NHL Trade Deadline 2021: Blockbuster Deals We’d Love To See

Could you see any of these actually happening?


Trade deadline season always results in crazy stuff happening, so we at NESN figured: Why not get a little nuts ourselves?

We assembled our finest team of hockey aficionados to offer hypothetical trade scenarios that are somewhat feasible and definitely blockbusters. Some came back with full trade packages, while other suggestions were simpler, focusing only on the main player involved.

Read on below as we tie ourselves into pretzels trying to rationalize some of these deals.

Logan Mullen: Anze Kopitar and 2021 second-round pick to New York Rangers for Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko, Tony DeAngelo, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 first-round pick and 2022 second-round pick

I will concede this is a ridiculous trade in many respects, not the least of which is the fact that the Rangers aren’t bona fide contenders right now.

But Kopitar is in the middle of a simply elite season, and the Los Angeles Kings could get a massive haul for him. In this situation, they would get a proven NHL-caliber center in Strome, a recent high pick in Kakko, who can play center or wing, plus two first-round picks. LA would take on the DeAngelo contract, likely with the intent of just buying him out.

The Kings could hold on to DeAngelo if they’re willing to deal with the PR firestorm, but no matter what, they shed all of the Kopitar cap hit without needing to retain any money.

The Rangers have to part with a lot, but they get one of the game’s premier centers, who they can then have playmaking for Artemi Panarin. Having Mika Zibanejad, Kopitar and Filip Chytil up the middle is a murderers’ row that most teams in the NHL would envy.

And after running this deal through the very fun CapFriendly trade machine, the deal checks all the central registry trade checklist boxes — including economics. The only exception is the Kings would have one too many contracts in the organization, but once they buy out DeAngelo, they’d be good to go.

Dakota Randall: Sidney Crosby to Vegas Golden Knights for Max Pacioretty, a prospect and two draft picks

The Pittsburgh Penguins would make the playoffs if the season ended today, and they really have outperformed expectations. So, chances are they won’t move a player who’s been the face of the franchise since 2005.

But the reality is the Penguins aren’t good enough to win a Cup, and they and Crosby know it. Why not get top value for him while you can, while also allowing him to pursue championships with one of the best teams in the NHL? This is as good of a time as there ever will be to trade a player of Crosby’s caliber.

As for compensation, it’s debatable. Adding Pacioretty would make the money work, and all indications are Vegas wants to move on from him, anyway. We think Pacioretty and a prospect, along with a first- and second-round pick, form a fair package for Crosby. Or maybe we’re crazy. Maybe both.

Lauren Campbell: Taylor Hall to Edmonton Oilers for James Neal

First and foremost, Hall would need to approve a trade back to his former team, and the Buffalo Sabres would need to retain a good chunk of his salary. But rumors have floated around that Hall wants to return.

Hall, who’s struggled with Buffalo, would provide some additional scoring to the Oilers’ forward groups, easing pressure on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Hall still is a good player; he’s just stuck on a bad team and is unable to showcase his true potential. Plus, adding Hall easily could make the Oilers contenders and keep Edmonton firmly in the playoff race.

Adam London: Taylor Hall to Boston Bruins

There obviously is a reason why Hall is playing for his fourth team in 11 NHL seasons. But providing the 2010 No. 1 overall pick with arguably the best structure of his career could result in Hall maximizing his potential and the Bruins reaping the benefits.

Sam Panayotovich: Patrik Laine to Carolina Hurricanes

Color me surprised that a young superstar is having a hard time playing for head coach John Tortorella. It’s just not working for the 22-year-old Laine in Columbus, and this could be the perfect time for the Blue Jackets to move on. Carolina is a surefire Stanley Cup contender and the ‘Canes would love to insert Laine into the top six with his fellow Finnish friend Sebastian Aho.

Andy Bourne: Nick Foligno to New York Islanders

After the Anders Lee news a few weeks ago, the Islanders will need to bolster their lineup to continue their push into the playoffs.

Enter Nick Foligno.

If contract extension talks go nowhere with Columbus, I would look for the Jackets to move their current captain.

After going all-in for the playoffs a couple of years ago, then letting Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin walk, I would think the Blue Jackets would want to get something in return for the pending unrestricted free agent. Foligno seems like a Barry Trotz-style player, and he can continue to pester Sidney Crosby as he moves into the East Division.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because trade ideas were submitted earlier this week, these next proposals all involve Kyle Palmieri, who was traded to the New York Islanders on Wednesday. We’ll leave them in so you can see why we thought a Palmieri trade to these other teams might have worked.

Mike Cole: Kyle Palmieri to Boston Bruins

If you can’t beat ’em … trade for ’em? Palmieri has torched the Bruins all season, so acquiring the rental at least ensures that doesn’t happen in the teams’ final two games against each other. Despite his performances against Boston, it’s been a relatively quiet year for Palmieri, whose shooting percentage is roughly four points below his career average.

If the Bruins acquired him, he’d almost certainly land on the second line alongside David Krejci, who tends to flourish when flanked by goal-scoring wingers. If the Bruins wanted to get real crazy, they also could add defensive depth by picking off a Devils D-man in the process, making it a true blockbuster. Re-signing Palmieri would make this an even greater success for Boston and certainly would justify the cost it will take to acquire a top-six forward.

Boston shouldn’t take long playoff runs for granted, especially with an aging core, so going for it this year is a worthwhile endeavor.

Sean McGuire: Kyle Palmieri to Boston Bruins

The 30-year-old right winger could provide a much-needed boost to the Bruins, who have struggled to score goals this season, especially at even strength.

Bruins fans should be well-aware of the scoring lift Palmieri provides, too. After all, five of his eight goals this season have come against Boston — despite the fact he’s in the midst of a somewhat down season (eight goals, nine assists). Palmieri recorded 45 points in 2019-20 and 50 the campaign before that.

The one downfall when it comes to Palmieri is that he will be a free agent at the end of the season, as he’s in the final year of his five-year, $23.35 million contract. Essentially, it means any trade for Palmieri could end up being a rental, though that also means New Jersey should be more likely to ship him out of town.

Ricky Doyle: Kyle Palmieri to Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche don’t need Palmieri. They already have plenty of offensive firepower, including a top line — Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen — that rivals any in hockey. But five of Colorado’s top six forwards, including all four wingers, are left shots. Adding Palmieri, a right shot who has scored at least 24 goals in each of the last five seasons, would make for a fun luxury, particularly on the power play, as the loaded Avs look to make good on their Stanley Cup aspirations.

Thumbnail photo via Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports Images

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