Which NHL players could be traded in 2023-24? Our experts pick one from all 32 teams – The Athletic

With prospect tournaments underway and training camps set to open next week, rosters for the 2023-24 season are being determined around the NHL.

But we all know the rosters that open the regular season won’t be the same as the ones that head into the playoffs in April. Whether it’s Mark Scheifele, Juuse Saros or Matt Grzelcyk, there will be game-changing trades before the league’s trade deadline, which is expected to be March 8, 2024, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. And it’s never too early to start thinking about who will be involved.

To set the table, The Athletic asked its NHL staff this week for the most likely player from each team to be traded during the season.

Here’s what they said.

Adam Henrique: Henrique has long been an efficient secondary scorer, and that value plays well at a trade deadline. Even though he’s dealt with injuries in recent years, the 33-year-old can still move well around the ice and finds soft spots to strike. He had 22 goals last season despite missing 20 games. What makes him more attractive is that he’s reached the year of his contract expiring. The Ducks are expected to struggle again. He’s got a 10-team no-trade clause and has that $5.8 million cap hit, but teams that need another quality forward can work around that next spring. — Eric Stephens


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Matt Dumba: The choice here is really between Dumba and Jason Zucker, both of whom signed one-year contracts with the Coyotes and will be attractive as trade-deadline rentals, assuming Arizona is not in the playoff mix. Zucker is 31, earns $5.1 million and last year was fifth on Pittsburgh in scoring with 48 points in 78 games. Those 78 games were pivotal — because injuries limited Zucker to only 139 games over a four-year span. Proven top-six forwards are hard to come by, but Dumba should be even more valuable. Cheap at $3.9 million. Third on the Minnesota Wild in time on ice (21:17 per game) a year ago. Can be a punishing physical presence. His offense fell off a cliff last season, but in Arizona, it should bounce back in a meaningful way. Someone will pay big to get him. — Eric Duhatschek

Matt Grzelcyk: Grzelcyk is unrestricted after this year. So is Derek Forbort, also a left-shot defenseman. While Grzelcyk pushes the offensive pace more than Forbort, the latter is a heavy-rotation penalty killer and a five-on-five stopper. Grzelcyk is neither of those things, especially in the playoffs. The Bruins also have Mason Lohrei, an offensive-minded lefty defenseman, pushing for a spot. — Fluto Shinzawa

Victor Olofsson: Olofsson’s a talented goal scorer, but he was a healthy scratch toward the end of last season because of his lack of attention to detail on defense. His $4.75 million cap hit will be tough to move, and he has a place in the lineup while Jack Quinn is injured, but if the Sabres can get a decent return for him, it would make sense to get his salary off the books and open up a spot for a younger player. — Matthew Fairburn


Seven Sabres players who could be moved before the season

Elias Lindholm: If Wednesday’s press availability was any indication, something is going to have to give when it comes to Lindholm. His camp seems to be standing firm on the 2024 unrestricted free agent’s asking price on an extension, and he probably would’ve liked for a new deal to have been resolved sooner. If it gets to a point where both sides can’t come to an agreement, Flames general manager Craig Conroy can’t let the situation linger. — Julian McKenzie


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Brett Pesce: It’s no secret that Pesce’s name has been put out there, given that he is entering the final year of his contract. With talks on an extension stalled, the Hurricanes have explored what the market is for Pesce. Carolina also isn’t trading from a position of weakness: The Hurricanes are under the cap and can hold onto Pesce for as long as they want, and they also have a deep enough defense that if they do trade him they won’t be shorthanded on the blue line. — Cory Lavalette


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Tyler Johnson: Johnson might be the most intriguing player of the Blackhawks’ expiring contracts. If he’s playing well and the team is willing to retain half of his $5 million cap hit, a Stanley Cup contender could be interested at the deadline in a veteran with playoff experience. There’s a chance Johnson plays with Connor Bedard this season, and that could benefit him, too. — Scott Powers

Tyler Johnson lifts the Stanley Cup as a member of the Lightning in 2021. (Dave Sandford / NHLI via Getty Images)

Oskar Olausson: The Avalanche are in a win-now window, so they probably won’t want to move a regular contributor off their roster. Olausson, meanwhile, was a 2021 first-round pick who probably will spend most of the coming season in the minors. Colorado values him, but if there’s a player the front office wants to add via trade, the young Swede could be an option to move. Kurtis MacDermid is another name to watch with Colorado right up against the salary cap. He makes just under $1 million. If he’s moved, it could give the Avalanche more financial flexibility to add a player the team would trust in the playoffs. That might not be a popular move with the players, though. MacDermid is beloved in the dressing room. — Peter Baugh

Jack Roslovic: Apologies are due to Roslovic at this point, as his name has been batted about in trade rumors for months now. But one look at the Blue Jackets’ overload of forwards, and the fact that Roslovic doesn’t have a secure spot in the top six (much less at his preferred center position), and it only makes sense. The drafting of Adam Fantilli, the expected emergence of Cole Sillinger and the presence of captain Boone Jenner throw Roslovic’s lineup spot into question. He’s a tremendous skater and has offensive upside in the right situation. — Aaron Portzline

Sam Steel: The Stars have 13 NHL forwards on the payroll, which includes Craig Smith and Sam Steel and does not include Logan Stankoven or Mavrik Bourque. Regardless of whether Stankoven and/or Bourque make the opening night roster, it would be surprising if neither was on the roster as the season progressed and headed to the playoffs. Radek Faksa and Mason Marchment, two organization favorites with modified trade clauses, are dark horses to be moved,  but neither is as likely. If the season goes surprisingly south, Matt Duchene could be an option to sell at the deadline, too. — Saad Yousuf

Shayne Gostisbehere: The trade bait board is less plentiful in Detroit this season, owing both to a relative dearth of pending UFAs and the fact that the Red Wings have continued to increasingly invest in the present. Really, this one comes down to Gostisbehere and veteran winger David Perron, the team’s two top pending unrestricted free agents. And while Perron would likely be in higher demand, considering the playoff brand of hockey he plays, Gostisbehere plays the much more crowded position for Detroit, giving the Red Wings more incentive to move him. — Max Bultman

Philip Broberg: Broberg is in a difficult spot. He’s ready to take on a larger role with the Oilers, but his position (left-handed defense) is populated by trusted veterans. In Darnell Nurse, Mattias Ekholm and Brett Kulak, Edmonton boasts a championship-caliber depth chart. Broberg could be moved to address needs elsewhere unless he forces his way up the roster. It’s possible he will find a home on the right side this season. Otherwise, a trade makes sense. — Allan Mitchell


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Gustav Forsling: Of Florida’s pending unrestricted free agents — a group led by Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour — the 27-year-old defenseman seems the best bet, but only once Montour and Aaron Ekblad return to the lineup, and only if he continues playing himself out of Florida’s cap structure. Even then, he’s a solid piece and the Panthers are in it to win it, so it’s a bit of a reach. Other core players are locked up, and the bottom of the roster wouldn’t have much value outside mid-round returns at the deadline. — Sean Gentille

Viktor Arvidsson: This one is tricky. If all goes well, the Kings are again playoff-bound and have a team capable of winning rounds with Arvidsson being a valuable secondary scorer in a deep forward group. You wouldn’t want to break up a good thing. But if there’s one player to pick, Arvidsson will be 31 by the next postseason and has a $4.25 million cap hit on a contract that is expiring. If he’s still productive and the Kings’ season goes sideways, he’d be a decent trade asset. Matt Roy is another potential 2024 unrestricted free agent, but he’s a key piece of their defense and might be prioritized. — Eric Stephens


How Viktor Arvidsson adapted his game and had a major impact in his return to the playoffs

Minnesota Wild

Matt Dumba: Sorry, old habits die hard. Honestly, this all depends on the type of season the Wild have. If things turn pear-shaped, could we see them become all-out sellers for the first time, well, ever? They’re certainly in prime position with Mats Zuccarello, Marcus Foligno, Ryan Hartman, Brandon Duhaime, Alex Goligoski, Pat Maroon and Marc-Andre Fleury all pending 2024 unrestricted free agents. In the near term, we should keep our eyes on young Calen Addison, who was scratched for 19 of the final 29 regular-season games and all of the playoffs last season and is currently unsigned. — Michael Russo

Christian Dvorak: As a 200-foot center who can win faceoffs, and play on both special teams, Dvorak would have good value on the trade market and could really help a contender as a very good third-line center. With another year left on his contract at a number that is not overly prohibitive, Dvorak is in the sweet spot of a good player who should draw interest on the trade market and is also likely not part of the plan in Montreal moving forward. But he will only be moved if the return is appealing to the Canadiens. — Arpon Basu

Juuse Saros: This all hinges on how the Preds do — Saros may be too good to make them a seller at the deadline — and whether a potential contender feels it’s a goalie away at the same point. That team would be getting 28-year-old Saros for another season at the mega-bargain of $5 million, as well. General manager Barry Trotz is only doing this for a haul in return and if he believes Yaroslav Askarov is the future in net. — Joe Rexrode

Could Juuse Saros, one of the NHL’s top goalies, get traded in 2023-24? (Donald Page / Getty Images)

Alexander Holtz: The Devils’ most obvious recent trade pieces — Damon Severson, Mackenzie Blackwood and Yegor Sharangovich — are no longer with the organization, making this a much tougher question in New Jersey. That may make Holtz the answer by default. If he can’t shake it at the NHL level on a team with so much top-nine support, it could be time for a change of scenery. Moving him could allow the team to address any areas of need that emerge as the season progresses. — Shayna Goldman

New York Islanders

Oliver Wahlstrom: It’s been, frankly, a weird few months for Wahlstrom. First he suffered a serious knee injury just after Christmas, ending his season. Then he changed agents but settled for just a one-year, $874,000 contract, signing his qualifying offer as a restricted free agent. There is an opportunity for him to have more of an impact this season, particularly with Zach Parise’s absence. But if he can’t stay in the lineup, it will probably be time for the Islanders to give him a fresh start somewhere else, perhaps in exchange for another player who needs a change of scenery. — Kevin Kurz


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Erik Gustafsson: Not exactly a big name here, but there’s basically zero chance the Rangers give up on Alexis Lafrenière or Kaapo Kakko midseason, and the rest of the high-salary core players have no-move or no-trade clauses. For the past two seasons, the Rangers have added at the deadline. Subtraction is not their thing. So Gustafsson, a useful veteran D-man, could be swapped out for a more reliable No. 6 at some point. — Arthur Staple

Dominik Kubalik: There aren’t any obvious trade candidates on the Senators roster right now, so a player like Kubalik probably best answers this question. Ottawa acquired the 28-year-old from Detroit as part of the return for Alex DeBrincat. But after signing Vladimir Tarasenko, it feels like Kubalik’s ceiling is as a third-liner in Ottawa this season. And considering he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, it sure feels like he could be flipped. — Ian Mendes

Marc Staal: It’s not difficult to predict which players might be on the move on a team that’s in the middle of a rebuild — simply look for the veterans on expiring contracts who might be of interest to a playoff team that needs depth. Staal is 36 years old and on a cheap one-year, $1.3 million deal. If he shows he can still play effective minutes, the Flyers could almost certainly flip him for an asset or two at the deadline. In the meantime, he can show some of the young kids on the Flyers’ blue line how to be a pro. — Kevin Kurz

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pierre-Olivier Joseph: Entering camp, Joseph is penciled into the third defense pairing. Entering his second full season, he’ll control his own destiny in that he can solidify his spot by showing more consistency — something he has lacked as he appeared to wear down late in 2022-23. It’s not yet known how new management views Joseph, but looking at the roster, he could emerge as the most viable asset for general manager Kyle Dubas to dangle for a needed addition. — Rob Rossi

Any forward on expiring deal: Take your pick here. Anthony Duclair? Mike Hoffman? Alexander Barabanov? Kevin Labanc? General manager Mike Grier will have options if any of these potential 2024 unrestricted wingers are healthy and have put up some decent numbers, even on a team that’s expected to linger around the bottom of the league. But if we were to narrow this group, it feels like Duclair ($3 million cap hit) and Barabanov ($2.5 million) are more attractive because of their upside and affordability. The goal should be to build the most trade value possible with any of these options. — Eric Stephens

Justin Schultz: The Kraken are characteristically cautious and deliberate, and as such it’s difficult to imagine general manager Ron Francis making a midseason panic trade that subtracts from his roster. There are three key expiring unrestricted free agents on the Kraken roster, though, in Schultz, Alexander Wennberg and Jordan Eberle. If the club fails to repeat last season’s bright showing, presumably one (or two or three) of those players could become names we hear a lot about in the lead-up to the trade deadline. Schultz will be our pick for now, in part because of the rarity of his profile (right-handed puck-moving defenseman) and in part because of his Stanley Cup-winner resume and habit of elevating his play in the postseason — including 10 points in 14 games for the Kraken in the 2023 playoffs. — Thomas Drance

Jakub Vrana: It would be easy to say Torey Krug since the Blues tried to trade him this summer. It would be easy to say Marco Scandella since the club has a lot of bodies on the backend. But I’m going with Vrana because he has the potential to become a scoring threat again (10 goals in 20 games with St. Louis following last year’s trade from Detroit), he’s a pending 2024 unrestricted free agent, and he’ll cost pennies on the dollar with half of his $5.25 million average annual value already being retained by the Red Wings. — Jeremy Rutherford

Jakub Vrana scored 10 goals in 20 games for the Blues in 2022-23. (Joe Puetz / NHLI via Getty Images)

Jonas Johansson: It may seem like an odd pick, but the Lightning have interchanged so much of their supporting cast already that there aren’t many options left. Core pieces are safe, as are supporting talents like Anthony Cirelli, Nick Paul and Brandon Hagel. Johnasson stands out as an actual option to be on the move, though — whether it’s via waivers or a trade to a tanking team. If his play doesn’t improve enough that the Lightning feel they can give Andrei Vasilevskiy occasional breaks without cratering in net, they’ll have to find another backup. This team has to ensure its starter isn’t overused if it wants him to keep crushing long playoff runs. — Shayna Goldman

Conor Timmins: I don’t know that the Leafs have anyone who is “likely” to be traded at this point. They do have a number of players on expiring contracts, but most play important (to varying degrees) roles. So if I had to pick one player, I’d pick Timmins. For one, he’s a project from a general manager (Kyle Dubas) who’s no longer here. He’s also got another year left on his contract at $1.1 million on the cap. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that he won’t have a regular role on the defense this season, and while he might be a helpful piece for the future, maybe the Leafs and their current GM (Brad Treliving) decide to find him more opportunity elsewhere. I wouldn’t call it likely though. — Jonas Siegel

Tyler Myers: Myers is entering the final year of his contract on a $6 million cap hit, but he’s only owed $1 million in salary once his signing bonus is paid out. The Canucks could look to move his contract before the season, or ship him as a rental at the deadline if they’re out of a playoff position and become sellers. — Harman Dayal

Alec Martinez: I’ll start by saying I don’t expect the Golden Knights to make any subtractions this season as they’re still inside the Cup window and hoping to add if anything. If I have to pick someone who could be moved, though, it would be Martinez, because he’s 36 and on an expiring contract with a sizable cap hit. If Vegas needed to clear space for an addition, Martinez would be one of the most likely candidates. Still, he’s a big part of this team and I wouldn’t say it’s likely he gets moved. — Jesse Granger

Anthony Mantha: If the Caps aren’t in playoff position at the deadline, it wouldn’t be a shock to see general manager Brian MacLellan execute a second straight springtime selloff. And if that’s how things unfold, it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see MacLellan attempt to flip Anthony Mantha, who has struggled to find his game in D.C. and is in the last year of a contract that carries a $5.7 million cap hit. And if Mantha, who just turned 29, is playing well, a transitioning Caps team could potentially recoup a handsome return for a big winger who’s still able to produce offense when sufficiently motivated. Yeah, that’s a lot of “ifs,” but it’s not too hard to imagine such a scenario. — Tarik El-Bashir

Mark Scheifele: Winnipeg has seven pending unrestricted free agents — Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck, Nino Niederreiter, Brenden Dillon, Dylan DeMelo, Laurent Brossoit and Jansen Harkins — who are at various levels of career crossroads. Kevin Cheveldayoff says he’ll ask Hellebuyck and Scheifele to consider their futures “on parallel tracks,” and the truth is Winnipeg could sign (or be forced to trade) both of them, depending on how negotiations play out. Still, if the Jets move one and only one of these top players, I’m guessing it’s Scheifele. — Murat Ates


What holding onto Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele means for the Jets

(Top photos of Juuse Saros and Mark Scheifele: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images and Jonathan Kozub / NHLI via Getty Images)

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