This has been an active NHL offseason as many anticipated. Flat-cap, teams over the cap, and players requesting to be traded have all added to the high number of transactions.
Big names like Seth Jones, and Marc-Andre Fleury were traded; while several big named free agents changed addresses like Dougie Hamilton.
Let’s take a look at the top players expected to be traded this summer.
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
“The process is not working,” Eichel’s agents have fired back at the Sabres for feeling no pressure to make deal. “As previously stated, we fully anticipated a trade by the start of the NHL free agency period…What is being left out of the discussion is that Jack would be able to play in the NHL for the start of the season pending medical clearance if he were allowed to have the surgery he desires even as of this date. Repeated requests have been made to the Sabres since early June to no avail. This process is stopping Jack from playing in the NHL and it is not working.”
That’s where we are in the Jack Eichel summer saga.
Why is he still in Buffalo? The ask was so high that teams dropped out like flies and spent their cap money elsewhere in free agency.
At this point, it is believed only the Rangers are still interested but will not overpay. There’s also reports indicating the Golden Knights may still try to figure out how to move out salary to acquire him. The Ducks are the only other team that has the assets and cap space to make a trade but they are not in on Eichel at the moment.
Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues)
In a report from Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, he listed nine of the teams that the unhappy Tarasenko will accept a trade to go play. They included the Lightning, Capitals, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Golden Knights, Panthers, and Bruins. At this time, the tenth team is unknown.
Prior to Brandon Saad signing with the Blues, both the Devils and Hurricanes were interested in his services. Now that they missed out, they could be teams in for Vladimir Tarasenko.
The Blues will also need to lower their asking price and possibly eat some salary in order to make this trade.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals)
Back in May, there was also a lot of talk that Evgeny Kuznetsov was working his way out of town. Leading into the now infamous Tom Wilson game at Madison Square Garden, he was scratched for disciplinary reasons.
The 29 year-old pivot has three years remaining at $7.8 million AAV with a 15 team no move clause. He scored 29 points in 41 games this past season, and it seems GM Brian MacLellan is singing a different tune.
“He’s a good player, we like the player and I don’t know, we’ve never said we’re trading Kuznetsov. I said we’re open to discussions with most of our players for the trade market,” he said. “It’s never been, we are moving Kuznetsov.”
There is still a chance he could be moved. Maybe if the Rangers miss out on Eichel they may try to make a deal with the Caps.
Alexandar Georgiev and Ryan Strome (New York Rangers)
Frank Seravalli said that Pavel Buchnevich, Alexandar Georgiev and Ryan Strome were all on the block before the draft. The Rangers traded Buchnevich to the Blues, and it sounds like Georgiev is interested in a change of scenery as a starter. The 25 year-old goalie could be part of a package that heads to the Sabres in an Eichel deal.
As for Ryan Strome, the Rangers will not trade him unless they land Eichel or Kuznetsov. The Ottawa Senators are really interested and also the Seattle Kraken.
Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
The Seattle Kraken are overloaded on defense. What they need is a center, or a scoring forward. Vince Dunn did file for salary arbitration, and he’s a likely trade chip for Ron Francis.
Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames)
Trade rumors have died down around Johnny Gaudreau, but there is still some speculation he could be moved. The Flames were expected to be one of the more active teams this summer but so far haven’t done anything too dramatic.
Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus Blue Jackets)
The Blue Jackets appear ready to give the #1 goalie role to Elvis Merzlikins. There was some rumors regarding Korpisalo and the Edmonton Oilers. Expect the Jackets to continue to shop him.
Phil Kessel and Christian Dvorak (Arizona Coyotes)
Kessel, 33, can still produce and would give any offensively challenged team a boost. Last season, he scored 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games for the Yotes.
According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Arizona paid out his bonus on July 1st. That means he’s only owed $1 million in actual salary which could be perfect for some teams with cap space, but are also looking to be fiscally sound.
The likely alternative is for the Coyotes to retain some of his cap hit in order to facilitate a trade and receive a late first round pick from a contender. There are many teams who believe they are player like Kessel away from contention but have limited cap space.
Another player that could be on the move as the Yotes rebuild is Dvorak. The 25 year-old center has a current cap hit of $4.45M and scored 31 points in 56 games last season. The Bruins have been rumored to be interested.