0 out of 5
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Trades involving notable NHL players often take place during the offseason. This is when teams have more salary cap space to work with and a willingness to invest it in the free agent and trade markets.
Sometimes those off-season moves involve an NHL star. In recent years, notables like Artemi Panarin (2017), Ryan O’Reilly (2018) and Nazem Kadri (2019) have switched teams via summer deals. Most were either at the height of their stardom or approaching it when displaced.
Last summer was no different. Among the notable moves, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks and Marc-Andre Fleury was acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks from the Vegas Golden Knights.
The upcoming offseason could see another handful of stars change clubs. Some, like JT Miller of the Vancouver Canucks, have been the subject of trade speculation for some time.
A variety of factors can come into play in a star player’s move. In some cases, a veteran player may not want to spend the rest of his playing time with a rebuilding club. Sometimes a player who is a year away from unlimited free agent eligibility may prove too costly to re-sign. In other cases, a team might attempt to offload an expensive player to free up room for other moves.
Here’s a look at five NHL stars who should be on watch this summer. You can voice your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.
1 out of 5
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The Florida Panthers only have $3.9 million in salary cap space and 16 players under contract for 2022-23. They must lose their salaries if they hope to re-sign or replace pending free agents such as Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot.
Sergei Bobrovsky could be a commercial candidate. At point 22:42 of May 25 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet Elliott Friedman said he suspects the Panthers have been pushing hard to trade the 33-year-old goaltender this season, or at least laying the groundwork to do so. He added that he didn’t know if it was possible, but he had heard that they were working hard on it.
Bobrovsky’s contract That’s why moving it would be difficult. He still has four seasons left with an annual salary cap of $10 million plus a full no-move clause. If he were to agree to be traded, it would only be to a certain number of teams. The Panthers may have to retain some of his annual cap to make it more palatable to potential business partners.
A Bobrovsky trade this summer seems like a long shot, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Maybe a team with a cap room looking for an experienced starter would be interested in a two-time Vezina Trophy winner.
2 out of 5
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Changes are coming to the San Jose Sharks front office after general manager Doug Wilson stepped down earlier this season. Whoever takes on the role full-time could try to shake things up with a big cost-cutting deal involving a high-priced defender like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson.
May 7, Sportsnet Elliott Friedman reported the Sharks have had “very preliminary” trade discussions with a few teams regarding the 32-year-old Karlsson. However, he wears a The cap of $11.5 million has been reached until 2026-27 with a full no-move clause and a long injury history.
Burns seems the most likely trade candidate. Its annual cap is cheaper ($8 million), and it only has three years left on his contract. The 37-year-old guard has a three-team trade slate, but perhaps he would consider expanding it for the opportunity to join a playoff contender. Burns’ skillset could give the Sharks a nice set of futures to build.
Burns has an active streak of 679 consecutive games played it is the 10th of all time. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound player remains an effective puck-moving defenseman, ranking 12th overall among all NHL defensemen this season with 54 points. Winner of Norris Trophy in 2017, it could attract a lot of interest if it becomes available in the commercial market this summer.
3 out of 5
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The Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs this season for the fourth time in the last five years. New General Manager Kyle Davidson has noted the club will undergo a reconstruction that could take some time. This could lead to longtime superstar Patrick Kane changing teams this summer.
Kane, 33, is one year old on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million and a full no-move clause. Davidson has noted he still has a place in the Blackhawks’ future plans. However, the gifted right-winger might not want to spend the rest of his best years on a rebuilding team and miss out on a chance to chase his fourth Stanley Cup ring.
Despite his age, Kane remains one of the NHL’s elite stars. He led the Blackhawks with 92 points in 78 games, finishing tied for 14th. His goalscoring prowess and league experience would make him an attractive trade target for suitors.
Kane would have to accept a trade and the Blackhawks could be forced to keep up to half of his salary cap to make the deal acceptable to interested clubs. Still, it would be a worthwhile move for the rebuilding Hawks if he were to pick up a set of futures, including a first-round pick and a top prospect.
4 out of 5
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In a season of upheaval for the Vancouver Canucks, JT Miller has been their reliable star throughout the campaign. Finishing ninth in the NHL with a team (and career) leading 99 points, the 29-year-old center’s versatility and strong two-way performance were crucial in keeping the Canucks in playoff contention. until the last week of the regular season.
Miller is one year old on his contract with an affordable annual cap of $5.25 million. He will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. That’s what made him the subject of commercial speculation during the regular season. The Canucks could try to sign him to a contract extension this summer, but his performance this season will make him expensive to retain.
On May 17, the Province of Vancouverit is Ben Kuzma speculated Miller would get a lot of attention in the trade market this summer if the Canucks couldn’t clear enough long-term cap space to re-sign him. Kuzma thinks the cost of acquiring Miller will be higher this summer than it was this season. The Canucks could be looking for at least a first-round pick, a top prospect and a good young NHL-ready player.
Miller would catch the eye of Stanley Cup contenders looking for an affordable one-year lease. He would also be attractive to clubs poised to make the playoffs with the cap space to sign him to a lucrative long-term extension.
5 out of 5
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After missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, the Vegas Golden Knights face a tough offseason. They’re pressed against the $82.5 million salary cap for 2022-23 with 17 players under contract. They will need to make a cost-cutting trade or two in order to fill out the rest of their roster, especially if they hope to re-sign pending free wing Reilly Smith.
ESPN.com Greg Wyshynski wondered on whether the Golden Knights plan to move Max Pacioretty. The 33-year-old left-winger is one year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. He carries a $7 million salary cap and a 10-team no-trade clause on his current contract.
Injuries limited Pacioretty to just 39 games this season, but he still managed 19 goals and 37 points. When healthy, however, he is among the most productive left wingers in the league. Since his breakthrough with the Montreal Canadiens in 2011-2012, he is third in total goals with 303 and seventh with 593 points.
The Golden Knights won’t be looking for a contract in return if they move Pacioretty just to lose their salary. He could be attractive to contenders or clubs with playoff aspirations looking to bolster their punch down the left side.