NHL trade rumors: Players who could move during draft
You've heard it said before: If Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anybody can.
That includes P.K. Subban.
Rumors that have been floating for months about his availability have crystalized with the 2016 NHL draft approaching. The latest: Bob McKenzie said on TSN 1040 Thursday he believes that under the right circumstances, the Montreal Canadiens would be willing to trade the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman.
Crazy? On the surface, absolutely. Teams that give up on young players of his caliber tend not to come out ahead on these deals. And Subban is not just a world-class athlete with an irreplaceable skill set. He's an icon in Montreal. Trading him makes as much sense as moving Richard, Beliveau or Lafleur in their primes. Like those legends, he's part of the fabric of that city.
All that said, it doesn't hurt Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to answer the phone ahead of July 1, when Subban's no-movement clause kicks in. If another team is desperate enough, there's always a chance that the offer they make provides exceptional value in return. And there are teams, Edmonton, Vancouver and Colorado among them, who just might ante up a package too good to ignore.
Is that likely to happen? No...but it's not out of the realm of possibility, either.
Here's a look at some other names in play this weekend:
With playoff hero Matt Murray ready to assume the No. 1 job in Pittsburgh full-time and the expansion draft looming, the Penguins are ready to part with Fleury. There aren't many openings around the league, but earlier this week, the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis reported the goalie-starved Flames kicked the tires. The asking price: Calgary's first-round pick (sixth overall) in Friday's draft.
Since the deal hasn't been done, it's safe to assume Flames GM Brad Treliving found that a bit steep. Sure, Fleury is coming off a solid regular season with 35 wins and career bests in both goals-against (2.29) and save percentage (.921), and his arrival would extinguish the tire fire that was Calgary's goaltending in 2015-16 (a league-worst 3.13 team GAA). But the Flames, who are years away from contention, might be better served grabbing a placeholder like James Reimer in free agency rather than use a high-value asset like this pick on a player who'll be aging out as they round into form.
The Stars need immediate help, but would want to move the contract of either Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen in return. That wouldn't work for a Penguins team that's already over the cap.
As much as the Pittsburgh would like to move him, it needs a partner. To find one, the Penguins will have to be flexible.
If the Subban rumors are true (the Habs reportedly want Leon Draisaitl and the No. 4 pick), then RNH sticks around as Edmonton's No. 2 center behind Connor McDavid. If not, then he's the favorite to move on in the inevitable shake up of the Oilers’ core. Though he's battled injuries, he's a capable and creative top-six center. Edmonton would like a solid, young defender in return.
Like Fleury, the Vezina finalist is caught in the numbers game. The Bolts can protect only one netminder next spring and Andrei Vasilevskiy appears ready for the role, and at a much cheaper price. Bishop has one year remaining on a deal that pays him $5.95 million.
That deal also has a partial no-move clause. A contending team like the Stars is likely to pass muster while a rebuilding one like the Flames likely would not.
An acquiring team also would want to know if it can sign Bishop long-term, like the Maple Leafs did earlier this week with Frederik Andersen.
Bolts GM Steve Yzerman may hold on to the goalie in the hope that the market will be hotter at the 2017 trade deadline, but that's a risky position.
The Blues are tight under the cap. They need to re-sign restricted free agent forward Jaden Schwartz and also might take a run at re-signing veteran UFAs David Backes or Troy Brouwer, both of whom proved their value in St. Louis’s run to the Western Conference Final.
To make that happen, someone has to go. Shattenkirk, who is owed $4.25 million next season before becoming a UFA on July 1, 2017, is the easiest cut. The emergence of Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson gives Doug Armstrong some depth to work with, and Shattenkirk lacks a no-trade clause.
It's widely thought that the Bruins are the front-runners to make a deal. They're in the Eastern Conference and they're desperate to acquire experienced blueline help. They also have an extra first rounder to build a deal around, something that would appeal to a team not looking to take on extra salary.
The Oilers and Avalanche also need help on the back end and could get in on the bidding, but the B's are the clear favorite to land the 27-year-old.
Now that the Magic Man has taken his talents home to Russia, the Red Wings need to get out from under the $7.5 million cap hit he left them holding.
It won't be easy. They need to find a team looking to reach the new $54 million salary cap floor (Carolina, New Jersey and Arizona fit the bill) and they'll have to part with a young asset. Teemu Pulkkinen has been mentioned frequently, but it might require a more established player to get it done. Detroit's over a barrel here and some team will take advantage.
The top pick in the 2012 draft needs a fresh start. The Oilers need a clean break. The time for both is now.
The talent is there, but Yakupov is in desperate need of a good reprogramming if he's to amount to more than this generation's Alexandre Daigle. The market is saying a third-round pick, but Edmonton would bite on a second... even a low second. Would the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have multiple picks, take a chance? Would Mike Babcock want the challenge of rehabilitating Yakupov's game? Have to think the Devils and Hurricanes might also kick the tires.
Now that Sami Vatanen has re-signed, it seems likely (if not quite inevitable) that the Ducks will move either Hampus Lindholm or Fowler.
It shouldn't be a tough decision. Lindholm was consistently Anaheim's best defenseman last season, while Fowler's reputation clearly exceeds his impact...at least, if the #fancystats that suggest he spends more time chasing the puck than driving possession are to be trusted. He's could draw the interest of the Bruins and Rangers, among others.
The Rangers are a team in need of a shakeup, and there's a sense that GM Jeff Gorton is considering all options to reboot his stagnant franchise...including trading his 1A center.
Stepan is an intriguing talent, but has never topped 60 points. That's not a lot of production on a contract that's paying him $6.5 million per year through 2021. His no-trade clause doesn't kick in until 2017-18, so the time to move him is now.
The Jackets are in a tight spot. Even with the cap moving up to $73 million, they have less than $5 million to work with and need to get RFAs Seth Jones and William Karlsson signed to new deals. That's not going to work without moving a body, or two, off the current roster.
Nick Foligno is a possibility, but the six-year, $33 million contract extension he signed during the 2014-15 season won't find many takers. They might have to bite the bullet next spring and leave him unprotected in the expansion draft just to clear some space moving forward.
Hartnell, though, could be moved this weekend. He's a bit long in the tooth at 34, but the feisty winger remains an effective secondary scorer. He had 23 goals this season and has potted 20-plus in five of his past six campaigns.
He has three years remaining on a deal that counts $4.5 million per. He also has a no-move clause, but reportedly will waive it for the right team.
A return to Nashville makes sense, as the Predators could use his physical presence in their top six. Montreal would be an option as well.