This summer has potential to be one of the most exciting free agency period that we have seen in a long time. Also there are a lot of rumors of potential big names being available via trades. With all these potential moves that could be made this summer is shaping up to be one of the most interesting summers in hockey in quite sometime. This summer will also have a first time Stanley Cup Champion in the Washington Capitals going into the 2018-19 season which can cause other teams to make moves to try and beat that team.
Teams that didn't make the post season will look to fill whatever hole that they believe that they have in order to make it to the post season in 2018-19. For the teams that made the playoffs and were eliminated are finding out what they need to do in order to be the ones that play in the Stanley Cup Final in 2018-19.
Some players aren't happy with their current situation, and some teams are looking to make some room for cap space to make other moves. There are so many moves that could be made to help improve a team, and then there are others that make moves that just don't make sense. With that being said here are ten NHL players that will sign with another team and ten NHL players that will be traded this summer.
16 Signing - Michael Grabner
Michael Grabner is a talented winger that just did not find his groove with the New Jersey Devils after being traded from the New York Rangers. Grabner played in 80 games while tallying 27 goals to go along with 9 assists for a total of 36 points. The Devils are a talented young team, but with the way that the tides went in the post season it looks like the 30 year old will take his talents elsewhere this summer.
Grabner is a potential top six forward talent that could provide great quality as a bottom six forward if he had the right players to play with. If he had linemates that he meshed with he would be putting up numbers like he did while he was with the New York Rangers. Now Grabner's career hasn't shown him to be the most healthiest of some of the talented players in this year's free agent class, but he does have potential to be a good fit for the right team.
15 Trade - Tyson Barrie
The Colorado Avalanche shocked the entire National Hockey League by making the playoffs when they were written off very early into the season. One key part of their success was how well their defense was down the stretch. The defenseman that really stuck out was 26 year old Tyson Barrie.
Barrie played in 68 games while tallying 14 goals to go along with 43 assists for a total of 57 points on the season. He was 11th in the league in points provided by a defenseman and could be a very intriguing piece for another team in the league. Colorado could look to make a splash this summer and could very well capitalize on Barrie's value while it is at an all-time high.
He had a career high in goals, assists, and points in 2017-18 and is entering the prime of his career, which could create some value for the Avalanche to be able to acquire some talent in return to help build the future.
14 Signing - Patrick Maroon
Another player who was acquired by the New Jersey Devils during the season that was clearly just a rental is none other than Patrick Maroon. The 30 year old winger played in 74 games this season with both the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils and tallied 17 goals to go along with 26 assists for a total of 43 points. Maroon also played in all five of the Devils' playoff games and only had a goal to show for it.
Maroon is not another one of the big marquee free agents this summer, but the 30-year-old will find some teams that will be interested in him as a potential top six/bottom six role for their team. He is more than likely going to take his talents to a team that he believes that he will not only be a good fit for, but to a team that could really use in him in a role that he will thrive in.
13 Trade - Bobby Ryan
The Ottawa Senators could be in for a huge rebuild process that starts this summer, and cap killing piece that could be a part of it is none other than Bobby Ryan. Ryan is on the books for another four seasons and is set to make $7.5 million in each of those four seasons. Ottawa is going to need to clear that cap space as soon as possible if they are going to want to do anything remotely successful this summer going into their rebuild.
It also doesn't help that Ryan has not played like the Bobby Ryan they signed to that huge contract to. Ryan was a consistent 50 to 60 point scorer, but the last two seasons in Ottawa he has only managed to tally 25 and 33 points respectively which is not what the Senators want out of his production for the amount of money he is set to make.
Ryan is still a very talented winger, but needs to get out of Ottawa. The only issue is, who can take on his contract?
12 Signing - Mike Green
Mike Green has been a solid offensive defenseman since entering the league during the 2005-06 season. He is a threat on the powerplay and creates a lot of opportunities on the offensive end. Green signed a 3 year $18 million dollar deal with the Red Wings during the 2015 offseason and things haven't worked out the way that both sides wish that it would have.
The 32 year old defenseman is on the free agent market this summer, and should take a nice long look at where he should be playing for the next few seasons. Green was a great player in Washington, but looked expandable in Detroit. Look for Green to try and find himself a fit that will work out in his favor, and will help him show the best of his abilities on the ice.
11 Trade - Ryan Kesler
The Anaheim Ducks don't have a lot of wiggle room to be able to make a big splash this summer, but a salary dump via trade wouldn't be the worst thing for the Ducks. One big contract that they might want to look at dumping is Ryan Kesler. Kesler still has four years left on his contract and will make almost $6.7 million a season. Just by moving his contract the Ducks can create space in order to sign a big free agent this summer, or they could make a couple of moves to make them better as a whole.
Anaheim has been a solid team for the majority of the 2010s, but they have not gotten out of the Western Conference. As a matter of fact they are 5-6 in playoff series in the 2010s decade so far. So it may be time for them to make a big splash to help guys like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf get back to the Stanley Cup Final.
10 Signing - Rick Nash
Rick Nash is still a talented goal scorer and can make some team this summer very happy even with his 15 years of experience. Nash would fit well on a contender that is looking for some veteran goal scorer to be apart of their top six forwards. The only thing that might hold Nash back from getting signed this summer is that his asking price could be a very steep one for some teams.
Not a lot of teams want to pay a 33-year-old as much money as Nash would like to make, but there are stranger things that have happened before. Look to hear Nash's name be said multiple times going to teams before he signs his name on the dotted line, and the fifteen year veteran finds a new home to write a new chapter of his career.
9 Trade - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is in the prime of his career and the former number one overall selection in 2011, might be on his way out of Edmonton this summer. Nugent-Hopkins still has three more years on his current seven year deal that he signed after his rookie contract and is set to receive $6 million per season. Edmonton did not live up to expectations last season that they set for themselves after a very successful 2016-17 campaign, and they could be a team to watch out this summer as they could be looking to acquire help for Connor McDavid and company.
Nugent-Hopkins is one of the more intriguing pieces that the Oilers have, because they could keep what they have and go at it again in 2018-19 with some minor changes, or they can look around and see what Nugent-Hopkins' worth is around the league. The 25-year-old could find himself a new home this summer, and the Oilers could get a huge return for him.
8 Signing - Ian Cole
Ian Cole is a very good top four defenseman that blocks a lot of shots and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Cole was a part of the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins before being traded this past season to Columbus. He doesn't make a huge contribution on the stat sheet, but he is a solid defensive defenseman that has won two Stanley Cups which will be huge for some teams this summer.
Having those two Stanley Cup titles under his belt he can look to getting a veteran role on a young team, and help them improve and show them what it takes to get to a Stanley Cup Final. There are several teams this summer that will be calling Cole's phone, and he has plenty of years left in the league as well as he is only 28 years old. The eight year veteran won't be making the kind of money that some of the other top defenseman will be making this summer, but he will get a significant upgrade from his $2.1 million salary he was making last season.
7 Trade - Max Pacioretty
The Montreal Canadiens are in shambles at the very moment and they could be looking to make some big moves this summer. One move that they could very well be doing is none other than trading away their current captain Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty has one more year left on his contract worth $6 million for the 2018-19 season, so Montreal could try to move him and get something for him instead of potentially having him walk for nothing next summer.
The rumors swirled this season that Pacioretty could be moved, and since he became the captain of the Montreal Canadiens they have struggled as a whole. The talented scoring winger scored 30 plus goals five times. He's one of Montreal's best trade chips and they have many holes to fill on their roster.
6 Signing - James van Riemsdyk
The Toronto Maple Leafs are supplied with a plethora of young talent and one free agent of theirs that could be on the outside looking in for the upcoming season is none other than James van Riemsdyk. JVR is a talented winger that is going to make some lucky team very happy that they signed him. His asking price is going to be very high this summer, and it very well should be for the former number two overall draft pick in 2007.
James van Riemsdyk is a nine year veteran that will be a great top six forward on any team in the NHL and the team that signs him this summer will get a solid 50-60 point scorer. He will be on almost a lot of playoff teams' wish list this summer as he is one of the top five forwards available.
5 Trade - Drew Doughty
The Los Angeles Kings are in a little bit of a conundrum at the moment, and one thing to help them get out of this conundrum is to move some money around to get a better team to put out on the ice. One player that they can move on from is none other than Drew Doughty. The former second overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft is set to make $7.65 million in 2018-19 which is also his last year of his big seven year contract.
If the Kings really want to shake things up, the return would obviously be huge for someone like Doughty and one team could potentially blow them away with an offer.
4 Signing - James Neal
The Vegas Golden Knights went to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, and they played phenomenal all year round. One player that was good for them that will be signing elsewhere this summer is none other than top six forward James Neal. Neal played in 71 games with Vegas this season while tallying 25 goals to go along with 19 assists for a total of 44 points.
Neal is a talented top six forward who is only 30 years old and will be highly sought after this summer.
Look for Neal's name to be involved with several contenders this summer, and for teams that were on the cusp of the postseason to be interested as well. The next contract that Neal signs could very well be his last long-term deal, so he better take a good hard look at what is best for him.
3 Trade - Erik Karlsson
The Ottawa Senators are another team in shambles at the moment especially with the latest report that has surfaced. The report is that Mike Hoffman's long time girlfriend has been harassing Erik Karlsson and his wife about their unborn child that they lost earlier this year. Karlsson was already not happy with the current situation with the Senators, but this has to put the icing on the cake for his unhappiness with the franchise.
He was rumored to be on the move all season long and is set to become a free agent in the summer of 2019. Ottawa has to be careful with their current situation because a lot of their fans are not happy with them at the moment. The Senators need to take a hard look at what they are trying to accomplish, because their captain is not happy.
Karlsson's value is at an all time high and the nine year veteran is only 28 years old. The Senators need to grant his wishes and let him start over somewhere else, because all they are doing is stirring the pot more and more by not trading him and could lose him next summer for absolutely nothing.
2 Signing - John Tavares
The biggest name this summer that is available as an unrestricted free agent is none other than John Tavares. Tavares has not been happy with the Islanders' front office as of late so the Islanders decided to do a complete 180 and fire head coach Doug Weight and GM Garth Snow, while bringing in Lou Lamoriello to replace Snow. The Islanders think that could be the new start for their franchise and could be a huge reason why Tavares could end up staying with the team.
Tavares will be highly coveted this summer and will get a lot of offers from a bunch of teams this summer. He could very well go back to the Islanders, but he wants to win a title and could go to a contender to help be one of the reasons why they are favorites to win the Stanley Cup next season.
Teams could very well move pieces to acquire more than enough money to be able to offer whatever Tavares would ever want.
1 Trade - Phil Kessel
It seems weird that the Penguins would trade Phil Kessel but rumors have been popping up this summer that the Pens have been looking to move him. All Kessel's done is score goals in Pittsburgh and the Pens have won the Stanley Cup in two of Kessel's three years with the team. Kessel's also coming off a career-high 92 points. The Pens didn't give up all that much to acquire Kessel three summers ago, so perhaps this could be a time where they flip him for prime assets. Kessel was reportedly unhappy with how he was deployed in this year's playoffs and we've seen how Kessel can wear out his welcome with certain teams. The Penguins could use another top-four defenceman, so look for that to be their asking price in any Kessel trade.
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