Opinion: 5 under-the-radar players who could move at the deadline

Published February 23, 2022 at 8:48

We've all spent a lot of time talking about the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline and the names of the most popular players on every teams' radars: Chiarot, Giroux, Fleury, Miller, Kessel, Klingberg and the list goes on.

Acquiring such accomplished players often comes at a high price and not every playoff-bound team has the cap space nor assets which they want to part with in order to add a player of such stature.

Here's a list of five "under-the-radar" players that could prove to be real difference makers for the teams that acquire them for this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs:

1. Paul Statsny -- Winnipeg Jets

At 35 years old, Stastny is likely nearing the end of his career, but he's still contributing with the Winnipeg Jets. He's in his final year of his deal which carries an AAV of $3.75M and the Jets are likely to move on from him at season's end. His experience and solid two-way play is sure to attract attention from teams looking to make a deep run, they'll just have to figure out how to make the money work on both ends.

2. Cal Clutterbuck -- New York Islanders

Another veteran who's on an expiring contract but, unlike Stastny's Jets, the Islanders have some cap space and can likely retain a portion of Clutterbuck's $3.5M salary. Clutterbuck usually plays as part of a team's energy line as he's known for his heavy, passionate play. He did, however, elevate his goals-per-game number during the 2020-2021 Islanders' post-season appearances, scoring four goals in 19 games -- which is all that he notched during 50 regular season appearances.

3. Marc Staal -- Detroit Red Wings

It's hard to believe his name hasn't been mentioned much at all in the time leading up to this year's NHL Trade Deadline. Staal has plenty of playoff experience from his time with the Rangers (lost in the Finals in '13-'14) and is the stereotypical add-on for teams at this time of year: veteran, depth defense. Staal is 35 and this might be his last year. Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will undoubtedly be looking to do right by the veteran of 992 NHL games and extend him the courtesy of having one last kick at the The Cup with a contender and I'd be absolutely shocked if Staal weren't traded and didn't make an impact wherever he lands.

4. Andy Greene -- New York Islanders

Greene could very well be retiring at the end of the season when his league-minimum contract expires. Isles' GM Lou Lamoriello has a long history with Greene, all the way back to signing him as an undrafted player out of college when Lamoriello ran the Devils' organization and I'd bet dollars to donuts that his old friend finds Greene a contender to land with where his stay-at-home, defense-first style will be appreciated.

5. Andrew Cogliano -- San Jose Sharks

The veteran centreman is in his 16th NHL season on a Sharks team that's going nowhere this year. With his expiring contract, the Sharks are likely going to want to flip him for something rather than losing him for nothing at season's end and there are certain to be several teams interested in adding a defensively-responsible veteran with plenty of playoff experience.

Who's on your list of under the radar players that could have a positive effect on a new team during this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs?
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