The Seattle Kraken expansion is set for this July 21 and many teams will be trying to figure out ways to keep certain players. Sure, there could be side deals like the one Pittsburgh made with Las Vegas to select Marc-Andre Fleury but the cost to do business with Ron Francis is high.
Over at Pro Hockey Rumors, they’ve identified some teams that will need to do some maneuvering before the expansion draft. Three of which are very likely to make trades before then.
Blue Jackets, Devils, and Sharks have work to do before Seattle Expansion
When it comes to needing to protect certain players, the Blue Jackets, Devils, and Sharks are most likely in need to make some moves prior to July 21. For the Blue Jackets, do they expose Gustav Nyquist? Columbus needs all the scoring they can get so it isn’t advisable. Another option could be Eric Robinson, who is big young forward they also would like to keep. It’s possible that the Jackets may try to trade for a veteran forward to meet the expansion criteria to protect those players.
The Devils are in an even more difficult position with a lot of young players they don’t want to lose. They have a bunch of RFA forwards that need to be extended like Michael McLeod and Yegor Sharangovich. A move to bring in a veteran forward to expose seems highly probable here.
Lastly the San Jose Sharks have a ton of older players on high paying contracts mostly with no move clauses. Brent Burns can be exposed, but do they want to lose him for nothing? Same for Evander Kane. Per Zach Leach he believes the Sharks will lose young Dylan Gambrell unless they bring in two forwards that meet the exposure criteria.
New York Rangers face offseason dilemma
The Blueshirts were all but mathematically eliminated yesterday from the playoffs with Boston’s win over the Sabres and their loss to the Flyers. New York well known secret is that they are looking to trade for a game breaker at center. The primary target is disgruntled superstar Jack Eichel.
They are willing to give up a lot to get him, as long as it is reasonable. The combination of “four first round draft picks” rumored to be asked by the Sabres is never going to happen. The Rangers have a log jam on the wings, and with LW Chris Kreider unlikely to waive his no move clause to go to the Sabres we need to look at the right side.
Pavel Buchnevich is an RFA with arbitration rights and will be eyeing a deal north of $6 million per season. His cost could make the decision to trade him for a star center that much easier. It is unlikely Kaapo Kakko would be considered, but Vitali Kravtsov’s impressive start makes the decision tougher if they want to retain Buchnevich.
Make no mistake about it, I know the Rangers are going to go hard for Eichel if he’s available since they already have once before. It’s going to cost them one of their three excellent right wings, the dilemma is which one?
Some GM’s hate the way LTIR is being used
One final note, and I’d like to see where this goes eventually. This season, teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs have had a field day with the salary cap and LTIR. The league says they will continue to monitor the situation, but some GM’s hate it.
Chris Johnston reported last week that the NHL sent a note to all teams warning of increased scrutiny on long-term injury usage, specifically when it came to cap manipulation. I don’t get riled up about this issue, since I try to manipulate the rules of every pool I’m in. But it drives some teams absolutely crazy.31 Thoughts