But some tried-and-true assets will move at the deadline no matter what, like players with expiring contracts, players in need of a change in scenery and Thomas Vanek. (More on him in a bit.)
Here are 35 players to watch at the trade deadline. We've grouped them by rentals and players with term, with pending restricted free agents grouped in the latter category. All salary and contract information comes from our friends at Cap Friendly, unless otherwise noted.
Read through the entire list, or skip ahead to a certain category by clicking the following links:
- Wingers to rent | Wingers with term
- Centers to rent | Centers with term
- Defensemen to rent | Defensemen with term
- Goalies | Wild cards
19 G | 17 A | 36 Pts | 47 games
$1.8 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
Hey, are you interested in a pending free agent Ottawa Senators forward who is going to cost you significantly less than Matt Duchene and Mark Stone? Then you're probably feeling a Dzingel run down your leg for an exciting 26-year-old who is having a career year (in a contract year). That cap hit means every team looking for offense on the wing -- from the Bruins to the Islanders to the Sharks to the Avalanche -- will be in the market here. Dzingel is your prototypical "guy who seems like he won't cost much in a trade who someone ends up overpaying for because several teams coveted him" type of deadline player.
13 G | 12 A | 25 Pts | 40 games
$1.75 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
Ferland was likely gone well before the Hurricanes added Nino Niederreiter at $5.25 million annually through 2022, but that deal probably cemented it. Ferland is a physical winger with offensive pop, and he is a pain in the kiester to play against. With that upside and that cap hit, it's hard to imagine the Canes won't pull a low first-rounder out of a thirsty contender for him.
7 G | 9 A | 16 Pts | 36 games
$4,583,333 AAV, UFA this summer, five-team no-trade list
Though there's always a chance the Devils go on another two-month tear to make the playoffs, that's hard to envision given the trajectory of this group. They have several assets they can move -- from veteran forward Brian Boyle and defenseman Ben Lovejoy to potentially goalie Keith Kinkaid -- but Johansson might have the most value despite two years of injury issues and a drop in production. He can still be a fine offensive complement on a line with better players, and he could be had for a third-round pick and/or a prospect.
4 G | 9 A | 13 Pts | 40 games
$1.75 million AAV, UFA after this season, eight-team no-trade list
According to Cap Friendly, Maroon's no-trade clause goes from a full one to a partial eight-team one on Feb. 1, which makes him seem like either a man who knows he is portable, or a man who wants to be. Maroon has been playing with Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. Is that to keep him around, as the Blues reportedly consider themselves buyers, or is this a pump-and-dump thing?
11 G | 31 A | 42 Pts | 50 games
$4.750 million AAV, UFA after this season, full no-trade
Oh, the irony in Nyquist having an outstanding season in a contract year, considering that's how he landed the no-trade clause that'll potentially keep GM Ken Holland from moving him at the deadline. But if he opts out, there are going to be a great number of teams looking to add his offense to their top six. The Oilers have been mentioned with frequency, and with their first-round pick reportedly in play, they could ante up.
12 G | 7 A | 19 Pts | 42 games
$3.75 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
A tough one to figure out. On the one hand, the Ducks like him and he's the kind of offensive player who should bolster their attack in their desperate pursuit of a wild-card spot. On the other, he's a 28-year-old pending UFA and might he seeking a deal a shade too rich for the Anaheim cap. (Thanks, unmovable veteran contracts!) He should be coveted as a rental if available, given his versatility and solid playoff numbers (39 points in his last 44 postseason games).
15 G | 8 A | 23 Pts | 48 games
$3.975 million, UFA this summer, 12-team no-trade list
The term "last piece of the puzzle" gets tossed around a lot at this time of the season, but Simmonds would certainly complete the picture for a lot of teams. He has a net-front presence offensively. His 67 penalty minutes are indicative of his toughness. He can play top-six minutes. And he's a left wing, which everyone seems to be chasing at the deadline. The Bruins seem like a natural fit here, and they're worth mentioning when it comes to cost: Would Simmonds fetch the kind of bounty that Rick Nash did from the Bruins last season -- a first, a roster player and a prospect (along with a seventh and what was left of Matt Beleskey)?
22 G | 28 A | 50 Pts | 49 games
$7.35 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the Senators have talked to Stone about a deal between $8.5 and 9.5 million AAV for eight seasons. If he opts not to return, he rockets up the board for available wingers. Stone should be mentioned in the same Selke Trophy-contender breath as two-way stars like Patrice Bergeron and Anze Kopitar -- he's that good, except he does it on the wing. He'd easily fetch a first-round pick and a blue-chipper in return. Unlike with Matt Duchene, I think whoever snags Stone does so with an eye toward retaining him, rather than renting him.
10 G | 13 A | 23 Pts | 42 games
$3 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-trade clause
Seeing Vanek available at the trade deadline is like seeing those McDonald's arches on the road during a long drive: Familiar, comfortable, but maybe not the thing you really need. Sure, he was effective in 19 games for the Blue Jackets after last trade deadline, with 15 points ... until he had just two in six playoff games, both coming in Game 1 against the Capitals. You know what you get: Some streaky even-strength offense and a defensive liability. Complicating matters: As we noted in our team-by-team deadline primer, Ken Holland gave Thomas Vanek -- a player who exists to be traded at this point in his career -- a no-trade clause.
8 G | 16 A | 24 Pts | 35 games
$4.5 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
Zuccarello's down year offensively can be easily chalked up to the uncertainty of this season, his last as a Ranger. But few wingers available at the deadline have his knack for creating offense on their own. He's a veteran asset who could bolster a contender, and this middling season probably means he could be had for a second-rounder and a prospect.
5 G | 6 A | 11 Pts | 42 games
$3 million AAV, RFA this simmer, no trade protection
The talented, 23-year-old Austrian winger's numbers are way off from his career averages as he enters arbitration-eligible restricted free agency this summer. He's a top-nine forward for the Capitals, and I assume they'd like one back in any possible deal.
4 G | 5 A | 9 Pts | 38 games
$925,000 AAV, RFA this summer, no trade protection
Trading away a 20-year-old winger is specious at best. But all indications are that Puljujarvi is in play, for a similar young forward in need of a change. His recent audition on Connor McDavid's line is intriguing on several levels: Is it a pump-and-dump to ramp up his trade value, or are they really trying to track the progress of a talented, but stunted, player?
8 G | 6 A | 14 Pts | 39 games
$3 million AAV, UFA this summer, eight-team no-trade list
Not a question of "if" but of "when." Brassard has been a major disappointment for the Penguins since they acquired him from the Senators; they've tried him everywhere in the lineup to no avail. There's chatter that both the Dallas Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets, the latter of whom drafted him No. 6 overall in 2006, are interested.
20 G | 26 A | 46 Pts | 40 games
$6 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
A game-changer for someone. If he remains with Ottawa, he'll likely sign an eight-year contract worth between $8-9 million annually. He would provide a contender with a dynamic offensive center, but he would certainly cost a first-rounder and a significant prospect. The wind is blowing toward Duchene remaining with the Senators, but all bets are off until pen hits contract. One thing to consider: Duchene has played in eight playoff games in his 10-year NHL career.
10 G | 23 A | 33 Pts | 39 games
$5.175 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
To the surprise of no one, Hayes is having his best season on average in the NHL right before it's time for that big extension. The 6-foot-5 center has been good for the Rangers, but their future up the gut lies with Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil, rather than with Hayes. Getting a young pivot like this at the deadline is increasingly rare. Whoever acquires Hayes will part with a first-rounder and potentially an NHL-ready piece. On a good, deep team (like Boston), he would be a perfect third-line center rental. But we have a feeling teams are going to be after him to then keep him around for a few years. The Rangers have scouted the Avalanche to the point thatlocal media thinks there's a fit.
5 G | 7 A | 12 Pts | 32 games
$4.1 million AAV, UFA in 2021, no trade protection
The 26-year-old is like the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story" in that he's large (6-foot-6) and tantalizing and FRA-GEE-LAY, appearing in 32 games this season (of a possible 48) after finally hitting 82 for the first time in 2017-18. He can play center or wing, and a change in scenery could do both he and the Panthers good. He could potentially hit 50 points with friendlier zone starts and when healthy, but that's the caveat: when healthy.
10G | 11A | 25 Pts | 49 games
$5,272,727 AAV, UFA in 2022, no trade protection
Carter has plenty left in the tank and is two years removed from a 32-goal season. His contract has "three seasons and a buyout" written all over it. But it's well-known around the league that Carter wants some say over his next destination. If that sounds like something petulant, please ask a Blue Jackets fan what an unmotivated and rainy-faced Jeff Carter does for your team. Or don't. Even as the Kings look to hold a fire sale, Carter should fetch a first-rounder and a good prospect as a starting point.
9 G | 17 A | 26 Pts | 44 games
$5.125 million, UFA in 2020, no trade protection
The Blues are too close to the wild cardto call it a lost season, but at some point, GM Doug Armstrong is going to have to make the same call he made last year when he shipped out Paul Stastny at the deadline: Buyers or sellers? Schenn is a player with value beyond this season, as he's signed through 2020. Stastny fetched a first, a fourth and a prospect. What can Schenn bring back if Armstrong decides to sell again? The Bruins will be kicking the tires; but watch out for the Golden Knights and assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon, who has ties with Schenn back to the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings.
2 G | 8 A | 10 Pts | 44 games
$5.4 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-trade clause
Earlier this season, it looked like J-Bouw was done. His return from hip surgery was disastrous. He looked like a defensive liability and was getting scratched for the first time in his career. But as the deadline approaches, he's getting back into form, having played six straight games with over 20 minutes in ice time. Assuming he waives his no-trade clause to head to a contender, Bouwmeester is a veteran hand who could bolster someone's bottom pairing. Could there be some salary retention from the Blues if it meant a better return?
2 G | 9 A | 11 Pts | 49 games
$812,500, UFA this summer and no trade protection
Remember in 2017, when Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith was suddenly a deadline darling, leading many to exclaim, "Who?" Jensen is that guy this year, as he hits every trade board after 180 career games of relative anonymity in Detroit. He's had a terrific season after seeing his ice time increase to 20:45, with a plus-2.18 in expected goals. He's 28, he's right-handed and he's one of the most affordable options in terms of cost and cap that you'll find at the deadline. If he's available, that is. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press doesn't see it.
2 G | 4 A | 6 Pts | 31 games
$3,166,666 AAV, UFA in 2020, no-trade clause
Daley, 35, is the quintessential depth defenseman for a contender. He can play different roles. He can play 20 minutes per night. He has two rings. Problem No. 1: He's been injured with a lower-body ailment, although he's due back next month. Problem No. 2: Another Ken Holland no-trade clause, which means Daley can choose to stay or where to go.
6 G | 10 A | 16 Pts | 48 games
$5.75 million AAV, UFA in 2021, no trade protection
Coach Rod Brind'Amour told me it's on him to "figure out how to get more out" of the 25-year-old defenseman. With due respect to Rod the Bod, that might be a job that falls to Hamilton's next coach on his next team. A right-handed defenseman with that kind of offense (and no trade protection) is a tantalizing asset to dangle for a team that's loaded on defense but needs to add scoring to its top six.
4 G | 17 A | 21 Pts | 50 games
$4 million AAV, UFA in 2021 and no trade protection
Martinez is older (31) and not as good as the Kings' other defensemen potentially up for sale, but he's also signed through 2021 and would cost less in a trade -- he's not going to fetch a first-rounder.
4 G | 17 A | 21 Pts | 50 games
$4 million AAV, UFA in 2020 and no trade protection
If the Kings are having a garage sale, Muzzin is like a 4K television they're hoping nets them something around face value. Simply put, the 29-year-old is one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL this season, and he could be a 22-minutes-per-night, first-pairing guy on the right team. He has term and a tremendously good cap hit. He'd net a first-rounder and more, because if he's available, there's going to be a market for him.
3 G | 8 A | 11 Pts | 39 games
$4.025 million AAV, UFA in 2024, no trade protection
As with Hamilton, the Hurricanes are going to have to eventually deal from their position of strength. Though he's overshadowed by Jaccob Slavin as a defensive defenseman on the Canes, Pesce has a lot of fans in NHL front offices, in particular because of his contract. Carolina would likely not want to move him, but if the right young forward becomes available, things could change.
0 G | 6 A | 6 Pts | 37 games
$2,733,333 AAV, UFA in 2020 and no trade protection
Not just a tremendous Scrabble score, Pysyk can get you around 18 minutes per night as a steady depth defenseman. Once a possession monster, many of his metrics are on the negative side, including expected goals (minus-0.41). But that's a great cap number for a defenseman with another year to go on his deal. And the Panthers need to keep shuffling this deck.
19-14-1 | .904 SV% | 2.91 GAA
$7.425 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-move clause
He told the Jackets months ago that he would waive his NMC for the right deal. But the problem with a Bobrovsky-deadline deal is one of potential suitors: Which teams have enough of a need in goal to ante up what it would take to land Bob, when they could just sign him in the summer? And if the answer is "a contender looking to solidify their crease" ... well, he hasn't exactly been a playoff standout. A confounding situation, but our money is on GM Jarmo Kekalainen getting something before losing Bobrovsky for nothing in the summer.
14-13-5 | .916 SV% | 2.76 GAA
$5,291,666 AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
That's All-Star Jimmy Howard to you, buster. He's had an incredible season on a bad team, and there's no question that some contenders would love to add him as goaltending insurance for the right price. But the bottom line for us is that Howard probably returns as Red Wings goalie next season, even if he is moved at the deadline. They love him ... and they don't really have much in the way of other quality options in the organization.
9-13-2 | .894 SV% | 3.27 GAA
$4,166,667, UFA this summer, 10-team no-trade clause
After the Oilers inked Mikko Koskinen to a three-year extension, that was that for Talbot. They've tried to move him, but he's wielded his no-trade clause already, according to The Fourth Period. Again, there aren't many contenders that need help in goal. There are even fewer that need Talbot, given the season he's had.
3 G | 14 A | 17 points | 48 games
$4,833,333 AAV, UFA in 2020, has a 15-team no-trade list
Again, the Hurricanes are going to have to give to get at some point. Faulk has another year on his deal at a friendly hit, he's right-handed and he's 26 years old. He also has trade protection, unlike everyone else on the Carolina blue line, and it's entirely possible that's been a factor in him not being dealt previously. It's also entirely possible the Hurricanes like to have a veteran presence like Faulk on a young roster and aren't looking to move him unless (1) the deal overwhelms them, and (2) the team is not on his no-trade list.
19 G | 34 A | 53 Pts | 46 games
$6 million AAV, UFA this summer, no trade protection
Simply put: If the Jackets trade Sergei Bobrovsky, their other pending UFA, they have 24-year-old Joonas Korpisalo ready to take over. If the Jackets trade Panarin, there is not another Panarin on this roster. It would go beyond an admission that he's not re-signing: It would be a resignation that this team doesn't plan to compete in the postseason, because they won't without him. So here's saying they hang onto him and pray they convince him to stay. But if the writing on the wall is a billboard saying "I'm Gone," expect a contender to step up large -- a first-rounder, a blue-chipper and more -- for the right to rent this 27-year-old star.
9-12-3 | .904 SV% | 2.97 GAA
$5.8 million AAV, UFA in 2023, no trade protection
Conventional wisdom is that this is a trade the Kings would pursue in the summer, and that trade partners might wait until then to make this kind of commitment to a goalie with term. But one thing to consider: Two Stanley Cups, a .922 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average. Those are Quick's playoff numbers, and no goalie available at the deadline comes to close to matching that résumé. But what on earth would the cost be for him?
5 G | 14 A | 19 Pts | 37 games
$6.5 million, UFA in 2020, no-trade clause
This seemed possible for a moment, when the Blues looked like they were in a free fall in the West. But they've stabilized, which means trading their 29-year-old captain seems a lot less likely ... even if it might make sense in the long term. That no-trade clause does, however, complicate things.
30 G | 14 A | 44 Pts | 48 games
$5.725 million AAV, UFA this summer, no-move clause
It's almost inconceivable that Skinner would leave Jack Eichel's wing after this career year, but no one's really sure what the future holds for him. If Skinner tells the Sabres he's done, do they sell sky high or keep him for a wild-card push? If he somehow becomes available, he rockets to the top of the left-wing options for contenders.
15 G | 18 A | 33 Pts | 48 games
$3.5 million AAV, UFA this summer, 10-team no-trade list
Staal is third in points (33) and fourth in average ice time among forwards (17:37) for the Wild. If they're in the hunt for a playoff spot, it's hard to imagine Staal won't be a part of the chase. But if they falter, GM Paul Fenton has no loyalty to the 34-year-old center. Last time Staal moved at the deadline, it was for two second-rounders and a prospect. He'd have value for a contender as a rental.