NHL: Which Western Conference teams should stay, buy, and sell?

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Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching and it’s time to look at which teams will be buyers, sellers, or stay the course in the Western Conference.

This year, the NHL Trade Deadline is February 24, 2020, and it is fast approaching. The deadline marks the moment that general managers need to make a decision on which course their team will be taking.

Are they going to go all-in for the playoffs? Will they sell for the future or stay their course? Here are where these teams stand, Western Conference Edition.

Stay the Course

1. Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are in a very critical time in their organization’s history. They are coming off their dynasty years and are trying to figure out if they have the pieces to remain competitive or to rebuild for the future. With two cornerstone players in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to keep in mind, Stan Bowman has a very tough road ahead of him.

The Blackhawks were playing very well heading into the All-Star break, going 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are three points back of a wild card spot and Kane is having another terrific season.

This team has the chance to make it to the playoffs, but they shouldn’t mortgage their future for a playoff run. The trade market this season isn’t too impressive and there is no player that will really move the needle for Chicago. They should stay the course, properly evaluate what they have, and make decisions in the offseason.

Chicago has five RFAs and three UFAs at the end of this season, including big names like Dylan Strome (RFA), Robin Lehner (UFA), and Corey Crawford (UFA). The team will need to make some changes and having a full season to understand what your players are is more important to Bowman than a little playoff run.

2. Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks rebuild has been going along quite well, to say the least. Jim Benning‘s drafts have given the team incredible young talent to build around like Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser. The team has gone above expectations this season and are currently the top team in a very competitive Pacific Division. While this has been a surprise, the Canucks are not a team that will be competing for a Stanley Cup.

This team is still too young and they need more if they are going to become a top competitor in the league. Getting to the playoffs will be a good experience for the group, but the Canucks should not trade away their assets for a rental player. They are still in a rebuild and those young prospects and picks could be used to acquire a more impactful player in the future than a rental.

3. Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche have one of the best teams in the NHL. They are tied for first in the league in goals per game (3.7) and their team save percentage is .910 (8th in the league). This team can score and can shut their opponents down which is a recipe for success.

In the offseason, Joe Sakic made some huge moves, bolstering their forward depth with the acquisition of Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. In addition to top NHL players in Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen, this team is stacked.

They have improved dramatically from the team that lost in game 7 to the San Jose Sharks just a season ago and they are a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup this season. Sakic has done plenty for this team and it’s time for the players to bring them the rest of the way.

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