Part 2 of our look at every NHL teams most likely trade piece will focus on the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild.
These eight teams are in very different situations, some facing cap issues, others trying to improve their roster, with some just looking to move contracts prior to the NHL expansion draft.
Let’s take a look:
Columbus Blue Jackets: David Savard
Right off the hop, let’s make it very clear that the Blue Jackets don’t likely want to move defenseman David Savard. But, the market for defensemen is not great after Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug and if teams are going to improve their blue line, they’ll need to make strong trade offers. Columbus could dangle Savard and pick up some excellent scoring punch.
So too, Savard is a UFA in a year’s time and that always tends to get teams to look at whether or not moving a player one year before his contract is due makes more sense than waiting and potentially losing said player for nothing.
Dallas Stars: Ben Bishop
The Dallas Stars are doing wonderfully, having just secured themselves a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. Players they might have otherwise hoped to move prior to this year’s postseason are now playing well and earning their keep. The one player who hasn’t pulled his weight (not really his fault) is goaltender Ben Bishop.
Bishop has been injured, so Anton Khudobin has filled in and been spectacular. Should the Stars win the Cup, he’ll get votes for the Conn Smythe award. And, if he does, how do the Dallas Stars not look at retaining the pending unrestricted free agent?
GM Jim Nill has already said he wishes he’d signed Khudobin to a five-year deal, so one has to think he’s going to talk to Khodobin about an extension. If he signs the goalkeeper, Bishop could be moved.
Bishop has a 10-team no trade deal and he’s making $4.9 million per season over the next three seasons. It might not be the easiest contract to move.
Detroit Red Wings: Anthony Mantha
Anthony Mantha is a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights. That means he could get paid this offseason if the Red Wings elect to keep him. That will be the question.
Does a rebuilding team want to invest more than $3.3 million in Mantha moving forward? They won’t have trouble fitting him in, but they may also take big swings in free agency.
Edmonton Oilers: Matt Benning
There is lots of talk out of Edmonton that a defenseman could be moved. Some are suggesting Adam Larsson could be the guy who goes. Others are wondering if Oscar Klefbom will be used to pick up a scoring forward. The easiest piece to move is Matt Benning.
Benning is restricted free agent who won’t cost a lot to extend, but every penny counts for the Oilers. And, with a number of teams looking to improve their blue line, Benning is a strong depth option who teams will see as reliable Meanwhile, the Oilers may elevate a prospect into Benning’s spot, saving a few bucks by employing someone on an entry-level deal.
Florida Panthers: Mike Hoffman
Mike Hoffman is a pending unrestricted free agent, but there might be a trade for his negotiating rights that makes sense for a team since the options at forward aren’t particularly deep.
There have already been trades this offseason for pending free agents, and Hoffman will have suitors for his services. It might pay dividends for a team to get out in front of that deal and try to get an edge on signing him.
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick
The Los Angeles Kings are rebuilding and looking to move salary. Among the higher-priced roster members is goaltender Jonathan Quick. The 34-year-old has three seasons left on a contract that pays $5.8 million per season. But, he makes considerably less than that in actual dollars and he lacks trade protection. If a team feels like they’re striking out on other netminders, maybe they give him a look, especially if the Kings are willing to retain some salary on a deal.
There are injury issues that come with acquiring Quick so this would be a buyer beware situation. Still, it likely wouldn’t take a lot to convince the Kings to let him go.
Minnesota Wild: Matt Dumba
Expect there to a be a lot of talk now that defenseman Jonas Brodin has signed a long-term extension with the team. Dumba is the only one of the Wild’s big four on defense that lacks trade protection and as such, he’s likely to be exposed in the NHL expansion draft if the Wild don’t trade him.
There will be plenty of suitors for Dumba’s services if the Wild make him available, including potential interest from the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs.
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