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Who says no? Analyzing 5 hypothetical deadline deals

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The 2024 NHL trade deadline is approaching, and there's nothing more fun this time of year than arguing over hypothetical trades.

Here's how this exercise went down: Each of theScore's five NHL news editors (Kyle Cushman, Kayla Douglas, Josh Gold-Smith, Sean O'Leary, and Josh Wegman) submitted a trade to have the other four editors vote on which team they think would say no in that scenario. "Both" and "good deal" were options, too.

Below, I dive into the trades and analyze which aspects make sense and which don't.

Predators land Zegras in blockbuster

Predators receive: Trevor Zegras
Ducks receive: Yaroslav Askarov

Submitted by: Cushman

Editor Who says no?
Douglas Ducks
Gold-Smith Predators
O'Leary Predators
Wegman Ducks

Why it could work: Zegras reportedly isn't off-limits. That doesn't mean a trade before the deadline is likely, but it isn't out of the question, either. Remember, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek isn't the one who drafted Zegras; that was the old regime. Verbeek clearly isn't afraid of shipping out a young building block, as evidenced by the Jamie Drysdale-Cutter Gauthier swap.

Zegras is coming off back-to-back 60-point seasons, but he's battled injuries and hasn't been productive when healthy this year. Still, the highly talented forward could be a perfect fit in Nashville - an organization that's never had a legitimate star down the middle. Zegras could be that, and learning behind Ryan O'Reilly before eventually taking over as the No. 1 center could be a great fit.

Askarov, meanwhile, is arguably the best goalie prospect in hockey. The 21-year-old has posted a stellar .914 save percentage in 73 career AHL games and hasn't looked out of place in his brief NHL stints, either. His freakish athleticism gives him an Andrei Vasilevskiy-type upside.

Scott Taetsch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Why it might not: This could ultimately come down to how Verbeek values goalies. We know Zegras' floor is an offensive-minded top-six forward. With Askarov - and goalies, in general - there's a lot of unknown and unpredictability.

Verbeek may be enticed by Askarov, but given that there's no rush to trade Zegras, he could be more inclined to wait and see if any better offers surface in the offseason. It's also possible Predators GM Barry Trotz would want to wait until Zegras is fully healthy before swinging a major deal like this.

Devils go all-in

Devils receive: Noah Hanifin, Jacob Markstrom
Flames receive: Alexander Holtz, Seamus Casey, Nico Daws, 2024 1st-round pick, 2026 1st-round pick, 2025 2nd-round pick

Submitted by: Douglas

Editor Who says no?
Cushman Devils
Gold-Smith Good deal 🤝
O'Leary Devils
Wegman Devils

Why it could work: The Devils have been searching for a legitimate answer in goal since Cory Schneider's decline. They also have needs on the blue line with Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler injured. This move kills two birds with one stone. Markstrom has been excellent for the Flames this season, and the 34-year-old has two more years left on his contract. Hanifin may just be a rental, but the smooth-skating 27-year-old could fill a need on any defense pairing. An extension wouldn't be out of the question, either.

For the Flames, this might be a no-brainer. Three quality draft picks (especially with the Devils currently outside the playoff picture) and three enticing young players/prospects is a heck of a haul.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Why it might not: The Devils would likely be unwilling to part with such a sizeable package for an aging goaltender and a defenseman who could ultimately end up being a rental - especially in a year where they've struggled with injuries, and neither of the first-round picks is protected. A deal for Markstrom alone, with a lesser package (perhaps involving Vitek Vanecek instead of Daws), could be more sensible.

Guentzel joins offensive juggernaut

Oilers receive: Jake Guentzel (50% retained)
Penguins receive: Dylan Holloway, Connor Brown, 2024 1st-round pick, 2025 3rd-round pick

Submitted by: Gold-Smith

Editor Who says no?
Cushman Penguins
Douglas Penguins
O'Leary Good deal 🤝
Wegman Penguins

Why it could work: Could you imagine Guentzel rounding out a top-six forward group that already features Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Evander Kane? The Oilers have bigger needs on defense, but adding a player of Guentzel's ilk (34 goals in 58 career playoff games) would be tough to pass up for GM Ken Holland. This is the type of all-in move we should expect from Holland in the last year of his deal.

GM Kyle Dubas would likely love to give the Penguins a shot to get into the playoffs. But if they fall any further out of the race - or fail to make up any ground before the deadline - he may have no choice but to trade Guentzel, a pending UFA.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Why it might not: While this trade package features plenty of quantity, the quality is lacking. The first-round pick is likely to be later, the way the Oilers are heading. And Holloway, the No. 14 pick in 2020, has mustered just 13 points in 73 career NHL games. He's still only 22 years old, but his stock is definitely way down.

Trading Guentzel makes sense for the Penguins if they can't agree on an extension before the deadline, but Dubas will likely be seeking a package that includes more of a sure thing coming back in return for the two-time 40-goal-scorer.

Rangers reunite with old friend

Rangers receive: Frank Vatrano, Adam Henrique (50% retained)
Ducks receive: Kaapo Kakko, 2025 1st-round pick

Submitted by: O'Leary

Editor Who says no?
Cushman Rangers
Douglas Good deal 🤝
Gold-Smith Ducks
Wegman Good deal 🤝

Why it could work: The Rangers picked up Vatrano as a deadline rental in 2022, and he performed admirably, recording eight goals and five assists in 22 regular-season games, plus another 13 points in 20 postseason contests. This time around, Vatrano is in the midst of his best season (35-goal pace) and is under contract through next season with a bargain $3.65-million cap hit. He'd be a major upgrade over Kakko, who could benefit from a change of scenery. The 2019 No. 2 pick is having his worst season and is a pending RFA.

Henrique would also be a good fit with the Rangers as another option to play down the middle with Filip Chytil out for the season.

Neither Henrique nor Vatrano is part of Anaheim's long-term future. There's a chance Kakko, 23, could be. Trading for him now would be buying him at his lowest, too.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Why it might not: Henrique, 34, might be best suited for the wing at this point in his career, so there's a case to be made that he doesn't even fill the Rangers' third-line center need.

As much as Kakko has struggled this year, New York may be hesitant to give up on him at his lowest. On the flip side, it's possible the Ducks simply view Kakko as a bust and don't value him this high.

Stars win Tanev sweepstakes

Stars receive: Chris Tanev (50% retained)
Flames receive: Nils Lundkvist, 2024 2nd-round pick, 2026 3rd-round pick

Submitted by: Wegman

Editor Who says no?
Cushman Good deal 🤝
Douglas Stars
Gold-Smith Good deal 🤝
O'Leary Good deal 🤝

Why it could work: Lots of teams could use Tanev - a true warrior on the back end - but he would round out the Stars' blue line perfectly. Slotting him on the second pair with Esa Lindell or Thomas Harley would give Dallas one of the league's best top-four defense cores. His presence would also allow Jani Hakanpaa to slide down to a much more fitting role on the third pair with Ryan Suter.

The Stars are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. Adding someone like Tanev, who's strong defensively and underrated at efficiently breaking out the puck, could put them over the top in the loaded Western Conference. Getting this deal done without surrendering a first-round pick is a bonus, too.

For the Flames, while they don't get a first-rounder, they get Lundkvist - the No. 28 pick in 2018. Even though the Stars gave up a first-round pick for him last season, he's expendable for Dallas and would get a chance to play more regularly in Calgary.

Gerry Thomas / National Hockey League / Getty

Why it might not: Flames GM Craig Conroy may want to hold out and ensure he nets a first-round pick. Considering the lack of quality defensemen available - and the demand for blue-liners around the league - there's a good chance he could pull it off.

For Stars GM Jim Nill, he may be hesitant to part with Lundkvist after just acquiring him last season - even though the Swede would likely be the odd-man out on the back end if a right-handed defenseman like Tanev is acquired.

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