On Dec. 27, the NHL’s roster freeze is lifted, and general managers can return to trying to address their teams. Moves have been relatively quiet this season, but every day the trade deadline draws closer, the chances we’ll see trades increases.
In January of last season, the pace picked up considerably with eight trades that month, twice as many as December. The Rangers did a nice job to pick up Kevin Klein for Michael Del Zotto last January, a move that's still paying dividends. The Oilers hoped to address their goaltending with a trade for Ben Scrivens. The Hurricanes and Maple Leafs swapped defensemen on the same day Toronto was playing in the Winter Classic.
It’s quite possible that this January will be just as active.
So what are the needs of each team as GMs have a couple of days to gather their thoughts and formalize their game plans heading into trading season? Here’s a look at the top need for all 30 teams:
We expect GM Bob Murray to aggressively pursue a top-four defenseman before the trade deadline, but what he does at forward may depend on whether or not Matt Beleskey stays productive. He currently has a gaudy 17.9 percent shooting percentage and has eclipsed his career high in goals (15). He’s provided another scoring option on the wing and the depth up front the Ducks needed in the middle of their injury issues.
His teammate Francois Beauchemin thinks it can continue. “I think so,” he said. “He has a great release and a great shot. He plays hard, which is what you want.”
The Coyotes need an offer they can’t refuse for Keith Yandle.