With the NHL All-Star break in the rearview mirror, the unofficial second half of the season is upon us. That typically means eyes start shifting toward the playoffs or, if your team is less fortunate, the NHL Draft lottery odds. 

But before we can start looking past the conclusion of the regular season, it’s important to consider what may happen around the league’s annual trade deadline. Teams in the hunt can make key additions and improvements to reinforce their case for the Stanley Cup this spring, while those who are essentially waving the white flag on this season can ship players out of town in exchange for picks or prospects that better serve a long-term vision. 

When is the deadline?

This year’s NHL trade deadline cutoff will be be on Monday, Feb. 24th at 3 p.m. ET. All teams looking to trade players will have to file their trade paperwork before the deadline. 

Who might be on the move?

Let’s explore which players and teams might be active around the deadline this season

Trade Deadline Targets

Chris Kreider

New York Rangers LW

Kreider, 28, is in the final year of his current deal ($4.6 million cap hit) with the Rangers, who are rebuilding, and he has expressed interest in signing an extension. But if a deal can’t be reached and New York elects to recoup assets for an expiring asset, they should get a good haul for the winger. He brings a rare combination of speed, size and skill and would be a valuable add for a team looking to contend down the stretch. The Bruins, Avalanche, Penguins and Blues are among the teams reportedly interested in him.

Tyler Toffoli

Los Angeles Kings RW

Toffoli, 27, is a versatile veteran forward who will likely be shipped out of Los Angeles as the Kings try to get younger. He’s on the final year of his current contract with a $4.6 million cap hit. He’s been linked to the Bruins, Flames and Oilers, among others.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Ottawa Senators C

Pageau, 27, is having a breakout year in Ottawa and began the season on a torrid pace. He’s slowed down a bit but still has attracted plenty of attention from teams around the league, who could be interested in his services as a depth center and special teams contributor for a playoff run. He’s making $3.1 on the cap this year in the final season of his current deal.

Alexandar Georgiev

New York Rangers G

The 23-year-old Georgiev has proven himself to be a valuable commodity this season. The young goaltender has done well backing up Henrik Lundqvist but could be dealt as a result of the Rangers’ roster situation. Igor Shesterkin has made the jump to the NHL and is the heir apparent to Lundqvist, so that means Georgiev has become expendable. He can serve as both short-term and long-term insurance in net, and the Maple Leafs and Avalanche are among the teams who have inquired. He’s in the final year of his entry-level contract and will become a restricted free agent this summer.

Alec Martinez

Los Angeles Kings D

Martinez, 31, is a veteran defenseman who brings skill and intangibles on the blue line. The Kings may elect to deal him in order to stockpile pieces for their rebuild, but he’s not a rental. Martinez is signed through 2021 with a cap hit of $4 million. He’s been linked to the Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets.

Kyle Palmieri

New Jersey Devils RW

Palmieri has a year remaining on his contract ($4.65M cap hit) beyond this season but he’s a vet who could also be shipped out of New Jersey for the right offer. The 28-year-old has scored 20-30 goals in each of the past four seasons and is on his way to making it five. He would be a nice pickup for a team looking to add offense, and there are plenty of potential suitors in that department.

Sami Vatanen

New Jersey Devils D

Vatanen, 28, is a strong candidate to follow Taylor Hall on his way out of New Jersey this season. The Devils are sellers and Vatanen — a dependable, veteran presence on the blue line — has an expiring contract with a $4.9 million cap hit. New Jersey could look to extend him, but he’d be a strong add for a team interested in adding to their defensive corps. He’s been most closely linked to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Brenden Dillon

San Jose Sharks D

Dillon, 29, is on the final year of his deal ($3.27M cap hit) and is likely to be traded by a Sharks team in the midst of a disastrous season. The veteran defenseman has very limited offensive upside but is a big body (6-foot-4, 225 lbs.) who would provide extra depth to a contending team’s blue line. The Bruins, Maple Leafs, Jets and Hurricanes are among a reported half-dozen teams interested in him.

Ilya Kovalchuk

Montreal Canadiens LW

Kovalchuk, 36, was up for grabs earlier this season after being released by the Los Angeles Kings. There was minimal interest thanks to lack of production and concerns about his commitment, but he was eventually signed to a one-year, league minimum deal with the Canadiens and has thrived in Montreal. With the Habs falling out of contention, they could flip the veteran winger for a pick or prospect.

Alex Galchenyuk

Pittsburgh Penguins LW

UPDATE: Traded to Wild — Galchenyuk, 25, has become a bit of a journeyman recently and is currently playing for his third team in three years. He’s on the block again as a result of being squeezed out of a Penguins lineup that continues to get healthier. He was once seen as a promising young forward but hasn’t been able to fully put it together and his struggles playing alongside Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin aren’t a great sign. Still, someone could be interested in buying low on Galchenyuk, who carries a $4.9 million cap hit in the final year of his current deal.

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