Skip to main content


Countdown to TradeCentre: Will the surging Capitals sell?


The NHL's March 8 Trade Deadline is approaching, and teams are making decisions on whether to buy or sell, and on which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out today's trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.


Capital Gains

The Washington Capitals currently sit outside the playoff picture, but TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports management wants to see the team play out the next stretch before deciding if they'll be a deadline seller.

After picking up a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay - their third straight victory - on Thursday, the Capitals are five points back of the Lightning for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with three games in hand. 

"In some ways the Caps have kind of surprised to still be in the race," LeBrun explained on Insider Trading. "They started last year moving some parts and they’re in transition, not allowed to use the word rebuild of course with Alex Ovechkin there.

"But, if they get closer to March 8 and they’re not close enough in the race, they will start listening on guys like Anthony Mantha, Max Pacioretty and Joel Edmundson. All three are pending unrestricted free agents and those are the key guys that they could trade.

"Edmundson already is at half price from the Montreal trade last year. If they cut his salary in half again, that’s a $900,000 cap hit only for Edmundson, a Stanley Cup winner. That could be of interest."

The 30-year-old Edmundson is currently the highest-ranked Capital on the TSN Trade Bait board, checking in at No. 21. He has one goal and five points in 39 games this season with Washington. He is a veteran of 75 career playoff games, having won the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 and reached the Cup Final in 2021 with the Canadiens. 

Mantha, 29, is listed at No. 30 on the Trade Bait board and has 18 goals and 29 points in 51 games this season. The former Detroit Red Wings winger carries a cap hit of $5.7 million on his expiring deal. 

Pacioretty, 35, has one goal and 10 points in 20 games this season after being limited to 44 games over the past two years after two Achilles tears. A veteran of 875 career games, he carries a cap hit of $2 million with the Capitals also facing a cap charge of $2 million next year after he appeared in his 20th game Thursday to trigger his final performance bonus. 

Nic Dowd, listed at No. 23 on the Trade Bait board, is day-to-day this week with an upper-body injury. Signed at $1.3 million through next season, Dowd has eight goals and 16 points in 45 games. 

The Capitals missed the playoffs last season for just the second time since 2007, but have failed to win a playoff round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018.

Blues listening on Buchnevich

Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic reports the St. Louis Blues are not shopping winger Pavel Buchnevich, but they are listening to see if they will be wowed by an offer before March 8.

The 28-year-old remains signed through next season at a cap hit of $5.8 million and his enjoying another strong campaign with 22 goals and 46 points in 54 games. Now a five-time 20-goal scorer, he hit 30 goals in 2021-22 and could challenge that mark again this year.

Rutherford reports the Blues are trying to retool - not rebuild - and dealing Buchnevich would be a clear sign of giving up on this season, making it an unlikely move for general manager Doug Armstrong. However, with Buchnevich eligible for an extension on July 1, the Blues could potentially get a maximum return now for two playoff runs if the forward does not have a future in St. Louis. 

After picking up a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Blues continue to hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, owning a tiebreaker and a game-in-hand on the Nashville Predators

The Blues were sellers at the deadline last year, trading then-captain Ryan O'Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs as their four-year playoff streak came to an end.


Cap Watch

The Vegas Golden Knights could suddenly have an additional $9.5 million in cap space to use at the deadline if captain Mark Stone is sidelined until the playoffs.

Stone, 31, was ruled week-to-week with an upper-body injury on Thursday, raising questions as to whether Vegas will once again wind up well over the cap in the postseason. 

"One of (GM) Kelly McCrimmon’s strengths is his ability to juggle through adversity," TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said on Insider Trading. "And it’s unfortunately become all too common for Mark Stone to miss big chunks of the second half, which appears to be the case. So, they’re going to have to make that medical determination March 8 or around the trade deadline.

"But know this; any cap space will be utilized by the Golden Knights. But we should make it clear, I remember having a conversation with McCrimmon at the GM meetings last year and he talked about Mark Stone being the heart and soul. This leaves an enormous hole. But they’ll do everything they can to backfill on the trade front."

The Lightning are also no stranger to taking advantage of long-term injured reserve at the deadline and find themselves with $6.775 million in space, per CapFriendly, with Mikhail Sergachev ($8.5 million AAV) on LTIR. On the flip side, the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings are also dealing with key injuries, but aren't expected to gain cap flexibility before the playoffs.

"This is a useful reminder for those watching that if your player is gone until the playoffs, then he doesn’t count against the cap after that in the sense that you can replace him on the cap at the trade deadline," TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun added. "And so that is a massive conversation that happens in a lot of front offices at this time of year, especially two weeks out from the deadline. For example, the Tampa Bay Lightning now have more clarity on Mikhail Sergachev and as expected, they can use his $8.5 million cap hit because they don’t expect him back until the playoffs. And we know it’s the same with New Jersey and Dougie Hamilton. He’s not expected back until the playoffs, and that’s $9.5 million on the cap that the Devils can use.

"But it also goes the other way. Boston doesn’t have Hampus Lindholm right now, he’s week-to-week, but I’m told that is not 'long-ish' term, so that he will be back before the end of the regular season. Viktor Arvidsson, who is back on injured reserve, is not expected to be out that long, so the Kings can’t use his cap hit. So, it cuts both ways.

"And certainly at this time of year, it’s one of the most important conversations that are happening around front offices every night as players go down. How long is a player out, and how does it affect the deadline?"