Top 10 Defenders Available at the NHL Trade Deadline
Top 10 Defenders Available at NHL Trade Deadline
The timeless saying is that defense wins championships. There's nothing more remarkable than the ability to shut down an opponent's top players for an entire series to help the team to the top of the league, and there are several names on the trade market that could do just that. All contending teams in the NHL playoffs could use another defender on their roster to improve the overall depth and quality of their squad. No team is satisfied with what they have when there is room to get better.
There are several names on the trade market that could push teams to sacrifice picks, prospects and promising young players in order to acquire them. Only five teams can truly be considered contenders, but there are some teams in playoff contention that also have players who could be had for a price. Trading from strength to address a weakness is how most trades in today's NHL are based, and some moves just have to be made.
The NHL Trade Deadline is a short two days away on Mar. 5 at 3 p.m. ET. Plenty of movement is still expected over the course of the next 48 hours. Some of the names on this list may surprise you while others won't. Some are players you wouldn't even expect to be mentioned, yet here they are on the block with their respective teams. These are the top 10 NHL defenders available at the trade deadline.
10. Andrew MacDonald
Let's get the obvious over with. Andrew MacDonald has been on the market since he rejected an extension from the New York Islanders. A solid defenseman who has been playing crucial minutes for a bad team, MacDonald would slide in perfectly on a team's second pairing. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and has a cap hit of just $550,000.
9. Alexander Edler
Alex Edler has been one of the surprising disappointments with the Vancouver Canucks and could very well be dealt at the trade deadline. He is a good puck mover with great vision and a knack for creativity, while also being dependable in his own zone. He has the ability to be a top pairing defenseman, but the cost of acquisition might be too high for some clubs.
8. Chris Phillips
The oldest player on this list, Chris Phillips is experienced and poised. He could give a young defense group the boost they need in veteran leadership and guidance as well as play a significant shutdown role. He is a pending free agent, yet with the Ottawa Senators only three points out of a playoff spot, he may not be so easily acquired. That being said, Ottawa does have have eight NHL level defensemen and could cope with trading Phillips.
7. Ron Hainsey
Ron Hainsey was signed by the Carolina Hurricanes to a one-year contract after Joni Pitkanen was lost to injury and has played well to replace some of that production. Hainsey is known best for his size, grit and huge shot, yet he has taken a more defensive approach in recent years. He could supply a boost to a bottom pairing on a top team and provide reliable play while giving the team's top players a breather.
6. Derek Morris
Derek Morris has had a solid NHL career and provides a unique trait not readily available at the NHL level -- a right-handed shot. Morris is a solid all-around player who plays well enough on both offense and defense. He is an unrestricted free agent but has enjoyed his time as a Phoenix Coyote. He is the type of player the Coyotes could trade at the deadline just to re-sign over the summer, which makes him a good asset if the team wants to improve the squad for the future while missing out on him for the last month and a half of hockey.
5. Tyler Myers
The Buffalo Sabres are restructuring their entire roster, as evidenced by the recent Ryan Miller trade. One of the players who could be moved on Mar. 5 is Tyler Myers. Myers has showcased himself well in two games after the Olympic break, scoring twice while also posting two assists. He hasn't replicated his rookie season quite yet, but a change of scenery might help his career.
4. Christian Ehrhoff
Another Sabre who could be dealt on Wednesday is Christian Ehrhoff. He has generated a lot of interest around the league as he plays top pairing minutes and in all situations. What is even more enticing is his cap hit and salary. He is signed through the 2020-21 season with a cap hit of just $4 million, and the bulk of his salary has already been paid up front. He would be a long-term addition instead of a rental, but he could be a good pick up for a team looking to improve now and down the road.
3. Simon Despres
While more of a trade piece than a target, Simon Despres will most likely get dealt at the trade deadline. The Pittsburgh Penguins always make supplemental moves as they are constantly Stanley Cup contenders, and Despres happens to be one of their top prospects. He has been mentioned as a potential name in a move for Ryan Kesler but would also be the centerpiece of the deal if the Penguins go for another high profile target. This could be good for Despres as well, as he has not been able to stick with the Penguins full-time.
2. Dustin Byfuglien
Defenseman? Right wing? What really is Dustin Byfuglien? Whatever he is, he's a good hockey player. No matter where he plays, he is a constant offensive threat. His heavy shot is a weapon at the point on the power play while his size and strength allow him to grind down defenders on offense. He is incredibly versatile and would be a good piece to have despite concerns about his game shape. With the Winnipeg Jets suddenly back in the hunt for a playoff position, Byfuglien might not be dealt, but there will certainly be a lot of people calling the Jets to inquire.
1. Shea Weber
The Philadelphia Flyers just don't give up easily. They offered Shea Weber an offer sheet as a restricted free agent only to have it matched by the Nashville Predators. Ever since the loss of Chris Pronger, the Flyers have been looking for that big name on defense to anchor the team. Philadelphia is always a team to make waves in the trade market, and while it hasn't worked recently, the team isn't afraid to make a big move for a big-name player. Don't expect this rumor to die if Weber isn't dealt at the deadline.