The trade market this summer in the NHL could be like nothing that fans have seen in some time. With the collective bargaining agreement expiring in September, thoughts of amnesty, no-movement clauses and front-loaded deals will be swirling in the minds of front office executives and crack-cap enthusiasts as well.
Every year, the trade market kicks up after the NHL Awards conclude in Las Vegas. Last year, in the hours between the league's elite checking out of their hotels and the draft beginning, Philadelphia made dramatic noise by trading Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
This summer could be more of the style of action.
What follows are 10 names that could be on the move before the 2012 NHL Draft ends in Pittsburgh at the end of June.
Every year, teams take a long-shot on acquiring the rights to an unrestricted free agent before or during the draft. This summer, the guy that might draw the most interest in that scenario could be Matt Carle.
The Flyers have cap problems, but have already committed a big amount of money to their blue line (with or without Chris Pronger). It seems unlikely that Pronger would be back, and the Flyers shouldn't mind adding a late-round pick for his rights.
There was speculation that the Blues were considering him as a trade piece at the deadline, but now that he and TJ Oshie are both restricted free agents, there's a good chance one of the two will be dealt.
And it won't be Oshie.
Certainly there will be a market at the draft for a 24-year-old power forward like Stewart.
The Leafs already have six NHL defensemen under contract next year, and Franson will be a restricted free agent this summer. They might look to move Luke Schenn (again), but with four remaining seasons on his deal, the uncertainty surrounding the CBA might be a hang-up for teams. Acquiring the negotiating rights to Franson, on the other hand, could be tempting at the draft.
Gagner's a restricted free agent and is coming off a relatively strong season for the Oilers. In spite of Edmonton holding the top overall draft pick, they need to add depth on their blue line and Gagner is the most likely trade chip. There's a chance he's moved during the draft.
The Hawks have a number of defensemen under contract for next year, and have been disappointed by the lack of development from Hjalmarsson since matching the offer sheet he received from San Jose a couple years ago.
He's still young, and with a $3.5M cap hit, he's not overwhelmingly expensive any more. He might be a popular name on the market this summer, especially at the draft.
With only one year left on his deal, and a $5M cap hit that is closer to market value now than a year or two ago, Ribeiro might be a guy teams look at as a top-six addition they could rent for a year. If the new ownership group in Dallas wants to stay near/at the floor, and they need to give Jamie Benn a substantial raise this summer, moving a veteran like Ribeiro could be the ticket.
There were a number of rumors surrounding Roy at the deadline this season, and the market might be ripe for the Sabres to move the final year of his contract (with a $4M cap hit) at the draft this summer. Certainly in a market that will be soft for top centers, Roy is a player that could land exceptional value.
Vancouver will desperately try to move Roberto Luongo, but once we get to the draft, it's game over.
If they are going to get maximum value for one of their two goalies, it has to be before or during the draft, and odds are that they'll be forced to move the less expensive of the two. Especially if there isn't progress on a new CBA before then.
This might be your wild card for the 2012 NHL Draft.
Mike Green and John Carlson are both restricted free agents, and the Caps could be financially inclined to only keep one of them. With Green being a little older, and having some injuries in his rear view mirror, he might be the name nobody thought would move that is suddenly cleaning out an apartment this summer.
In case you hadn't heard, the Jackets will trade Rick Nash. It will probably happen during the draft.