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Projecting 15 Huge NHL Trades That Could Happen This Summer

Due to the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft (Vegas Golden Knights), and with a number of Stanley Cup Playoff contending teams scrambling to restructure the appearance of their rosters, the 2017 NHL offseason should be one of the more memorable summers than in recent past.

While there's plenty of speculation that there could be a handful of blockbuster trades at the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline this month, there is a strong possibility that a number of clubs will postpone potential trades and wait until after the season is officially over. Clubs such as the Tampa Bay Lightning or Dallas Stars may hesitate to make transactions this month, as each team would want to carefully evaluate if a trade would end up hurting their chances at hoisting the Stanley Cup this spring.

Then, there are the other clubs such as the Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils who have plenty of salary-cap space to improve their clubs drastically this offseason, and would be more than happy to take valuable players, plus their contracts, off of other team's hands.

Looking at today's NHL, blockbuster trades tend to happen in the summer, as teams then have a chance to get under the cap prior to the season. Deadline deals in today's NHL are usually reserved for rental players and or acquiring fourth liners.

The Sportster projects 15 NHL trades that could happen this summer.

15 Valtteri Filppula To Dallas

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning have little room to keep their core group from the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals intact, and while goaltender Ben Bishop will likely not be on the roster next season, so will at least one or two other Lightning forwards. Bolts forward Valtteri Filppula could be the first skater traded during the 2017 offseason for Tampa Bay.

14 Dustin Brown To Buffalo

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s apparent that the Los Angeles Kings and general manager Dean Lombardi are ready to move on from two-time Stanley Cup champion and former team captain, Dustin Brown. And, while the forward’s contract is not ideal to tackle on at the moment, a club such as the Arizona Coyotes (who have salary cap room) could look into taking Brown off of the Kings’ hands; which would also serve as a nice replacement for a veteran presence which will be missed next season in captain, Shane Doan.

13 Bobby Ryan To New Jersey

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby Ryan is set to make over $7-million a season and over the next five years with the Ottawa Senators. While the Senators are currently in the Stanley Cup Playoffs picture for this upcoming spring, Ottawa could still look to trade Ryan and to a handful of teams.

The dynamic forward could be traded to the Winnipeg Jets, who will seek players of Ryan’s talent this offseason in order to help support rookie sensation, Patrik Laine. Winnipeg also has the cap-room to take on Ryan’s contract, and the skater could help transform the Jets into a Cup contender in due time. A club such as the New Jersey Devils could take interest in Ryan, too. While Devils’ forward Adam Henrique is a fan favorite, perhaps New Jersey’s front office would be open to shopping him, for Ryan plus an additional skater.

12 Matt Duchene To Carolina

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tough season for all of the Colorado Avalanche’s skaters, but one player that stands out in comparison to the rest of the club is forward Matt Duchene. The former first-round draft-pick (2009) of the Avs has only recorded 29 points to date, yet his trade value would still be high once the offseason begins this summer.

11 Paul Stastny To New York

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a bit of a disappointing campaign for forward Paul Stastny in St. Louis and with the Blues. If the Blues lose early in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, again, or even fail to qualify for the Cup Finals, than St. Louis could look to trade away Stastny this summer.

10 Marian Gaborik To Florida

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings’ window to compete for another Stanley Cup may be diminishing, and team general manager Dean Lombardi will have some intriguing (from the fan’s perspective) and difficult decisions to make sooner than later. Lombardi could look to trade a couple of notable players in order to free salary-cap space for the future, and one of those skaters could potentially be Marian Gaborik.

9 Gabriel Landeskog To Boston

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, what a spiraling mess the Colorado Avalanche have been over the past eight seasons or so. The Avs are in desperate need to just ‘start over again’ and Colorado could start doing so by trading away one of its former second-overall-picks (2011), Gabriel Landeskog.

8 James van Riemsdyk To New Jersey

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Since former New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello joined the Toronto Maple Leafs front office last summer, Leafs’ forward James van Riemsdyk has been rumored to be an ideal candidate for Toronto to trade away.

7 Ryan Getzlaf To Philadelphia

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Ryan Getzlaf has played for the Anaheim Ducks since the 2005-06 regular season, which even dates back to when the club was named the “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.” The former first-round draft-pick of the team (2003) has been one of the main, if not the, face of the franchise since the Ducks hoisted their first ever Stanley Cup in 2007.

6 Marc-Andre Fleury To Dallas

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

While the Pittsburgh Penguins very well could deal goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury before the offseason, that trade possibility may sound easier said than done -- and the Pens could have to wait until this summer to trade Fleury away.

Additionally, Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford will not just send the club’s former first-overall-pick (2003) and two time Stanley Cup winner to a destination which entails not making the postseason in 2018. In fact, perhaps if Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues continues to struggle down the stretch and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs – the Penguins will look to make a deal with them...or, a team who is desperate for a Stanley Cup champion caliber netminder -- such as the Dallas Stars who could jump in the sweepstakes, but not until this summer.

5 Henrik Zetterberg To Toronto

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it’s finally time to rebuild in Hockeytown after 25 straight seasons of the Detroit Red Wings clinching a Stanley Cup Playoff berth. So, one prime candidate who holds a ton of trade value would be veteran and team captain, Henrik Zetterberg. The Red Wings more than likely wouldn’t trade Zetterberg at the deadline, but could look to deal away the club’s superstar to help speed up the rebuild process in good ol’ Hockeytown this summer.

Perhaps an old foe, in the Colorado Avalanche would take interest in the Swedish native, as the club will clearly be looking to make a few drastic moves this summer. I’m sure an old friend, and coach, in Mike Babcock would push for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ front office to make a run at acquiring his former all-star winger and in exchange for future draft picks the club can dispense – with the Auston Matthews era now moving along.

4 Ben Bishop To Calgary

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, NHL fans alike are still waiting for the Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman to trade goaltender Ben Bishop, and let Andrei Vasilevskiy take over the reigns in the Bolts’ crease. However, it may be wise for Tampa Bay to hold onto Bishop for as long as it possibly can; especially if the Lightning get back into playoff contention.

3 Rick Nash To St. Louis 

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a love-hate relationship between New York Rangers forward Rick Nash and the Garden faithful. Nash, 32, has been a Ranger since the beginning of the 2012-13 campaign and his contract with the club is set to expire after next season. With Nash set to make just under $8 million next season, before becoming an unrestricted-free-agent in 2018, New York could look to trade the former first-overall-pick (2001) this summer.

2 Cory Schneider To St. Louis

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Last summer, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero executed the first blockbuster deal of the NHL offseason when the former Penguins Stanley Cup winner (general manager) traded New Jersey defenseman Adam Larsson, in exchange for Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall. New Jersey still needs help on the offensive side of the puck.

1 John Tavares To Anaheim

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no arguing or denying that forward John Tavares has been both the captain and superstar player that the New York Islanders have been longing for since, well, the Stanley Cup years (1980-1983). The former first-overall draft-pick (2009) has had numerous MVP-like seasons in New York, but it appears that the team may have to consider trading its’ beloved captain and sooner than later.

Tavares is set to become an unrestricted free agent during the 2018 offseason, and while number 91 for the Orange and Blue has never hinted about leaving the Islanders, fans alike are aware that it is very possible for New York to lose Tavares to free-agency. So, with the Islanders struggling and potentially in the beginning stages of an inevitable rebuild…why not trade Tavares this summer and receive the maximum amount of value back in return?

Assuming the Ducks don't win the Stanley Cup this year, they could shake up their core by trading Getzlaf and landing themselves a younger top center in Tavares. Seeing Tavares match up against the Western Conference's top centers would be a treat to see next season.

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Projecting 15 Huge NHL Trades That Could Happen This Summer