All seven of the NHL's Canadian teams could be actively trading notable skaters this offseason.
The last time five or more of the NHL's Canadian based clubs failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs was during the 2015-16 NHL campaign, and it was during that offseason when the Montreal Canadiens made the blockbuster trade to send P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in return for Shea Weber. A majority of the league's Canadian teams are in need of serious roster changes for next season, which means there should be a number of trades that could take place as early as the NHL Entry Draft on June 22 in Dallas, Texas.
What's intriguing about all seven of the NHL's Canadian franchises is that they're all in need of different upgrades for their respective rosters. The appealing headlines that come to mind first would be that the Montreal Canadiens are overdue to trade forward Max Pacioretty, and teams such as the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs may steal the headlines by acquiring a notable skater to help them both have a better shot at reaching the Stanley Cup Final next spring.
Other question marks heading into June; is this the offseason that the Edmonton Oilers finally trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; are the Ottawa Senators on the cusp of parting ways with arguably the game's most talented skater, Erik Karlsson?
For the times to change North of the Border, here are 15 trades these Canadian NHL teams have to make this summer.
15 Calgary Flames: Dougie Hamilton To TOR For 1st And 4th Round Pick
Since the Calgary Flames missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2018) for the seventh time in the last ten seasons, Calgary has already been aggressive this offseason to change that outcome for next year. The Flames recently named Bill Peters as Calgary’s newest head coach, after Peters resigned from the Carolina Hurricanes in late April. Though, don’t expect Calgary to put out its flame just yet this offseason, and expect its front office to be aggressive when hitting the trade-market come Draft day on June 22 in Dallas.
The Flames are going to have to acquire early draft picks at this year’s 2018 NHL Entry Draft, especially since Calgary doesn’t have a pick for the draft’s first-three rounds.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been rumored to be on the trade-market and the Flames could send him to Toronto in exchange for a 2018 first-round and fourth-round draft-pick. The six-foot-six defenseman would boost Toronto’s blue line and the former Boston Bruin would more than likely embrace the idea of rivaling Boston on a more consistent basis. In the Western Conference, the Flames could target other potential players in the offseason with more salary cap space to fill the team’s void on the blue line.
14 Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins & 3rd Rounder To BUF For Ryan O'Reilly & 5th Rounder
No, the Edmonton Oilers have yet to take that giant step forward with all of the talent their roster has entailed since the Connor McDavid era began in 2015; but the one positive aspect heading into draft day this June is that the Oilers have assets that they can trade – which Edmonton needs to take advantage of.
Edmonton will need to address its power play struggles from the 2017-18 campaign, which ranked last in the NHL. The Oilers should look to trade forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins along with a 2019 third-round-pick to the Buffalo Sabres in return for Ryan O’Reilly and Buffalo’s 2018 fifth-round-pick at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. O’Reilly had 15 power-play goals this past season, and after his offseason comments about the Sabres’ poor play in 2018, Buffalo is more than likely going trade No. 90 back to the Western Conference.
O’Reilly would also offer some flexibility to mix and match lines on a nightly basis, as the forward can play both the wing and center position. The time is now for Edmonton to acquire a dynamic player that’s in his prime, and one that’s coming off a career season (24G-37A –61PTS) with a chip on his shoulder.
13 Montreal Canadiens: Max Pacioretty To Vegas For Alex Tuch & 2nd Rounder
As long as Marc-Bergevin is the general manager for the Montreal Canadiens any type of trade is possible at an NHL Entry Draft. It shouldn’t come to a surprise that the Canadiens should trade their captain, Max Pacioretty. There’s a mutual feeling of parting ways in Montreal between Pacioretty and the Canadiens, so why not send the captain to the land of other unwanted players, Vegas.
Pacioretty is desperately in need of a fresh start, and getting traded to the Vegas Golden Knights would benefit both sides.
The Canaan, Connecticut native would blossom offensively with the Knights, and the Habs should then look to acquire (21-year-old) Alex Tuch and a 2019 second-round-pick from Vegas in exchange for Pacioretty. Plus, sending Pacioretty to the Western Conference would be more ideal for Montreal, rather than trading him to a team such as New Jersey or within the division to a team like Florida.
The Knights have had an unthinkable run to the Western Conference Finals, but that doesn’t mean come next season that Vegas shouldn’t look to upgrade its roster for next season. As for the Canadiens, Montreal would be getting younger and can add another pick to their list of selections its recently added to the draft board.
12 Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson & 3rd Rounder To NJD For 1st & 2nd Rounder, Keith Kinkaid & Nick Lappin
End the hype and drama, and get it over with. The Ottawa Senators should look to make two notable trades this summer and starting with all-star defenseman, Erik Karlsson. The Senators are more than likely not going to re-sign Karlsson come 2019 when the two-time Norris Trophy winner is set to become an UFA, and Ottawa should look to trade Karlsson to the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils are in need of an elite defenseman such as Karlsson and at this point could be willing to part ways with prospects, plus draft-picks. Ottawa should look to acquire New Jersey’s 2018 first-round-pick, 2020 second-round-pick, goaltender Keith Kinkaid and prospect Nick Lappin in exchange for Karlsson and Ottawa’s 2019 third-round-pick. The Sens would be receiving a goaltender in Kinkaid that’s on the rise and has proven that he can grow with a starting role, plus carry a team on an extensive winning streak when the pressure is on. Lappin had a breakout year in the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, and the move to over to Ottawa could be worth the chance for the Senators. Lappin would gain valuable NHL exposure with the Senators, and blossom into the forward he was meant to be.
11 Toronto Maple Leafs: JVR's Rights & 2nd Rounder To CAR For Justin Faulk & 4th Rounder
Under the guidance of head coach Mike Babcock the Toronto Maple Leafs blossomed into a legitimate contender. Though, the Leafs should still look to make a trade this offseason and for a top-two defenseman in order to upgrade their blue line moving forward. While it was mentioned above that the Calgary Flames could trade defenseman Dougie Hamilton to Toronto, the Leafs could also make a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes and acquire Justin Faulk.
A new scene and winning attitude in Toronto should benefit Faulk’s offensive production.
Toronto could trade forward James van Riemsdyk's contract rights (2018 UFA), and a 2019 second-round-pick in exchange for Faulk and a 2020 fourth-round-pick.
Van Riemsdyk has been a consistent force up front for Toronto, but the team may want to consider trading his rights if the Leafs feel as though they won’t be able to re-sign the former first-round draft-pick (2007). Faulk would be under contract with Toronto until the end of the 2020 season, and at this rate, the Maple Leafs could use Faulk on their blue line with a window open to be a Cup contender during that time frame. While the Leafs received a combined 104 points from defensemen, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, Faulk would complement those two and add depth to the back end.
10 Vancouver Canucks: Bo Horvat & 3rd Rounder To MTL For Alex Galchenyuk & 2nd Rounder
Considering that the Vancouver Canucks will begin an NHL campaign without both Daniel and Henrik Sedin (retired) for the first time since 1999-00, the Canucks should make a trade for an offensive skater such as Alex Galchenyuk from the Montreal Canadiens. The former 3rd overall draft pick (2012) is in need of a new scene, and dressing for another Canadian team such as Vancouver could spark Galchenyuk’s performance on the ice.
The Canucks could look to trade another center that was also a former first-round draft pick (2013), Bo Horvat. The two youngsters have had similar numbers over the past few seasons and the trade could also entail the Canucks sending their 2018 third round pick for one of Montreal’s 2018 2nd round picks (4).
Galchenyuk finished last season with 51 points (19G-32A), and found the back of the net on nine occasions during the man-advantage. Horvat is set to be paid more over the next five seasons ($5.5 million), so the Canucks would be creating more cap space for a player who produces just as much at the given moment. The former Wisconsin Badger had a strong finish to his 2018 campaign; after Galchenyuk recorded seven points (3G-4A) in his final eight games on the year.
9 Winnipeg Jets: Dmitry Kulikov, Andrew Copp & 3rd Rounder For Matt Duchene
It’s for real. The Winnipeg Jets have proven that they’re a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for years to come, but the team will look to make a couple of trades this offseason to add depth to the Jets’ lineup. Winnipeg could strike a deal with the Ottawa Senators in order to acquire forward, Matt Duchene.
The Jets could send defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, forward Andrew Copp and 2020 third-round draft-pick in order to land Duchene. The former third-overall selection (2009) would be another dynamic center/winger for the Jets, and would be utilized on the team’s already lethal power play.
After wanting out of Colorado, Duchene proved that he enjoyed playing in his native country of Canada with Ottawa last season. The 27-year-old finished the 2017-18 campaign with 57 points, while finding the back of the net 27 times.
Duchene would only be under contract for next season with the Jets, but the timing could be just right considering he would be playing in a contract year with a Stanley Cup contender.
A Duchene-Winnipeg marriage would offer an ideal environment for No. 95, as both sides will be hungry to succeed. There is a chance that Duchene would want to stay if he enjoys his time in flight with the Jets in 2018-19.
8 Calgary Flames: Sam Bennett To NYR For Peter Holland & Jesper Fast
Another trade that the Flames should look to make entails parting ways with former first-round draft-pick (2014, 4th overall), Sam Bennett. Calgary could look to trade Bennett to the New York Rangers in exchange for New York’s 2018 third-round pick, Peter Holland and Jesper Fast. While Bennett is a former first-rounder, his value is minimal at this point in time and in large part to his overall point production.
Calgary is need of depth at the right wing position, and Jesper Fast could provide more help in that area than what the Flames currently have heading into the 2018-19 season. The Swedish native has only dressed with the Rangers (2012), and leaving New York to join Calgary could pay dividends for the C of Red – at least more than what Bennett was providing in Western Canada.
No, Holland isn’t as young as Bennett, but the six-foot-two center is also a former first-round draft-pick (15th overall). The Flames’ former fourth-overall selection would be out of the Western Conference, while on the big stage on Broadway, may thrive with a young and upcoming Rangers team. At this point in time, and with other potential roster changes to New York’s lineup, Bennett could blossom into a top six forward with the Broadway Blueshirts.
7 Edmonton Oilers: Darnell Nurse & Ryan Strome's Contract Rights For Shea Weber
Perhaps Edmonton could sacrifice some youth for a proven commodity after so many years of failing to stabilize the blue line. The Oilers may take interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman, Shea Weber, and could send Russel in exchange for the Habs’ rumored trade part. Edmonton could also throw forward Ryan Strome’s contract rights (restricted-free-agent) in the deal in exchange for Montreal’s 2019 fourth-round picks. The players Edmonton would be acquiring would add size, grit and two different types of offensive threats.
While Weber only played in 24 games last season, due to injury, the veteran has proven that he’ still a force on a nightly basis. Playing in Edmonton with Connor McDavid leading the way would also take pressure off of the former 2nd round draft pick (2003). Adding Weber would also help the team’s power play, as noted above with the potential O’Reilly trade, and offer another scoring threat from a different area on the ice during man-advantage opportunities. Yes, Weber has a hefty contract to take on, but the 32-year-old is worth having on Edmonton’s blue line at this point in time. Adding a caliber leader such as Weber could transform a losing culture that’s been looming over the Oilers for much too long, and finally, help get Edmonton back in the Stanley Cup Finals.
6 Montreal Trade: Paul Byron & 2nd Rounder To PIT For Tristan Jarry
Montreal could look to ship forward Paul Byron, while his value is at its peak. Bryon has recorded back-to-back 20-goal seasons for the Canadiens, but the 29-year-old is set to become an UFA after next season. Montreal should trade Byron and a 2020 second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for goaltender Tristan Jarry.
Finding a reliable backup goaltender has been a struggle for Montreal in recent memory, especially when Carey Price has gone down with an injury.
Instead of having a carousel of veteran backups by each passing season, Montreal has to acquire a young goaltender with the potential to take over the blue paint once Price’s prime nears its end.
Jarry has proven that he has the potential to be a starting goaltender after brief stints with Penguins, and played well when called upon after the Penguins’ starter, Matt Murray went down with an injury. The Penguins youngster is most likely going to get traded sooner rather than later, and the Canadiens need to make the move before another team pulls the trigger. The former second-round draft-pick is more than likely itching to get a chance somewhere else, considering the Penguins have Murray and another youngster in Casey DeSmith.
5 Ottawa Senators: Mike Hoffman & 5th Rounder To PHI For Radko Gudas, Scott Laughton & 2nd Rounder
Ottawa should also look to trade forward Mike Hoffman and as soon as the 2018 NHL Entry Draft rolls around. Hoffman, 28, is already in the prime of his NHL career and has proven that he’s a prototypical 50-point center/winger for a non-playoff team in the Senators. With that beings said, the Senators should trade Hoffman and a 2019 fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas, Scott Laughton and a 2018 second-round selection. The Flyers would take interest in Hoffman’s duel center/winger status, which would benefit the Flyers and open more options up front for a young skater such as Nolan Patrick.
The sooner the Senators can trade Hoffman, the better. A team such as Philadelphia might even pay higher for Hoffman’s market price, especially since the team was handed another first-round exit during the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Pittsburgh Penguins) this spring. The Senators would be receiving two NHL-ready players and, again, would be adding another draft selection to help potentially grow Ottawa’s future – post Karlsson era. Keep in mind that Laughton is a former first-round draft-pick (2012, 20th overall), and having the opportunity to receive more ice-time in Ottawa could pay dividends for the Sens moving forward.
4 Toronto Maple Leafs: Nazem Kadri & Andreas Johnsson For Logan Couture
With Patrick Marleau set to still be on Toronto’s roster next season, the Maple Leafs should make a trade with the San Jose Sharks this offseason to acquire an old friend of Marleau’s from out west. No, not Joe Thornton and his contract’s rights (UFA)…but acquire forward Logan Couture in exchange for Nazem Kadri. A playoff tested veteran such as Couture could be a player that takes Toronto’s playoff fortunes to the next level in order to get back to the Cup finals for the first time since 1967.
As noted above, there’s a window for Toronto to be a Cup contender, and the team may have to sacrifice trading a player such as Kadri in order to take that next step forward. Kadri’s play has turned around for the better over the past two seasons, but the former seventh overall pick receiving a suspension during this year’s playoffs – hurt the Leafs in Round One against the Boston Bruins. Both Couture and Kadri play the center position and have had similar offensive production over the past two seasons; however, Couture’s style of play and his fewer penalty minutes may benefit the Leafs moving forward. Couture has a higher salary cap hit ($6 million), but he may be worth trading for.
3 Vancouver Canucks: Chris Tanev & Anders Nilsson To NJD For Keith Kinkaid & Damon Severson
Vancouver may look to acquire a goaltender via the trade market. The New Jersey Devils will eventually, or do already, have a goaltending dilemma with the rise of Keith Kinkaid this past season. The Canucks have a bright future with Thatcher Demko (American Hockey League), but in the meantime Vancouver should trade defenseman Chris Tanev and Anders Nilsson to Jersey for Kinkaid and Damon Severson. Both Nilsson and Kinkaid are set to become UFA’s after this upcoming season, and while Jersey is parting ways with the better goaltender – its overall defense drastically improved.
Kinkiad would create friendly competition in the crease with Jacob Markstrom, and could eventually be the sole starter in Western Canada.
Severson, 23, has the upside to be a top three defenseman in the NHL and as displayed signs of being an offensive-defenseman as well. The youngster has played in 70 or more games in three of his four career NHL seasons, while Tanev has only reached the 70 benchmark once in eight seasons. In return, the Canucks would be receiving players that have proven that they’re on the rise and have the ability to grow when given the opportunity. It’s a new era in Vancouver, and expect the Canucks to make numerous moves this offseason.
2 Winnipeg Jets: Mathieu Perrault & Joel Armia To NJD For Travis Zajac
Another trade that the Jets should consider would be acquiring a veteran two-way center, and maybe a player whose name won’t be in the rumor mill until draft day. The Jets should make an offer for New Jersey Devils center, Travis Zajac. There’s nothing flashy about Zajac’s style of play, but he would be essential for the state (Cup contender) that Winnipeg is currently in.
Zajac would be a shutdown forward for Winnipeg, which would benefit the Jets who arguably play in the NHL’s toughest division. The Jets could send to New Jersey, forwards Mathieu Perreault and Joel Armia, in exchange for Zajac. The longtime New Jersey Devil would bring over plenty of Stanley Cup Playoff experience, too. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has played 57 career playoff games, while recording 28 points (11G-17A).
The former Univeristy of North Dakota product hasn’t been known for his offensive production in recent memory, but No. 19 has a history of producing against Western Conference opponents; especially teams in the Central Division. The former first-round draft-pick (2004) has combined for 19 points (9G-10A) in 29 games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators. Considering how offensively talented the Jets are on offense Zajac’s offensive number would more than likely boost, too.
1 Edmonton Oilers: Ostaf Safin For Mats Zuccarello
Another team that could be just as busy as the Oilers this offseason is the New York Rangers. New York forward Mats Zuccarello has been rumored to be the next Ranger on the move; and the Broadway Blueshirts could send Zuccarello to Edmonton in exchange for top prospect, Ostaf Safin (QMJHL).
Edmonton has the luxury of parting ways with prospects in order to improve its roster now and with an energetic, plus veteran skater such as Zuccarello. The Norwegian native could cause havoc in front of the opponent’s net on a nightly basis, which could also create more time and space for some of Edmonton’s top goal-scorers. Zuccarello is in the prime of his career and playing on a talented team such as Edmonton could increase his offensive production to new career highs.
Safin, 29, is a member of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJH) Saint John Sea Dogs, and was drafted by the Oilers in the fourth-round of the 2017 NHL Entry Drafted. The youngster has been lighting the lamp in the QMJHL, but at this point in time, Edmonton should look to acquire a skater that can help take its play to the next level as soon as next season.