The offseason is officially underway. We saw the Preds send Viktor Arvidsson to the Kings and now we have the Oilers getting Duncan Keith from the Blackhawks. There are rumored to be a handful of exciting names on the block this year. After the Seattle expansion draft and the NHL Entry draft, I would expect things to pick up on these four guys who could be traded this summer.
This one should come as no surprise to anyone. The Sabres are the NHL’s version of a dumpster fire and Eichel is a top 5 center in the league when he gives a shit. He wants out of Buffalo and is rumored to want to head back to the city of Boston. The city where he won the Hobey Baker aways with Boston University in his draft year. What a reunion that would be for the kid from North Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Boston isn’t the only team that wants to save Eichel from the Buffalo shit show. The Rangers and Kings both have the prospects and picks to make a deal happen. The Flames and Golden Knights have proven NHL talent that they can part with. Any Eichel deal will cost an arm and a leg, but for a proven #1 center to be available doesn’t happen all that often. Eichel also has five years left on his deal with an AAV of $10 million (Cap Friendly). There is no doubt in my mind that Eichel gets dealt this offseason. The real question is who ponies up the biggest offer.
Seth Jones still has one year left on his deal where he is owed $5.4 million. The 26-year old came out and said that he is not interested in signing an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets. That now puts GM Jarmo Kekalainen in an interesting spot. You know you aren’t going to extend Jones so you have to trade him if you don’t want to lose him for nothing. But is he more valuable now during the offseason or should he gamble and wait until the 2022 trade deadline where Jones will without a doubt be the most coveted defenseman on the market.
The trouble with trading Jones right now is that he doesn’t want to sign an extension right away. So teams are hesitant and rightfully so. Because you wouldn’t want to give up a large number of assets for the uncertainty of his time with the team. That is why waiting until the trade deadline may be beneficial to the teams interested in him. The Flyers and Avalanche have expressed interest. But the Blackhawks have become a team to monitor now that they have his brother Caleb Jones.
Calgary is in a weird position as a team. They have made the playoffs in four of the last seven years but they haven’t made it out of the first round since 2014-15. Between Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, and Johnny Gaudreau there is no shortage of talent available in Calgary. Calgary has a few options. They can blow it up and go full rebuild or they can take one or two of those guys and try and re-tool the team while being active in free agency.
Monahan has two years left on his deal with an AAV of $6.375 million. There are rumors flying around that the Flames and Gaudreau have begun talks on an extension. So that would leave Tkachuk and Monahan. I wouldn’t be surprised if both guys are dealt sometime soon. Maybe what Calgary needs is a guy like Jack Eichel. Monahan with a pick and a few prospects for Eichel could be enticing for Buffalo. It is all just speculation right now with that but it makes sense for both sides.
Now, this one is a bit of a wild card but it makes sense. Kuznetsov has four years left on his deal with a $7.8 million AAV. The Caps enter the offseason with just under $10 million in cap space. Alex Ovechkin is due for a new contract and there is no real guess as to what his new deal could look like right now. Kuznetsov has also had his fair share of off-ice issues which complicated his relationship with the organization. He tested positive twice for Covid-19 and he also received a four-year ban from IIHF after he failed a drug test due to cocaine.
Caps GM Brian MacLellan said only Ovechkin and Backstrom were off the table when it comes to trade talks. Which can be interpreted as Kuznetsov is being shopped. There don’t seem to be any stand-out destinations for the 29-year-old Russian. I could see the Caps trying to figure out how to get Seattle to take him in the expansion draft. That would be an interesting guy to start your franchise with.
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