Many fans of the game have the date of Wednesday, October 4th circled on their calendars. Oh what a beautiful day it’s going to be with a mouth-watering matchup taking center stage featuring the Leafs and the Jets. Both teams are regarded as possible cup contenders in the future, so the question remains, what do they need in order to compete for Lord Stanley now? We’ll discuss both teams in the following article as we share the boldest trades that might actually take place.
Most of the teams featured on this list might either be on the outside looking in, or, a fringe playoff team that needs a little more in order to content for a cup. To make that final jump, these 15 teams might be a piece away from making the leap of faith to the top tier of the league. Get ready, cause players like Carey Price, Alexander Ovechkin, Henrik Lundqvist, John Tavares and the Sedin brothers will all be mentioned on the list.
Again, the likelihood of these deals going down might be a little farfetched for the pretentious NHL fan to digest, so please, read this article with an open mind. Without further ado, here are 15 BOLD trades these NHL teams have to make to compete next season. Enjoy the article, and be sure to engage in discussion via Facebook. Let’s begin with a deal than can take place in the Motor City!
16 Red Wings Acquire Jacob Trouba (Trade Away Tomas Tatar)
It’s going to be another tough year in the Motor City and the offseason wasn’t necessarily the smoothest for the team. Once again, defensive concerns were barely addressed, though the signing of Trevor Daley will help things. The most alarming part of the summer months was the negotiation process with some of the better forwards; Tatar needed arbitration to get his deal done while Athanasiou still awaits a deal from the club as an RFA. Not to worry Wings fans, David Booth is getting a PTO with the team....
In all seriousness, if the Wings are to compete they need a reliable d-man to lead them into the future. One Jacob Trouba fits that mold perfectly, and it also helps that he’s in the final year of his contract. Oh and if that wasn’t enough, he’s a Michigan kid. With a plethora of offense, and surely a high asking price, the Wings will need to use either Tatar or Nyquist for this trade to work. It might be harsh for Detroit fans to let such players go, but if they want to contend, this is a bold trade that can make things interesting.
15 Senators Acquire Sedin Brothers (Trade Away Thomas Chabot & Picks)
The clock is finally ticking on the Sedins time in Vancouver. Looking at the state of the team, that’s most certainly in a rebuild, trading away the twins is absolutely essential. Letting them walk for nothing would be absolutely foolish on their part, even if by some miracle they become a fringe playoff team.
A franchise that can use the twins would be the Sens, who are just a couple of pieces away from being a legit cup contender. The team lacked offense during their championship run last year and adding such a duo can improve that process instantly. It also helps that one Erik Karlsson is on the team, that can also facilitate talks for this trade.
The Sens actually have over $8 million in free cap space making this trade a legit possibly, this bold move can see them compete for Lord Stanley next season. Though of course, such a move would come with a cost, high prospect Thomas Chabot would be in the conversation along with draft picks.
14 Sabres Sign David Pastrnak To Offer Sheet
The negotiation between David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins has been a nightmare and still ongoing with camp almost ready to go. Only 21 years old, David’s rank flew sky high last season as he put up 34 goals and 70 points. For a guy barely in his 20s, that equals to some big bucks.
It looks like he might be in over his head however, according to reports, David’s camp recently rejected a $6 million per year deal. Once again, contract talks have stalled. One has to think if another team can come into play at this point. With aggressive ownership and almost $10 million in cap space, we can see the Sabres makes a pitch at the skilled forward. Just imagine the duo of Eichel and Pastrnak wreaking havoc against the opposition defense... Oh my!
13 Blues Acquire Ryan Nugent Hopkins (Trade Away Jay Bouwmeester)
Give the Blues some credit, they’ve finally changed the identity of their franchise going from a hardnosed group, to a team built on speed and skill led by one Vladimir Tarasenko. However, in the midst of making this change, the lineup does see various gaps, including at the center position. With Jori Lehtera joining the Flyers, having Stastny as your number one in the middle certainly does not scream out cup contender.
A perfect fit for the team would be acquiring the services of RNH in a bold trade. With the Oilers recently picking up Ryan Strome, the writing might be on the wall for a Hopkins exit from the team. In return, Bouwmeester can help the Oilers defensive game so it can be a win for both teams.
12 Blue Jackets Acquire Alexander Ovechkin (Trade Away Panarin, Ryan Murray, Prospects & Top Picks)
Hockey is back in Ohio and what a way to add to that by adding the Great Eight? Sounds so easy right?
Well, in terms of cap space, it actually wouldn’t be too difficult to pull off seeing as the Jackets’ have over $20 million in free cap space. Speculation to such a deal intensified when the Caps owner made the claim he’d be open to trading away his Superstar. With Panarin in return, the Caps would have a nice one-two punch on a line with Kuznetsov and Panarin. Though, their needs to be much more coming the other away, Ryan Murray would be another important piece, along with another top prospect and of course, draft pick.
This bold move might bolster the Jackets past the Penguins, something they’ve never done. Again, the likelihood of such a deal taking place is unlikely, but man is it ever food for thought!
11 Hurricanes Acquire Matt Duchene (Trade Away Jaccob Slavin & Picks)
It seems like forever ago, but finally, the Carolina Hurricanes are entering the season with a legit possibility of finally re-entering the post season. The franchise has been more than patient in the last couple of years and it’s now starting to pay off with an embarrassment of youthful richest both upfront and at the back.
If the team really wants to make a statement, they go after an established player in what would be a bold trade to say the least. The team enters the season at almost the cap floor with over $20 million in spending money, only Florida and Vegas have more room to spend. With that said, making a pitch for Matt Duchene is certainly affordable, just think of Skinner, Rask and Matt lining up together, oh goodness! Of course, such a move would come at a price, a player like Jaccob Slavin might be in the conversation, but giving up a prospect might be worth the risk, especially if it means a shift into cup contention, something the ‘Canes fans have been more than patient for!
10 Flyers Acquire Max Pacioretty (Trade Away Claude Giroux)
With an aggressive management team (yes, we’re looking at you Ron Hextall), the Flyers most certainly aren’t afraid to make a splash when it comes to bold types of deals. Just this summer, the team was at it again trading away Brayden Schenn in a shocking deal for Jori Lehtera. This trade once again proved that nobody is safe on the team.
We can also see the team making another splash in a bold captain for captain deal. This one would rock the NHL as Claude and Max would switch places. Now although the trade sounds insane, it would me a lot of sense for both teams. The Canadiens are starving for help down the middle while the Flyers haven’t had an American born sniper since the days of John LeClair. A change of scenery might also work wonders for both, and maybe, make them both legit contenders to compete with such a maneuver. Oh, and with the recent selection of Nolan Patrick, getting rid of Giroux would be the much easier to digest...
9 Devils Acquire Mattias Ekholm (Trade Away Adam Henrique)
Slowly but surely, the Devils are rebuilding their franchise, the process doubled in speed this offseason when they acquired the services of Nico Hischier at the draft acquiring the stud first overall. With the likes of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha, this team looks like a force to be reckoned with in the very near future.
However, in order to contend, they desperately need help at the back. Having your top pair feature the likes of Andy Greene and Ben Lovejoy just isn’t going to cut it. The team needs to make a bold move, and we know a certain team that has four solid d-men and in truth, keeping all four is almost impossible as the years roll along. Needing help at center, this one-for-one deal featuring Henrique and Ekholm can be a win-win for both sides.
8 Panthers Acquire Gabriel Landeskog (Trade Away Picks & Prospects)
Some wonder why all the talk in Colorado surrounds trading away Duchene and not Landeskog. Well, here’s the reason, Gabriel put up a miserable season last year notching a measly 33 points along with a staggering -25 rating. With an AAV cap hit of close to $6 million, he isn’t necessarily the sexiest asset in the league.
Thankfully, there are a couple of teams that don’t care about money, the Panthers are one of them with almost $30 million free dollars to their disposal. In search of more offense and grit up front, Landeskog can be a nice fit on the team’s top line next to Aleksander Barkov. In return, all the Avs really want is more picks and prospects as they continue to try and rebuild the team ground up.
7 Blackhawks Acquire James Neal (Trade Away Draft Picks)
Some of you might be reading this and thinking sarcastically, yea, that’s what the Hawks should do, give up more pieces to their future! Sadly, as a matter of fact, if they want to contend, that’s exactly what they have to do, especially with Kane and Toews getting a tad bit older every year. The team needs to rebuild when the two are done, but for now, it’s all about building around them and bringing in someone like Neal, would certainly help. Especially for a guy like Kane who can use an offensive weapon by his side.
As for Vegas, hanging on the Neal for the entire season seems highly unlikely. Again, the team will look for picks and prospects to further bolster their future. Chicago might be an ideal trading partner for the team given that they might just edge into the post season with a stacked division (that equals to a decent pick from the Hawks to the Knights).
6 Stars Acquire Brent Seabrook (Trade Away Jason Spezza)
We give Jim Nill some big time props for his work during the offseason bringing in a plethora of new talent to the team. Acquiring the services of Alexander Radulov, Martin Hanzal and Marc Methot instantly puts the team back on the map, however, they still need a piece to compete with the big teams next season.
That piece we’re talking about is a d-man, especially one that knows what it takes to win. In a perfect world, Brent Seabrook would be that defenseman to join the team and eat up some valuable minutes alongside John Klingberg, know that would be a hell of a pair. A bold trade would see Spezza go the other way, with an already crowded offensive minded team. Jason can be another player to help Kane, who’s suffering from a broken heart after losing his buddy Panarin this offseason (the team did add Saad, but that was meant to help Toews not Kane...).
5 Sharks Acquire Jonathan Huberdeau (Trade Away Joe Thornton)
With Marleau finally parting ways, many assumed Joe Thornton would follow his long time teammate. The interest was certainly there but at the end of the day, Jumbo Joe chose to stay for one more year. Looking at the team, contention really doesn’t seem likely, so the next step would be looking to contend for the next season.
As we stated earlier, the Panthers have plenty of space, so taking on Thornton would be a breeze. The move would help the team immensely as he’d play the role of mentor to many of the youngsters. As for the Sharks, they can pick up a young asset in return and build a new core. Building around Couture and possibly Huberdeau would be a decent place to start.
4 Jets Acquire Henrik Lundqvist (Trade Away Dustin Byfuglien)
We can see Glen Sather smiling with that cigar in his mouth at this deal. Yes, this is one of the boldest on the entire list and one that can help the Jets finally contend as a legit threat in the West. Though, in order for this to happen, a lot of things must align properly, it’s a long shot but worth exploring.
The King is getting old, and that’s the big component to this trade. At the age of 35, one would think Henrik as two to three years left in his NHL career. Yes, his deal is set to end in 2021, but like fellow countryman Henrik Zetterberg, we don’t expect neither Swede to finish out their deals. With that said, the King might want one last realistic shot at Lord Stanley and joining a team like the Jets, that might be a goalie away from contending, it might just be a sexy option for Henrik. In return, Byfuglien might be the one to be sacrificed given his older age and New York’s need for defensive help.
3 Leafs Acquire Joe Pavelski (Trade Away Picks & Prospects)
So the belief here is that the Sharks might blow up the team at some point, starting an absolute fire sale around the league. With buddy Patrick Marleau in TO surrounded by top caliber youth, maybe, just maybe, Joe Pavelski might be inclined to take a look at Babcock’s team as a possible destination in what would be a bold move.
Playing center alongside Mitch Marner, the Leafs can add a serious one-two punch down the middle, not to mention Nazem Kadri in the three hole. In order for this move to work, the Sharks would have to retain salary so the Leafs would need to sweeten the deal with some high end prospects and of course, a first round pick would be absolutely essential in this deal.
1 Islanders Acquire Carey Price (Trade Away John Tavares)
Such a trade would literally break the National Hockey League, as drastic as it might sound, the bold deal does make a lot of sense...
Hear us out, starting with the Islanders, the team has struggled to solidify a goalie, since, well, we can even remember! With Thomas Greiss entering the season as the team’s number one, it looks like the franchise again won’t have a chance to compete. Is it finally time to take the bold leap of faith and go for a top tier goalie?
Well, if they do, they have the asset to give up in John Tavares. And hey, a certain team just so happens to be in the market for a center. Entering the year with Danault and Plekanec as your one two punch, a bold move seems like a must. Even if you put Drouin in the center hole, his inexperience at the position and offensive intincts won’t make the fans sleep better at night. Enter sir John Tavares... With 23 year old Charlie Lindgren perhaps being the next MTL goalie of the future, can his development facilitate such a deal... For now, we can only dream of a world that sees Price and Tavares wearing different colored uniforms!