A Leafs fan favourite jumps into the top 25
(24) Jonathan Huberdeau – FLA (Age: 27/Cap Hit: $5.9M/3 Years Left)
Jonathan Huberdeau quietly plies his trade in Florida and goes mostly unnoticed by fans. I had him much lower on the list until I showed it to a friend who implored me to look deeper into Huberdeau’s career.
He was right- the former Saint John Sea Dog has been a model of consistency since joining the league in the 2012-13 season. Over 536 career games, Huberdeau has notched 437 points. In 2019-20, the former third overall pick had arguable his best season, picking up 78 points in 69 games for the Panthers.
At 27 years of age, Huberdeau is just entering his prime and is signed to a modest $5.9 million cap hit for three more seasons. This makes him one of the best trade chips in all of the NHL.
(23) Brad Marchand – BOS (Age: 32/Cap Hit: $6.125M/5 Years Left)
Putting my journalistic hat aside, and my Maple Leafs fan hat on, I did not want Brad Marchand to be this high on the list. But there is no way to deny how strong of a presence he is for the Bruins.
Not only is Marchand one of the league’s premiere pests, but he also has become an elite offensive force. The Bruins drafted him 71st overall in 2006, and he has paid serious dividends.
In 751 career games for the B’s, the Halifax native has 646 points. During the postseason, he has added 95 points in 121 games. Marchand has also been a thorn in opponents’ sides, racking up 756 career penalty minutes.
Yes, he has played on a perennial contender, but even still, Marchand is a career plus-221. His game has shown no signs of slipping either after picking up 100 points in 2018-19 and following it up with 87 points in 70 games this past season.
Not only is he a fantastic player, but Marchand is also underpaid given his resume in the league. Over the next five seasons, Boston has him under contract for $6.125 million.
(22) Evgeni Malkin – PIT (Age: 34/ Cap Hit: $9.5M/2 Years Left)
Evgeni Malkin has a decorated NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins since being drafted second overall in 2004. In 907 games, Geno has amassed 1076 points and has also been better than a point per game in the playoffs for his career.
The Russian is not slowing down either, after recording 74 points in 55 games this past season. Given his age, it does not seem that Malkin has much room to go up this list in the future, but any team would love to have him.
The Pens have him signed for two more seasons at a $9.5 million cap hit. Malkin will be vital in trying to squeeze another Stanley Cup run out of the veteran Penguins squad.
(21) Cale Makar – COL (Age: 21/Cap Hit $820K/1 Year Left)
You can more or less take the Quinn Hughes information and say ‘Ditto’ for Cale Makar. Another amazingly poised talent on the blueline given his age, Makar, is also a finalist for the Calder.
The 2017 fourth overall selection stormed onto the scene in last season’s playoffs, where he recorded six points in ten games. This season, in 57 games, Makar added another 50 points.
Like Hughes, he was fantastic in the 2020 playoffs as well, posting 15 points in 15 games. He was also a plus-12 in the postseason. There is not much to dislike about his game.
You are splitting hairs when it comes to Hughes and Makar, and a case could be made for either. Makar’s also in the final year of his entry-level contract and will be due a massive raise after this season.
COMING SOON: PLAYERS RANKED 20-11
What did you think of the players ranked 30 to 21? Who do you think will be rounding out the league’s top 20 trade assets? Are there any Toronto Maple Leafs or Buffalo Sabres left on the list? Let us know in the comments below!