As the 2016 NHL trade deadline nears, it is time to consider the rental player. The rental player is someone in the last year of his contract who the team has no hope or no interest in re-signing but still doesn’t want to let him walk away for nothing when free agency hits. The team that gets the rental player is usually only responsible for a prorated portion of that player’s salary. It’s a win-win situation.
The issue with rental players is what you give up for one. This season’s batch of top rentals will probably be traded for draft picks, but what level of draft picks? According to ESPN, the days of the first-round pick for a rental player are in the past, and second-round picks may also be in short supply for teams looking to get something in return for an expiring contract. It will be an interesting trade deadline this year, and the five players who follow will be the hottest topics when it comes to rental players.
5. Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins
The talk is that the Boston Bruins want to keep Loui Eriksson, but only if they can get him on a three- or four-year deal. The problem? The market indicates that Erickson could score a six-year deal on the open market. If that three- or four-year Bruins contract is set in stone, look for a playoff team to pick up Erickson as a rental player. The left winger joined the Bruins in 2013-14 in a trade with the Dallas Stars. He is in the final year of a six-year deal he signed with the Stars. The 30-year-old right wing is a solid scorer, netting 20-plus goals in the last two seasons. He’d be an excellent scoring supplement for a team that already has a strong top line.
4. P.A. Parenteau, Toronto Maple Leafs
With the Toronto Maple Leafs in full rebuild mode, most of the players on the roster are on the market, especially players on expiring contracts. P.A. Parenteau is one of those players on an expiring contract. The 32-year-old left wing would be a solid depth scorer for any team, playing on any of the top three lines. This season, Parenteau has 30 points (15G 15A), and if a team likes what they see in the playoffs, they could probably lock Parenteau up on the cheap; his deal with Toronto was for $1.5 million.
3. Keith Yandle, New York Rangers
Keith Yandle will likely not re-sign with the New York Rangers, and the team will have to look to deal him to get some return on their investment. Let’s not forget that the Rangers gave up emerging rookie talent Anthony Duclair to get Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes last year. The reason Yandle won’t re-sign with the Rangers is because they simply won’t be able to afford the $6 million-plus salary that the open market will offer him. Any team looking for a scoring defenseman who can help on the power play would be well served to start working the phones with the Rangers.
2. Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
It’s hard to tell what Eric Staal will command on the open market, but one thing’s for sure, he won’t be able to get a deal that pays him the (on average) $8.25 million he’s getting on his expiring deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. Staal is the type of rental player who a team that thinks it’s one piece away from the Stanley Cup could use. He’s a solid scorer, but most of all he’s been there and done that, winning a Cup with the Hurricanes. In the two years he has been in the playoffs, he’s averaged one point per game.
1. Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets
When the Winnipeg Jets opted to re-sign Dustin Byfuglien, the writing was on the wall; Andrew Ladd was not going to get a new deal with the Jets. The Jets are a small-market team, and the budget just wouldn’t allow them to sign both of their big-name players. So, barring a surprise move, Ladd will be on the market at the trade deadline.
Ladd is a solid all-around player who can help any team in a depth position. If you’re looking for a first- or second-line player who can also kill penalties and help on the power play, Ladd is your guy. The only problem is that the competition will be heavy for him, and we suspect he draws the most interest from playoff teams as the deadline approaches.