Top NHL trade candidates this season include names like Laine, Dubois, and Gaudreau

Pierre-Luc Dubois (Getty Images)

When it comes to trade rumors, this has been a really active offseason. Much of it has to do with the flat cap and the usual, “trade me right #$@!* now,” that was made famous in the movie Slap Shot.

Let’s take a look at some of the big names that could be dealt this season.

Top NHL trade candidates: Pierre-Luc Dubois

It has been a wild few days that began with a report from Pierre Lebrun. He tweeted that the 22 year-old Jackets center may be looking for a “change of scenery.” Aaron Portzline did some further digging and found out he asked for a trade. 

Listen, you have to feel for a franchise like the Columbus Blue Jackets. They are run extremely well and have a solid coach in John Tortorella. Their biggest problem isn’t just trying to lure big name players to Ohio but also keeping them there.

Now, their youngest star Pierre-Luc Dubois wants out.

According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Dubois’ trade request will be handled the same way as Bobrovsky and Panarin. John Tortorella told him that they will confront it as a group and deal with it openly.

“I’m gonna be the best player I can be, the best teammate I can be, and the best person I can be,” Dubois said. “I don’t want to be a distraction, so I think that’s the only way.”

While Dubois is saying the right things, it will be near impossible for it to not be some sort of distraction. Jarmo Kekalainen has his hands full but he is a very good GM that will wait until the time is right to get the best deal possible. Look for rumors to pick back up around the trade deadline.

Top NHL trade candidates: Johnny Gaudreau

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

Gaudreau is in camp and safe…for now.

Top NHL trade candidates
Fire up those Gaudreau trade rumors again (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

In a recent article on Bleacher Report, they looked at 5 possible trade destinations for the 27 year-old NJ native.

  1. Buffalo Sabres
  2. Columbus Blue Jackets
  3. NJ Devils
  4. NY Islanders
  5. Philadelphia Flyers

My opinion is that the Sabres, Devils, and Flyers make the most sense. While the Jackets are interesting, I don’t see a perfect fit. As for the Islanders, not sure who they could trade to make room for Gaudreau’s cap hit of $6.75 million.

This could be another trade deadline move for the Flames.

Top NHL trade candidates: Patrik Laine

At the top of everyone’s trade bait list is Patrik Laine. He wanted it well known that he did not ask to be traded. Laine did so because of all the rumors swirling around that he was available on the market.

nhl trade bait
Patrik Laine (Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

[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.

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.

Patrik Laine’s recent comments didn’t help matters either. “I’m here now, aren’t I?” doesn’t scream he’s happy about it. There’s plenty of interest but no one is ready to pay the price…yet.

Top NHL trade candidates: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Oh the drama that was between OEL and the Arizona Coyotes this offseason. From asking him to waive his no move clause, to OEL laying down the hammer by only doing so for two teams, Boston and Vancouver.

That ended with Ekman-Larsson issuing a deadline to get the deal done or he would not waive his clause. Both sides have since said all the right things about moving on, but this is not likely over.

I can certainly see this bubbling up again. Should the Coyotes be out of playoff contention by the deadline, OEL agreeing to a trade to the Bruins or the Canucks is very possible.

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.

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