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Block Watch: 5 defensemen who may discover new properties this season

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Defensemen have been stealing numerous the highlight within the rumor mill. Listed below are 5 blueliners who may discover new properties earlier than the commerce deadline.Rasmus Ristolainen|Invoice Wippert/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesOh, commerce rumors. You recognize you like them. They’re what makes the mid-season lull enjoyable: figuring out groups can be making massive strikes forward of the Feb. 24 commerce deadline.
So far, there was no scarcity of rumors involving defensemen, notably puck-moving defenders, however Erik Gudbranson’s transfer from the Pittsburgh Penguins to Anaheim Geese has been the one commerce of word this season that has concerned a rearguard.
However which different defensemen might be on the transfer earlier than the commerce freeze? Listed below are 5 blueliners who may discover new properties:
Rasmus Ristolainen, 25 (Buffalo Sabres)Whispers of Ristolainen shifting alongside have been circulating over the previous few months, however the Sabres could have achieved simply the proper factor by retaining him for so long as they’ve. With a goals-above alternative of 5.1 and a wins-above alternative of zero.9, Ristolainen leads all Sabres defensemen in each classes and trails simply Jack Eichel for the general staff lead, per Evolving-Hockey. That’s partly because of how a lot he’s been used. Ristolainen has averaged 17 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time per sport this season and has a 47.four anticipated goals-for proportion. Previously two, nevertheless, he’s fallen to 15 minutes of even-strength motion and an xGF% of 52.91. You do the mathematics. He’s higher when he’s not shouldering the load.
Shayne Gostisbehere, 26 (Philadelphia Flyers)What a distinction two years makes. In 2017-18, Gostisbehere’s 65-point season earned him Norris Trophy consideration and he appeared to be nicely on his method to turning into one of many NHL’s finest offensive defensemen. However Gostisbehere has been a wholesome scratch on a number of events this season and is on tempo for simply 28 factors, the fewest of his NHL profession. His common ice time is the bottom it has ever been at 18:19, too, and it’s clear Gostisbehere and coach Alain Vigneault aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. The Montreal Canadiens have been rumored to have curiosity within the defender over the summer season and hypothesis of a commerce has ramped up over the previous two weeks with Gostisbehere spending a number of video games watching from the press field. A brand new residence and a renewed alternative may present Gostisbehere with a spark.
Alec Martinez,  32 (Los Angeles Kings)The Kings are usually not an excellent hockey staff proper now. Who may have seen that coming? The membership will need to transfer some veterans so as to add property, and Martinez will seemingly be one of many first candidates to go. Martinez is presently on injured reserve after taking a skate to the wrist in late November, however previous to that, his ice time fell from 24 minutes per sport to 18 minutes within the six video games he performed earlier than the damage. At 32, the top-four defender can nonetheless chip in about 20 factors a season, however he’s higher suited to a stay-at-home function. Martinez is thought for his potential to maintain it easy and keep out of bother, so pairing him up with a free-flowing teen may gain advantage a staff searching for a veteran presence.
Erik Gustafsson, 27 (Chicago Blackhawks)Gustafsson was one in every of Chicago’s largest surprises final season, blowing up for a 60-point season throughout his first full yr within the NHL. Gustafsson is on tempo to report half of that this season and was even a wholesome scratch on a number of events in November with the Hawks as an alternative giving seems to rookies Adam Boqvist and Dennis Gilbert. Given the late-blooming nature of the 27-year-old’s profession and the truth that he produced at a excessive charge throughout a nothing season for the Blackhawks, some surprise if he can really be a constant producer within the NHL. As a pending UFA, Gustafsson might be an excellent gamble for a staff needing a bit of additional scoring depth, however his subsequent contract might be messy if he doesn’t begin producing once more.
Julius Honka, 24 (Dallas Stars)This one is hard. As an unsigned RFA, and one who didn’t signal earlier than the Dec. 1 signing deadline, Honka can’t play within the NHL this season. It’s clear the Stars and Honka are not a match, however at 24, he’s nonetheless younger sufficient to be part of one other staff’s future. The 2-way defenseman struggled to carry a full-time function in Dallas – most notably, he was scratched for the ultimate 35 video games of the common season and the complete playoffs – so a staff trying to purchase Honka could find a way achieve this at a low value. The primary-round decide in 2014 (14th general) has fallen wanting expectations, however he seems to have discovered his groove once more with JYP within the Finnish League.
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Tags: nhlConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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