Jack Eichel tops the list of players to be traded this NHL offseason

Mar 6, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) reacts during the third period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Trade Rumors buzz is going to pick up steam as we get closer to the Seattle Expansion Draft. This summer there are several high profile players that are either known to be available or often mentioned in trade talks. Let’s break down the top candidates.

Jack Eichel tops list for our 2021 Offseason Trade Bait Tracker

1. Jack Eichel: Buffalo Sabres, Center, 24 y/o (5 years remaining at $10,000,000)

jack eichel
Jan 11, 2020; Buffalo, New York, USA; Fans greet Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) as he makes his way to the ice before a game against the Vancouver Canucks at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Latest: The Buffalo Sabres are said to be engaged in trade talks for Jack Eichel and several other players according to Darren Dreger of TSN. In a series of tweets, he outlined the latest with Buffalo. “Aside from the ongoing coach search, NHL clubs are calling Buffalo with interest in a number of players, including Jack Eichel,” Dreger wrote this morning. “Initial conversations that will increase as we get closer to the Draft.”

Possible Destinations: New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins

2. Seth Jones: Columbus Blue Jackets, Defense, 26 y/o (1 year remaining at $5,400,000)

kings targeting seth jones
Oct 12, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Latest: Seth Jones will have no shortage of suitors this summer. I noted that the Flyers and Stars were two teams that will likely make offers for him at the draft. However, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic is putting the Kings at the top of the list. The question for me is simple, if the Kings are going to use a majority of their assets (Alex Turcotte) on trying to land Seth Jones, does that take them out of the running for Jack Eichel?

Possible Destinations: Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks

3. Evgeny Kuznetsov: Washington Capitals, Center, 29 y/o (4 years remaining at $7,800,000)

evgeny kuznetsov
Feb 23, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) passes the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Latest: The Capitals were bounced early in the playoffs and there’s chatter that they may trade Evgeny Kuznetsov this summer. “I think we’re always open to trading people if it makes sense for what’s going on,” GM Brian MacLellan said about the possibility of moving him. “If it’s going to make our team better, I think we’re open to it.” The 29 year-old pivot has three years remaining at $7.8 million AAV with a 15 team no move clause. He’s their best tradable asset and will fetch a decent return.

Possible Destinations: New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings

4. Johnny Gaudreau: Calgary Flames, Left Wing, 27 y/o (1 year remaining at $6,750,000)

johnny Gaudreau trade rumors
Feb 6, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau (13) warms up before a game against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Latest: There’s always trade buzz around the rumor mill concerning Johnny Gaudreau. A move to the Philadelphia Flyers seems like an inevitable conclusion. However, during his exit interview Johnny Hockey said, “if [GM Brad Treliving] and the owners are happy with the way I’ve played the last 6, 7 years, its something we can figure out.”Gaudreau wanted it well known how he feels about Calgary too. “I love the city,” he explained. “I don’t think I’ve ever once said I don’t want to be here.” It is believed that the Flames will be making some changes this summer and he’s one of the top candidates to be moved.

Possible Destinations: Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues

5. Sam Reinhart: Buffalo Sabres, Forward, 25 y/o (RFA)

sam reinhart
Mar 16, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart (23) controls the puck against New Jersey Devils center Janne Kuokkanen (59) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Latest: While Jack Eichel is the oft mentioned Sabre to be traded, teams are also calling on Sam Reinhart. It is believed the Columbus Blue Jackets have already contacted Sabres GM Kevyn Adams about him. What seems to get lost in the aftermath of Eichel exit day comments are those of Reinhart. “No one wants to go through a rebuild, especially going into next year turning 26 at the start of it,” he said. It’s possible he could be on the move soon.

Possible Destinations: Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild

Rounding out the top 10 candiates

6. Matt Dumba: The Wild may lose Dumba to the expansion draft, and they will need to make moves in order to either protect him or not lose him for nothing.

7. Vince Dunn: The Blues are in a similar situation with the expansion draft. Dunn was available via trade all during the season.

8. Zach Parise: This may be a mutual parting of ways this summer.

9. Mattias Ekholm: The Predators defenseman will be a UFA in the summer of 2022, so they may attempt to move him at the draft for a higher return than at the deadline.

10. Rickard Rakell: Anaheim Ducks forward is basically in the same situation as Ekholm. He was rumored to be available at the trade deadline but the ask was too high.