The 2021-22 NHL season continues to roll along as most teams are about to reach the 50-game mark or have done so already. While there’s still a ways away before the playoffs are here, there is one important date on the league’s calendar that’s quickly approaching: the NHL Trade Deadline.
This year’s trade deadline will take place on Monday, March 21. The league’s top teams will be looking to make a deal or two to help them for a potential playoff run, while other organizations will look to unload players to try and build for a better future. Having said that, the weeks leading up to the deadline are usually exciting.
As usual, the rumor mill has been churning for some time and there are a handful of potential trades that could happen over the next month.
Here’s a look at some major deals that could get done before the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline and how they could affect Stanley Cup betting odds.
All odds in this article are from BetMGM.
J.T. Miller Trade Could Strengthen Minnesota Wild’s Cup Chances
One of the bigger surprises of the season is the Minnesota Wild’s success. While they’ve been a middle-of-the-pack team in previous seasons, the Wild have been a top-10 team for the majority of the season and own one of the NHL’s most dangerous offenses.
However, that offense could be even more dangerous if the Wild can add Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller. Minnesota has been linked to 28-year-old as far back as November and it isn’t difficult to imagine how he could help make them an even better team.
2022 NHL Futures Odds for the Minnesota Wild
- 2022 Stanley Cup Odds: +1800
- Odds to Win the Western Conference: +800
- Odds to Win the Central Division: +800
Miller is currently having one of the best seasons of his career. He has 18 goals and 33 assists in 49 games and would be on pace for 85 points if he played all 82 games. He can also play on both the power play and penalty, with that sort of versatility combined with high-end skill being every coach’s dream.
Unlike most players moved at the NHL Trade Deadline, Miller is also signed through the 2022-23 season with a $5.25 million cap hit. While that’s a bargain for a player of his skill, it also means that the Wild may have to give up a bit more to get him out of Vancouver. There have been rumors of Minnesota willing to move winger Kevin Fiala, which might be enough to entice the Canucks since he’s really starting to heat up (22 points in last 18 games).
As it stands, the Wild are ninth in the odds to win the 2022 Stanley Cup, as per BetMGM. Those odds are great on their own, but they could seriously improve with Miller being added — whether that’s on the first or second line. He’s one of the better players who are available on the trade market and Minnesota must make a play for them if management wants a championship this season.
Will Reigning Vezina Winner Fleury Be Moved Before NHL Trade Deadline?
Another name that’s been thrown around a lot in rumors is Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. With the Blackhawks failing to meet expectations this season, the 37-year-old pending free agent could be on the move.
Despite Chicago’s struggles, Fleury still owns a 16-18-4 record in 38 starts this season, recording a .912 save percentage, 2.80 goals-against average and four shutouts. Combine that with the fact that he’s the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and a three-time Stanley Cup champion and it’s easy to see why he’ll garner a lot of attention.
The Washington Capitals have had injury and consistency struggles in net throughout the seasons, while goaltenders Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have no NHL playoff experience. The Capitals current have +3000 (T-No. 13) Stanley Cup odds, but it’s hard imagining them going on a run with their current situation in goal. Fleury would be an instant upgrade and could have people viewing Washington as a contender again.
The Edmonton Oilers have also dealt with goalie issues this season, with Mike Smith dealing with injuries and Mikko Koskinen regressing. There’s a lot of pressure to succeed this year, especially with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl being two of the best players in the world but having no playoff success to show for it. Like the Capitals, the Oilers also have +3000 championship odds, so it’s easy to see how Fleury could have the same effect on them.
Where Will Claude Giroux Go?
Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has been loyal to his team since they drafted him in 2006. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a Stanley Cup ring to show for it. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and with him not getting younger, he’s another big name that could be moved soon.
Recently, Colorado Avalanche reporter Adrian Dater reported that Giroux told Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher that he hopes to be traded to the Avalanche. Colorado is already the top team in the NHL and is BetMGM’s +425 Stanley Cup favorite, so adding Giroux would certainly cement those odds.
Another team that Giroux is reportedly willing to be traded to is the St. Louis Blues. The 34-year-old would likely slot in as a winger due to the Blues’ center depth, but he could still make an impact after recording 38 points in 46 games. St. Louis is listed as having +2500 (No. 12) championship odds, so adding a former All-Star center could help them separate themselves from the pack.
The Wild are also rumored to be on Giroux’s destination list. While he isn’t as young or in his prime as Miller, Giroux having nearly 1,000 games of NHL experience is something Minnesota would value. He’s also played in the Stanley Cup Finals before and that’s the type of experience that could help the Wild succeed.