With the NHL's 2019-20 schedule entering a new year calendar year, the Feb. 24 trade deadline less than eight weeks away. Speculation will soon grow among fans and pundits over which players could become available in the trade market.
Most teams that are sellers may wait until the deadline nears to shop their available assets in hopes of attracting better returns. Potential buyers, especially those in danger of sliding out of playoff contention, could aggressively pursue that talent throughout January.
Here's a look at several players who could be on the move well before the trade deadline.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
With Taylor Hall no longer available, Kreider may become the most desirable player on the trade market. The rebuilding Rangers could part ways with the 28-year-old left winger, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. The Blueshirts have a tendency to wait until the deadline nears to ship out players, but perhaps they can be enticed to part with Kreider sooner for the right price.
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) December 28, 2019
Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings
If the Rangers hang onto Kreider until deadline day, Toffoli could become a more attractive trade target. The versatile 27-year-old winger is also slated to become a UFA at the season's end and might not fit into the rebuilding Kings' long-term plans.
Los Angeles must restock its prospect pipeline and could use Toffoli as a trade chip to address that need. A recent report linked Toffoli to the Edmonton Oilers.
Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman recently speculated that several clubs could show some interest in the 27-year-old Saad, who is currently sidelined three weeks with an ankle injury. Unlike other players on this list, Saad has one more year remaining on his contract — and an annual salary-cap hit of $6 million.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 11, 2019
If the Blackhawks are willing to absorb part of that cap hit, Saad could fetch them a promising young defenseman.
Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators
The 27-year-old forward has struggled since joining the Predators from the Minnesota Wild at last season's trade deadline. Having reached or exceeded 41 points five times during his seven-season tenure with the Wild, Granlund's managed just 19 points in 48 games in Nashville. The Athletic's Adam Vingan suggested he could make an interesting trade chip for the Predators and, as an unrestricted free agent in July, he could hit the trade block again if the Predators fail to gain ground in the standings.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) December 29, 2019
Alex Galchenyuk, Pittsburgh Penguins
Like Granlund, Galchenyuk is a pending UFA struggling to score with his current club. The 25-year-old toils on Pittsburgh's fourth line and has scored just 13 points in 30 games, well below the 40-plus point pace of his previous five seasons in Montreal and Arizona.
As the injury-ravaged Penguins get healthier, Galchenyuk could become the odd man out on their forward lines.
Zach Bogosian, Buffalo Sabres
The 29-year-old defenseman reportedly requested a trade before the recent holiday roster freeze. Bogosian's injury history and $5.14 million salary-cap hit could make him a tough sell. Given the lack of quality blueliners available on the trade market, perhaps a club seeking defensive depth could take a chance on the veteran right-shot rearguard.
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Most trade chatter involving the Senators is focused on pending UFA center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but there is no certainty he will be shopped by the trade deadline. With Anders Nilsson now considered Ottawa's starter, the team could part ways with the 38-year-old Anderson.
His contract carries a $4.75 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list, but a contender in dire need of goaltending help could consider Anderson a viable option as a backup — especially if the Senators pick up part of his salary.