Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres: NHL Trade Value Rankings Part 1

General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
General manager Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Rules for the NHL Trade Value Rankings

As mentioned above, specific rules allow for the nuances of trade value to be precise. The following rules helped guide my decisions:

Cap hits and length of deals are considered part of the overall cost — of course, in the NHL, entry-level contracts are not commonly traded, but this hypothetical exercise is quite valuable. Brady Tkachuk will make $925K for the 2020–21 season and then is in for a massive payday — that matters. Is that contract more beneficial than having Jonathan Huberdeau at $5.9 million for the next three years?

  • Age and mileage are important — on the surface, Evgeni Malkin is a better player than Dylan Larkin, but the Wings’ star is a decade younger. Per the first rule, he also makes less money. The question is whether you want 3 or 4 more high-level Malkin years or 10–12 from Larkin.
  • For this exercise, pretend that teams can take on additional cap hits today but have to make moves to get back under the cap tomorrow.
  • While it is doubtful that Pittsburgh and Washington are going to get together on a trade framework surrounding Alex Ovechkin and Sydney Crosby, each GM would have to at least field the call. This matters in the grand scheme of things.
  • The list counts down to the most valuable player. So if Team A calls offering player #7 for player #10, Team B needs to think about it.
  • For simplicity, only players who played ten games or more during the 2019-20 NHL Season are eligible. A separate Top Prospects article will be coming in the future.
  • Skaters must have averaged a minimum of 0.50 points per game (PPG) during the 2019-20 season.
  • Goaltenders must have started a minimum of 20 games during the 2019-20 season to be eligible.
  • Cap hits are for the 2020-21 season and include any extensions previously signed.
  • The salary cap is going to remain flat at $81.5 million next season.