Everyone loves trades in the NHL. They’re so exciting. Everyone gets to judge who won and who lost? “Oh that team is so stupid!” “Wow that team is so smart!” “Why couldn’t my team do that trade?” If you cheer for a team involved you get strangely defensive of the move regardless of how good or bad it was. So why not profile the top five players that could be traded this season?
By: Adam Pyde – @Adam_Pyde
Just going to stick to some of the bigger names out there.
5. Dustin Byfuglien, Defence, Winnipeg Jets
This is a weird situation. He hasn’t asked out and he’s been the perfect soldier publicly, but there have always been rumblings. His relationship with new coach Paul Maurice is also a little wonky.
He wants to play defence. Maurice continues to play him at forward, but only on the third line. The team seems to have no idea what to do with him, despite the fact he’s probably their greatest weapon. With another losing season on the horizon, you have to wonder if things come to an amicable end.
He’d have no shortage of suitors on the trade market and Winnipeg could get a solid return.
Suitors: New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings
4. Johnny Boychuk, Defence, Boston Bruins
Boychuk is a good player on a contending team on a very reasonable contract. Why would he be traded?
The Bruins are in a cap crunch and are desperate for some scoring in their top-six and general forward depth that is good and not bad. Things are so thin up front their most recent draft pick, 25th overall, has been talked about as making the team.
With the emergence of the depth defenceman on the Bruins beginning to break through and Boychuk’s upcoming UFA status, he makes for the kind of trade chip a team would use to push for a championship in a mid-season trade.
Suitors: Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche
3. Jeff Petry, Edmonton Oilers, Defence
You would think Edmonton would be more committed to their best defenceman, but it sure doesn’t come across that way. They spent all this time going through the rough years to develop him and seem ready to let him go as he’s finally becoming a top pairing/number three defenceman.
He only signed a one year extension this off-season and is set to become a free agent this summer. If Matt Niskanen can get $5.75 for seven years then Petry is looking at something very similar. His only competition on next years market would be Johnny Boychuk and Christian Ehrhoff, both who would be 32 and 33 respectively compared to Petry at age 27. That means big money.
Who knows if the Oiler’s will do the right thing and sign him or move on from him because they believe that Justin Schultz and Mark Fayne would be good enough. If it’s the former, you can bet he’ll be traded first.
Suitors: New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings
2. Evander Kane, Left Wing, Winnipeg Jets
Where there is smoke, there is fire. Kane has said all the right things, but he is always at the center of trade rumours. One week it’s because he wants out. The next week its the coach who wants him traded. The next week the GM wants to trade him. The next week his agent made a subtle trade request.
This off-season was particularly tumultuous after a Vancouver radio interview where he didn’t exactly try to put the fire out. I feel it’s just a matter of time and if things get off to a slow start in Winnipeg, even if that is intentional, he could find himself on the way out. More than a few teams would be willing to pony up to get a 6’2″ 23-year-old winger with the ability to score 30 goals.
Suitors: Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks
1. Bobby Ryan, Right Wing, Ottawa Senators
Things are on the down swing in Ottawa. They’ve had two players leave in consecutive off-seasons because ownership is not willing to spend to the salary cap. My money is on Ryan to follow in their lead. He’s going to be a free agent at the end of the season and he is only 27 years old. There is a 9 million by seven-year deal waiting in free agency for him that he’ll never get in Ottawa and their “cost per point” strategy. I don’t know what more to say. He’s not signing there long term so they’re going to trade him. I don’t know just how soon, but I’d assume it would be in a pre-deadline deal. Like a late January deal. Not even sure how much they’ll get in return considering their position. Suitors: Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers
Update: Lol no. ¯_(ツ)_/¯