Skip to content

NHL Power Rankings: Each team's biggest deadline need

Photo illustration by Julian Catalfo / theScore

This is the 10th in-season edition of theScore's NHL Power Rankings for the 2023-24 campaign. Check back for updated rankings every other Monday.

In this edition, we look at each team's biggest trade-deadline need.

1. New York Rangers (39-17-3)

Previous rank: 5

A good forward. Probably two. The Rangers need a top-six right-winger with Blake Wheeler no longer in the picture, and they could use a third-line center following Filip Chytil's injury. Maybe there's a way for New York to satisfy both needs with one trade?

2. Florida Panthers (38-16-4)

Previous rank: 4

A top-nine winger. The Panthers are rolling and have already traded their next two first-round picks, so there isn't a need nor the assets to make a huge splash at the deadline. Florida does have some cap space to work with, so bringing in another solid winger would be worthwhile.

3. Vancouver Canucks (38-16-6)

Previous rank: 2

Another impact forward. The Canucks already made a significant move by bringing in Elias Lindholm, but that shouldn't stop them from remaining active in the forward market. Vancouver is reportedly eyeing Jake Guentzel, so clearly general manager Patrik Allvin feels similarly.

4. Boston Bruins (34-12-13)

Previous rank: 1

Center depth. The Bruins need to strengthen down the middle, and Patrice Bergeron ain't walking through the TD Garden doors. Boston is up against the cap and missed the boat on Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan, so GM Don Sweeney will need to get creative.

5. Dallas Stars (35-16-8)

Sam Hodde / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous rank: 6

A right-shot defenseman. The Stars' depth in that area was already a concern, but now Jani Hakanpaa and Nils Lundkvist are out with injuries. Dallas needs to fortify its blue line to boost its chances of coming out on top in the Western Conference.

6. Winnipeg Jets (36-15-5)

Previous rank: 9

Depth defense. Most contenders are scanning the thin market for defensive help, and the Jets are no exception. Having already made a move for a center, Winnipeg could benefit from solidifying its bottom pair or bringing in a sturdy seventh option if injuries strike.

7. Carolina Hurricanes (34-18-6)

Previous rank: 7

Insurance in net. Health concerns have kept Frederik Andersen on the sidelines and Antti Raanta has had an abysmal campaign, which has left the crease to Pyotr Kochetkov and waiver claim Spencer Martin. A reunion with someone like Alex Nedeljkovic could ease anxieties.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs (33-16-8)

Previous rank: 14

A partner for Morgan Rielly. The Leafs' pairings of T.J. Brodie-Timothy Liljegren and Simon Benoit-Jake McCabe have been rolling, meaning Rielly has had to slot in next to William Lagesson since returning from suspension. GM Brad Treliving should prioritize finding his top blue-liner a right-shot stud to play with.

9. Colorado Avalanche (35-19-5)

Previous rank: 10

A backup goalie. The Avalanche could also use another center, but they need to stop running Alexandar Georgiev into the ground. He leads all goalies in games played (48) and owns a subpar save percentage (.899). Colorado should get him a capable running mate so he's fresh for the spring.

10. Edmonton Oilers (33-20-2)

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous rank: 3

Top-six winger. There's a substantial drop-off in production from Edmonton's big guns to its depth guys. Ken Holland needs to shop for some reinforcements or hope the incumbents kick it into gear come playoff time.

11. Detroit Red Wings (32-20-6)

Previous rank: 13

A cheap veteran. Detroit is playing with house money en route to its first playoff berth since 2016, so it feels unlikely that Steve Yzerman will mess with the chemistry of his up-and-coming group. That said, if the Red Wings stay in playoff position, it would be sensible to find an experienced veteran - forward or defenseman - who could help the club's youngsters learn what it takes to win.

12. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-23-5)

Previous rank: 12

A way to replace Mikhail Sergachev. The Bolts have an enviable amount of cap space at their disposal with the blue-liner on LTIR, but they don't have a ton of assets to take a big swing. Your move, GM Julien BriseBois.

13. Philadelphia Flyers (30-22-7)

Previous rank: 11

Focus on the task at hand. The Flyers are in prime position to make the playoffs in a year no one expected them to. Although they could recoup some strong assets for their players, keeping the band together is the smart play. Philadelphia is tough to play against and has a proven playoff tactician behind the bench. Making the playoffs - maybe even winning a round - would do wonders for Daniel Briere's rebuild.

14. Vegas Golden Knights (32-19-7)

Previous rank: 8

Clarity on Mark Stone's status. If the captain misses the rest of the regular season (again), the Golden Knights would have some extra money to work with at the deadline, allowing them to target some bigger fish. Jake Guentzel looks good in yellow; we bet he'd look good in gold, too.

15. Los Angeles Kings (29-17-10)

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Previous rank: 16

Goalie help. Cam Talbot has cooled off considerably after a blazing start to the year, and suddenly the Kings once again find themselves needing stability between the pipes. They have the assets to outbid other contenders seeking goalie help, so they might as well go for it.

16. Nashville Predators (32-25-2)

Previous rank: 21

More future assets. Prospects and draft picks - those are what the Predators need. Already with 11 selections in the 2024 draft, GM Barry Trotz should continue to beef up the cupboards by selling off his handful of intriguing players on cheap, expiring contracts.

17. Calgary Flames (28-25-5)

Previous rank: 18

For contenders to pay up. A whole bunch of Stanley Cup hopefuls could use someone on the Flames to aid their pursuit of glory, from Noah Hanifin to Chris Tanev to Jacob Markstrom. Offers would need to be substantial for Calgary to justify blowing up a team that's still hanging around in the wild-card race.

18. Minnesota Wild (28-24-6)

Previous rank: 26

Right-side defense. The Wild are steadily creeping into the wild-card race, and the club appears to have bought in on pushing for the playoffs rather than selling. Minnesota's biggest area of need is a right shot on the blue line behind star rookie Brock Faber.

19. St. Louis Blues (30-25-2)

Previous rank: 15

A major offer for Pavel Buchnevich. The Blues were on the playoff bubble this time last year and sold off significant assets. They could go the same route again but have fewer shiny pieces to offer. Buchnevich is far and away St. Louis' best, and if someone wants to pay a steep price for the talented winger, let them.

20. New Jersey Devils (29-25-4)

David Berding / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous rank: 17

Jacob Markstrom. There's no beating around the bush here: Goaltending has been the Devils' biggest weakness, and the guy who could solve the problem seems to be available for the right price.

21. Seattle Kraken (24-22-11)

Previous rank: 22

Value for pending UFAs. The Kraken must be careful not to fall in love with the group that made the playoffs last season. Amid a step back, cashing in on players like Jordan Eberle and Alex Wennberg, rather than inking them to deals further into their 30s, is necessary this year.

22. Ottawa Senators (25-27-3)

Previous rank: 24

Business partners. The Senators are reportedly looking to buy and sell, as they're suddenly playing well in what appears to be a lost season. Making as many deals as possible might be what the franchise needs.

23. Washington Capitals (26-21-9)

Previous rank: 23

Draft picks. Washington's a long shot to make the playoffs but has a handful of useful pending UFAs. Snagging as many draft picks as possible to revamp a depleted farm system should be priority No. 1.

24. Pittsburgh Penguins (26-21-8)

Previous rank: 20

A bangin' package for Guentzel. The pending UFA is the Penguins' biggest asset at the deadline, and GM Kyle Dubas has expressed a desire for his team to get younger. Go reel in some top-notch prospects.

25. New York Islanders (23-20-14)

Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

Previous rank: 19

Get younger. Whether it's moving some aging players off the roster, adding younger talent, or both, the third-oldest team in the league needs to get its average age down.

26. Buffalo Sabres (27-27-4)

Previous rank: 27

An extension for Casey Mittelstadt. Buffalo's been a major disappointment this season, but quieting rumors of trading its leading scorer would be a small victory.

27. Arizona Coyotes (23-29-5)

Previous rank: 25

A young NHL defender. The Coyotes have an outrageous number of second and third-round picks in the coming drafts. Arizona doesn't need more picks, so GM Bill Armstrong should be aggressive and pursue any young players who become available, particularly on the back end.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets (19-28-10)

Previous rank: 29

A contender to take Elvis Merzlikins. The Blue Jackets netminder is one of the bigger names on the goalie trade block but has a cumbersome contract and mediocre stats. Ending the trade saga would be a positive step forward for a franchise stuck in the mud.

29. Montreal Canadiens (22-28-8)

Previous rank: 28

A solution to the goalie problem. The Canadiens have been carrying three netminders - Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault, and Cayden Primeau - all season. GM Kent Hughes is more or less comfortable continuing that way if the right offer doesn't come, but that isn't ideal.

30. Anaheim Ducks (20-35-3)

Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous rank: 30

A first-rounder. Centers are a hot commodity this time of year, and the Ducks have a good one to sell in Adam Henrique. Anaheim should be able to finagle a first-round pick for him based on trades involving pivots so far.

31. San Jose Sharks (15-36-5)

Previous rank: 31

Middle-round picks. It may come as a surprise that the Sharks only have two selections from Rounds 3-6 in the upcoming draft. Being able to take more swings in the middle of the draft will be key for a team so far away from contending.

32. Chicago Blackhawks (15-39-5)

Previous rank: 32

Destinations for all UFAs. Chicago has six pending UFAs on its roster and a major rebuild in the years ahead. The Blackhawks already have 26 picks in the next three drafts and might as well keep piling them up.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox