Hockey East’s history of NHL development has been impressive and as the NHL trade deadline of Feb. 25 nears, a handful of conference alumni are in the rumor mill.
As the season churns on, teams have begun to make the decision between buying and selling, and four HE alumni have already joined new teams in 2019. Last month, Devin Shore (Maine) and Jamie Oleksiak (Northeastern) were traded from, and to, the Dallas Stars, respectively.
This month, Brian Boyle (Boston College) and Christian Folin (UMass Lowell) became another two HE alumni to find new NHL homes.
The HE trade list is ready to grow as the Monday, Feb. 25, deadline draws nearer. Expiring contracts, rebuilds and salary caps have seen the names of several other HE alumni swirl in trade rumors.
Gustav Nyquist | Maine
RW | Detroit Red Wings
2018-19: 59 GP, 15 G, 33 A, 48 pts., minus-1
While other forwards, including Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone and Matt Duchene overshadow him, Nyquist will still generate a lot of trade interest for contending teams eyeing scoring depth ahead of the playoffs.
The 29-year-old Swede is on pace for a career year in assists and points. Nyquist carries a $4.75 million cap hit, which the Red Wings can reduce by up to 50 percent via salary retention, allowing cap-strapped teams to add the veteran scorer for as low as $2.375 million.
He brings speed, elusiveness and offensive instinct capable of bulking up any team’s scoring rate.
Jimmy Howard | Maine
G | Detroit Red Wings
2018-19: 17-16-5, .913 SV%, 2.80 GAA
Howard has been a proven No. 1 goaltender during his 10-year career, spent entirely with the Red Wings. Goalies aren’t typical deadline acquisitions, but teams looking to fill an injury or add stability could come calling.
I’d be surprised if they didn’t kick tires on G Jimmy Howard in Detroit https://t.co/LGjbwvjBwR— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) February 18, 2019
At 34, Howard’s best years are behind him, but he’s been among the sharper players for the 23-29-8 Red Wings this season. He’s bailed out feeble offensive performances and one of the league’s oldest and weakest defenses since October. Any buyer would expect the Red Wings to eat the full 50 percent of his expiring deal, costing just north of $2.6 million.
His availability remains questionable, as the team has no proven starter or exciting prospect in line for 2019-20.
Kevin Hayes | Boston College
C | New York Rangers
2018-19: 49 GP, 14 G, 28 A, 42 pts., plus-3
Standing at 6-foot-5, Hayes is a mountainous winger with an underrated two-way game. He’s the perfect addition for a contender hoping to add a middle-six winger. Hayes is scoring at a career-high 0.86 points per-game
The 26-year-old is on pace to set career-highs in assists, points, shots, hits, time on ice and takeaways. He’s among the youngest players rumored to be available and can be a pure rental given his expiring contract ($5.175 million cap hit).
Any contending team that adds Hayes will be able to give him the opportunity to play with some of the best NHL players of his five-year career.
Chris Kreider | Boston College
LW | New York Rangers
2018-19: 58 GP, 24 G, 21 A, 45 pts., plus-7
Kreider is another Rangers forward rumored to be available, and the 6-foot-3 winger is the prime example of what the playoffs require. He brings high-end speed, physicality and the body-on-the-line style it takes to win in the postseason.
Kreider carries a manageable $4.625 million cap hit, as well as one more year after the 2018-19 campaign, offering a contender two playoff runs with him. The 27-year-old has found another gear this season and is on pace for career-highs in just about every offensive category.
In 77 playoff games spread across six seasons, Kreider has scored 23 goals and 14 assists for 37 points, as well as a punishing 236 hits.
Charlie Coyle | Boston University
C, RW | Minnesota Wild
2018-19: 59 GP, 10 G, 18 A, 28 pts., plus-1
The Minnesota Wild have fallen on hard times in recent weeks and are rumored to be shopping just about everyone. That could include Coyle’s teammate and Boston University alum Jordan Greenway, but the 21-year-old is likely a key piece in the team’s future.
The offense has come in fits and starts in Minnesota and with Coyle sitting sixth in ice time among Wild forwards, it’s understandable why his output has declined. He’s another potential deadline player signed through 2020 ($3.2 million cap hit).
Coyle would be a solid fit on a third line for a team willing to give him a fresh start and could fill in on the second line in a potential rut or one of the hot streaks he often finds.
Brett Pesce (New Hampshire): The Carolina Hurricanes defenseman hasn’t been rumored as on the market, but more of a great, young and underrated defenseman on the cheaper side, financially. In the right deal, the Hurricanes could move him given their crowded blue line.
Dante Fabbro (Boston University): Still developing as a top tier prospect with BU, Fabbro is on the verge of joining other HE alumni in the NHL. His rights belong to the Nashville Predators, but could be on the table at the deadline as the 2017 Stanley Cup runners-up go shopping for another run at the title.
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