The National Hockey League offseason is usually filled with plenty of transactions that surprise the league’s world. In the past we have seen huge trades like P.K. Subban being dealt to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber, the captain of the Predators at the time. Now we see Subban scoring goals in the Western Conference Finals, already paying off for his new team. Every year we get plenty of transactions that wow us, some predictable, some not. Still, it’s always a fun task to look at players that could be moved in the offseason. There are so many different players on each team, there’s always bound to be disagreements between players and their respective organizations that we don’t immediately know about.
With that in mind, plenty of players could be filling the trade rumors as we wait for the big news in the league to drop. The biggest moves normally come after the Stanley Cup Final completes, and given the Expansion Draft coming soon after that, we should see plenty of action early in the postseason. It’s indeed a worthwhile task to look at different NHL players that could be on the move this offseason and where they will end up. Let’s see!
15. John Tavares – San Jose Sharks
John Tavares will be the huge move of this upcoming offseason. We’ve heard multiple times already this offseason that the New York Islanders would like to extend the contract of their captain and leading scorer, but there has been no news in regards to actual negotiations or progress in contract talks. With that in mind, the simplest explanation is that Tavares is not ready to commit to a long term contract with the Islanders. New York will be forced to choose between risking losing Tavares for nothing or trading him for an incredible bounty, and the Islanders will opt for the bounty, kick-starting a long overdue rebuilding phase. Look for plenty of action in New York. Tavares will join the San Jose Sharks.
14. Rick Nash – Anaheim Ducks
The New York Rangers badly need to acquire a defenseman, so it makes sense to believe that they will acquire a defenseman from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Rick Nash. There will be contract issues for the two teams to work out in order to make the deal work for both teams, but the deal will work best for both teams. The Ducks will get Nash to help push them over the edge, while only giving up one of their incredible abundance of options on defense. The Rangers will get the defenseman they need so badly as the package in return for their all-around star Nash, working to fix their team in the process of trading their most expensive forward on the roster.
13. Kevin Shattenkirk – New York Rangers
Of course the New York Rangers’ efforts on defense cannot end with the acquisition of only one defenseman. The Rangers will have to complete a major overhaul on defense this offseason, and part of that will be finally finishing up a move that has been rumored for a long time now. It’s no secret that unrestricted free agent Kevin Shattenkirk has always wanted to play for the New York Rangers. Now the Rangers have the money, the need, and the ability to sign him without giving up any additional assets. The fit is perfect for both sides, and Shattenkirk will finally return home to play for the franchise he has always wanted to be a part of. Look for the signing to happen this offseason.
12. Ilya Kovalchuk – Florida Panthers
While we originally were going to predict Ilya Kovalchuk getting traded from the New Jersey Devils to the New York Islanders, we found a few issues with that potential deal. First of all, the Devils likely would not want to deal with their division rival, even if they do not expect to compete from the get-go in the 2017-18 campaign. Second, the Islanders are predicted to trade John Tavares in this article, so we do not expect them to bring in players after already looking to move their talented players. So Kovalchuk will go elsewhere, with the Florida Panthers serving as a likely destination. They like veterans and have enough lunacy going on around their front office to take a huge chance on Kovalchuk.
11. Jaromir Jagr – Tampa Bay Lightning
Of course, the Florida Panthers will not want to have too many elder statesmen on their roster. Sure, they will try to re-sign Jaromir Jagr because he has practically become the face of their franchise, but they will not put in a big enough effort to bring back the oldest player in the entire National Hockey League. Jagr will not want to move far, and will want to play for a potential contender. This is where the Tampa Bay Lightning will come in. With the Lightning, Jagr can stay in Florida and also play for a competitive team. The fit is perfect as long as both sides make the effort to get a deal done. Look for it to happen in the coming offseason.
10. Jordan Eberle – Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens have never shied away from big trades, and acquiring Jordan Eberle would certainly constitute a big deal. The Canadiens will pry Eberle away from the all-too-eager-to-move-him Edmonton Oilers by offering a variety of different choices, including draft picks and prospects. In the end, the deal will actually be underwhelming, considering the Oilers appear like they want to trade Eberle because of his lack of performance in the playoffs this past year. Eberle will stay in Canada, but get a fresh start in a new organization that desperately wants a player with a score-first mentality. The fit will be a good one, and Edmonton will be left regretting another off-season deal in the Peter Chiarelli era.
9. Matt Duchene – Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes desperately need a center to help them finally complete their push for the playoffs and clinch a trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s been years since the Hurricanes have participated in elimination hockey, and although expectations were high for the Hurricanes this past year, Carolina failed to do enough to make the postseason. However, after trading for Scott Darling of the Chicago Blackhawks to be their new starting goaltender, the Hurricanes have clearly signaled to the remainder of the National Hockey League that they are here to compete and they are here to compete now. Now all they need is additional offense, offense they can find by pulling it from a team that is not looking to compete, namely the Colorado Avalanche.
8. Marc-Andre Fleury – Calgary Flames
It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames are desperate for goaltending. Ben Bishop was recently traded to the Dallas Stars, so he is now off the table for the Flames, who exited in the first round in this year’s playoffs due in large part to poor play from their goaltending in the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs. The Flames will look across the NHL for the best fit for them between the pipes, and eventually arrive at the solution being none other than Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has a history of success in the NHL, and will almost certainly be on the move in advance of expansion so the Pittsburgh Penguins do not have to leave Matt Murray unprotected in the draft.
7. Colin Wilson – Las Vegas Golden Knights
The Nashville Predators have more to lose in the Expansion Draft than nearly any team in hockey. See, the Predators have a problem that they are simply too good. Boasting a quartet of absurdly talented defensemen in P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and Mattias Ekholm, Nashville will be forced to protect only three of the four defensemen in the Expansion Draft unless they can cut a deal with the Las Vegas Golden Knights to select a different player. The Predators, knowing that their defense is their greatest asset, will bribe Las Vegas using assets and draft picks to take Colin Wilson instead of any of their defensemen. Accordingly, Wilson will join the Golden Knights as a fine pick, but not a devastating one.
6. Gabriel Landeskog – Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins have long had interest in Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche. As we discussed before, the Avalanche will be looking to make a series of moves to avoid staying put after one of the worst seasons by any team in the entire National Hockey League. The Avalanche will want to be wheeling and dealing, and that will include their captain and current face of the franchise. This franchise should belong to Nathan Mackinnon from now on, but for that to happen the team must move Landeskog. Landeskog will be dealt to the Bruins for assets, a deal that benefits both teams. The Bruins get a player they like, the Avalanche get assets that can help them for when they are ready to compete.
5. T.J. Oshie – Las Vegas Golden Knights
Someone will overpay T.J. Oshie for the way he played with the Washington Capitals while playing on lines with the likes of Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin. Unfortunately for Oshie we do not see a current fit that seems obvious for him out of the National Hockey League organizations. Fortunately for Oshie, not every team is in the NHL quite yet. The Las Vegas Golden Knights are the NHL’s newest team, and they will have more needs than any other team in the league. Las Vegas can offer Oshie a mega contract to serve as one of the franchise faces under a huge contract. Why would Oshie turn down such a deal? He can compete in a few years and make a whole lot of money.
4. Mike Green – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for a power-play quarterback that also is a right-handed shot. One of the most famous examples of that kind of player should be available to acquire in a trade this off-season. Mike Green is the gold standard, and he also plays for a Detroit Red Wings team that will likely look to move some of their veterans in advance of the upcoming season. Green never played for Mike Babcock, but Babcock recognizes talent and certainly will see what Green can do not only for the power-play, but also for the young players in terms of development and progression as players in the NHL. It’s a perfect fit for every side involved in the deal.
3. Jaroslav Halak – Winnipeg Jets
Although the New York Islanders brought back Jaroslav Halak at the end of the last National Hockey League season, he still has a contentious relationship with the organization he is under contract with. Additionally, the Islanders signed Thomas Greiss to a multi-year deal that certainly appears like the type of contract you would sign a goaltender to be your starter for. The Winnipeg Jets are desperate for a goalie that can win some games between the pipes for them, while also not costing too much over too long of a term. Halak is a perfect fit to be the stopgap solution for the Jets, as long as the Islanders and the Jets can work out a deal to bring Halak to the Jets.
2. Jarome Iginla – Calgary Flames
Here’s a fun one that we sure hope we are right on. Jarome Iginla had the worst season of his career by far last year, and could quite possibly decide to lace up his skates and call it a career. Iginla, however, could be swayed not to retire by speaking to the team he spent the majority of his career with. If the Calgary Flames show interest in Iginla as a third liner that plays an offensive minded role, we believe Iginla could be back in the National Hockey League for another year. It would be awesome to see Iginla try to win a Stanley Cup with the team he previously tried to do so with for so long before moving on to a bevy of other teams.
1. Brent Seabrook – Las Vegas Golden Knights
The Chicago Blackhawks will use the Las Vegas Golden Knights to their advantage in a way no one sees coming. Seemingly every off-season the Blackhawks make a major transaction to drop one of their long-term players from the roster, cutting down on salary to be able to afford the mega-salaries Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews get paid. This time it will be Brent Seabrook getting traded to a team looking to make a major splash. Seabrook will be on the way to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, where he can be paid his handsome salary and also be the top defenseman, exiting the shadow of Duncan Keith. The move works out for everyone involved and would certainly qualify as a big one.
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