The NHL trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m. ET.
What trade do you most want to see go down on trade deadline day?
Greg Wyshynski: I covered the Washington Capitals for roughly a decade, watching the franchise enter its "Rock The Red" Alex Ovechkin party years and then watching as each postseason offered a new flavor of disappointment. At the heart of those teams were a collection of players affectionately called the "Young Guns," which included Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin and Mike Green.
Green was one of the Capitals' most popular players, and from from 2008 to '10 he put together two of the best recent seasons we've seen from a defenseman not named Erik Karlsson, including a 31-goal campaign. Over the years, questions about Green's conditioning and the completeness of his defensive game dogged him in Washington, and he shared in the blame for the Capitals' postseason failures. When he left for the Detroit Red Wings in 2015, it was time for a change.
But in Detroit, Green has become a more well-rounded defenseman. He has matured on and off the ice. He lacks the speed that made him one of the singular talents in the NHL for a few years, but he hasn't lost his knack for puck possession.
So I'd like to see a reunion between Green and the Capitals, as a rental.
The Capitals could use another veteran hand on the blue line, even with the addition of Michal Kempný. Green would join John Carlson and Matt Niskanen for a loaded right side on the blue line, and could bolster a third pairing that should right now have the Capitals worried for the playoffs.
His cap hit ($6 million) and their cap space (less than a million) make this a rather tricky one to work, even with the Red Wings picking up some salary. But let's say that it does: There's nothing I want to see more than Ovechkin raise a Stanley Cup, and then for Green to do the same a few minutes later as a Washington Capital. To have all those years of blown chances and heartbreak lead to a moment of glory.
(And all they need to do is avoid having to play Pittsburgh to do it.)
Emily Kaplan: I'd love to see the Vegas Golden Knights go all-in. Like all-chips-on-the-table, let's-win-this-thing-now, all-in. The Golden Knights have had to adjust on the fly this season. GM George McPhee had a calculated plan -- make the playoffs in three years, contend for the Stanley Cup in six -- which would be executed by building slowly and from within, and by stockpiling draft picks and young players. That plan got torn up when McPhee's team, inexplicably, turned out to be awesome in Year 1. We've identified why: strong coaching, terrific goaltending, a balanced roster (that rolls four lines and three defensive pairs evenly) and the intangibles that we can't quite pin down ("the Vegas Flu" and the fact that everyone on this roster is playing with a chip on his shoulder). The problem with the Golden Knights is that they're poised to win now, but probably not two and three years from now. So why not double down on 2017-18?
Now this idea is twofold. On one hand, it means that the Golden Knights should not be sellers at the deadline, as we all surmised they would be for months. That means holding on to players important to the fabric of this team, even if they may walk away in free agency. That includes a recalibration of mindset: not only retaining players like James Neal, David Perron and Lucas Sbisa, but viewing them as Vegas' own "rental players" for the remainder of the season. The other piece: get even more help. I wonder whether owner Bill Foley, smitten by the early success, might pressure McPhee to make a splash. Vegas has already collected a ton of draft capital -- including six second-round picks combined in 2019 and 2020 -- which could be used to go out and get, at the very least, depth scoring in a bottom-six forward. And while I mentioned that Vegas had very good defensemen, they don't have any elite defensemen. (Paging, Eugene Melnyk! I'm kidding ... kind of.)
I'd be remiss not to mention that the Golden Knights have a decent amount of projected salary cap space ($7.8 million). Vegas doesn't have a prospect pool, so it should be conserving picks. But that's logical convention. Nothing about this season has been logical, so I'd love for management to embrace that and go for the Cup while the window is open.
Chris Peters: As unlikely as it seems now, I think the dream trade is Erik Karlsson going to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steve Yzerman told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times
The problem with the hard cap is that it really mucks up the entertainment value of player transactions. The deals that do get done are rarely of the true blockbuster variety. As nice a notion as loyalty and continuity are, the incredibly high interest in trade deadline and free agency days suggest fans want to see more dramatic movement. They've often been left wanting. However, if Yzerman could find a way to pry Karlsson away from Ottawa, perhaps in a three-team deal if the Senators are as insistent they shed Bobby Ryan's contract as they reportedly are, it would melt down Twitter, the TSN Tradecentre studio (which you can watch on ESPN2 today!), and possibly the Stanley Cup hopes of any other team.
A team that could potentially include Victor Hedman and Karlsson, two of the game's best defensemen, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vezina Trophy contender Andrei Vasilevskiy, among the many others having great seasons in Tampa would be fascinating to watch. The Bolts are already a blast to watch, but adding Karlsson would be nothing short of amazing. Is it a pipe dream? It feels like it might be at this point, but the glow of the Stanley Cup can be blinding sometimes.