NHL Trade Deadline: Eastern Conference UFA Forwards Who May Move
The 2021-22 NHL season is more than three months old and yet there is still a whole two months till the March 21st trade deadline. There are some unrestricted free agent forwards who may find themselves in different locations by or before then.
These UFA’s are enticing to NHL teams for a variety of reasons. Fit and cap hit are just two of the main ones. Quite a few trades will be just for picks. Some trades should happen but may not for a variety of reasons.
The clock is ticking as time should start to move at a much faster rate even with the ‘Olympic Break’ coming up. After all, 95 games will occur and an All-Star weekend. Anyway, let’s dig in.
Eastern Conference UFA Forward Trade Deadline Targets
Claude Giroux — Philadelphia Flyers ($8.275 million AAV)
Cue the inevitable talk for the trading of the Flyers captain. Giroux has 12 goals and 19 assists in 36 games so far this season. It may be the intangibles that are more important. Giroux can win a ton of face-offs and provide help on the power play. This becomes considerably more interesting because most of the targets so far are in the Western Conference.
The twists are a few. For one, Giroux has a full no-movement clause. He has to approve any deal. The other thing is there has been no dialog from the team to Giroux or vice versa. This is all being fueled, so far, by the rumors market itself. There is an expectation of a deal. It appears again to be out West. However, stay tuned.
There is little doubt that Giroux is one of the prize forwards if he were to be traded from Philadelphia. Most pundits are leaning that way with the Flyers’ season in shambles.
Max Domi — Columbus Blue Jackets ($5.25 million)
Could Max Domi be a name to watch come March 21st? Absolutely. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ forward is going to be a trade target with Columbus out of the playoff picture. Domi is playing a middle-six role at about 13:25 of ice time. The funny thing is he has been productive — 17 points in 26 games.
The dollars may be a bit of an issue but he can play center or wing and can be used on the second power-play unit when need be. Domi has no trade restrictions at all so he can be traded to any team and at any time.
Ryan Strome — New York Rangers ($4.5 million cap hit)
Some pundits thought that Ryan Strome would be signed by now. The forward has nine goals and 21 assists in 36 games. Simply, he produces and is one of the leaders on the Rangers that helps make them go. Despite this and talks of an extension, it seems there has been no real movement toward one.
While a trade within the conference is unlikely, one never does quite know. Strome has no restrictions of any kind so that is not an issue. It just seems odd a vital cog has no had an inkling of an extension yet. It has always been a little weird when it comes to the forward.
Derick Brassard — Philadelphia Flyers ($825,000 AAV)
The Philadelphia Flyers’ forward has been limited to just 19 games this season but does have 11 points. He is on a cheap one-year deal and could be moved to any team at any time.
Though Brassard is 34, he can easily play middle-six minutes on a second or third line as needed. The center can still play a little on the man advantage as well. He should be more than healthy enough before the trade deadline. Some teams will come calling.
Vinnie Hinostroza — Buffalo Sabres ($1.05 million AAV)
Hinostroza has 17 points in 36 games despite some extremely erratic ice time. His average is around 14 minutes a night but in some games he plays on the top lines and in others he barely sees 10 or 11 minutes. He did once score 16 goals and 39 points in 72 games for Arizona three years ago.
Some final thoughts on other Eastern Conference UFA Forwards
This is going to be interesting because all 95 makeup games will take place from February 7 to February 23rd. It will give prospective general managers a chance to look at players and their own situation. The schedule will be spread out just enough that issues will not arise.
One thing to keep an eye on is that the Eastern Conference almost feels set except for seeding. That may limit the market a little bit but one never knows. It is something to keep an eye on when it comes to some of the forwards.
This is just the beginning as Western Conference UFA forwards are coming soon.