NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2022
A look at five stars who could hit the trade block this season plus three potential destinations for Phil Kessel in the NHL Rumor Mill.
FIVE NHL STARS WHO COULD HIT THE TRADE BLOCK THIS SEASON
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Vladimir Tarasenko topped Dan Kingerski’s list of five NHL stars who could get shopped this season. Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg round out the list.
These five players are in the final season of their contracts and are eligible to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Kingerski suggested their respective teams would be wise to move them in order to avoid protracted contract talks ending with their departures via free agency. He cited what happened with the Calgary Flames and Johnny Gaudreau last season as an example.
Kingerski also believes Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller is among several players already on the trade block. He anticipates long-time Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will also appear in trade rumors. Like the others, they’re also slated to become UFAs next summer
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be easier for those teams to shop those players if they’re not in the playoff chase when the 2023 NHL trade deadline rolls around. The Blackhawks, Coyotes and Ducks aren’t expected to be postseason contenders so it won’t be surprising if Kane, Toews, Gostisbehere and Klingberg hit the trade block in the New Year.
The Canucks and Red Wings could qualify for the playoffs. They could retain Miller and Bertuzzi as own rentals and take their chances on their possible departures next summer.
Most observers (including me) consider the Blues a postseason contender. Unless that changes over the course of the season, I don’t see O’Reilly or Tarasenko going anywhere.
WHERE COULD KESSEL END UP?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens suggested the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings as possible destinations for Phil Kessel. The 34-year-old right winger is among the few noteworthy players still available in this summer’s UFA market.
The Oilers and Stars could benefit from Kessel’s playmaking skills. However, both clubs would have to do some salary-cap maneuvering to make it work. The Stars have over $10 million in cap space but most of that will go toward re-signing Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson.
Stephens suggested Kessel might be a fit on the Kings’ third line. They have enough cap space to make it happen if they can convince him to accept a pay cut.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s been linked to the Oilers though some observers believe they could or should make a play for Patrick Kane. The former Coyotes winger would be a much more affordable option for them.
Kessel is going to have to accept a pay cut wherever he goes. At this stage of his career, he’s probably not that worried about it.
The chance to play this season and set the NHL Ironman record likely means more to Kessel now. He could be a good, affordable fit as a depth forward with a postseason contender.