NHL Rumors: 3 Teams To Watch In 2022

The NHL trade deadline falls on March 21st - a little later in the season than what is typical due to what was supposed to be a 3-week break while players represented their country in the 2022 Winter Olympics.  While unfortunately, that is no longer happening, the deadline stands and teams will have a little extra time to evaluate their rosters heading into a potential Stanley Cup run.  

Here are 3 teams that you can expect to be very active in the trade market between now and March 21st:

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins have been decimated by injuries to top players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Rust, and even when healthy - this team has gotten a lot older and will most likely need to make some moves - and perhaps get some younger legs in their lineup if they hope to contend for a championship this season or next.  While expectations were low heading into the season, could their recent success lead them to be buyers at the deadline looking to add pieces for a deep playoff run, or will they become sellers at the deadline looking ahead to next season where they could have an interesting mix of team veterans and newcomers?  Either way, expect the Penguins to be very active at the trade deadline.

Key players to watch: 

Kris Letang, 1 year remaining - $7.25 million per season

Bryan Rust, 1 year remaining - $3.5 million per season

Calgary Flames

The Flames are currently 3rd in the Pacific Division with an impressive 17-8-6 record in just 31 games played this season (by comparison both divisional opponents the Ducks and Golden Knights have played 36 games).  While the early success is promising, some cracks are beginning to show in the Flames' armor as they seem to lack the offensive depth needed to go on a deep run in an effort to win the Stanley Cup.  Going 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and having a peculiar home record of just 4-3-4, it's clear that this team is good, but not great.  6'6" goalie Jacob Markstrom has been big for the Flames in more ways than one, as his presence in net has helped mask some of the team's deficiencies with his incredible start (2.15 GAA / .926 SV%) but ultimately this team should be looking to add a skilled forward or defenseman - or both - if they plan on being serious cup contenders.

Key players to watch: 

Sean Monohan, 2 years remaining - $6.37 million per season

Nikita Zadorov, 1 year remaining - $3.75 million per season 

Vancouver Canucks

Similar to the aforementioned Penguins, not much was expected of the Canucks coming into the 2021-2022 season, but they have had an alarming amount of success that you would have to think might alter the team's mindset heading into the second half of the season.  Before a mid-season coaching change to Bruce Boudreau, the Canucks were floundering as one of the worst teams in the entire NHL, but they have won 9 of the 10 games Boudreau has coached and they look like a completely different team on the ice.  This unlikely turnaround has Canucks fans excited, but more relevantly, it forces the team to reevaluate their roster and perhaps make the decision to pull the trigger on a big move in an effort to make the playoffs - a highly unfeasible outcome at the beginning of the season.  Look for Vancouver to add a top-pair defenseman if they want to make a serious push to make the playoffs.

Key players to watch:

Tanner Pearson, 3 years remaining - $3.25 million per season

Tyler Myers, 3 years remaining - $6.00 million per season
Phoo Credit: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports