The next two teams on our list might consider trading for Gustav Nyquist as an upgrade to their lineups at the expense of another player. Both would need to move out salary to make any deadline deal like this work, but the Jackets could find themselves in good fortune if either of them decide to make a move.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are starving for some playoff success – we all know how long it’s been since they’ve been past the first round. They seem destined for yet another brutal first round playoff matchup, against the Tampa Bay Lightning again.
They’re more likely to make moves on the back end to tighten up their defense, but is it possible that the Leafs could be looking to add a depth two-way forward to the mix? Nyquist would be an excellent add to their third line – or maybe even their top six – it just might cost them too much to make it worthwhile.
In this scenario, the Jackets and Leafs swap middle-six players, with the Jackets giving the Leafs cap space and a player who can help them more offensively. The Jackets then get a third round pick in return, and also get a test drive on Kerfoot, who is a viable third line center in this league. Would this make trading Jack Roslovic for other futures a possibility?
The Oilers have arguably the two best players in hockey on their team. They should be looking to win a Cup, or multiple Cups, beginning as soon as this year. Unfortunately, they’re in a dog fight just to make the playoffs. Currently, they hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, but the defending Cup champion Avalanche are right on their heels, just four points behind … but with four games at hand to make up the difference.
The Oilers need to do something to get this team into the playoffs. If they can make it in, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the ice, anything is possible. The problem for the Oilers: with Evander Kane on IR, they’re struggling big time with secondary scoring. McDavid is running away with the scoring title, and they’re getting production from Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman.
After those 4 though? Their next leading scorer at forward is Klim Kostin, who has 13 points. Nyquist would be a terrific fit alongside any of their three stars down the middle; but they are in big-time cap trouble as it stands. So a hockey trade would have to happen here, to make space for Gus.
The Oilers and Puljujarvi have had a rocky relationship from the start. Things just haven’t worked out. After passing on him to select Pierre-Luc Dubois at the 2016 draft, does Jarmo Kekalainen see the value in giving him a change of scenery here? If things don’t work out, you can always cut ties with him in the offseason. But if his chemistry with Laine were to carry over, this could be a nice acquisition to make that could help the team immediately, and into the future.