NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2023
Some of this summer’s notable short-term free-agent signings could get shopped by this season’s trade deadline. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski recently listed several notable players on short-term contracts who could become bargaining chips by this season’s NHL trade deadline.
Jason Zucker topped Wyshynski’s list. The 31-year-old winger signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract. If he plays well, he could earn a contract extension with the Coyotes. At worst, he plays well enough to get shipped to a contender if the Coyotes retain a bit of salary.
Zucker wasn’t the only Coyote on a short deal this season who could become trade bait. Defenseman Matt Dumba (one-year, $3.9 million) and forward Alex Kerfoot (two years, $3.5 million average annual value) could also interest playoff contenders later this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All three could be on the move by the trade deadline if the Coyotes are in their usual spot near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
Vladimir Tarasenko could be deadline trade bait if the Ottawa Senators season goes sideways. A six-time 30-plus goal scorer, the 31-year-old winger is on a one-year contract with a reasonable $5 million cap hit. He also carries a full no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A return to form by Tarasenko will make him among the most pursued players in the trade market if the Senators decide to move him by deadline day. His NTC will be a bit of an obstacle.
Corey Perry could also be of interest to playoff-bound clubs. The 38-year-old winger signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. His postseason play since 2020 will make him an enticing option for contenders seeking an agitating veteran leader with a decent scoring touch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Wyshynski observed, the rebuilding Blackhawks can also pick up part of Perry’s cap hit. He lacks no-trade protection so he’ll likely draw lots of interest if he shows he still has something left in the tank this season.
Washington Capitals winger Max Pacioretty is another who could be on the move by the trade deadline. He’s recovering from a twice-torn Achilles tendon that limited him to just five games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season.
Because of his injuries, Pacioretty’s on a one-year deal paying $2 million in base salary plus $2 million in performance bonuses. A return to his 30-plus goal form could fetch a nice return for the Capitals if they drop out of contention by the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty is expected to miss the start of this season and could be out for at least the first month. He won’t be moved if he helps the Capitals return to playoff contention. However, Wyshynski also observed that he carries a full no-movement clause.
Wyshynski noted the Boston Bruins don’t want to move Jeremy Swayman. The 24-year-old goaltender went through arbitration earlier this summer and was awarded a one-year, $3.475 million contract. He’ll become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. Maybe the Bruins won’t want to commit to an expensive goalie tandem when they’ll have holes in their roster to address.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend on how well Swayman and fellow Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark perform this season. Ullmark was mentioned as a trade candidate this summer but the Bruins intend to stick with both goalies for this season. If they fall out of playoff contention, however, they might decide to peddle one of them, especially if they can get a solid return. Swayman could prove to have more value in the trade market.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Marc Staal is another possible trade option. He’s on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Detroit Red Wings blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere carries a more expensive $4.125 million on a one-year deal with a 10-team no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t expected to be a contender this season. It’s a good bet that Staal gets shopped if he plays well for them. Gostisbehere could also be peddled if the Wings fail to make the cut.
The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Dante Fabbro to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. His struggles last season generated some trade speculation prior to signing his new deal, including talk of reuniting with college coach Dan Quinn with the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski wondered if new head coach Andrew Brunette and new GM Barry Trotz view the 25-year-old Fabbro differently than the previous regime. A bounce-back performance on his part could help the Predators return to playoff contention or turn him into a trade chip.