The 2016-17 NHL season is just around the corner. Many teams have backed themselves into a corner by handing out ludicrous contracts. The only team really making any headway with regards to the salary cap, is the Arizona Coyotes. They have traded for heavy contracts to pry away top prospects from teams, and by doing so, touching the cap ceiling. However, general managers will continue to hand out terrible contracts just to fill the holes on their roster. In spite of all this, we have one thing to look forward to this season. Huge blockbuster trades! Trades will most certainly happen this season as they always do.
In light of the NHL Expansion Draft coming up and Las Vegas securing an NHL franchise, it would not be surprising to see more than one huge epic deal transpire. This could be the year that the Pittsburgh Penguins finally trade Evgeni Malkin away. Imagine Malkin in a Montreal Canadiens uniform! Habs fans salivate just at the mere whisper of this trade. Or perhaps this is the year the Vancouver Canucks part ways with both Sedins in order to rebuild their organization. Below are fifteen NHL trades which just might happen during the 2016-2017 NHL season.
15 Toronto Trades Joffrey Lupul to the Ducks
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to make a decision on Joffrey Lupul sooner rather than later. When healthy he is a talented player able to contribute on the score sheet. However, he is often sitting on injury reserve—plus his cap hit of over $5 million does not help the Leafs. If the Leafs are willing to eat up some of his salary in a deal, then perhaps moving Lupul will not prove to be as difficult. After all, they did manage to trade Dion Phaneuf.
Randy Carlyle is once again the coach of the Anaheim Ducks. The had a bit of a rocky relationship in Anaheim the first time around, and when they were in Toronto, some of that ill-will towards one another came out. Carlyle admitted being wrong about not putting Lupul on the wing in a top-6 role (back in Anaheim). Don’t be surprised to see the Toronto Maple Leafs trade Joffery Lupul to the Ducks for some draft picks at the trade deadline.
14 Detroit trades Jimmy Howard to the San Jose Sharks
Jimmy Howard is no longer the number one in puck stopper for the Detroit Red Wings. Petr Mrazek has inherited that mantle with his great play. With the Wings trying to make sense of their current roster and acquire a defenseman, it looks more bleak for Howard. He is currently under contract through 2018-19, with a cap hit of over $5 million. But, Howard has immunity from being traded—he carries a full no-trade clause in his contract. In all likelihood, Howard would wave his no-trade clause to become a starter somewhere else. Will anyone take him in this role? Probably not, unless of course, something similar happens to team whereby their number one goaltender is injured. Look at the Canadiens and Carey Price last season.
The most logical situation for Howard is to take a backup role on a Stanley Cup contender. The Sharks could use a veteran backup in case Jones gets injured or his 2015-16 season proves to be a fluke. Look for the Detroit Red Wings to trade Jimmy Howard to the San Jose Sharks for a conditional 2018 or 2019, 3rd or 4th round draft pick.
13 Edmonton trades Nail Yakupov to the Washington Capitals
The Edmonton Oilers made a terrible mistake trading Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. We can all agree that they needed a defense man, but they did not receive adequate value in return. Having said that, the only option is to move more pieces around. Stock piling draft picks for years, at some point, needs to put a winning product on the ice. There has been trade speculation concerning Nail Yakupov for the past few seasons. Trading Yakupov is the Oilers' best bet in order to add some veteran presence. But from where? How about the Washington Capitals? They have a few unrestricted free agents to sign and it is very unlikely that Daniel Winnik, Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie will all put ink to paper.
In all likelihood, the Capitals will trade Justin Williams, Brooks Orpik and a conditional pick to the Edmonton Oilers for Nail Yakupov and a 2nd round pick.
12 Philadelphia trades Mark Streit to the Annaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks have a surplus of talented young defensemen. With Cam Fowler likely being traded (see below for more on Fowler), the Ducks will have a hole to fill on the back end. The Flyers are in need of shedding themselves of a few contracts. Andrew MacDonald is a candidate but the Ducks would rather take on Streit. He has veteran experience and can help out the power play. Who would the Ducks give up? Jakob Silfverberg. He put up 39 points in each of the last two seasons for the Ducks and his shooting percentage went up from 6.9% to 9.3%--scoring 20 goals last season. Silfverberg is 6’2’’ and is 25 years of age.
He has plenty of upside, but in order to get him, the Flyers may need to retain some of Streit’s salary in a straight up deal or offer a draft pick as part of the package.
11 Toronto trades JVR to the Wild for a Defenseman
The Minnesota Wild defensemen Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin know what it is like to have their names on the trading block. There were rumors back at this year’s trade deadline that they were available, even so much as Brodin being offered to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Ryan Johansen. James Van Riemsdyk is 27 years of age and is signed for the next two years at a cap hit of $4,250,000. The man still can put up 30 goals, but whether he does it for Toronto in a winning or a losing situation does not matter. It’s time for the Maple Leafs to part ways with him. It’s the Auston Matthews show now and the Leafs are still trying to build around him. They still require a top-4 defenseman.
Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin fit the bill although, I can’t see the Leafs giving up any picks to get them. JVR is a poor man’s Taylor Hall. Look for the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade James Van Riemsdyk to the Minnesota Wild for Jonas Brodin and a conditional draft pick.
10 Vancouver trades for Tyson Barrie
The Patrick Roy situation is an interesting footnote for the future of the Colorado Avalanche. Their team needs defensive help but also some goaltending support. Having said that, don’t be surprised if Tyson Barrie ends up being traded. If you do not agree with me, just check out what happened with Ryan O’Reilly last June. The Avalanche could not sign him with one year left on his deal. They ended up trading him to the Buffalo Sabres. Currently, Tyson Barrie is a restricted free agent and Joe Sakic does not want to be left in a situation where Barrie is given an offer sheet… and he will get an offer sheet. The Vancouver Canucks are in dire need of a defenseman—not to mention some help up front. To get Barrie, the Canucks will trade defenseman Christopher Tanev and a 1st round pick to the Colorado Avalance for defense man Tyson Barrie.
9 St. Louis trades Kevin Shattenkirk to the Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are in a horrible cap situation. Thankfully they were able to move the Pavel Datysuk contract. However, players like Johan Franzen are not cutting it anymore. The Dekeyser and Helm contracts are not cost effective and Green is making $6 million a year. Combine those contracts with that of Justin Abdelkader making $4.25 million at seven years and his no trade clause, it seems like their hands are tied. On the positive side, the Wings have players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen coming back.
Trading Tomas Tatar might be their best option to acquire a top 4 defenseman, if not him than a package deal of some sorts. Their defensive core never recovered after losing Lidstrom and Rafalski. Combine all their defensive woes with a goalie controversy, the Wings need to make a trade. Detroit will trade Tomas Tatar to the St. Louis Blues for Kevin Shattenkirk, with Detroit trying to move Jimmy Howard out in a separate deal.
8 New Jersey trades Kyle Palmieri to the Senators for picks
The New Jersey Devils and general manager Ray Shero already re-signed right winger Kyle Palmieri to a five-year contract extension worth over $4.5 million. Palmieri is still very young at the age of 25. In 280 career NHL games, he has tallied 73 goals and 73 assists for 146 points, and accumulated 129 penalty minutes. Palmieri has seven goals and five assists in 33 career Stanley Cup playoff games. He led the Devils with a career-high 30 goals and 27 assists for 57 points, and appeared in all 82 games. He also produced 23 points on the power play. Palmieri was acquired from Anaheim in 2015 for a second-round pick in the 2015 Draft and a third-round pick in 2016.
Look for Ray Shero to maximize this asset by trading him to the Ottawa Senators for a 1st round and 2nd round pick. He can play alongside the wing of recently acquired Derick Brassard.
7 Edmonton Trades Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Nashville Predators
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are the Edmonton Oilers' biggest trade bait. Nugent-Hopkins is an underrated 23-year-old center man and frankly, the Oilers do not need him. They are pretty set down the middle with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Having Nugent-Hopkins play third line center is a complete waste of talent. We all know that Oilers still need to bolster their defensive core even with the addition of Adam Larsson. That is why general manager Peter Chiarelli will find a trading partner in the Nashville Predators. At some point, the Predators will part ways with Mike Ribeiro. After already acquiring Ryan Johansen, the Predators made more changes by making Mike Fisher their new captain.
The Predators also have a stacked blue line after trading for P.K. Subban. Look for the Oilers to trade center man Nugent-Hopkins to the Predators for defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Both players would help each team respectively.
6 Montreal trades Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto and a 2nd round pick to Arizona for Martin Hanzal
Martin Hanzal is entering the final season of his five-year deal. He set a career high of 41 points in 64 games last season. Hanzal’s camp will talk to the general manager of the Coyotes--John Chayka—very soon. The biggest problem for Hanzal signing a long-term deal with the Coyotes is his health. He has never played a full season since 2009-10 where he played 81 games. The Habs are desperate to find bigger bodies to help out their flimsy team. They do have plenty of centers, but some of them can slot over to the wing if needed.
Imagine Hanzal playing on a line with Gallagher and Shaw, with Max Pacioretty playing with Alex Galchenyuk and Alex Radoulov. Hanzal is an underappreciated two-way center. He slots in very well as a second-line pivot. His size and skill make players around him better. Look for the Coyotes to trade Martin Hanzal to the Montreal Canadiens for Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto and a 2nd round pick.
5 Tampa Bay Trades Ben Bishop to the Dallas Stars
The development of Andrei Vasilevskiy gives GM Steve Yzerman the flexibility he needs in Tampa Bay. Ben Bishop, 29, is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent come July 2017 and it does not seem like Tampa Bay will have the cap space to sign the giant goalie. Bishop is widely considered as one of the league’s elite goalies. He stopped tons of rubber en route to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and the 2016 Eastern Conference final. He is no fluke. Why did the Ottawa Senators give up on him? They are definitely kicking themselves.
Even if Bishop is willing to accept a trade during the 2016-17 season, there is no guarantee that the Tampa Bay Lightning will even get a quality return package. If anything, he could be considered a rental at the trade deadline. Regardless, some teams already went out to get a goalie, but the Dallas Stars are still stuck with two inconsistent goaltenders. For both teams to address their needs, Tampa will trade Bishop to the Dallas Stars for Kari Lehtonen, Cody Eakin and a 2nd round draft pick. Dallas needs stability in goal to help provide confidence to their young defensive core.
4 Boston trades David Krejci to the Anaheim Ducks
The Bruins have a backpack full of centermen after the recent signings of Dominic Moore and David Backes. Zdeno Chara is getting old and the defensive core has not been the same after losing Johnny Boychuk. They Bruins will trade for a defenseman. The Bruins also have the magic face-off man in Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner and a few prospects. Spooner could shift to the wing if needed, although he could be an attractive trading piece. He tallied 49 points last season. Given the current development of Spooner and the rest of the young talent the Bruins have, Don Sweeney has some wiggle room here. Don Sweeney will most likely head into training camp and evaluate his current roster, make a few calls and see how the season starts.
The last few seasons we have heard rumors that the Anaheim Ducks' Cam Fowler might be available. These two clubs make perfect trading partners, with the Bruins trading David Krejci to the Ducks for Cam Fowler and 1st round draft pick.
3 New York trades Rick Nash to the San Jose Sharks
The New York Rangers have recently signed Brandon Pirri to a one-year deal. It is very important to note that they currently have a boat load of one year deals on their roster. This was very similar to the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. If you sign a bunch of players to one year deals (one way), that is a prelude for trades. Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton already traded Derick Brassard and a seventh round pick to the Ottawa Senators for Mika Zibanejad and a second round pick. Let’s face it, he is not done.
Rick Nash had a career low 15 goals last season and the New York Rangers are not afraid to move big names out. Nash and his $7.8-million annual salary cap hit will still be with the Rangers when training camp starts, but not by trade deadline. Watch for the Rangers to trade Rick Nash (retain some salary) and 3rd or 4th round draft pick to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau, Joel Ward and a conditional draft pick.
2 Buffalo trades Evander Kane to the Vancouver Canucks
It’s no secret that Evander Kane needs another change in scenery. Given the volatile situation in Buffalo, it seems that general manager Tim Murray is not exactly thrilled with Evander Kane’s issues. The Sabres traded for Evander Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian in 2014-15 sending the Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, two prospects and a 1st round pick. But since coming to Buffalo in that big blockbuster trade, Kane has been playing with fire, with him being recently arrested and charged for an incident at a nightclub.
Just who would take a troubled player like Kane though? Watch for the Vancouver Canucks to trade a draft pick and perhaps a prospect to the Buffalo Sabres. They seem to be a team that doesn't quite know whether they want to rebuild or load up. While it's not the most logical of moves for Vancouver, they seem to be running without logic.
1 Pittsburgh trades Marc-Andre Fleury to Vancouver
Yup, another Vancouver move, but this one actually would make some sense.
Murray gained the vote of confidence from his coach after replacing Fleury during his poor performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs this past year. There is no chance the Penguins give Fleury an opportunity to take over the number one job again. If you go down the list of every team that needs a number goalie, there are not too many and even so, have a prospect in the waiting. The NHL expansion draft is an interesting dilemma. Does general manager Jim Rutherford allow Fleury to be left unprotected and lose him for nothing, or does he convince him to expand his limited no-trade clause and craft an interesting deal?
The one team that may be interested in his services are the Vancouver Canucks. Their goaltending situation has been very weak since the Schneider and Luongo reality show. Look for the Pittsburgh Penguins to trade Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vancouver Canucks for Alex Burrows, Ryan Miller and a 2nd round pick. At least this way Ryan Miller can be left unprotected at the expansion draft and the Penguins get some cap relief.