buzz: At this time I have the Blues looking more like sellers. Even if they are in a playoff spot, I could see Vladimir Tarasenko moved since he wants to test the UFA market. To a lesser extend I can see the same with Ryan O’Reilly.

Nashville Predators: 19-17-6, 44 points (6th place)

Trade Targets: None
Trade Chips:
Matt Duchene, Nino Niederreiter, Mattias Ekholm

Buzz: This is a team at a crossroads. I’m not sure if GM David Poile is ready to rebuild as he seems to have avoided it up until now. If he does, he has some assets he could move, but who would be willing to give up the assets for big contracts with term?

NHL Rumors: Central Division’s Sellers

Arizona Coyotes: 13-25-5, 31 points (7th place)

Trade Targets: Draft picks and prospects
Trade Chips: Jakob Chychrun, Shayne Gostisbehere, Karel Vejmelka

Buzz: The forever building Coyotes may really be open to trading everyone. At the end of the day, it seems like they are perpetually looking for cheap assets. Is there even a game plan in the Arizona? Maybe things will become clearer once the new arena is built.

Chicago Blackhawks: 11-26-4, 26 points (8th place)

Trade Targets: Draft picks and prospects
Trade Chips:
Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Max Domi, Andreas Athanasiou, Jake McCabe

Buzz: It’s all about the lottery balls and winning the Connor Bedard sweepstakes for the Hawks this season. Expect them to be the busiest team at the trade deadline.