List of this coming season’s potential trade candidates, plus an updated list of remaining free-agent bargains.
Trade candidates for 2015-16.
NHL.COM: Responding to a reader’s question, Dan Rosen lists several NHL players he considers potential trade candidates. They include Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Carolina’s Eric Staal and Cam Ward, Colorado’s Erik Johnson, Edmonton’s Teddy Purcell, Florida’s Jaromir Jagr and Brian Campbell, Toronto’s Shawn Matthias and James Reimer, and Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of the players on Rosen’s list are unrestricted free agents next July. In all cases, of course, it’ll depend upon where their respective teams are in the standings near the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
I see the Jets retaining Byfuglien as long as they remain in playoff contention this season, even at the risk of losing him to free agency in July. I believe the Avs will re-sign Johnson, their top defenseman, even if it means overpaying to do so. If the Panthers are playoff contenders, Jagr and Campbell stay put for the rest of the season. Ditto for Hamhuis and the Canucks.
I’m not expecting much improvement from Carolina or Toronto this season, so Staal, Ward, Matthias and Reimer could be available in the trade market later this season. Purcell could become the odd man out on the Oilers forward lines.
List of bargain free agents.
OTTAWA SUN: Michael Traikos lists Jiri Tlusty, Cody Franson, Sean Bergenheim, Curtis Glencross, Marek Zidlicky, Scottie Upshall and Brad Boyes as the best bargain free agents available. He suggests Tlusty could return to the Hurricanes, notes reports of Boston and Buffalo having interest in Franson, wondered if Bergenheim might make a good depth addition for the Oilers and Upshall getting a training camp invite from St. Louis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see where these players end up. Some could follow Upshall’s lead and accept a PTO in hopes of earning a one-year deal for the upcoming season. A few could face continuing their playing careers in Europe or retirement.
All eyes will obviously be on Franson, who was expected to be among this summer’s big-ticket UFAs. He was reportedly seeking a long-term deal worth (depending upon your source) between $4.5 – $6 million annually. At this point, it appears he’ll have to settle for a one- or two-year deal worth considerably less in annual salary, perhaps even less than the $3.3 million he earned last season. At least the Sabres pitched him a two-year deal.