The 2023 NHL trade deadline has already been one of the best in recent memory, led by an arms race in the East and a collection of high-profile names already traded that would be good enough to create a playoff-caliber squad.
Considering the quality and quantity of trades already made, you may wonder what’s left. These names aren’t as flashy but there are a number of players that can help teams right now. Here are three to keep an eye on.
John Klingberg: Anaheim Ducks
This has been a nightmare season for John Klingberg. After overplaying his hand in free agency, he ended up signing a one-year deal on a young but skilled Ducks team. The thinking was clear: he would have all the opportunity on a team rebuilding, and be surrounded with skill players where he could rack up the points and turn that into a lucrative contract offer somewhere in 2023.
Instead, Klingberg is on pace for a career-low in points per game, time on ice and shot share. He’s on pace for a career-worst PDO as well.
This is where it gets interesting. Anaheim is one of the worst teams in the league. Arguably the worst. He’s having a career-worst season and is a pending UFA yet again. Players are always motivated to get paid but in this situation you have a player who should really have something to prove and will come in motivated and boosted by simply leaving Anaheim.
Much like Patrick Kane with Chicago, he is trying to show that by picking up his production lately, with nine points in his last nine games. He hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to run a power play and he can shoot the puck (his eight goals so far are actually his highest total since the 2018-19 season). If you need some offense from the point, especially a power-play quarterback, you can get some value here.
Jordan Greenway: Minnesota Wild
Jordan Greenway is potentially a very interesting name. He is a massive player at 6-foot-6, 231 pounds. Only 10 forwards in the league are listed at that height and only one is listed as taller. Greenway is also only 26 years old. So why is he even available? He has six points through 43 games and he’s signed for two more seasons at $3 million per.
The production has never really come together for Greenway. He scored 12 goals as a rookie and has never hit that mark since, though he did technically score at a slightly higher rate last season in fewer games. Greenway plays on a checking, tough-matchup line alongside Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno and that can’t be discounted. They have a lot of defensive responsibility and that is the focus of their shifts. Foligno only has 15 points and 11 of Eriksson Ek’s 21 goals have come on the power play.
It’s fair to wonder how much Greenway's production could jump in a role with more offensive opportunity. In the COVID bubble season, he had a career-best 0.57 points per game, so he has flashed before.
When he gets the puck down low, you can’t take it off of him. Look at Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren bounce off in the clip below. Greenway can create space with the puck and hold onto it for long stretches in the offensive zone. He takes up space in the defensive zone and is strong enough to win battles. There is a useful player here.
Carson Soucy: Seattle Kraken
On the theme of big and useful is Carson Soucy. The 6-foot-5 defenseman can do a bit of everything and would be a welcome addition to any blue line. Of particular use is that he has experience playing both the left and right side. Last season, he even had a career-high 10 goals.
The Kraken do shelter him, so he’s more of a third-pairing defenseman, playing just 16:16 per game. He’s at a career-high in offensive zone starts and he’s nowhere near their shutdown, matchup pairing. There is some jam to his game and the Kraken have sometimes used him to close out contests. He is a second-unit penalty killer on Seattle.
What Soucy offers is depth. He isn’t going to move the needle for anyone but the old adage, “you can never have enough defensemen,” rings particularly true in the playoffs. Having a big blueliner that has at least some puck skills, can play either side and has some penalty-killing ability is a nice option to have at your disposal.