For all the speculation that goes on regarding the trading of NHL stars around the trade deadline, historically, teams are much more likely to make a blockbuster trade in the offseason. Teams have more time to figure out their cap situation, address their team needs, and load up for the next season. In recent years, many NHL stars have been traded in the offseason, such as Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Ryan Kesler. With all the rumours that have been flying around recently, here are 5 potential blockbuster trades that could go down this offseason.
In recent years, many NHL stars have been traded in the offseason, such as Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Ryan Kesler. With all the rumours that have been flying around recently, here are 5 potential blockbuster trades that could go down this offseason.
Toronto trades Dion Phaneuf to Detroit for 2016 1st round pick, Stephen Weiss, and Tomas Jurco
The Detroit Red Wings’ interest in Phaneuf has been well-documented, and despite being unable to reach an agreement with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the blueliner prior to the trade deadline, they reportedly were willing to re-open discussions on a potential deal in the offseason. Detroit had a strong season, but were hit hard by injuries and underperforming defensemen towards the end of the season that resulted in a premature playoff exit.
Phaneuf would instantly become the second or third-best defender on the team, and would undoubtedly bolster the Red Wings’ sagging power play. Some reports speculated that the Leafs were demanding top prospect Anthony Mantha, but with the down season that Phaneuf just experienced, it’s unlikely Detroit moves the crown jewel in its pipeline for Phaneuf. Instead, the Leafs receive the Red Wings’ first round pick next season, as Toronto is set to enter a rebuilding period and could look to stockpile picks in the upcoming drafts. They also receive promising young pivot Tomas Jurco.
The Red Wings have shown a willingness to move early draft picks for NHL help in recent years, such as trading their 2012 first round pick for defenseman Kyle Quincey. They also have several young forwards that have moved ahead of Jurco on their depth chart, such as Tomas Tatar, Teemu Pulkkinen, or Riley Sheahan. Adding declining centre Stephen Weiss would allow Detroit to take Phaneuf’s large $7 million salary and remain under the salary cap.
Chicago trades Patrick Sharp to Florida for Ian McCoshen, Jimmy Hayes, Brad Boyes and 2016 2nd round pick
The Chicago Blackhawks have lived among the NHL’s elite for the past several seasons, but with the increasing cap hits of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, they may run into cap trouble this offseason and beyond.
While Patrick Sharp has played an integral role on two Stanley Cup-winning teams, his high salary and expiring contract make him a prime candidate to be moved this offseason. Florida looks to be making a push for the playoffs next season after a good developmental season from young stars Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad, as well as the acquisition of legend Jaromir Jagr. Adding a playoff proven veteran like Sharp could push them into the post-season.
NCAA defenseman Ian McCoshen has shown promising signs of developing into a solid shutdown defenseman, something the Blackhawks could require with the possible departure of Johnny Oduya this offseason. Jimmy Hayes, a former Blackhawk, grew into his huge 6-foot-6 frame this season, putting up nearly 20 goals and providing a skilled, physical presence the Blackhawks lack outside Bryan Bickell. Brad Boyes has declined in recent seasons, but could still provide timely secondary scoring and a veteran presence on the bottom two lines for next season. The Blackhawks rely on homegrown talent to fill out their roster and could look to add another strong prospect with an early pick after trading their 2016 3rd round pick.
St. Louis trades T.J. Oshie to New Jersey for Eric Gelinas and 2015 2nd round pick
Despite their regular season success in the past few seasons, the St. Louis Blues have struggled in the playoffs and are reportedly looking to shake up their roster. The New Jersey Devils’ offense has performed near the bottom of the league recently, and a proven top-6 scorer like Oshie could provide a spark to the sagging Devils offense. The Devils have a nice stockpile of young defensemen and could deal from a position of strength to improve their aging and ineffective forward group.
In return, the Blues acquire an early-round pick after trading both their 1st and 3rd round picks, allowing them to replenish their draft picks for this draft. Gelinas also gives them an affordable option for their top four, giving them the flexibility to allow a veteran defenseman such as Barrett Jackman or Zbynek Michalek to leave during free agency. He also gives them a strong option for their second powerplay unit, an area of weakness last season; adding an offensive-minded rearguard such as Gelinas allows coach Ken Hitchcock to pair his top two defensemen on the top pairing and first powerplay unit again (Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo).
New York trades Cam Talbot to Edmonton for 2015 2nd round pick and Martin Marincin
When Henrik Lundqvist went down with an injury, many thought the New York Rangers were bound to enter a slump that would drop them out of the top spot in the East. However, backup Cam Talbot stepped in and stole the spotlight, showing that his skills deserve a shot as a starting NHL goalie next season.
The Edmonton Oilers have the chance to draft a generational talent in Connor McDavid, but must build a solid team around him. Similar to the Jonathan Bernier trade two summers ago, the Oilers get their potential starting goalie of the future in Talbot, who is signed for another season at a cheap rate of $1.45 million. In exchange, the Rangers pick up an additional early-round pick after trading their 1st in last season’s Martin St. Louis trade, as well as a budding young two-way defenseman in Marincin.
Edmonton trades Jordan Eberle to Washington for Karl Alzner, Brooks Laich, and a 2015 1st round pick
The Washington Capitals employed Joel Ward as their first line right winger at times this past season. While the 34-year old is a serviceable player, it’s no surprise that Washington has made getting a true top line right winger their top priority.
Edmonton has an abundance of talented young forwards, so it makes sense to try and trade one to improve in other areas of need. Alzner provides a steady shutdown defenseman signed at a reasonable rate ($2.8 million) for 2 more seasons, while providing a physical blueline force; something the Oilers have lacked the past two seasons. Laich could provide the Oilers with a good third-line, two-way centre, which could in turn help struggling wingers like Nail Yakupov or Teddy Purcell. The late 1st round pick could help Edmonton’s prospect pool, as they continue to rebuild, yet recently ranked a measly 25th in Hockey’s Future’s ranking of team farm systems.
Eberle could be a great fit in Washington as he possesses the skills to be a potent goal scorer as well as a gifted play-maker, both of which would fit in well on a top line with elite sniper Alex Ovechkin and assist machine Nicklas Backstrom. Trading Laich’s $4.5 million cap hit would allow the Capitals to take on Eberle’s hefty contract and still fit under the cap.
Joseph Aleong is an At-Large writer for THW from Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, ON. Follow him on Twitter @josephaleong11