Seravalli: 5 Trade Target candidates to be 2022’s Coleman or Goodrow

There is only one Blake Coleman, just as there is but one Barclay Goodrow.

Yet, after the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired those two identity-affirming forwards for first-round picks at the 2020 trade deadline and went on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups, their names have become part of the NHL lexicon.

Goodrow and Coleman are the definition, or currency, of team-altering deadline additions that help put the Lightning over the top.

They arrived in separate deals that were also panned at the time as Tampa Bay paying a steep price. As it turns out, the value of Coleman and Goodrow seemed to be appreciated only in Tampa Bay and the two markets from where they arrived: New Jersey and San Jose.

The NHL is a copycat league – and teams are breathlessly scouring rosters and reserve lists to find similar value.

Now, everyone wants to know: Who will be the 2022 versions of Coleman and Goodrow?

In an attempt to answer that question, we developed a set of parameters:

  • Candidate must be under age 27.
  • Candidate must be under team control as RFA or have term on contract. (Sorry, UFAs Nick Paul and Tyler Motte.)
  • Candidate must be reasonably available in a trade. (That means ‘no’ for Tanner Jeannot from Nashville gold Denis Gurianov in Dallas.)
  • Candidate must have salary cap hit under $3 million. Key is value relative to cap hit. (Goodbye, Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton gold Ottawa’s Connor Brown.)

This is not necessarily an exercise in matching the style of play to find the same third line impact and toughness that Goodrow and Coleman brought to the lineup.

Instead, this is an exercise attempting to identify players who may be of significant value to Stanley Cup contending teams, who also have an inexpensive salary cap hit – if not an inexpensive acquisition price.

Here are five candidates to be this year’s version of Coleman or Goodrow as…

The Missing Piece?

1. Artturi Lehkonen
Left Wing / Right Wing, Montreal Canadiens
Age: 26
Shoots: Left
Contract: Pending RFA, $2.3 million AAV
Stats: 49 GP, 7 goals, 13 assists, 20 points, 14:34 TOI
Scoop: Lehkonen is now in his sixth NHL season and has the most games played of anyone on the board, with 387 games under his belt. In the five years since, he has not been able to get back to the 18-goal level that he posted as a rookie, which gave the Habs a big shot in the arm as a 21-year-old. The question other teams have: Is that because this is who Lehkonen is, or is it because of how he’s been deployed? He’s started 60 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone this year, where he seemingly competes on every shift as a defender like his Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Teams love how responsible and tenacious he is, how he plays just about every facet of the game the “right” way – except for score. He is a coach’s dream with his work rate and effort. Lehkonen will undoubtedly be due a raise this offseason, his final as a restricted free agent, and now is the time for Montreal to make a decision. Is he staying or going? Because there is significant value in Lehkonen.

2. Brandon Hagel
Left Wing / Right Wing, Chicago Blackhawks
Age: 23
Shoots: Left
Contract: 2 years remaining, $1.5 million AAV
Stats: 46 GP, 14 goals, 13 assists, 27 points, 17:20 TOI
Scoop: It will be up to the next GM of the Blackhawks to decide if Hagel is truly available, but there is no shortage of interest. In a relatively short period of time, this 2016 sixth-round pick has proven himself to be a valuable player in Chicago who brings a different, Swiss Army Knife-type element. He plays on the first power play and second penalty kill units. He is a 200-foot player with scoring and passing ability. He wins battles along the wall and kills penalties. Hagel also plays bigger than his 6-foot frame might indicate. At his current production rate, he is trending almost exactly toward the 20-goal seasons that Coleman put up with the Devils prior to his trade. He is also probably the closest stylistic fit to Coleman on this list. Given that, he has one of the true bargain contracts in the league for the next two seasons, which makes him worth more to other teams than the rebuilding Blackhawks. That’s also why the ask – believed to be a first-round pick and a top prospect – is also high.

3. Alexandre Texier
Winger / Center, Columbus Blue Jackets
Age: 22
Shoots: Left
Contract: 1 year remaining, $1.525 million AAV
Stats: 36 GP, 11 goals, 9 assists, 20 points, 14:36 ​​TOI
Scoop: Texier has missed the last month with a finger injury, but he appears to be inching closer to a return to the ice. When healthy, he has shown the top-end skill and panache that make him intriguing player with potential for more. He isn’t yet an elite-level facilitator or goal scorer, but could continue to develop into one or the other, or both. His current state production is just fine, on track for 25 goals over a full 82-game slate at this pace. Texier’s effort and compete level is solid, too. When it comes to Texier, for teams perusing players on this board, it will likely boil down to stylistic fit. Are they more interested in a bit of the grind game that Hagel brings, which is absence the high-end skill? Or the flash and dash that comes along with Texier? The acquisition cost for both players is significant. The opportunity for Columbus might be to sell Texier at the highest his value has ever been in the NHL.

4. Lawson Crouse
Left Wing, Arizona Coyotes
Age: 24
Shoots: Left
Contract: Pending RFA, $1.533 million AAV
Stats: 50 GP, 14 goals, 10 assists, 24 points, 17:34 TOI
Scoop: Any player picked at No. 11 overall should be an impact, Top 6 forward – so it’s hard to say that Crouse is living up to his Draft potential, but he’s at least gotten closer this season. Crouse is a decent skater but can be inconsistent with his physical play despite his 6-foot-4 frame. Scouts see a tunnel vision with the puck, an opportunistic goal scorer who is not a facilitator nor a high-end shooter, which is why he tends to be a streaky scorer. Is he still searching for an identity? When playing a simple game, Crouse can be effective with his skating and ability to get in on the forecheck. That, along with his cap hit this season, makes for an intriguing trade target. The problem is, the Coyotes need bodies next season. And there isn’t a list of ‘untouchables’ per se in Arizona (see: Jakob Chychrun is available), but the belief is the Coyotes would ultimately prefer to keep Crouse. We’ll see.

5. Noah Gregor
Left Wing / Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
Age: 23
Shoots: Left
Contract: Pending RFA, $750,000 AAV
Stats: 35 GP, 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points, 15:19 TOI
Scoop: Gregor is probably the least heralded player on the list, the only one who hasn’t broken in with a full-time NHL job until this season. But that also might make him the most intriguing. Gregor has speed to burn. He’s taken on an increased role under Bob Boughner, playing Top 6 minutes and second unit power play time. He is fourth on the team in shots per game, averaging just a shade under three per game, a touch higher than Logan Couture. What’s missing? The goals. Gregor is on pace for just five goals over 82 games, though his career-worst shooting percentage of 2.2 percent work suggests he’s simply been unlucky. Here’s the thing: While he’s not a stylistic match to Goodrow, the underlying numbers would seem to suggest like Goodrow, Gregor clearly has more to give offensively. Through the first 93 games of Goodrow’s career with the Sharks: 7 goals, 14 assists for 21 points. Through Gregor’s first 93 career games with the Sharks: 10 goals, 10 assists for 20 points.

Daily Faceoff’s Scott Burnside threw one more veteran player a mention on Friday’s “Daily Faceoff Show” who may be a close fit for the criteria:

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