There have been far more rumors of trades than actual trades that have gone down during this NHL offseason. Names like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Frederik Andersen, Max Domi, Darcy Kuemper, Johnny Gaudreau, and many others have been listed as possible trade pieces, most of which stayed with their respective teams. But, does that mean the book is closed on these players? No.
There is still a lot that can be done, not only this offseason, but as the 2020/21 NHL season progresses. Some of the names already mentioned in trade rumors will pop up again and others will be added. Let’s take a look at some of the more likely.
Taylor Hall Could Leave Buffalo
While he’s saying all the right things, it’s as likely Taylor Hall is moved by the Buffalo Sabres as it is he signs a long-term deal with the team. There’s a reason he signed a one-year contract in free agency.
Hall will be a valued trade asset at the deadline if the Sabres aren’t a playoff team and as a rental he’ll fetch a nice return. No one had Buffalo on his list of candidates while he was pondering where to go and there’s still a belief out there that it’s not where he wants to be long-term. Simply signing a one-year deal until a team that he’d like to be with for a number of years has the financial wherewithal to pay him is where most people see this going.
Tampa Needs to Move Tyler Johnson
The Lightning tried to trade Tyler Johnson and had so little luck doing so, they waived him hoping someone would pick him up. That didn’t happen. As a result, he’s still a member of the roster.
Johnson seems open to trying to help the Lightning out of their jam, but the situation probably has to be right for him to waive his no-trade clause. Recent speculation is that Anaheim might be interested and it would be assumed the Lightning would have to retain and add a sweetener to the deal.
Frederik Andersen Will Need a Raise
The Maple Leafs have downplayed any desire to move goaltender Frederik Andersen, even though the player himself said he was prepping for a deal to happen. It doesn’t change the fact he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent next offeason and due a hefty raise in the neighbourhood of Jacob Markstrom’s new deal with the Flames.
Toronto has major cap issues and a $1 million bump in salary doesn’t sound like much, but it is. If Andersen plays lights out good this season, maybe the Leafs try to make room. But, if he’s merely average, they’ll be stuck trying to decide if they should get an asset for him and run with a lesser experienced tandem or make their run with their starter.
Johnny Gaudreau Needs To Step Up
The Calgary Flames have kicked back a bit on rumors that Gaudreau was going to be traded after Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reported Gaudreau may have played his final game as a Flame and that the team might be shopping him. The Flames made some big offseason moves, but if they struggle next season, Gaudreau will, once again, be at the top of list of changes the organization will think to make.
The additions by GM Brad Treliving hasn’t changed the fact that Gaudreau has often underperformed when it counts. He needs to have a bounce-back season in that regard or he won’t be figured into the team’s long-term plans.
Matt Dumba Draft Concerns
The Athletic’s Michael Russo has reported that talk about moving defenseman Matt Dumba has cooled, but the Wild are still facing an interesting decision when it comes to the Seattle expansion draft.
Dumba has three years remaining on his contract and he’ll be an attractive get for Seattle if he’s left unprotected. If Guerin opts to protect more forwards than defensemen, the Wild won’t want to lose him for nothing. Depending on how the Wild do and based on projections for which d-men will be available in the draft, Minnesota may have little choice but to move Dumba. He’s valuable in trade so it’s not good asset management to let Seattle just take him.
Patrik Laine Still Wants Out
Whether it’s because other teams weren’t willing to pay the asking price or because the Winnipeg Jets reacquired Paul Statsny, sniper Patrik Laine wasn’t moved this offseason despite countless rumors the Jets were shopping him and that Laine himself says he’d prefer a trade.
The reality of this situation is that Laine is likely traded. He doesn’t want to be there, the team needs better defense and some team will find room to add him when injuries strike or other moves are made.
The Jets were in this position before with Jacob Trouba and as Laine becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, he’ll be too rich for the Jets blood, especially if he’s not keen on being there. The question will be, who can afford him?
Vegas Has Too Much Tied Up In Marc-Andre Fleury
Just because the Vegas Golden Knights weren’t able to move Marc-Andre Fleury before, doesn’t mean they won’t keep trying. The team has said they’re ready to run with Fleury and newly-signed Robin Lehner as their one-two punch, but this is a team that always spends money and if they can move Fleury’s $7 million salary, they will.
There are teams who would love to had Fleury, they simply aren’t willing to pay or can’t afford his salary. As the season winds down, injuries happen and everything gets a bit less expensive, something may present itself.
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