Bruins

NHL Notebook: Which teams are already emerging as sellers; B’s claim Tinordi amid lineup shuffle

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL Trade Deadline is still more than a month away (April 12 at 3 p.m., to be exact), but with more than a quarter of the 2021 season already wrapped up, more and more teams dwelling in the cellars of their respective divisions seem to be primed to sell in the coming weeks. With the Bruins likely in need of help both up front and on the blue line this season, here's a look at a few teams worth monitoring — and the potential assets that could offer up this season. 

Anaheim Ducks: Anaheim has Trevor Zegras and a few other promising prospects on the way, but with the Ducks currently tied for last in the West thanks to a listless offense (1.95 goals per game), it seems as though the rebuild is ongoing for this franchise, especially with plenty of appealing pieces likely available for future assets. Boston was active trade partners with the Ducks last season, acquiring both Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie in separate deals just a few days apart. Ideally, the Ducks would likely want to move Adam Henrique and that contract of his ($5.825 million annual cap hit through 2024), but that's easier said than done in this flat-cap environment. A pending UFA defenseman like Ben Hutton will likely be in high demand (Boston likely should have signed him for cheap this offseason), while a scoring winger like Rickard Rakell might be available for the right price.

Buffalo Sabres: Well, another year — another horrid season for the Sabres, who have to be worried about how much more Jack Eichel can take before he waves the white flag. At this point, Buffalo would be wise to get something back for pending UFAs like Taylor Hall (just one goal in 17 games) and Eric Staal, while a left-shot D in Brandon Montour is also reportedly on the market, per Elliotte Friedman. Of course, Eichel remains the crown jewel of potential trade targets this season — although it seems as though Buffalo might wait until this offseason to seriously consider trading their franchise center. Unless Eichel demands a trade to Boston once his no-movement clause kicks in in 2022, the Bruins don't have much leverage to swing a deal for the Massachusetts native — unless they want to part ways with a piece like David Pastrnak or Charlie McAvoy. In other words, Eichel's not coming here.

Calgary Flames: At this point, the rudderless Flames seem to be stuck in no-man's land up in the North Division, with a potential facelift needed for a team that has yet to break through with a talented core in place. Former fourth overall pick Sam Bennett seems to be on his way out, although you wonder if Calgary could opt for a more drastic makeover if a team is willing to pay up for a star like Johnny Gaudreau. 

Detroit Red Wings: In perhaps the least-shocking news of the 2021 season, the Red Wings still stink — with a looooong rebuild still on the horizon for the once-proud franchise. At this point, it seems unlikely that Steve Yzerman will want to part ways with young talent with term like Anthony Mantha, but pending UFAs like Bobby Ryan and Marc Staal are almost a sure bet to be dealt in the coming weeks. While Ryan had some appeal when he hit free agency this past offseason, the veteran winger has cooled off significantly — scoring just one goal in his last 18 games.

Nashville Predators: When it comes to potential sellers, no team is as intriguing as the Predators, who, if they opt to blow things up, could have a slew of legitimate NHLers up for sale. We've already covered why the B's should be targeting a left-shot D like Mattias Ekholm, but Nashville also could offer up a couple of skilled middle-six wingers as well.