A hockey fan can dream, right? There are just some players you'd like to see on another team. If making National Hockey League trades happened as easily as it does fantasy hockey, maybe some of these trades would happen. It’s much harder in the NHL though.
There are various reasons why you might want to see a player traded to another team. How about stocking an NHL team will one type of skill or attribute? All the speed guys on one team. Or the tallest team on the ice.
Another reason might be to bring a hometown player back. There’s always one player out there which fans, and the player themselves, would like to see on home ice. It does happen in free agency, as it did with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter returning home to Minnesota. A trade makes it happen much quicker though.
Then there’s the case of brothers or relatives playing together. You don’t see the father-son combination often, as we once did in baseball with the Griffeys. You do see brothers in the NHL on a fairly regular basis though. What’s better than a brother-to-brother assist for a goal?
Finally, there is sensationalism. The big trade. The whopper. Moving one giant NHL star for another. Or how about putting them both on the same team? In any case, and for whatever the reason, here are the 15 NHL trades we’d like to see happen (but never will).
Why do we want to see this trade happen? Speed. If the Pittsburgh Penguins got Dylan Larkin, a winner of the NHL’s fastest skater award, just think how much faster their team would be. They already have speedsters Carl Hagelin and Kris Letang on their squad. Sidney Crosby is no slow skater either. Some of their young guns can really move too, in Bryan Rust and Tom Kuhnhackl. Add in Larkin and you have the fastest team in the league, if the Penguins aren’t already. The Red Wings could use Maatta to bolster their defensive corps.
Olli Maatta, a first-round draft pick by the Penguins in 2012, has quickly made his way on to the top defensive pairing. A puck-moving defenseman with size, he could help shore up the defense in front of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Larkin is still on his entry-level contract, and the Red Wings won’t move him any time soon. The young forward put up 45 points in his rookie campaign.
Dion Phaneuf, the former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was traded to the Ottawa Senators previously this season. The blueliner has had his best success, at least from an offensive point of view, with the Calgary Flames. As a rookie in 2005-06, Phaneuf notched 49 points in a full 82 games. He increased that point total over the next two seasons, reaching 60 in 2007-08. Would a change of scenery, heading to the Saddledome, bring new life to Phaneuf’s offensive game?
Forward Michael Frolik could add goal-scoring depth to the Ottawa Senators. With the capability of providing twenty-plus goals per season, Frolik could slot in on the second or third line with the Senators. The Flames are looking to get younger though, and taking on a $7 million contract for an aging veteran is most likely not in Calgary’s game plan.
Okay, so just hear us out on this one. Zdeno Chara plays on the left side, just like Victor Hedman. If one of them can switch to the right side, what an intimidating defense pairing Tampa Bay would have? Can you imagine forwards trying to get past both a 6’6 and 6’9 defender? Put both of these big boys in front of Ben Bishop, who is 6’7 and it would be like trying to get the puck through a wall. It just might start a new trend in going for height on defense and in net.
Jonathan Drouin, who previously asked to be traded by Tampa Bay, would be able to slot in on the opposite wing from Brad Marchand and contribute offensively. Although Drouin wanted a trade, he’s now getting the playing time he asked for previously. At 39 years of age, the Lightning would want a young asset in return, making this trade impossible.
Could the New York Rangers use a veteran center who really knows how to dish the puck? They sure could. Henrik Sedin had 44 assists this past season, and 55 the year before. In 2009-10, Henrik put up an astounding 83 assists for Vancouver. Wouldn’t it be cool to see the two famous Henriks from Sweden playing on the same team in the NHL?
The Canucks meanwhile are just about going into rebuild mode. Brassard, who is seven years younger than Henrik Sedin, would fit into the plans. A pivot who can score and pass, Brassard’s current contract runs through 2018-19 at an AAV of $5 million. That’s $2 million less than Sedin. There’s a no-movement clause in Sedin’s contract though, and he’s not about to leave his brother Daniel in the Pacific Northwest.
Nugent-Hopkins went number one overall in the 2011 NHL draft to the Edmonton Oilers. The number two pick was Landeskog who was taken by Colorado. The Avalanche could use another centerman and Nugent-Hopkins would fit the bill. While his play hasn’t lit the league on fire since his selection, he has been a serviceable pivot for Edmonton. Meanwhile, Landeskog would slot it nicely alongside Connor McDavid. In his five seasons since being selected with the second overall pick, Landeskog has put up an impressive 246 points in 356 regular season games.
While the Oilers continue to rebuild, the Avalanche nearly missed the playoffs this season. While it would be fun to see a number one and number two pick from the same draft traded for each other, it’s not likely that Colorado trades their team captain at this point.
Hockey fans have been talking about this one for a while. The number one overall draft pick in 2016 is widely predicted to be Auston Matthews. He just so happens to hail from Arizona. The Coyotes had a chance to get the top overall pick in this year’s lottery, but it wound up going to the Toronto Maple Leafs, appropriately. Top draft picks usually pan out. Not always though. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a proven commodity in the NHL. The elite puck-moving defenseman was a number six overall selection in the 2009 NHL draft. He’s under contract through 2018-19 at a relatively reasonable $5.5 million annually. The defenseman put up 55 points in 75 games for Arizona in the most recent season.
Toronto is in a rebuild however, and they are most likely ready and willing to take a gamble on Matthews. Although seeing Matthews play for the team he grew up rooting for would be a nice story, we’ll probably see him wearing the Maple Leaf on his chest come June.
At one point, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider were goalies 1 and 1A for the Vancouver Canucks. Fast-forward a few years and now Luongo is starting for the Florida Panthers, once again, while Schneider is playing well for the New Jersey Devils. Seeing these two netminders traded for one another would continue the saga that began in Vancouver. If you recall, there was quite some drama going on when Luongo was relegated to the backup position as a Canuck.
Schneider was subsequently traded to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. In a somewhat perplexing move, less than one year later, the Canucks traded Luongo to the Florida Panthers, as the young Eddie Lack took over in net for Vancouver. If Luongo and Schneider were traded for one another, it would just add to the storyline here. Probably not going to happen though.
Kevin Shattenkirk reportedly would be open to a trade that sent him east. He is from the state of New York originally. The Rangers could use Shattenkirk’s help on the blue line, for sure. The 27 year-old is a good setup man from the point, having notched 30 assists in the Blues most recent regular season. Shattenkirk is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after next season, so it’s possible he hangs on with St. Louis until that time and then signs with a new team. The Blues are stocked at defense though too, so for the right piece, it’s not out of the question that St. Louis might trade Shattenkirk.
There was speculation that the Blues wanted Rick Nash before he left Columbus for New York. Two seasons ago, as a Ranger, the big forward had a phenomenal regular season, notching 42 goals. This past season though, battling through injury, he didn’t produce at the same clip. With his much larger salary ($7.8 million AAV), it isn’t likely that the Blues take him on, without a significant increase in their own cap room. It’s more likely that they wait for Nash to become a free agent after two more seasons, when they can sign him at a more reasonable rate.
The Minnesota Wild are fairly strong on defense. But how good would they be if they had Drew Doughty at right defense and Ryan Suter on left defense on the first pairing? Scoring would rocket for the Wild. Another puck moving defenseman who could dish to Suter with the heavy shot? Wow. Minnesota could also drop one of these two top defensemen to the second pairing and have two very strong combinations.
Zach Parise would be a great fit in the Los Angeles environment. He’s got the California looks and the offensive game that the Kings could certainly use. Parise hasn’t scored less than 25 goals in any full NHL season since his rookie campaign. The issue here would be Los Angeles parting with a Norris trophy contending defenseman, who aren’t all that common, and the hefty contract that Parise carries through 2024-25.
Steven Stamkos would be a good fit in Philadelphia with his friend Claude Giroux. A first line centered by Stamkos and second line centered by Giroux would be a formidable combination. On the Tampa Bay side, Shayne Gostisbehere would be back in Florida from where he hails. The 23-year-old defenseman lit up the league in his rookie season, notching 46 points in 64 games. With Victor Hedman on one defensive pair and Gostisbehere on another, the Tampa Bay defense becomes one of the strongest in the league.
Nikita Kucherov would be the heir apparent in Tampa Bay as their franchise player. Having success in the Stanley Cup playoffs without Stamkos makes this deal more palatable for Tampa Bay. The Flyers would need to make some significant moves to shed salary in order to afford Stamkos. As they are currently constituted, Stamkos’ salary wouldn’t fit under their cap.
Jarome Iginla was the face of the Calgary Flames for a long time. Many people, maybe even Jarome, thought that he would play the remainder of his NHL career with the Flames. But as the playoff push came in 2013, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and has since been with the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche. It would be great to see Iginla, who still has gas in the tank, end his career with the Flames. His contract runs through the 2016-17 season.
Hunter Shinkaruk is a prospect who may or may not turn out to be an NHL mainstay. Hopefully he does. Colorado could use another young player to energize their offense. Even though Shinkaruk hails from Calgary, he could fit in well with the Avalanche. Calgary won’t take on Iginla’s relatively large salary without shedding some from their books though. Shinkaruk’s contract is entry-level and under $1 million annually through 2017-18.
Could Kris Letang be the missing piece for the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup? Habs fans would like to see the hometown Letang wearing blue and red. And how would Subban’s skills complement Sidney Crosby’s? Would putting Subban in front of Marc-Andre Fleury help bring more Stanley Cups to Pittsburgh under the Crosby and Fleury era? A trade like this, while enticing to see, would basically be a swap of two players with similar skill. Both players can quarterback their team from the point.
Letang carries a contract with an AAV of $7.25 million and a modified no-trade clause. Subban’s AAV is a bit higher at $9 million with a no-move clause in the contract kicking in on July 1st. There’s no way that Pittsburgh could reasonably take on the additional salary in a straight swap here. The trade won’t happen, but it would be fun to see.
A straight up goalie trade. We don’t see many of those, but it certainly would be fun to see one. Let’s call this one another case of bringing the hometown boy back. Well, more like the home “area” boy back. Jonathan Quick grew up in Connecticut, considered the “Tri-state area” which encompasses New York City. Now, we know that “King” Henrik is revered by New York Rangers fans, but they’d quickly fall in love with Jonathan Quick. Lundqvist would be a perfect fit for Hollywood, as one of the “best dressed” athletes around.
From a goaltending standpoint, the stats for these two netminders are fairly similar. In 2015-16 Quick had five more wins than Lundqvist. His GAA was 2.22 to Lundqvist’s 2.48. From a contract standpoint, Quick has an AAV of $5.8 million on a contract expiring in 2022-23. Lundqvist meanwhile has an AAV of $8.5 million through 2020-21. Maybe not the best trade for Los Angeles, considering those numbers. Both great goaltenders though.
Both of these players aren’t tall by NHL standards. They can both move with the puck and put it in the net. One is an up and coming star who won the Hobey Baker award in college, while the other is a veteran who was once a star for the University of Michigan. Swapping Johnny Gaudreau for Mike Cammalleri would be like swapping an earlier version of one player for his wiser self. Cammalleri scored 80 points in 81 games for his second full season in the NHL. In a similar fashion, Gaudreau notched 78 point in 79 games for his sophomore campaign with the Flames.
The kicker in a trade like this would be that Gaudreau would head to his home state of New Jersey, most likely increasing attendance for the New Jersey Devils, as fans come out to see their home state hero. Unfortunately, there's no way this is fair value with Cammalleri being 33 and on the decline.
How great would it be to see Alexander Ovechkin play on the same line as Evgeni Malkin? Talk about a Russian connection! With Malkin’s passing skills and Ovechkin’s ability to put the puck in the net, there would be a whole lot of scoring going on in Pittsburgh. If you had Malkin at center, Ovechkin on the left wing and Phil Kessel on the right wing, you’d have to think there would be some lopsided blowouts with what that line could produce.
On the flip side, if Sidney Crosby was playing in Washington D.C., with their physicality, the ice would be opened up for him to do some amazing things. Plus, it would just be fun to see the two faces of the NHL traded for each other, wouldn’t it?