NHL Trade Rumors: 7 Inevitable Offseason Moves/Deals Still to Come
NHL trade rumors continue to circulate as teams position themselves for a 2017 expansion draft. As promised, we have already begun to see a spike in player movement in contrast to past years.
Moving forward, several inevitable moves are still expected to come. For some teams (i.e. Colorado), it’s a waiting game with RFAs and salary arbitration to have a better idea of where they stand financially. For others (i.e. Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay), it’s a waiting game to be offered fair value on a quality player that other GMs know is being traded.
Whatever the reason may be, there are at least seven players/teams that logic suggests are very likely to be dealt at some point this offseason.
NHL Trade Rumors: 7 Inevitable Moves
Anaheim Ducks Trade Cam Fowler
Two factors have Fowler on the outside looking in. First, the emergence of Shea Theodore makes Cam’s LH shot expendable.
Second, Kevin Bieksa carries a no-movement clause (must be automatically saved in expansion, unless asked to waive it), then you include Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen – there’s no room to save Cam Fowler or Josh Manson.
Colorado still needs to shake up their leadership core. Trading their beloved captain (Landeskog) makes little sense, but the possibility is always there depending on the return offer.
The only reason the Avs would consider moving Barrie is because they don’t like his annual salary awarded in arbitration (if it gets there). Otherwise, why move a top defender on an already weak defensive team?
Logic suggests that Matt Duchene could be easily sacrificed, and would allow Nathan MacKinnon to slide back to his natural center position. If Avs/Wild fans could get past the fact of being bitter rivals, each side has an expendable piece that fills the others greatest need. When Toronto can trade their captain (Dion Phaneuf) to Ottawa, anything is possible.
Five top four defenders (three LH, two RH), three spots for protection in expansion. The math obviously doesn’t work.
Look for the Wild to move one of Brodin or Scandella and perhaps target another impact center to throw in the mix. This would allow Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle to slide to the wing with less responsibility.
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With the way the Senators season ended, we expected to see at least one move of significance. New GM Pierre Dorion is still fairly new on the job, so there may be some hesitation not to make knee-jerk reactions.
Instead, Ottawa seems to be taking a more relaxed approach, perhaps waiting for the right deal to fall into their lap? We know owner Eugene Melnyk will not allow a nearly identical roster to hit the ice in October given his eerie rant with 10 games to go in the 2015-16 regular season.
Realistically, the only two players that carry enough trade value for an impact move is Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan.
Turris, 26, carries a $3.5 million dollar cap hit for two more years. Ryan, 29, carries a $7.25 million dollar cap hit for six more years. He also owns a no-movement clause with a modified no-trade that includes a list of 10 teams to which he cannot be traded to.
Pittsburgh Trades Marc-Andre Fleury
The reason GM Jim Rutherford says he is comfortable entering 2016-17 with Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury is because there’s realistically no rush to move the veteran netminder – not yet at least. Pittsburgh could hold on to Fleury until next trade deadline, or even the trade period prior to the expansion draft.
Still, the Pens should be actively trying to trade Fleury. It does nothing but hurt the value of one (sometimes both) by forcing two starters to compete for time in the crease.
Tampa Bay Trades Ben Bishop
Similar to Pittsburgh with the potential timetable that allows them to keep the tandem together for at least one more season.
Why keep two starting goalies when either PIT or TB can add an impact defender that might actually help towards a Stanley Cup?
Sadly, we’ve been talking about this inevitable move ever since Connor Hellebuyck stole the show for Team USA at the 2015 World Hockey Championship. Connor’s NHL stint replacing the injured Ondrej Pavelec put an exclamation point on the urgency to find an answer that equals Hellebuyck as Winnipeg’s starter in October.
Hutchinson recently signed an affordable cap friendly backup contract that will interest several teams. The smarter play might be to find a taker for Ondrej Pavelec’s $3.9 million dollar cap hit. Every dollar counts for budget teams, especially with players such as Jacob Trouba still looking for a contract.