The deadline for transactions in the National Hockey League has been set for April 12. However, it is already possible to highlight a few clubs which will logically side with the sellers. The four teams currently at the bottom of their section are likely to be included: the Anaheim Ducks, the Buffalo Sabers, the Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators.
To find a few potential targets in these teams, the QMI Agency has listed various players whose impact on payroll is less than $ 4 million. Other criteria retained: have a minimum of 40 games of playoff experience and be a potential free agent without compensation at the end of the current campaign or after the 2021-2022 season.
With an average annual salary of $ 3.25m, veteran Eric Staal looks like an interesting take, especially as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. If the Buffalo Sabers decide to trade him, however, it should be noted that Staal has a partial no-move clause allowing him to deny a transaction to a destination on an undesirable team list. Based on his experience, the 36-year-old veteran won the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Since hockey’s return in January, Bobby Ryan has shown he still has gas in the tank, having amassed 11 points in 21 games with the Red Wings. The forward is among the best deals in the NHL, with his one-year contract for $ 1 million. Speaking of his playoff past, Ryan had been particularly impressive with 15 points in 19 games with the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 playoffs.
Russian forward Vladislav Namestnikov wore the colors of three different teams during the 2019-2020 season, including making the playoffs with the Colorado Avalanche. In 12 playoff games, he has scored four goals. No doubt Namestnikov could leave Detroit to help a new formation. The 28-year-old striker earns $ 2 million per season and his contract is valid until the end of the 2021-2022 campaign.
Forward Chris Tierney still has an agreement valid until the end of the 2021-2022 season with the Senators and with a $ 3.5 million impact on payroll, not all teams could. add to their training. That being said, the Senators could find a way to trade him to continue rebuilding the club.
Finland’s Valtteri Filppula is no longer who he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Detroit Red Wings, during his first stint in Michigan at the start of his career. That said, the striker can make his contribution to a team that claims top honors. At 36, Filppula has 166 games of playoff experience. He was part of the Red Wings roster when they won the Stanley Cup in 2008. He made it to the final a second time, with the Lightning, but without being able to lift the precious trophy. Filppula, who earns a salary of $ 3M this season, has a partial no-move clause.
Able to play in the center, Cody Eakin has an impact of $ 2.25 million on the Sabers’ payroll. His agreement is also valid until the end of the 2021-2022 season. Eakin has slowed down a lot after scoring 22 goals for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018-19. Another change of tune could benefit him as he has 50 games of playoff experience, including 27 in the Golden Knights uniform.
Sweden’s Rickard Rakell is talented and is currently playing his best years. The Ducks could send him to other skies if they get a good return to build for the future. That’s a calculated risk, as Rakell has a contract that ends at the end of the 2021-2022 season. One thing is certain, he is an enticing player, who notably had campaigns of 33 and 34 goals, in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively.
At 40, goaltender Ryan Miller’s career is coming to an end. Could he leave the Ducks to add depth to another team in net? Maybe, but probably as a third goalie … Miller has never won a Stanley Cup, but he has had the experience of the playoffs with Buffalo, St. Louis, Vancouver and Anaheim. Currently running out of a one-year contract for $ 1 million, the goalkeeper is at high risk of announcing his retirement at the end of the campaign.
Veteran Darren Helm, 34, has been in Detroit since the start of his career. He also lifted the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in his first season, in 2008. If he wants to add another conquest, it goes without saying that the forward will most likely have to leave Detroit. The Manitoban, however, earns a relatively high average salary ($ 3.85 million) for his slim offensive production. Interesting fact: he could become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Also to be considered:
As evidenced by the previous list, there are not many interesting defenders on the market. Colin Miller only has 30 games of playoff experience. He nevertheless remains a candidate to be considered. Miller’s average annual salary, however, is $ 3.875 million. The Buffalo Sabers may want to keep his services, he who is still under contract for next season.
Quebec goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who plays with the Detroit Red Wings, did not have the opportunity to make the playoffs often. He has nine games there, one with the Los Angeles Kings, four with the Anaheim Ducks and four more with the Colorado Avalanche. Still, he could be an option for a team looking for depth in net. At 32, the goalkeeper from Laval is in the last year of a contract earning him an average of $ 3 million per season.