When it comes to National Hockey League trades, there are three times of year when big deals tend to be pulled off. One time of year is around the NHL trade deadline, which occurs in late February or early March. We already saw one huge trade happen this February, when the Toronto Maple Leafs sent their captain, Dion Phaneuf, over to their rival Ottawa Senators, in a nine-player trade including a draft pick.

The second time of year when trades are prevalent is around the NHL Entry Draft. The 2016 draft will occur on June 24-25 at the First Niagra Center in Buffalo, New York. There will most certainly be player swaps, including draft picks, which happen in June of this year. In 2013, we saw the New Jersey Devils acquire up-and-coming goaltender Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the ninth overall draft pick. Could the Devils’ netminder be on the move again this summer?

And the third most common time to see players traded is once again in the summer, around the first day of free agency which occurs on July 1. In 2015, on the first day that free agents were able to sign with new teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent sniper Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a six-player deal. Kessel has since been slotted in on the second line for the Penguins. Could another team be looking at Kessel as a first-line goal-scorer?

Trades will most certainly happen this summer. It would not be surprising to see more than one blockbuster deal occur. Below are five NHL trades which just might happen prior to the 2016-17 NHL season start this coming fall.

15. Toronto Trades Joffrey Lupul to Ottawa for Marc Methot 

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are no strangers when it comes to the trade market. They took part in a blockbuster trade earlier this year when defenseman, and Maple Leafs’ captain, Dion Phaneuf was sent north to Ottawa. As the Senators look for further offensive firepower, they’d be willing to part with one of their defensemen. Toronto is in the midst of a full rebuild. This would be a pure trade of need for Ottawa in acquiring a forward who can put the puck in the net.

14. Dallas Trades Cody Eakin to St. Louis for Kevin Shattenkirk

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Eakin is signed to a contract extension through the 2019-20 season at a relatively affordable $3.85 million annual cap hit. The goal-scoring pivot would be a welcome addition to the St. Louis Blues. Dallas has previously made it known that they’d like further veteran presence to mentor their young defensemen. Although Kevin Shattenkirk wouldn’t come cheap (his cap hit is $4.25 million) the veteran blueliner would fit the bill for Dallas. The Stars could fit Shattenkirk’s salary under their cap, and with the defenseman set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season, a trade by St. Louis wouldn’t be out of the question.

13. Philadelphia Trades Mark Streit and a 3rd Rounder to Anaheim for Jakob Silfverberg

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Streit could provide the Anaheim Ducks the extra defensive help they need to reach the Stanley Cup. His cap hit of $5.25 million may have kept other teams at bay, however the Ducks are in a position to take that contract on for a short period of time. To acquire forward Jakob Silfverberg, and his more modest contract, from the Ducks, Philadelphia also antes up a mid-round draft pick in 2017. Silfverberg is under contract through 2018-19 at a $3.75 million cap hit.

12. Islanders Trade Travis Hamonic to Winnipeg for Jacob Trouba

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Hamonic had requested a trade this summer to be closer to home. Winnipeg would fit the bill. The Jets cleared room off their books prior to the trade deadline this year by sending their former captain, Andrew Ladd, to the Chicago Blackhawks. With over $11 million in projected cap space, the Jets can certainly afford to land Hamonic and his contract. Signed through the 2019-20 season, Hamonic currently carries an annual cap hit of $3,85 million. The 25-year-old defenseman has 15 assists and 5 goals through 68 games this season.

The Jets would certainly bite. The Islanders would be looking for a substantial return however. The 22-year-old Trouba has been a bargain in his entry-level contract. In 72 games for Winnipeg, he’s put up 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists). The cap hit on his two-way contract has been a meager $894,167. When his contract is up after this season, he’ll be a restricted free agent and will be looking for a significant pay raise. The Isles could meet his contract requests.

11. Rangers Trade Chris Kreider to Ottawa for Mike Hoffman

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider, a 24-year-old left winger for the New York Rangers is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. He carries a cap hit of $2.45 million. The Ottawa Senators could use some help on the left wing, and with the Ottawa Senators’ owner recently hinting at significant changes, the team may be willing to ante up for Kreider’s services. His speed and tenacity may be just what the Senators need.

The 26-year-old Mike Hoffman meanwhile, is also set to become a restricted free agent this summer. The right wing carries a lower cap hit than Kreider at $2 million. Putting up 26 goals and 27 assists through 71 games this season, Hoffman has the scoring touch the Rangers need and can afford to reward.

10. Vancouver Trades Ryan Miller and Derek Dorsett to the Islanders for Anders Lee and Jaroslav Halak

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

At one point, Ryan Miller may have been considered the best goaltender in the NHL. He’s still a number one netminder, albeit not the best in the league. The Islanders could use an established, proven goaltender in front of their strong defense. They are also one of the few teams that has the cap room to afford Miller’s $6 million cap hit. Dorsett is a versatile player who doesn’t carry a huge price tag.

Vancouver, who has been struggling lately, may decide to go in a different direction and re-load. Lee is a big, young forward who can put the puck in the net and comes at a price the Canucks could handle ($3.75 million annually through 2018-19). He’s a goal scorer that would fit in nicely on Vancouver’s second line. Halak has been a journeyman netminder who has had some success in New York. As a mentor to the younger goaltenders in Vancouver’s system, as they re-load, he could really add some value.

9. Columbus Trades Scott Hartnell to Nashville for Mike Ribeiro and a 2nd Rounder

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors were swirling in February of this year that the Columbus Blue Jackets were in talks with the Nashville Predators to deal Scott Hartnell. While the trade didn’t come to fruition prior to the deadline, it can certainly happen this summer. While the Blue Jackets may not have had success in Hartnell’s tenure, the former Philadelphia Flyer has continued to produce. If the forward waives his no-move clause, Columbus could send Hartnell to Nashville to be reunited with Ryan Johansen. In return, Columbus receives the assist-machine in pivot Mike Ribeiro, whose contract is up after 2016-17, and a 2nd round draft pick in 2017.

8. Tampa Bay Trades Jonathan Drouin to Montreal for Andrei Markov, Charles Hudon and 2nd Rounder

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At 20 years old, the former number three overall draft pick requested a trade out of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization earlier this season. GM Steve Yzerman wasn’t able to move the young forward prior to the February 29 trade deadline. Drouin, who has 8 points in 19 games for the Lightning and 9 points in 13 games for the Syracuse Crush this season, would certainly be an asset for the Canadiens.

With Tampa Bay being very close to making the push for the Stanley Cup, Andrei Markov could be just the player to put them over the top. Markov, who at 37 years of age is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season, would fit in nicely on the Tampa Bay blue line. The price for Drouin will be steep though, given Montreal is a division rival. They’ll have to throw in one of their more promising prospects in Charles Hudon and the proverbial 2nd round pick.

7. Minnesota Trades Jared Spurgeon to Washington for T.J. Oshie

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to bolster their offense, the Minnesota Wild would be willing to part with one of their skilled defensemen. In order to acquire a goal-scoring forward in T.J. Oshie, the Wild send one of their top-pairing defensemen to the Washington Capitals in Jared Spurgeon. The Caps are set offensively, but need to improve their blue line. Meanwhile, the Wild just need that offensive push to break through into the playoffs. Oshie is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season.

6. Pittsburgh Trades Phil Kessel to New Jersey for Adam Larsson

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Kessel has been good for the Pittsburgh Penguins since coming over in a trade during the summer of 2015. He hasn’t been the team’s leading goal-scorer however, like he was for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Could that be because he is now in a supporting role, rather than the star offensive player on the first line? It’s possible. Would getting back onto the first line help improve his goals-per-game number? The New Jersey Devils would certainly hope so. New Jersey is always in need of scorers, it seems. Notably a defense-first team, the Devils might be willing to part with Adam Larsson to get a bonafide goal-scorer. The Penguins could use a big-bodied blueliner and Larsson would fit the bill.

5. Edmonton Trades Jordan Eberle to Anaheim for Cam Fowler

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

This is a straight up hockey trade. The Oilers cannot keep neglecting their blue line and with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Taylor Hall as part of their future, they’ll have to sacrifice some of their young forwards. Eberle’s name has been flown around the rumor mill and trading him could land them a top pairing defenceman. Cam Fowler would come at a very affordable price tag of $4 million. Not bad for a guy that gives you 23 minutes a game. The Ducks have fallen short of expectations in terms of production from their forwards and adding Eberle could give them a spark. This deal is far more likely if the Ducks suffer an early round exit. 

4. Rangers trade Rick Nash to Edmonton for Nail Yakupov and a 2nd round draft pick in 2017

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Rangers don’t advance to the Stanley Cup this year, some changes will be in order. Looking to get younger and quicker, the Rangers could opt to acquire a goal-scorer like Nail Yakupov, who at 22 years of age is under contract through 2016-17. The Edmonton Oilers, for their part, realize they need some veteran presence on their team to mentor the young squad. As one of the teams who could afford to take on Rick Nash’s large contract, the Oilers give up the young winger in Yakupov as well as a 2nd round draft pick for Nash.

3. Edmonton Trades Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Minnesota for Jonas Brodin, 2nd Rounder

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan have made it somewhat public that they are visibly frustrated with where the Oilers are. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You have to believe the Oilers wanted Seth Jones before Columbus got him. They’ll have to find some blueliners and Jonas Brodin could be a nice fit at just 22 years old. Brodin was drafted 10 picks after RNH in 2011. Minnesota needs some fire power up front and RNH’s role has diminished with the emergence of fellow centers McDavid and Draisaitl.

2. Pittsburgh Trades Evgeni Malkin to Florida for Jonathan Huberdeau, Alex Petrovic, a 1st Rounder and a 2nd Rounder

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Realizing this season that they can win in the absence of Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins decide to shed the big center’s hefty salary so that they are no longer up against the cap ceiling. The Florida Panthers, after making the playoffs but not having the requisite firepower to reach the Conference Finals, decide that they need to make a big splash.

As one of the teams who can afford the big Russian forward, they go for it. In return, they send young stud center Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman Alex Petrovic as well as two early round draft picks in coming years to fill their talent pipeline. Huberdeau would make it easier for the Penguins in giving up Malkin. While the Panthers sacrifice a ton of youthful skill, they get one of the most dominant players in the game.

1. Tampa Bay Trades Steven Stamkos to Toronto for James Van Riemsdyk, two 1st Rounders and a 2nd Rounder

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The rumors have been swirling around Steven Stamkos being traded to his hometown team in the Toronto Maple Leafs for some time. The sniping forward is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016. The Tampa Bay Lightning trade the rights to negotiate exclusively with Stamkos to the Maple Leafs, landing these pieces on the condition that Stamkos re-signs with the Leafs.

A return of Van Riemsdyk and three draft picks wouldn’t be out of the question. Brendan Shanahan clearly would love to acquire Stamkos. He and GM Lou Lamoriello have stockpiled draft picks recently and would have the ability to part with a few of them for a return of one of the best shooting forwards in the National Hockey League.

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