reinhart photo by mark williams

As we reach the NHL trade deadline, many of the names in play during trade talk are plying their trade in the minors. Identifying players of interest in the minors who are close to NHL-ready—but may be blocked currently—gives us another angle as we approach the trade deadline (and summer). Here is a team-by-team look, beginning with the Pacific Division.

Last year’s looks:



    • D Brandon Montour. He is RH,
      he is an effective power-play defender (PP 4-19-23, he leads the league
      in PP assists). He has a very good shot, but does bring some chaos, the Ducks can afford to deal him as they are loaded at the position. 
    • L Nick Ritchie. An emerging
      power forward, he is exactly the kind of player the Ducks employ
      successfully. I can’t imagine the pricetag to get him out of their
      system, but this is the player-type I suspect Peter Chiarelli will pursue. Just 20, it would take a lot to get him. 
    • R Stefan Noesen. Regarded as a
      substantial offensive player, he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in 2013,
      and progress back has been slow. He might be a solid ‘buy low’ bet for



    • R Derek Grant. He is an older prospect (25) but has 21 goals in 28 games and that is a terrific total. I imagine the Flames will bring him up after the deadline but he is an interesting player.
    • R Kenny Agostini. Seems like a tweener offensively, but he has average size (6.01, 200, he is 23) and can post offense. Part of the return for Jarome Iginla.
    • G Joni Ortio. Having a poor season, but the Finnish and AHL numbers were reasonable and a team looking for a goalie might be able to buy low on him.


    • C Joey Hishon. Drafted 100 years ago (well, 2010) in the first round, he has battled enormous injury issues over a long period but is a prospect of note today. His current numbers (37gp, 10-15-25) are miles from original expectations, but he is a skill player and may have value.
    • L Dennis Everberg. Something of a giant (6.04, 205, he is 24) has gone JF Jacques in the NHL so far this year (15gp, 0-0-0) but has 70 games in the show. Offense is the question and he is scoring pretty well in the AHL during 2015-16.
    • R Borna Rendulic. Name sounds completely made up, but the size and skill are interesting. He is 6.02, 200 and 23, described as having actual skill. Rendulic is 39gp, 8-13-21 in the AHL and has had a cup of coffee in the NHL this season.


    • L Brendan Ranford. Bill is his uncle, Brendan is a solid AHL scorer looking for an NHL opportunity. Scouting reports have him average at everything but puck skills, but he is 23 and second in team scoring, so there may be a player there.
    • R Brett Ritchie. Injuries have impacted the young PF prospect (he is 6.03, 220 and 22), so he could shake loose now or in the summer. The Stars are developing prospects at a reasonable clip, so one of these players might slip through the cracks.
    • L Curtis McKenzie. Another power forward, he is a little older (24, 6.02 205) and has some NHL experience. There are a bunch of players of similar ability in the AHL, just looking for a chance. He is 27 points in 35 games, solid production.


    • D Griffin Reinhart. Currently in the NHL, Reinhart is part of a logjam of lefties in Edmonton that includes Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson and Darnell Nurse. Although the Oilers acquired him last season at the draft, GM Peter Chiarelli has quickly turned over players via trade in the past. A team looking for a young defender and a possible long-term solution may be interested in Reinhart.
    • D David Musil. Like Reinhart, Musil is a lefty defender who is facing long odds in terms of playing for the Oilers in the immediate future. Add the fact he will be waiver eligible in the fall, Edmonton may be looking to offload him now or in the summer.
    • R Tyler Pitlick. Now finally healthy and scoring well, his future in the organization is uncertain. Suddenly hot offensively (3-4-7 in his last seven games), he is 24 and a team may look at him as a depth addition.


    • L Michael Mersch. Scored goals from the moment he arrived in pro hockey, from bad angles and on good shots. Had 16 goals in the AHL this season and has played in the NHL, might be a trade asset deemed expendable at the deadline.
    • R Justin Auger. I have no idea if he is a real prospect, but at 6.07, 229 (and 21) he can score a little, and unless he is the slowest boat of all, some team is interested in having a look at him as an NHL option.
    • R Valentin Zykov. A new pro who has some promise (he was part of that crazy deal involving Oilers picks), and has shown reasonably well as an AHL rookie. The Kings may be pushing for another Stanley this spring, and he might be an interesting add to a trade.


    • R Barclay Goodrow. At 22, and having a terrific hockey name, Goodrow has already played over 70 NHL games. He was a regular for Todd McLellan last season but has been passed this year. Offers size and some skill, is a throwback checking winger. May be of some value.
    • R Ryan Carpenter. Interesting prospect, undrafted playmaker who has found his way to the top of the Barracuda scoring charts this season. He is 25, 6.01 and 180, scoring at close to a point-per-game in his second AHL season.
    • D Joakim Ryan. Really not much on him aside from great skater, has a range of skills and plays an intelligent game. He is 5.11, 185 and a brand new pro (41gp, 1-14-15) but he looks good from here. Could the Sharks be talked out of him? Interesting prospect.

    Photos by Mark Williams. Next: Central Division.