Welcome to our newest series at NHLTR where we will dive into our very own Trade Bait list. It’s comprised of 10 players who are the most likely to be traded before the March 21 deadline. We will update the list based on injuries, availability, transactions and everything in between.

NHL Trade Bait List 2.0

1 – Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks: The 28-year-old forward is a pending free agent and even with some newfound cap space by terminating Evander Kane’s contract, the Sharks seem content with moving Hertl. He’s one of the most talented players available and the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins have serious interest. His modified no-trade clause protects him from three teams of his choice. So far in 40 games he’s collected 35 points and can play down the middle or on the wing. This will be a three-piece deal for the Sharks who are looking for a first-rounder, top prospect and an NHL roster player.

2 – John Klingberg, Dallas Stars: The mobile defenseman has dropped off the past couple of seasons but a lot of people are blaming that on his new head coach and changing their systems. Klingberg doesn’t feel appreciated and the Stars have a ton of depth on defense so a trade is very likely before the deadline. Expect Dallas to receive a D prospect and a top-six forward in the trade. So far in 31 games the 6-foot-3 d-man has recorded 17 points. His career high of 67 points came back in 2017-18.

3 – Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes: It’s when and not if the Coyotes deal the veteran sniper as Kessel has been a perfect teammate in the desert waiting on a move. His production is down but all the experts are pointing to the fact who he’s playing with and the team success. Kessel would be a great fit in Edmonton, Colorado or New York. Expect to see at least one second-round pick going back the other way.

4 – Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes: We could probably fill this board up with five or six Coyotes, but Chychrun is the hidden gem in it all. The young defenseman has all the makings to be elite and his $4.6-million salary for the next three seasons make him the perfect addition for any contending club. So far this season he’s only managed seven points in 26 games but he’s coming off a season on a struggling team where he put up 41 points in 56 games from the blue line. There’s at least 10 teams with serious offers and it feels like this deal comes right down to a deadline bidding war.

5 – Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins: The Bruins forward still wants out to a new opportunity, so expect a deal in the coming weeks. DeBrusk has played better of late, sitting with 10 points in 31 games so far in 2021-22. The Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes have been in touch with the Bruins. Boston is a cash strapped team at the moment so any money coming in will need to be going out. The Bruins disgruntled forward makes $3.65 million on the cap and is a pending restricted free agent so the team acquiring his services does receive some team control.

6 – Chris Driedger, Seattle Kraken: The 27-year-old netminder signed a three-year deal in Seattle before the expansion draft and it just hasn’t worked out at all. Driedger was lights out for the Florida Panthers the past couple of seasons and the same success hasn’t followed to the west coast. At only $3.5 million on the cap the likes of the Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche will have interest.

7 – Justin Holl, Toronto Maple Leafs: The right-handed defenseman has mostly played on the second-pair in Toronto this season along side Jake Muzzin and frankly he’s becoming the whipping boy for the franchise. Holl has made some costly turnovers this season and there’s been times where the likes of Auston Matthews and William Nylander are yelling at him on the ice. The Maple Leafs tried to move Holl in November and couldn’t find the right deal, expect talks to pick up once again before Mar.21.

8 – Marc-Andre Fleury, Chicago Blackhawks: Put it this way, if Fleury wants to go to a playoff bound team, it’s going to happen. The veteran goalie is in the final season of his contract and the Blackhawks are expected to approach him closer to the middle of February regarding trade options. The Edmonton Oilers would be the first in line if given the chance. 

9 – Calle Jarnkrok, Seattle Kraken: The long-time Nashville Predators forward could be on his way back to Smashville. He’s a pending free agent and has played some great hockey of late after getting off to a slow start in Seattle. At only $2 million Jarnkrok is easily tradeable and you can expect to see his name creep up the list as we get closer to late March. Again, the Preds would love him back for the playoff push. 

10 – Tyler Toffoli, Montreal Canadiens: The Habs have a number of players expected to spark league wide interest and maybe none more than Toffoli. He’s signed for two more seasons at $4.25 million and much like his teammates, he’s struggled this season but frankly it doesn’t matter. He’s a Cup winner with a outstanding resume of scoring goals so expect offers to come flying into the new management regime in Montreal. Let’s see if their first bold move comes before the trade deadline this season.

Photo credit:  Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

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