The 2017-18 NHL season has concluded, and the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Washington Capitals. Alexander Ovechkin has finally landed his first Stanley Cup! Now that all of that is over, hockey fans will begin to turn their attention to the looming offseason. Before too much longer, countless players will become free agents and will have to make some tough decisions.
It also won’t be too much longer until the trade rumour starts to really kick into high gear – it already has in some instances. There will surely be plenty of names tossed around in rumours, including some players whose names were speculated during the trade deadline but ended up staying put. As in any professional sport, anything could happen. A player fans might not think would be on the market might suddenly find himself suiting up for a new team before the start of the season. This article will take a look at 10 NHL players who could find themselves being traded to a new team this off-season.
We will also be taking a look at 10 NHL players who might survive the frenzy of this offseason, but who could end up finishing the 2018/2019 playing for a different team. Every year, there are players who fans speculate could be traded during the offseason but who ultimately end up getting traded at the deadline instead. In other instances, teams fall out of contention and choose to trade some of their players in hopes of contending again in later seasons.
Let’s take a look at some of the NHL players who might be traded this offseason, as well as another 10 players who could be traded by the 2019 trade deadline!
20 This Offseason: P.K. Subban
There’s no doubt P.K. Subban is a highly valuable player for the Nashville Predators, but the fact remains that Nashville is loaded with defensemen that they might elect to trade one of them for a forward and a scoring threat.
Even with his $9 million salary, Subban could plausibly bring back that type of piece Nashville could be seeking.
For their part, the Predators have shot down the idea of trading Subban – although Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin also said the same thing before ultimately trading Subban. While it might seem like a long shot right now, it is easy to imagine a scenario where a team looking for strong defenders makes a good enough for Nashville to move Subban.
19 2019 Deadline: Sergei Bobrovsky
A trade of Sergei Bobrovsky at the 2019 trade deadline might not be a huge guarantee, but it certainly should not be discounted either. The Columbus Blue Jackets have been a competitive team the past few years largely because they have Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes. The former Vezina Trophy winner will become a free agent next summer, and the Blue Jackets need to seriously consider if they are prepared to pay top dollar to keep Bobrovsky into his mid-30s. If they don’t feel confident doing so, they have to evaluate if it makes sense to trade him and get value back rather than lose him for nothing.
18 This Offseason: Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel's name has been popping up in trade rumors all summer and it seems to be a question of the Penguins finding a team that would be willing to send them a top-four defenceman in return. Kessel has done nothing but score goals in Pittsburgh but now, the Penguins' thin blue line has caught up to them. Add to that the fact that Kessel seemed rather disgruntled following the Penguins' playoff exit and the signs are pointing to him being dealt. It's possible the Penguins would have to retain some of his cap hit to facilitate a trade.
17 2019 Deadline: Jeff Skinner
The Carolina Hurricanes have seemingly been in an annual rebuild for much of the past decade.
While Carolina has a pretty good young team, they are still a team that is built around their aging star Jeff Skinner.
The Hurricanes must be cognizant of the fact that Skinner’s contract expires at the end of next season, and it could be reasonably expected he wants to play for a team that has a chance at winning the Stanley Cup within the next year or two. Odds are that team will not be the Hurricanes, and it would be doing a disservice to continue to keep Skinner around for the rest of the rebuild.
16 This Offseason: Erik Karlsson
A trade of Erik Karlsson was widely expected to have taken place at the trade deadline. When that never came to fruition, everyone now expects it to happen this off-season. Karlsson is one year away from free agency and he intends on seeking top dollar in his next contract, making it unlikely the Ottawa Senators will retain him. Ottawa struggled last year, and netting whatever they can get for Karlsson will go a long way to help their rebuilding efforts – especially since they have to give up next year’s draft pick to Colorado. While stranger things could happen, it would be a surprise to see Karlsson suiting up for the Sens on opening night.
15 2019 Deadline: Trevor Daley
Trevor Daley played a role in helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups, but they were forced to let him leave to the Detroit Red Wings in free agency. However, the Red Wings are at the opposite end of the spectrum where they are looking to rebuild for the next few years and want to get younger. At 34, Daley is not exactly a long-term building block for the team and would probably be better helping a contending team. It would probably be best for everyone involved if Daley goes to a contending team to get a chance at helping a team win the Stanley Cup, and it helps Detroit get younger and faster.
14 This Offseason: Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty is in a very similar situation as Erik Karlsson. The Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman is eligible to become an UFA in 2019, and he is focussed on winning a Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.
It does not look as if the Kings are an imminent threat to become a real contender to win the Stanley Cup, so it might be in the best interests of all involved to trade Doughty to a contending team this offseason.
Doughty is an elite defenseman and there would surely be many teams interested in acquiring him to bolster their defense. The Kings might be best served to net the best return they can get for him this offseason.
13 2019 Deadline: Logan Couture
The San Jose Sharks seem to perpetually find themselves in a very tough spot. On one hand, they are a strong enough team to make the playoffs. The problem arises once the playoffs actually arrive, as they often fail to advance deep into the playoffs for whatever reason. If the Sharks do not appear to be trending upward, it would not be unreasonable to think they will do a bit of a teardown by the trade deadline. Logan Couture is one player who could be moved with his contract ending after the 2019 season, and he would help net the Sharks something in return.
12 This Offseason: Carl Hagelin
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is not shy to make trades, so when he proclaimed that there will be roster changes this year – you pay attention. Looking over the roster, and there are some players who could be considered expendable. While Kessel is an obvious player who could be moved, Carl Hagelin is a player who could realistically be moved. Hagelin isn’t as a big a cap hit as Kessel for the acquiring team, so it is possible that another team would part with someone who could help the Penguins improve their depth on the blue line, something they really need.
11 2019 Deadline: Jake Gardiner
Jake Gardiner is a player whom analytics seems to love, but he seems to suffer mental lapses and breakdowns on defense. He was exposed in the playoffs against Boston as well.
The Maple Leafs defenseman is a true all or nothing player, and the Maple Leafs will need to upgrade their defense at some point.
Given how poorly he performed in the playoffs, the Leafs might hold on to him for now. However, if the right trade presents itself during the season the Maple Leafs would be better served with a defensively minded player rather than Gardiner in the playoffs.
10 This Offseason: Dougie Hamilton
Calgary underwent yet another disappointing season, which resulted in Dougie Hamilton’s name popping up in trade rumors at the conclusion of the season. Trading Hamilton might not make the most sense on paper, after all he is a 24-year old top defenseman on a very reasonable contract. However, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving might be motivated to do something big to try to push the team over the edge in an attempt to avoid being fired. Calgary would understandably have a very high asking price on Hamilton, but if a team is willing to pay up then Hamilton might be on the move – even if it does look unlikely right now.
9 2019 Deadline: Ryan McDonagh
Ryan McDonagh ended up getting traded from the New York Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lightning at this year’s trade deadline, as the Rangers found themselves falling out of the Wild Card race. McDonagh was a great addition for the Lightning in the playoffs, but his contract expires at the end of the 2019 season. With the Lightning needing to allocate money to other players and McDonagh seeking a pay raise, it is unlikely that he will re-sign with Tampa Bay. Unless Tampa Bay decides it is fine letting McDonagh simply walk to another team, he is a candidate to be traded by the 2019 deadline.
8 This Offseason: Andre Burakovsky
The Washington Capitals traded Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson last year, which paved the way for Andre Burakovsky to show what he could do for the Capitals. Unfortunately, the 2017-18 season did not as expected largely because of injuries and mental frustration.
He now finds himself one year away from free agency, and the Capitals will have to deal with other pending free agents this year.
With a roster that might undergo some changes (even though they won the Stanley Cup), Burakovsky might be trade bait for the Capitals to further upgrade their roster.
7 2019 Deadline: Artemi Panarin
The Columbus Blue Jackets have started to prove to their fanbase that spending time towards the bottom of the standings has paid off, as they have a solid young team capable of making the playoffs. They still have work to do, but they did add Artemi Panarin last summer in hopes of boosting their scoring. He had a strong season, which likely means he will be hoping for a major payday. If the Blue Jackets feel they will be unable to re-sign Panarin and another team sends an enticing enough offer for him, the Blue Jackets might ship him to another team at the 2019 trade deadline.
6 This Offseason: Ryan O'Reilly
Ryan O’Reilly is another strong candidate to find himself playing for a new team by the time this off-season concludes. The Buffalo Sabres center is coming off a strong 61-point season (including 24 goals) and is strong both offensively and defensively. That, coupled with him only being 27 years old, will make him a prime target for many teams who are looking to add a center. O’Reilly probably wouldn’t mind a trade either, as he expressed his disappointment at what he perceives to be the team’s mindset of “just being OK with losing” at the end of the season. A change of scenery might be what is best for O’Reilly.
5 2019 Deadline: Max Pacioretty
If the Montreal Canadiens are going fully commit to rebuilding and getting some younger players, they might as well trade anyone with value. Current Habs captain Max Pacioretty is one of those players, and he will most likely find himself on the trading block.
While it is possible that he will be traded to a different team this offseason, it is more likely that the Canadiens will wait to trade him leading up to the 2019 trade deadline.
This will give him half a season to build up some value so that the Canadiens can get a good return for him from a team looking to add some depth for a playoff run.
4 This Offseason: Oscar Klefbom
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has not been shy about making big trades – just think Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle. The Oilers had a disappointing season, so Chiarelli might feel pressured to take steps to push the Oilers to the next level. In addition to a backup goalie, the Oilers need speed up front and a good defender. Oscar Klefbom has been someone who has been speculated as a possible trade candidate, so the Oilers flip him to another team looking to take a chance on Klefbom as a bounce back candidate. In return, the Oilers can get someone who better fills their needs than Klefbom.
3 2019 Deadline: Conor Sheary
As we mentioned earlier, the Penguins are looking to make some roster moves and change up the team’s composition a bit. Conor Sheary is another player who the Pittsburgh Penguins might consider to be expendable. The difficulty is that he is coming off a season where he struggled, so the Penguins would be selling low. If they want to get more value out of Sheary, they might choose to wait until closer to the 2019 deadline to move Sheary. If he can bounce back, Sheary could be traded to fill a need that Pittsburgh is looking to resolve in hopes of making another deep playoff run.
2 This Offseason: Bobby Ryan
With all the talk about Erik Karlsson likely being traded out of Ottawa, there is also a strong chance Bobby Ryan will also find himself suiting up for a new team at the start of the season.
There is not much of a chance the Senators will get much in return for Ryan, apart from getting rid of his terrible contract and $7.2 million cap hit.
There are a couple of teams that could take on that contract (or at least part of the cap hit) and hope to get something out of Ryan that the Senators have not been able to since acquiring him in 2013.
1 2019 Deadline: Carey Price
This one probably won’t be popular with diehard Canadiens fans. Montreal is a top team because of Carey Price and if he is not healthy, they are merely average at best. He is still one of the best goalies, but it remains to be seen if Montreal can win despite Price putting up consistently top-notch numbers. If Montreal struggles in the first half of the season, it would not be surprising to see Montreal pull off a blockbuster trade and send their star goalie to another team. As much as it would sting, a Price trade would go a long way to help kickstart their rebuild.