3 trades that must happen in the NHL offseason but won’t

There are a few players who should be traded in the 2024 NHL offseason, but there is little, if any, likelihood that they will leave their current teams.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins
Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Elvis Merzlikins may not be the No. 1 goaltender in Columbus in 2024-25

More than a few players in the NHL deserve to be traded this offseason, and Elvis Merzlikins may top the list among goaltenders. What could have gone wrong throughout his tenure in the Buckeye State has, from posting a meager 12-17-8 record this season to go with a 0.897 save percentage, a 3.47 GAA, and just a 0.462 quality starts percentage to potentially becoming the No. 2 netminder behind Daniil Tarasov. 

Everything seems ripe for Merzlikins to get traded so he can get a fresh start elsewhere, but his $5.4 million AAV will easily get in the way of someone taking a chance on him. The upside is that the Blue Jackets have room to retain some of his salary, but another team would still take a cap hit regardless, thanks to the overall scope of the AAV. 

Further, Merzlikins also has a 10-team no-trade clause, so it’s not like the Blue Jackets could move him to a cap-rich organization that won’t contend for a while unless he allows them to. Overall, there is a good chance Merzlikins will be stuck in Columbus unless a contender or an organization that may contend next season calls and is willing to take a chance. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)