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Ranking top candidates to be dealt before deadline

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The previous No. 1 name on these types of lists in Elias Lindholm has already been shipped out, as have fellow coveted players Chris Tanev, Sean Monahan, and Andrei Kuzmenko.

Even with those players off the board, there are plenty of intriguing options for contenders and retooling teams alike. Those options include pending unrestricted free agents who could be snagged as rentals, as well as those under contract beyond 2023-24.

This list takes into account both the likelihood of a trade and the player's skill level, placing more emphasis on the former. The skaters and goaltenders below aren't ranked solely by their level of talent or production.

Here are the top players who could be sent packing ahead of the March 8 deadline.

1. Jake Guentzel

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW 29 Pending UFA $6M

Can submit 12-team no-trade list

It was initially unclear whether the Pittsburgh Penguins would move Guentzel before Friday, but it now seems likely as they reportedly hope to have a deal in place by Wednesday night. The two-time 40-goal-scorer is having another productive season and would add instant firepower to a contender's offensive attack.

Guentzel is out with an injury but is expected back about a week after the deadline, so that's unlikely to significantly impact his trade value.

2. Jacob Markstrom

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
G 34 Signed through 2025-26 $6M

Has full no-movement clause

Whether the Flames' deadline plans ultimately involve Markstrom remains to be seen, but the proven goaltender's status as a prime candidate to be moved is academic at this point. Unlike the other coveted Calgary players, he wouldn't be a rental, and his contract wouldn't be the easiest to trade. But the New Jersey Devils have reportedly looked into acquiring him, and they likely won't be alone in that pursuit given Markstrom's mostly dependable track record.

Walker has fit in perfectly with the Philadelphia Flyers ever since they landed him in a three-way swap last June. While his club has exceeded expectations this season, the defenseman remains an appealing trade target given his team-friendly contract and the lack of an extension that would take him off the market. As Torts said, the Flyers would be "dopes" not to listen to offers for Walker.

3. Jake Allen

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
G 33 Signed through 2024-25 $3.85M

Can submit 7-team no-trade list this season, 3-team list in 2024-25

It's no secret or surprise that the Montreal Canadiens are in sell mode given where they are in their rebuild and the fact that they already traded Monahan in early February. Allen has value as an experienced goaltender on a reasonable contract, even though that pact extends beyond the current campaign.

4. Scott Laughton

Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW/C 29 Signed through 2025-26 $3M

Players under contract for two more seasons beyond the current campaign aren't always hot commodities at the deadline. But Laughton's cap hit is quite team-friendly, and his game - characterized by sandpaper and penalty-killing prowess - is tailor-made for the playoffs. The Flyers could very well keep him for a postseason run of their own, but other contenders could come calling - especially considering Philadelphia reportedly gauged interest in the forward in early February.

5. Alexandre Carrier

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
RD 27 Pending UFA $2.5M

Carrier isn't the flashiest name on this list by any means, and he's undersized by NHL standards. But the Nashville Predators defenseman is underrated, and he wouldn't be a financial burden. Carrier doesn't rack up points but is fundamentally sound, blocks shots, and would be a safe addition to a contending club's third pairing.

6. Jakub Chychrun

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LD 25 (26 on March 31) Signed through 2024-25 $4.6M

Can submit 10-team no-trade list

If this is giving you deja vu, it's understandable. The Senators - who acquired Chychrun from the Arizona Coyotes last March after he was on the block for over a year - have reportedly been listening to teams interested in him. He called that notion "ridiculous," but Ottawa is far from a contender this campaign and already has rearguards Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson signed long term at over $8 million apiece.

7. Frank Vatrano

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW 29 (30 on March 14) Signed through 2024-25 $3.65M

Vatrano's enjoying a career year with the Ducks, so his value's peaking at an ideal time. He's not a rental, but dealing the Massachusetts-born forward - who recently earned his first All-Star nod - would still be a logical move for Anaheim, a club that's clearly rebuilding with a younger core.

8. Jordan Eberle

Christopher Mast / National Hockey League / Getty
Position Age Contract Cap Hit
RW 33 Pending UFA $5.5M

Can submit 16-team no-trade list

The Seattle Kraken have taken a step back this season, and as a pending UFA with experience, Eberle would be a natural candidate to be moved. His goal-scoring has dipped this campaign, but he's otherwise been a lock to produce at a 20-goal clip, doing so over an 82-game pace (0.24 per game) in all 13 of his previous campaigns.

9. Pat Maroon

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW 35 (36 on Apr. 23) Pending UFA $1M

Can submit 16-team trade list

Maroon's resume speaks for itself, even if he earned his three consecutive Stanley Cup rings somewhat coincidentally. It's undeniable, though, that the veteran Minnesota Wild forward has plenty of playoff experience (150 games, to be exact). That'll undoubtedly entice contenders to pick up the phone.

10. Pavel Buchnevich

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW 28 (29 on Apr. 17) Signed through 2024-25 $5.8M

Can submit 12-team no-trade list

As is evident above, there are several reasons why Buchnevich may not be traded. The urgency level isn't high given he's under contract for another season after this one, plus his cap hit and modified no-trade list could hinder a deal. But the ever-retooling Blues would be foolish not to at least listen to offers for the productive winger.

11. Anthony Duclair

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW/RW 28 Pending UFA $3M

The San Jose Sharks are the most obvious seller as we approach this deadline, and Duclair would be wise to prepare for a trade. The winger has struggled since returning from a torn Achilles with the Florida Panthers last season. But he racked up 31 goals and 27 assists over 74 games with the Cats in 2021-22.

12. Tyson Barrie

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
RD 32 Pending UFA $4.5M

Barrie's limitations are pretty well known by now. He's an offense-first defenseman who's most effective on the power play. Still, the Nashville Predators rearguard could have some appeal for contenders looking to improve their play on the man advantage.

13. Morgan Frost

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
C 24 (25 on May 14) Signed through 2024-25 $2.1M

Flyers general manager Daniel Briere was reportedly willing to listen to offers on basically every asset he had last April. He repeated his willingness to try anything to reshape the roster a few months later. Frost isn't a pending UFA and is still fairly young, but he could be a trade target given his palatable contract and improved play lately.

14. Dominik Kubalik

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LW 28 Pending UFA $2.5M

Kubalik is an obvious candidate to be dealt because of his expiring deal and the low average annual value of his contract. The Senators winger isn't producing offensively as he has in the past, but he posted 30 goals in only 68 games as a rookie in 2019-20 and 20 tallies in 81 contests last season.

15. Kaapo Kahkonen

Position Age Contract Cap Hit
G 27 Pending UFA $2.75M

There aren't likely going to be many goalies available ahead of the deadline, so Kahkonen should garner some interest by default. Contenders could do worse at the backup netminder position, and Kahkonen would be easier to acquire than his more coveted counterparts.

16. Erik Johnson

Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty
Position Age Contract Cap Hit
LD/RD 35 (36 on March 21) Pending UFA $3.25M

Johnson would be the quintessential trade-deadline rental. The veteran defenseman has no contract for next season, and his current AAV isn't astronomical. The Buffalo Sabres have to accept they're sellers soon, and when they do, Johnson could be among the first players they jettison.

(Salary source: CapFriendly)

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