As the NHL finishes the extremely odd 2020 playoff season, a good number of teams are already starting to make moves. On Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens picked up Joel Edmundon from the Carolina Hurricanes, after already grabbing Jake Allen from the St. Louis Blues. The Penguins have two deals, acquiring Kasperi Kapanen and moving out Nick Bjugstad and these few trades likely don’t even begin to tell the story when it comes to how much trade action is likely to take place over the next few months.
In an effort to provide a more comprehensive summary of some of the biggest news items and trade talk over the past couple of weeks, we’ve compiled a list of every NHL’s teams most likely trade piece.
We’ll break these posts off into parts, tackling 8 teams in each section:
Anaheim Ducks: Josh Manson
There’s not been a ton of talk surrounding the Anaheim Ducks yet. There was speculation the team had interest in Kasperi Kapanen before he was moved to Pittsburgh, but the question was why? Anaheim is moving closer to a rebuild than they are becoming a contender and pieces will likely be moved out before anything other than prospects and draft picks are added.
The Ducks have a few pieces they can offer from their blue line including Cam Fowler, Hapmus Lindholm and Josh Manson. Manson makes the most sense considering his size, contract and position.
He’s 6’3″ and 224 pounds, 28 years old and a right-shot defenseman makes $4.1 million and logs over 20 minutes per game. That’s an attractive get for a number of teams and the Ducks could maximize the value coming back by moving him for picks and taking on players with salary.
Arizona Coyotes: Darcy Kuemper
There’s a lot of talk surrounding defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but that’s a much more difficult deal to do than one that will involve goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
The Coyotes need to recoup draft picks after getting penalized by the NHL for breaking NHL Combine testing rules, they’ll have internal revenue issues and they probably know they won’t be all that competitive next season if they lose a player like Taylor Hall.
The Oilers are rumored to be interested in Kuemper but they won’t be the only team. Kuemper is a solid netminder on a decent contract and he just wowed a lot of teams with his performance in this year’s postseason.
Boston Bruins: Jake DeBrusk
We could have gone with Tuukka Rask thanks to uncertainty surrounding his future. Picking Torey Krug’s rights would have also made sense if there’s indication he won’t be returning. It was Jake DeBrusk who gets the nod here because the Bruins will need to make some tough decisions with their cap, will look at making a few slight changes after a disappointing exit from the postseason and DeBrusk is a restricted free agent due for a hefty raise.
The Bruins simply don’t have room for everyone and if DeBrusk isn’t looking to take a hometown discount to stick around, he’s likely to be moved.
There’s also talk the Bruins could be making other moves, including Brandon Carlo.
Buffalo Sabres: Brandon Montour
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, while speaking on a recent 31 Thoughts podcast, a conversation about the Edmonton Oilers offseason plans for Andreas Athanasiou shifted to a comment about Brandon Montour’s situation in Buffalo. The idea is that the Sabres don’t want to commit the money required to qualify him. Friedman said, “You know who I heard is going to be that guy too maybe? Brandon Montour in Buffalo.” Marek responded, “I heard that.”
If the Sabres are willing to let Montour walk away as a restricted free agent, perhaps they try to trade his rights first. If they can recoup some sort of asset after paying a hefty price to acquire him, that’s better than nothing.
Another right-hand shot, despite his lousy season, he’s only making $3.387 million. Some clubs may be willing to take a chance on him.
Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau
Gaudreau says he doesn’t want to leave. Still, trade talk surrounds the often-dynamic scorer. In fact, it might be the best move to send Gaudreau to another destination if the Flames don’t believe he can be an effective player for them in the playoffs and they want to improve what is likely to be a very different-looking blue line.
Gaudreau’s inability to come through in crunch time is troubling and the team likely feels they can get something for him now. Sportsnet’s Eric Francis went so far as to say Gaudreau “likely played his last game as a Calgary Flame.”
He’s under contract for two more years at a $6.8 million price tag and he’s one of those players that could turn out to be a steal if he gets back to his old offensive production numbers. It’s amazing how things have gone, considering, at one time, was considered a cornerstone piece.
Carolina Hurricanes: Petr Mrazek
There’s talk the Hurricanes are closely looking at Frederik Andersen out of Toronto and the reason would be that they aren’t sold on their goaltending tandem of James Reimer and Petr Mrazek. This is not to suggest the Leafs have interest in Mrazek, but he’s less expensive and the stronger of the two netminders. Plus, he doesn’t have a history with the Maple Leafs like Reimer does. It could simply be that the Hurricanes try to move Mrazek to make room for an Andersen if he’s really an option.
There will be a lot of movement when it comes to NHL goaltenders this offseason and the Hurricanes have already made a deal this Fall. There should be more as they have a ton of unrestricted free agent defensemen they likely don’t plan to re-sign.
Chicago Blackhawks: Brandon Saad
The Chicago Blackhawks are going to have to make notable sacrifices this offseason based on the size of their to-do list. Between Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Corey Crawford and other smaller contracts, the team can’t keep everyone. The first instinct will be to shop expensive forwards that might be attractive for teams with cap space.
Brandon Saad is that guy in Chicago. He’s slated to make $6 million for one more season before hitting unrestricted free agency and he’s likely too expensive to hang on to.
Colorado Avalanche: Nikita Zadorov
The Colorado Avalanche are a team that could really go for it this offseason. Their window to compete isn’t closing, but the window on some of their team-friendly contracts is and that could mean losing a couple productive but costly pieces in an attempt to grab extremely effective players on short-term deals.
As such, Zadorov’s RFA status with arbitration rights makes him a player the team might move to take the next step up. He just completing a one-year contract worth $3.2 million and he could seek a more lucrative long-term deal. The Avs will need to decide if he’s worth committing to or if another, possibly higher-end defenseman shakes loose on a one-year deal. Remember, the Avs will need to keep space open to pay Cale Makar a crazy amount of money in a year’s time.
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