NHL trade candidates and how likely they are to be moved [updated]

The NHL is working towards a January 1 start date. Let’s take a look at the top NHL trade candidates and how likely they are to be moved next season.

Top NHL Trade Candidates

  • Patrik Laine, WPG
  • Matt Dumba, MIN
  • Johnny Gaudreau, CGY
  • Dougie Hamilton, CAR
  • Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK
  • Tyler Johnson, TB
  • Alex Killorn, TB
  • Shayne Gostibehere, PHI
  • Jaden Schwartz, STL
  • Phil Kessel, AZ

Now let’s take a deeper dive into a few players on this list.

Updated 11/11/20

Johnny Gaudreau an NHL trade rumor favorite

Poor Johnny Hockey has been in the trade rumor mill for awhile now. It also doesn’t help when your GM, Brad Treliving says stuff like this, “We don’t expect this is the team we’ll go to training camp with.”

Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames has been in the NHL trade rumor mill for a year. The speculation started in The Athletic back in November but died down. Those rumors picked up at the deadline and went off the charts when Gaudreau temporarily took the Flames out of his Twitter bio.

johnny gaudreau trade rumors
Fire up those Gaudreau trade rumors again (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

The relationship between both parties may be reaching a breaking point. There is also a lot of talk that Kevin Hayes is in the ear of coach Alain Vigneault to push for a trade to bring his old line-mate to the Flyers.

Will the New Jersey native make his way to Philadelphia soon? I am betting on this happening next season.

Tampa looking to dump salary and Alex Killorn on that list

We are all well aware of the Lightning’s terrible cap situation. Tyler Johnson who is also on this list was put on waivers in the hopes someone would take his salary.

While they work to trade Johnson, they will also be trying to move Alex Killorn. The 31 year-old potted 26 goals and 49 points in 68 games last season. You would think teams would jump at that, but he also has 3 years remaining at $4.45 AAV. He will likely be traded before the season starts and may need to expand on his modified no trade list.

Shayne Gostisbehere, any takers?

You get the sense the Flyers are done with Shayne Gostibehere’s issues in the defensive zone. The 27 year-old defender also has three years left on his contract with an AAV of $4.5 million.

Shayne is a former 65 point defenseman and someone has to look at that as a reason to trade for him. While he is on the market, moving him will not be easy. Think closer to the trade deadline when teams are more desperate for defense.

How much longer will Phil Kessel remain in Arizona

Phil Kessel is 33 years-old, has two years left with a cap hit of $6.8 million. He’s also on a decline offensively. Still he is a veteran with Stanley Cup winning experience.

nhl trade candidates
Kessel on the block (CP)

Questions in Arizona continue to mount, but you have to assume at some point they will move veterans out. Kessel will be a prized commodity at this upcoming NHL trade deadline.

Last updated on 11/5/20

Patrik Laine off the market for now?

Patrik Laine wanted it well known that did not ask to be traded. He did so because of all the rumors swirling around that he was available on the market.

[Laine’s] agents also made clear that it’s fair to say that given that Laine knows his name has been in trade discussions, and given that his usage in the lineup the last couple of years has been a constant topic of conversation, the fact that he doesn’t get consistent first-line minutes, his agents Mike Liut and Andy Scott do confirm that it probably would be mutually beneficial to both the player and to the team he is traded.”Pierre Lebrun on a recent Insider Trading.

nhl trade candidates
Laine on the move? (Trevor Hagan/AP)

 I don’t know about you, but when a player’s agent says it would be “mutually beneficial ” for him to be traded, I’m not sure what else Jets GM, Kevin Cheveldayoff can do but get the best return possible.

Winnipeg is hunting for a defenseman and/or center for Laine. While talks have died down around him, he remains my top candidate to be moved BEFORE the start of next season.

Matt Dumba on the block

According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, the Minnesota are in no rush to trade Matt Dumba, but are still looking to trade him. So why are the Wild looking to trade him? Think about the upcoming expansion draft and which defenseman they will be protecting. Dumba is the odd man out, and will certainly be snagged by the Kraken.

NHL trade candidates
Matt Dumba on the block (Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild want to get younger and add some scoring to their lineup. In an article at The Athletic, a suggestion was made about a Matt Dumba for Patrik Laine trade. It makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons.

Primarily, Winnipeg much like Columbus struggles to attract high profile free agents. Dumba is a defenseman that the Jets need and he comes with another three years left on his deal at a great cost. For the Wild, well if you want to get younger and add offense, who better than Laine.

Dougie Hamilton will be a wanted man

The NHL loves to chase after top-end right-handed defenseman. You saw what Alex Pietrangelo was able to get in this economy, and that’s what 27 year-old Dougie will go after too. He will be expecting a serious increase over his $5.75 million AAV deal next summer, so GM’s better save those dollars.

That’s why the Carolina Hurricanes will like dangle Hamilton at the next trade deadline. Can you imaging what Hamilton will fetch if he has the same .85 points per game average he had this past season?

When will Marc-Andre Fleury be dealt?

In a recent French interview with Le Journal de Montreal, Fleury revealed that he found out about McCrimmon’s comments through the media. “I haven’t spoken to anyone. They don’t talk too much,” he revealed. “Like everyone else, I saw the statements where Kelly said he would count on Robin and me.”

However, it isn’t lost on the 35 year-old goalie that they were shopping him aggressively. “I still found it surprising I wasn’t traded,” he explained. “My name was rumored quite a bit for a trade, but I’m happy. I’m lucky to stay in Vegas.”

NHL trade candidates
Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Fleury has expressed his desires clearly that he wants to stay in Vegas. “I will still play for a good team. I won’t have to move, which is also a good thing,” he noted in his French interview. So Fleury will make it work and has vowed to fight for the starting job.

The real truth is, there is no way the Knights want to have $12 million of their cap space on goaltending. While it will work in the early going of next season, you can expect the Knights to aggressively shop him to contenders at the trade deadline for a similar package they offered Carolina.

At that time, a deal will be more appealing for teams that believe are a goalie away from winning it all (cough Avalanche cough). There is also the added benefit of just having to deal with just one more year on his contract as well.

Fleury’s time in Vegas is still ticking towards a trade.

Tyler Johnson is definitely being traded

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in dire need of cap space and are working with forward Tyler Johnson on a move. He has a full no-trade clause but it is never a good feeling to be unwanted. The 30 year-old forward has three years left at $5 million AAV. Look at teams in dire need of a center seeking to make a play.

Columbus and Winnipeg come to mind, but will he go to either? Another team to keep an eye out on are the NY Rangers. That’s because if they can’t work a deal with Ryan Strome or have to walk away from his reward, a trade for Tyler Johnson with salary retention makes sense.

My best guess is that Johnson does not suit up for the Lightning next season.

Jaden Schwartz can put up top six numbers

Guys who can play center are always valuable and 28 year-old Schwartz fits the bill. He has 60-65 point potential and plays a solid two-way game but is better suited on the wing. Depending on how he performs, he could be had to a similar AAV of $5.35 million as a UFA next summer.

This is a similar situation to the Canes and Hamilton. Once the deadline comes around and Vladimir Tarasenko is healthy again, the Blues will likely trade Schwarz to fill a hole.