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NHL Trade Market Overshadowed by Free Agency

With the NHL's annual free-agent market opening on July 28, most of the focus is on where the top UFAs will end up within the first hours. That pushed much of the trade speculation to the sidelines, but don't be shocked if some of these names move.
Darcy Kuemper

With the NHL's annual free-agent market opening on July 28, most of the focus is on where the top UFAs will end up within the first hours. That pushed much of the trade speculation to the sidelines.

While there was considerable trade activity involving some notable talent during the recent draft weekend, a handful of stars remain available. Some clubs, however, could revisit their interest in those players once the free-agent signing frenzy has slowed.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel remains the big name in the market. The 24-year-old center's hefty contract, ongoing questions regarding the treatment of his injured neck and the Sabres' apparent high asking price could result in his situation dragging on throughout the summer.

The St. Louis Blues continue efforts to shop unhappy Vladimir Tarasenko. Following last week's expansion draft, The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford reported Blues general manager Doug Armstrong acknowledged the 29-year-old winger could return to St. Louis this season if a suitable trade couldn't be found. In other words, he's not going to give Tarasenko away.

Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong's ongoing trade activity fuels speculation he'll attempt to move Darcy Kuemper. The 31-year-old goaltender is a year away from free agency with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million on the remaining year of his contract. Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reports the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs are eyeing Kuemper but the Coyotes' asking price is high.

Others trade candidates worth watching in the coming days include Vegas Golden Knights wingers Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. 

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