For as much discussion and speculation about draft-eligible prospect that happens in the weeks leading up to the NHL Entry Draft, an equal or greater amount of talk occurs regarding potential trades involving players that are already in the NHL.
Each year hockey fans see a frenzy of trade news and rumors in the days leading up to the draft, and this year is no different. Let’s now take a look at the biggest names in play and how likely they are to be on the move come draft day this Friday.
10) Alex Semin – Carolina Hurricanes
Although his name hasn’t been popping up in trade rumors as regularly as it has in the past, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman did mention in his most recent “30 Thoughts” column that the Hurricanes are still interested in moving him. There are probably a handful of teams willing to roll the dice on former point-per-game player to see if he can still put up big numbers, but his $7 million cap hit is a gargantuan obstacle.
9) Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders
A fairly surprising addition to current trade speculation, Okposo is apparently on the market, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple. Okposo put up a very solid 51 points in 60 games last year, but is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and will be due for a large raise. The Isles might be willing to trade him now instead of running the risk of not being able to afford him later.
8) Dion Phaneuf – Toronto Maple Leafs
Phaneuf had been linked to the Detroit Red Wings in discussions since before the 2015 trade deadline, but it looks like the two sides were unable to come to any sort of agreement. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun recently reported that the Leafs might not be as down on Phaneuf as much as many think, but nevertheless, the organization is rebuilding and defensemen that can log big minutes are always highly sought after.
7) Ryan O’Reilly – Colorado Avalanche
On and on the carousel spins. Will they trade him? Will they keep him? The rumors and “he said, she said” surrounding O’Reilly and the Avalanche have been in the spotlight for a couple of years now, and have surfaced again recently. At this point a move, at any time, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
6) Bryan Bickell – Chicago Blackhawks
Although he’s not the name that is popping up the most lately in Blackhawks speculation (more on that below), Bickell could easily find himself on his way out of Chicago in the near future. The Hawks need to shed salary, just like they did after their previous two championships, and Bickell doesn’t exactly provide great value at a $4 million cap hit for bottom six minutes. Still, rebuilding teams could be interested in the level of experience that he has.
5) Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
Oh boy. Does anyone else have the sinking feeling that this situation is going to get a little uglier before it finally gets resolved? There are a number of places reporting that the Leafs are dead set on trading Kessel, but with such a big name in play, Toronto might take their sweet time to find the perfect offer. There’ll be no shortage of teams interested in Kessel’s services, though.
4) Eddie Lack – Vancouver Canucks
With three goalies ready to play next season, somebody has to go in Vancouver, and it’s looking more and more like Lack will be the odd man out. Whether that’s the right move for the team to make is a topic for discussion, but there will be plenty of suitors looking to shore up their goaltending so a deal could come sooner rather than later.
3) Robin Lehner – Ottawa Senators
Much like Lack and the Canucks above, the Senators have three (possibly four, depending on how ready you think Matt O’Connor is) goalies that can play in the NHL next season so someone is going to be the odd man out. The Sens have been taking calls on both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, but it’s looking more and more like Lehner will be the one on the move.
2) Patrick Sharp – Chicago Blackhawks
Going beyond Bickell, Sharp, thanks to his $5.9 million cap hit, is going to be the key trade target for Chicago this summer. There could be a lot of teams vying for his services, and with the Blackhawks a little short on draft picks this year it’s very possible that a deal gets done quickly so that the team can make some more selections.
1) Cam Talbot – New York Rangers
Out of all the players that could be on the move, the most smoke right now seems to be coming from the Talbot camp. Talbot was great in backup duty for the Rangers last year and could be a solid starter with a new team. The offers for his services are already coming in so this one might even happened prior to draft day.
Derek Neumeier primarily covers the Dallas Stars, but also other various topics related to the sport of hockey. A Journalism graduate of Mount Royal University, Derek also writes for Defending Big D, and has done previous work with the Edmonton Oilers as a communications intern and Hockey Canada as a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @Derek_N_NHL