3 Central Division Forwards Expected to be Traded This Season

Welcome to a new series at The Hockey Writers, where we’ll be showcasing some trade candidates from around the league. We will cover each of the four divisions along with a breakdown of forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. Trades are one of the most entertaining aspects of the NHL and after a wild and wacky summer, let’s hope the 2022-23 season brings us much of the same.

After starting in the Pacific Division, we make our way to the Central Division to highlight three forwards you can expect to see traded this season.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

No doubt about it, Patrick Kane is getting moved this season by the Chicago Blackhawks. Management has begun their five-year plan, which has included one of the biggest teardowns in recent memory, a direction Kane wants no part of. It seems like the Blackhawks are more worried about tanking for Connor Bedard than they are about winning hockey games. As a result, he will be one of the next to go, and the ball is completely in his court, given his no-movement clause.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Kane is in the final season of his contract, worth $10.5 million against the cap. However, he’s only owed $2.9 million in cash this season, which makes him even more appealing on the trade market. At 33 years old, turning 34 this season, the Buffalo, New York native is proving his doubters wrong and hasn’t slowed down one bit. In 2021-22, on a very bad team, he recorded 92 points in 78 games. There are plenty of Stanley Cup contending teams who could use that kind of production.

Kane isn’t going to waive his trade protection for a bad situation, so expect any team who lands the Stanley Cup champion to be a legit contender, while the Blackhawks will likely want a package of prospects and high draft picks for their dynamic winger. Expect Chicago to retain 50% of Kane’s cap hit, which would bode well for general manager Kyle Davidson, who can ask for a better package if Chicago is willing to help out financially.

Related: 3 Pacific Division Forwards Expected to be Traded This Season

Expect to see the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Rangers be in the mix for the Blackhawks legend. The bidding war will be fun to watch, and any team who lands Kane will be adding experience, elite production, and some serious swag for their playoff push.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets

Pierre-Luc Dubois has recently become a trade candidate due in large part to Dubois’ agent Pat Brisson, who admitted if his pending restricted free-agent client was free to sign with any team, it would likely be the Montreal Canadiens.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The 24-year-old felt the comments were blown out of proportion; however, at this point, it doesn’t seem like the 6-foot-3 center is interested in signing with the Jets long-term. Look for Winnipeg management to explore moving Dubois before the trade deadline this season, even if they are in the playoff mix.

Dubois finished last season with 28 goals and 60 points in 81 games. He has the potential to be a first-line center and will be coveted by many teams. The Jets are desperate to get over the hump and will want a proven NHL talent in return.

While the Canadiens are now linked to Dubois, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders are also looking for help at center and a fresh identity. Adding a potential cornerstone piece could be the perfect solution for both of them.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Two Blackhawks for a dollar here; don’t expect to see Jonathan Toews finish the season in Chicago, either. Once management started their tear down with the Brandon Hagel trade, Toews was quite vocal about his displeasure with their plan.

He’s been through a ton, considering he missed an entire season due to a rare health condition and came back to what he thought was going to be a contending team that added Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury. While it took Toews most of the season to find his legs, he managed to get his game back to a respectable level, ending the season with 37 points in 71 games.

Jonathan Toews (photo: Amy Irvin)

It’s going to be weird to see the Blackhawks captain in another jersey, but that’s the reality in the Windy City. Toews is likely to be a trade deadline target for any team looking to upgrade their second or third-line center position. He’s also put up 119 points in 137 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and if he’s fully healthy, he could be the most impactful addition we see moved at the deadline.

Three teams I think will be in the mix to acquire the Blackhawks legend include the Jets – a community Toews has impacted over the years – the Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche, who could use some more depth down the middle.

There we have it folks, another installment of some 2022-23 trade candidates. The Central Division will be fun to watch this season, with a giant spotlight cast on a couple of Chicago legends and an interesting situation in Winnipeg. Thanks for stopping by, and look out for my next piece where I’ll uncover three prime trade candidates from the Metropolitan Division.