More than two-thirds of the NHL is now in offseason mode and that means is we are starting to get some seriously juicy trade rumours from around the league. That means it’s time to fire back up my weekly rumours blog to take you through all the interesting chatter that’s going on in the hockey world.
To start this week’s blog, I figured it would be good to take a look at some of the big names that are reportedly on the trade market.
The big report from this week came out of Columbus, where sources told Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that Seth Jones has informed the organization that he does not intend to sign a contract extension and will test the free-agent market next summer.
Jones has had a rough couple of seasons, and personally, I think he’s become overrated. He’s a solid top-four guy and if he’s paired with the right partner, he can give you good top pairing minutes. But I worry that some team out there will offer him $7-8m per year on a long-term deal, so if I was the Oilers, I would stay away.
If the Jackets did decide to move on from him, I’m sure they will get some team to overpay and this might honestly be their best chance to kickstart a potential rebuild or go and get a stud top-six centreman plus some extra assets.
It is worth remembering that GM Jarmo Kekalainen is not the kind of GM who is going to be bullied or pressured into making a move. He’ll set his price and he likely won’t move from it. Still, I have a funny feeling that we’ll see a move happen this summer.
This one isn’t surprising. We have been hearing for about a month that the Capitals might be fed up with Kuznetsov. His on-ice play has been inconsistent and the off-ice issues continue to be a story. It feels like Kuznetsov has played his last game as a Capital.
The question now becomes whether or not the Capitals are looking for future assets or if they’ll try to swing a hockey deal, kind of like what they did at the deadline with the Jakob Vrana and Anthony Mantha trade.
The Oilers shouldn’t even think about a move for Kuznetsov, but I wonder if the Calgary Flames would be. It’s really unclear right now which teams around the league would be interested in the 29-year-old forward.
His contract will make him very difficult to move though. He’ll make $7.8m per season for the next four years.
I really debated including Marner on this list because personally, I don’t think the Leafs are going to trade him. He is a dynamic offensive talent and most of the talk around trading him is coming from angry corners of the fan base, not legitimate media sources.
If they did move on from Marner, there would be a long line of teams interested in him. But again, I don’t think we’ll see major changes in Toronto this offseason. I think they’re better off trying again with this same core. Making rash decisions based on a disappointing series against the Habs could lead to some big mistakes.
Could it happen? I suppose anything is possible. Is it likely? It certainly doesn’t sound like it.
He is no doubt the biggest name on the trade market this offseason and if a deal for Eichel happens, it will go down as one of the biggest trades in NHL history. He’s a legit top-five forward in the NHL, he’s only 24-years-old, and he’s under contract for five more seasons. The Sabres could get a massive package for Eichel but still, it will be hard for them to win a trade where they send a legitimate superstar out the door.
The LA Kings and the New York Rangers make the most sense in terms of landing spots but it is worth noting that Eichel doesn’t have any trade protection, so the Sabres can really move him to the highest bidder.
The biggest story right now in regards to Eichel and the Sabres though is the situation with his neck injury. Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the NHL and NHLPA have been a part of the process as they try to figure out next steps.
Of all the names I’ve listed here, Reinhart is clearly the best fit for the Edmonton Oilers. He can play either centre of the wing, he’s a pending RFA so the Oilers would control his rights, and he’s scored at least 22 goals in each of the past four seasons. His acquisition cost would be high, likely a first-round pick and at least one other asset, and on a long-term deal, he would likely be asking for well north of $6 million a season, but the Oilers should be making a call to the Sabres about Reinhart.
Of course, they won’t be the only team looking to take advantage of a Sabres team that has a handful of disgruntled players on their roster. Elliotte Friedman has linked the Columbus Blue Jackets to the 25-year-old Reinhart and even mentioned the idea of the Jackets sending goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to Buffalo in the move.
That would make sense and I’m sure there are a dozen other teams around the league who would be interested in the versatile, skilled forward. But he’s the big name that I could see Ken Holland eyeing up on the trade market.
- The Penguins will reportedly be in the market for a goaltender following their first-round exit. Based on GM Ron Hextall’s recent comments, it sounds like Jarry will be back, but it also sounds like they will have a more veteran option to pair with him.
- Speaking of goaltenders, the Blue Jackets will likely move on from one of Elvis Merzlikins or Jonas Korpisalo. I mentioned earlier the idea of trading him for Sam Reinhart. That would make a lot of sense.
- Friedman added on the 31 Thoughts podcast that the Blue Jackets are expected to hang on to Patrik Laine. No real surprise there for my perspective.
- Changes will likely be coming in Calgary. Frank Seravalli reported on The DFO Rundown a week ago that if the Flames don’t make changes in their front office, then some players will be moved out. I wouldn’t be stunned if the core gets shaken up.
- The Predators made a late-season charge, but they couldn’t get past the first round. I wonder if we’ll see big changes there. Mattias Ekholm is the big name to keep an eye on. I do think they’ll wait until after the expansion draft to make a move though. If a team doesn’t have to worry about protecting Ekholm, then they’d likely give up a little bit more in the trade.
- The Florida Panthers are in an interesting spot ahead of the expansion draft. They’d love to get rid of either Keith Yandle or Sergei Bobrovsky but their contracts would likely mean that the Panthers would have to add a serious sweetener if they want the NHL’s32nd franchise to even consider the idea of taking them.