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Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

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A new name resides atop TSN’s Trade Bait board for the first time in 2018.
 
Rick Nash has knocked Buffalo’s Evander Kane out of the top spot, with considerable interest building in the New York Rangers winger. More than 10 teams have reportedly inquired about Nash since the Rangers relayed their rebuilding message to the hockey world last week.
 
Kane fell to No. 6 on the board. Not only has GM Jason Botterill’s asking price remained consistently high for Kane, he has also gone cold. Since debuting at No. 1 in early January, Kane has just two goals and three points in 15 games.
 
Four new names joined the list in Ottawa’s Derick Brassard, Arizona’s Max Domi, Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan and Anaheim’s Antoine Vermette. Four also departed – including James Neal and David Perron, two pending free agents who seem to be part of the Golden Knights’ historic playoff plan - while Senators defenceman Dion Phaneuf was dealt on Tuesday to Los Angeles. Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart seems unlikely to move before the deadline.
 
Brassard debuts at No. 4 after not residing in the Top 40 last week.
 
How does one player make such a drastic jump?
 
The Senators were leaning towards not dealing Brassard. He was at one point considered least likely to be moved among other forwards Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
 
But the Senators perhaps see an opportunity with Brassard being the premier centre available in a thin market down the middle. Before Brassard, the top-ranked centre was versatile Edmonton Oiler Mark Letestu, who now checks in at No. 8 and is likely to be on the move before the Feb. 26 deadline.

Ryan joins the list in Phaneuf’s spot - and there is a parallel there. Like Phaneuf, Ryan’s contract has been perceived as unmovable. Ryan, 30, has four years remaining at $7.25 million. If the Sens are willing to get creative and take another bad contract in return - as they did with Marian Gaborik - the potential exists for Ryan to move.

The situation around Domi is much more fluid. The Coyotes aren’t “actively shopping” Domi, but as many as 20 teams are believed to have reached out to gauge his availability during a down season. Domi, 22, has just four goals this year.
 
Similarly, the Ducks are waffling between buyer and seller. If they decide to sell, Vermette would generate interest as the ninth full-time centre on the list.
 
At No. 24, Detroit’s Petr Mrazek is the top-ranked goalie on the board. The Philadelphia Flyers recently lost starter Brian Elliott for a period of five-to-six weeks after core muscle surgery. Mrazek is an RFA at the end of the season and the Red Wings are not expected to qualify him at $4 million. That is the exact situation under which Philadelphia rescued and resuscitated Steve Mason’s career from Columbus on Deadline Day in 2013.
 
The belief is the Red Wings are looking to move one of either Mrazek or Jimmy Howard before the deadline. Howard, 33, has one more season remaining at $5.3 million. A comparable either-or situation exists up front in Detroit. Gustav Nyquist ranks No. 27 on the list, but the Red Wings are also shopping two-time 20-goal scorer Tomas Tatar. The difference is Tatar is in the first season of a four-year, $21.2 million deal.
 
Pittsburgh defencemen Ian Cole and Minnesota centre Matt Cullen, who both helped the Penguins to two straight Stanley Cups, slid down the list because their recent uptick in play has made them more valuable components during their team’s respective playoff pushes.
 
St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou is one of three prospects on the board – along with Flames netminder Jon Gillies and Jets centre Nic Petan - but Kyrou is largely representative of the Blues’ prospect cupboard. There is an arms race brewing in Central Division, with the Blues, Jets, Predators, Stars and maybe even Wild seeking to add an impact forward. In order to do that, the Blues may well have to part with one of their centre prospects such as Kyrou, Klim Kostin or Tage Thompson. Robert Thomas seems to be the one untouchable there. Teams have also inquired about injured forward Robby Fabbri.
 
Here is TSN Hockey’s latest Top 40 Trade Bait, whose ranking always seeks to blend likelihood of a trade with prominence of the player:

 

The Top 40

 
Trend Player Pos Age Cap Hit GP G PTS Years Clause
Embedded Image 1. Rick Nash, NYR  LW 33 $7.8M 57 17 27 UFA M-NTC
  2. Mike Green, DET RD 32 $6M 55 6 29 UFA NTC
  3. Mike Hoffman, OTT LW 28 $5.19M 55 15 38 2 M-NTC
Embedded Image 4. Derick Brassard, OTT C 30 $5M 53 15 31 1 M-NTC
  5. Patrick Maroon, EDM LW 29 $1.5M 53 14 29 UFA  
Embedded Image 6. Evander Kane, BUF LW 26 $5.25M 57 18 38 UFA  
  7. Michael Grabner, NYR LW 30 $1.65M 56 23 29 UFA  
  8. Mark Letestu, EDM C 32 $1.8M 54 8 18 UFA  
Embedded Image 9. Jack Johnson, CBJ LD 31 $4.35M 57 3 8 UFA  
  10. Max Pacioretty, MTL LW 29 $4.5M 56 16 33 1  
Embedded Image 11. Max Domi, ARI C/LW 22 $1.36M 57 4 25 RFA  
Embedded Image 12. Thomas Vanek, VAN LW 33 $2M 57 16 38 UFA  
  13. Zack Smith, OTT C/LW 29 $3.25M 41 4 14 3 M-NTC
Embedded Image 14. Nick Holden, NYR LD 30 $1.65M 52 3 11 UFA  
  15. Ryan McDonagh, NYR LD 28 $4.7M 49 2 26 1 M-NTC
  16. Tomas Plekanec, MTL C 35 $6M 56 5 20 UFA  
  17. Derek Ryan, CAR C 31 $1.45M 55 11 26 UFA  
  18. Jeff Skinner, CAR LW 25 $5.73M 57 18 35 1 NMC
Embedded Image 19. Alex Galchenyuk, MTL LW 23 $4.9M 56 12 32 2  
  20. J-G Pageau, OTT C 25 $3.1M 51 7 18 4  
  21. Boone Jenner, CBJ C 24 $2.9M 50 5 16 RFA  
  22. Andrew Shaw, MTL C/RW 26 $3.9M 43 10 19 4  
  23. Jordan Kyrou, STL C/RW 19 $894K 0 0 0 3 Slide
  24. Petr Mrazek, DET G 25 $4M 20 2.99 .906 RFA  
  25. Johnny Oduya, OTT LD 36 $2M 46 3 7 UFA M-NTC
Embedded Image 26. Antoine Vermette, ANA C 35 $1.75M 56 8 16 UFA M-NTC
  27. Gustav Nyquist, DET RW 28 $4.75M 55 15 25 1 NTC
  28. Aaron Dell, SJS G 28 $625K 24 2.51 .917 UFA  
  29. Jon Gillies, CGY G 24 $725K 1 5.14 .750 RFA  
  30. Erik Gudbranson, VAN RD 26 $3.5M 39 2 4 UFA  
  31. Ian Cole, PIT LD 28 $2.1M 44 3 12 UFA  
  32. Josh Leivo, TOR LW 24 $613K 12 1 3 1  
  33. Blake Comeau, COL RW 31 $2.4M 53 10 22 UFA  
  34. Ben Hutton, VAN LD 24 $2.8M 50 0 6 1  
  35. Matt Cullen, MIN C 41 $1.7M 54 5 13 UFA  
  36. Nic Petan, WPG C 22 $863K 10 1 1 RFA  
  37. Robin Lehner, BUF G 26 $4M 42 2.90 .910 RFA  
  38. Frank Vatrano, BOS LW 23 $925K 25 2 2 RFA  
  39. Bobby Ryan, OTT RW 30 $7.25M 39 7 20 4 M-NTC
  40. Tyson Barrie, COL RD 26 $5.5M 41 5 31 2