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What Types of Players Get First-Round Picks at Trade Deadline?

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

It’s not easy to get a first-round pick at the Trade Deadline.

The San Jose Sharks might be selling the store then: Anthony Duclair, Mike Hoffman, Alexander Barabanov, Kevin Labanc, and Kaapo Kahkonen are among their more prominent pending UFAs.

But based on post-salary cap Deadline history, usually three types of players attract a first-rounder, and they’re probably not these Sharks.

Since 2006, per CapFriendly, a first-round pick has been the centerpiece return in 26 Trade Deadline deals. Just to simplify, I’m focusing on day of Deadline trades, which are enough to give a general sense of what contenders are looking for then.

Also, it’s worth noting that most of these trades aren’t one-for-one, player-for-pick swaps. But again, they give you a good general sense.

Key PlayerNew TeamPositionTrade Deadline Year
Andrew CoppNew York RangersC2022
Anthony ManthaWashington CapitalsW2021
Brady SkjeiCarolina HurricanesD2020
Barclay GoodrowTampa Bay LightningC2020
Jean-Gabriel PageauNew York IslandersC2020
Kevin HayesWinnipeg JetsC2019
Ryan McDonaghTampa Bay LightningD2018
Evander Kane San Jose SharksW 2018
Tomas TatarVegas Golden KnightsW2018
Paul StastnyWinnipeg JetsC2018
Ryan HartmanNashville PredatorsW2018
Keith YandleNew York RangersD2015
Braydon CoburnTampa Bay LightningD2015
Martin St. LouisNew York RangersW2014
Jason PominvilleMinnesota WildW2013
Paul GaustadNashville PredatorsC2012
Dustin PennerLos Angeles KingsW2011
Olli JokinenCalgary FlamesC2009
Brian Campbell San Jose SharksD2008
Marián HossaPittsburgh PenguinsW2008
Adam FooteColorado AvalancheD2008
Ryan SmythNew York IslandersW2007
Bill GuerinSan Jose SharksW2007
Dainius ZubrusBuffalo SabresC2007
Mattias NorstromDallas StarsD2007
Brendan WittNashville PredatorsD2006

Three types of players are most likely to garner a first-round pick at the Trade Deadline:

  • Eight of these 26 trades featured a clear top-four defenseman
  • Eight of these 26 trades featured a center: Andrew Copp, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kevin Hayes, and Paul Stastny were two-way, all-situations pivots, while Barclay Goodrow and Paul Gaustad were defensive specialists, Olli Jokinen and Dainius Zubrus more offensive-leaning
  • 10 of these 26 trades featured a winger, most two-way, all-situations flankers, the exceptions to that being Anthony Mantha, Tomas Tatar, Ryan Hartman, and Bill Guerin
  • There were no goalies traded for a first on Deadline day in the cap era, and in general, netminders don’t command that high of a price

Going back to the San Jose Sharks’ top pending UFAs, none of them are top-four defensemen or two-way, all-situations forwards, the most likely to fetch a first at the Trade Deadline.

Duclair, Hoffman, Barabanov, and Labanc are all offensive-leaning wingers, unlikely to see the PK.

That doesn’t usually get you a first-round pick at the Deadline.

I guess, if you’re the San Jose Sharks, you can look toward the Trade Deadline deals of winger exceptions Mantha, Tatar, Hartman, and Guerin for hope.

But Mantha, Tatar, and Hartman weren’t pending UFAs when they were dealt. Mantha and Tatar were in the first season of four-year deals, and Hartman was an RFA. So their new teams, in theory, weren’t picking them up for just one playoff run.

Meanwhile, 37-year-old Guerin was a pending UFA, but he was also still one of the top snipers in the game, in the midst of a 36-goal campaign when the Sharks acquired him in 2007.

You never know, but none of that sounds like Duclair, Hoffman, Barabanov, or Labanc, unless they’re at their most productive.

Anyway, I don’t think anybody really expects the Sharks to get a first for any of their pending UFAs. But it’s interesting to see the types of players who do.

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