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NHL Trades and Rumors

Kessel Listed Among Possible Cap Casualty Trade Names

There are going to be a numbers of players traded in the NHL this offseason because of cap hits: Phil Kessel, Ben Bishop, Tyler Bozak and…

Phil Kessel Trade

There are a number of reasons to trade a player. General managers are often looking to improve an area of weakness by moving a surplus in an area of strength. There’s also the potential of losing a player for nothing prior to a contract year, so teams will ship out said player for an asset. Sometimes teams and players don’t see eye to eye and sometimes production starts to fade and a franchise feels the need to move in a different direction.

One of the biggest reasons players will get traded is for financial reasons. In this particular NHL offseason, due to salary cap complexities, those types of trades are front page news. And, as 32 teams deal with a flat salary cap (one they didn’t see coming), most will be forced to do some roster shuffling. Some more than others.

TSN Hockey Insider Frank Seravalli listed 10 players who could be in play this off-season given the financial or salary cap implications their teams are facing. Four of them are extremely interesting case studies:

Phil Kessel – Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes are looking to shed salary in a major way this offseason. Reports are that they’re open to trading anyone 25 years or older and while a good portion of the conversation has surrounded Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phil Kessel might be one of the more interesting names to watch.

An internal budget likely makes the $6 million he’s owed in real money per season something the team would like to rid themselves of. He’s a $6.8 million cap hit and that won’t be easy for most teams to swallow, but if the Coyotes retain some salary, Kessel is an effective scorer for two more seasons. How many teams might take a look if he comes in around $4 million for the next two seasons?

This past season was Kessel’s worst, scoring only 38 points in 70 games. One goal in nine playoff games didn’t help his cause much either. But, this is also a player one season removed from 82 and 92 point seasons. Put him on a team with extremely skilled centers and he could get back to a point-per-game pace.

Related: Coyotes Give GMs Green Light on Multiple Trade Offers [Report]

Tyler Bozak – St. Louis Blues

Things may have changed with the news Alex Pietrangelo is moving on from the St. Louis Blues and testing free agency, but the Blues might still choose to move some salary out this offseason. Tyler Bozak has one-year left on his deal at a $5 million cap hit. That’s a bit much for a contending team that needs to shed salary but stay competitive.

A traditionally effective depth center, Bozak’s production has dropped every season since the 2016-17 campaign.

Ben Bishop – Dallas Stars

Ben Bishop will be an interesting name to watch out of Dallas. Prior to the Dallas Stars run to the Stanley Cup Final, Bishop was the guy in Dallas. Now, with the play of Anton Khudobin, he’s an afterthought.

But, he can’t remain an afterthought for long. The Stars owe him over $4.9 million for three more seasons. That wouldn’t be so bad if the team didn’t have a desire to re-sign Khudobin, which they do. Bishops injury history is going to make him difficult to trade, especially in a market flooded with goaltenders who should come in at a lower price point.

The only way Dallas realistically moves him is in a trade where they retain a good chunk of his salary.

Andreas Athanasiou – Edmonton Oilers

Expect the Oilers to walk away from winger Andreas Athanasiou. That’s a bummer for the organization as they spent two second-round picks to acquire his services at the trade deadline, but his $3 million qualifying offer is too much to swallow on a team already tight against the cap.

If Athanasiou had proven he could play with Connor McDavid in his short stint in Edmonton, this would be a completely different situation. He wasn’t able to do so and the Oilers are actively going to try and move him before October 9, 2020.

Next: [Report] Pietrangelo Commits to Meeting With Other Teams

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