NHL Trade Deadline 2018: Breaking Down Latest League Buzz

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2018

Mike Hoffman's quick and powerful shot makes him a trade-deadline target.
Mike Hoffman's quick and powerful shot makes him a trade-deadline target.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The NHL trade deadline represents an opportunity for playoff teams to make themselves better for the stretch run and hopefully the postseason.

Teams unlikely to make the playoffs have a chance to get rid of some high-priced talent and acquire prospects or draft picks.

It's not always easy to tell the contenders from those who are out of the running, but that's not the case this year. The New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators were successful in last year's playoffs, but they are troubled this year. Expect both to trade key players prior to Monday's deadline at 3 p.m. ET.

While much of the attention on the Senators surrounds stellar defenseman Erik Karlsson, forward Mike Hoffman has an excellent shot and can put the puck in the net. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman  reported the Winnipeg Jets were interested in the winger but that he refused to waive his no-trade clause.

Hoffman will most likely cost quite a bit. He has two years remaining on his contract and has scored 16 goals with 23 assists this year. While his minus-18 rating is an issue, his team has been abysmal all season.

A year ago, the Nashville Predators made it to the Stanley Cup Final, where they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Head coach Peter Laviolette's team has designs on making another long run in the postseason, and the Preds will likely make moves.

P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis put them in great shape on the back end, but the team could use some help up front.

TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Nashville is looking at Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar of the Detroit Red Wings. Nyquist has scored 16 goals and 12 assists from right wing, while Tatar has 16 goals and 11 assists.

The Red Wings would like to reload, but there are no guarantees that they would be willing to move either player.

New York Rangers captain and defenseman Ryan McDonagh remains in play, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins are in the mix for him, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

The Maple Leafs are going to have to step up and make a major offer if McDonagh is going to end up on Mike Babcock's team.

The Bruins are hoping the Rangers' price comes down. Carrying nine defensemen, they would also need to make some adjacent moves if they were to acquire McDonagh.

The 28-year-old is a six-time All-Star. He has two goals and 24 assists this season for the Broadway Blueshirts.

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