NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2017
With Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris off the trade block, here’s a look at the next potential NHL trade candidates.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green and Montreal Canadiens left wing Alex Galchenyuk tops Jared Clinton’s list of nine NHL players who could be traded at some point before this season’s Feb. 26 trade deadline. Kane and Green are both playing well this season and are eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Galchenyuk’s struggled at times this season and has been mentioned in trade speculation.
Other notables include New York Islanders captain John Tavares, New York Rangers winger Rick Nash, San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, Toronto Maple Leafs left winger James van Riemsdyk and Vegas Golden Knights forwards James Neal and David Perron. Like Kane and Green, they’re all eligible next summer for UFA status.
NBC SPORTS: Tavares, Thornton, Galchenyuk, Neal, Perron, Nash, Kane and van Riemsdyk are also part of James O’Brien list of this season’s possible trade candidates. He considers Tavares and Thornton as unlikely to be dealt. He can see the Golden Knights perhaps attempting to move Neal, Perron and winger Jonathan Marchessault.
Other possibilities include Edmonton Oilers forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Patrick Maroon, Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan Strome, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel and winger Patric Hornqvist, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog, Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist, the Leafs’ Tyler Bozak, the Canadiens’ center Tomas Plekanec and Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recommend following the links to Clinton’s and O’Brien’s respective articles for their explanations why they’ve included those players on their lists. I can see Kane and Green being shopped by the trade deadline. I have my doubts that Kane fits into the Sabres’ long-term plans. The Wings are rebuilding and unlikely to keep Green beyond this season. If the Rangers are out of postseason contention by the trade deadline I think they’ll try to move Nash, though his trade value will tumble if his current offensive difficulties continue.
Like O’Brien, I also put Tavares and Thornton into the “unlikely to move” class. The Isles will do everything they can to keep Tavares in the fold. Unless the Sharks tumble out of playoff contention I don’t see them trade Thornton.
Same goes for van Riemsdyk. Yes, he could fetch the Leafs a proven top-four defenseman but I believe they want to keep him for another run at the playoffs and perhaps try to re-sign him afterward. Bozak might not have a future in Toronto but I think the Leafs will stick with him this season as long as they’re in playoff contention.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin claims he’s not giving up on Galchenyuk. Granted, he also denied he would trade P.K. Subban and we all saw how that turned out. Still, I think he’s sincere about wanting to give Galchenyuk the opportunity to improve.
Neal, Perron and Marchessault could all hit the trade block by February if they intend to test this summer’s UFA market. However, that’s not a certainty. If those players continue playing well this season, Golden Knights GM George McPhee could try to sell them on sticking around to provide leadership to their younger players. If the money’s right and if they enjoy playing in Las Vegas, I can see them staying put.
Nugent-Hopkins, Strome, Maroon and Puljujarvi have all surfaced in recent Oilers’ trade speculation. Of the four, Maroon’s UFA status makes him the most likely to be moved. Nugent-Hopkins’ $6 million annual cap hit is tough to trade in-season, Strome’s trade value is plummeting and I don’t see them shipping out Puljujarvi unless there’s a good young defenseman coming the other way.
The Kessel trade speculation was based on one Pittsburgh sports columnist claiming last July that the Pens were growing weary of his attitude and declining scoring. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, head coach Mike Sullivan and several of Kessel’s teammates dismissed that notion. Considering he’s their leading scorer, we can ignore any suggestion that he’s on the block. Hornqvist is a UFA this summer and the Pens could have difficulty re-signing him, but I think they’ll hang onto him this season for another run at the Stanley Cup.
Nyquist has recently surfaced in Red Wings trade talk but he’s signed through 2018-19 with a full no-trade clause. Not saying he won’t waive it but it will limit where the Wings could send him if they’re inclined to move him.
Landeskog was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate for most of last season but that chatter largely dried up since the summer. With Duchene gone and the Avs off to a better than expected start to this season, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
Plekanec and Vanek are aging forwards. However, if their respective clubs are out of the playoff chase by February I can see them being shopped.