The NHL may be in midst of CBA negotiations and a second lockout in eight seasons is now a real threat, but fans still hold out hope that the league and the NHL Players' Association will work out a deal allowing hockey to go on as usual without any time lost.
Eventually, training camps will start, whether it be for this season or next. With them may come a host of signings and trades as General Managers will try fix the holes on their teams.
At this time, there are a number of players who may be on the NHL trade block.
Here are the top eight players who may be traded before training camp starts.
A 24-year-old who has for several seasons now been too good to be a backup, Jonathan Bernier is ready to move on. At this point, there is no reason to assume that the goalie, who requested a trade earlier this summer, will stay in LA.
The 11th-overall pick in 2006 and recent Stanley Cup-winner has 20 wins, a 2.50 goals-against average, and a .910 save percentage in 48 career NHL games. He should really blossom when given the opportunity to start consistently.
Interest is sure to be high. Whoever gets him will be lucky.
Where he may end up: Toronto Maple Leafs
For: Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, and a 2013 fourth-round pick
The Maple Leafs are desperate for a netminder, and were interested in Bernier earlier in the summer according to the Toronto Sun. The Kings have no immediate needs (hence the Cup), but Kadri and Franson are both players with tons of potential and would be solid additions.
Niklas Hjalmarsson signed a four-year, $14-million offer sheet with the San Jose Sharks two years ago, only to see it matched by his Chicago Blackhawks. It was because he had established himself as a key player with the 'Hawks and was indispensable.
Since then, the 25-year-old Swede has struggled to replicate his form on a team loaded with NHL-caliber defensemen. With the team desperate to land a second-line center to complement Jonathan Toews, Hjalmarsson could be on the move.
Where he may end up: Minnesota Wild
For: Pierre-Marc Bouchard and a 2013 fourth-round pick
The Minnesota Wild desperately need a first-pairing defensive partner for Ryan Suter. Hjalmarsson is not an elite blueliner, but he is a better option than Jared Spurgeon.
He will also be influential in ushering in the Jonas Brodin-era in Minny. Bouchard is far from spectacular, but if he can stay fit, he would be a productive center next to Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
Once a go-to guy in Colorado, Paul Stastny has seen his point totals decrease each of the last two seasons. He might find himself centering the third-line behind Matt Duschene and Ryan O'Reilly next year.
Stastny carries a $6.6 million cap hit, and is far too talented and expensive to be anchoring the Avalanche's checking line. A number of NHL teams would love to add him to their top-six, and there is a good chance one of them will this summer.
Where he may end up: Buffalo Sabres
For: Tyler Ennis and a 2013 second-round pick
Stastny would set up a powerful one-two punch with Cody Hodgson in Buffalo. With Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons both under contract, the Sabres would have lots of potential at center ice. Ennis may be small, but he is young and talented. He'd be an interesting complement to Gabriel Landeskog on the 'Avs second line.
RDS's Renaud Lavoie reported on Twitter that Evander Kane might look for a trade, and whether or not the report is still unsigned by the Winnipeg Jets, with the situation being an interesting one.
Kane was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers with the fourth-overall pick in 2009, but has thus far failed to live up to expectations with his new team. A 30-goal scorer this season, Kane could be in for a fresh start.
Where he may end up: Vancouver Canucks
For: Nicklas Jensen, Chris Tanev, and a 2013 first-round pick
Vancouver native Evander Kane would love to return to his hometown. The Canucks will be paying a lot with two top prospects and a first-rounder. This could be a good deal for both teams.
It's rare to see a solid defenseman like Jay Bouwmeester hit the open market.
One of the NHL's very best all-around defensemen, Bouwmeester—who has not missed an NHL game since the 2003-04 season and has posted 24 points every year in that time—has seen his career hit a roadblock in Calgary. Both sides seem ready to move on.
In Jay-Bo, a very lucky team will receive an experienced, durable, 6'4", top-pairing two-way defenseman who can lead a D-corps. He is sure to be sought after as we approach the new season.
Where he may end up: Detroit Red Wings
For: Justin Abdelkader, Ryan Sproul, and a 2013 second-round pick
With Nicklas Lidström having left, the Detroit Red Wings are desperate to add quality to their blueline. Bouwmeester has never been overly spectacular, but he is solid and will help fill the hole for now. He is, however, pricey.
After continuously improving his point totals throughout his career, Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Yandle reached a peak in 2010-11, notching 11 goals and 48 assists for 59 points. He was named an All-Star for his efforts.
However, in 2011-12, the soon-to-be 26-year-old American slipped in production, with just 11 goals and 32 assists for 43 points. For a Phoenix Coyotes team that could be looking to rebuild, Yandle—while still an elite defenseman—could become expendable.
Where he may end up: Boston Bruins
For: David Krejci
The Bruins' need for an elite offensive defenseman is undeniable, and with Tyler Seguin ready to step up and become a superstar, they can afford to give up Krejci, whose scoring talents would be a tremendous addition in Phoenix.
Much like Keith Yandle, Bobby Ryan saw his career take a significant step back in 2011-12, and as a result he has found himself on somewhat of the outside with his club.
The 25-year-old native of New Jersey slipped from 71 points to 57 and saw his value drop from being an elite first-line winger, starring alongside the likes of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, to being merely a good second-liner.
Ryan is a great player, but a trade that sees him leave Anaheim in return for a healthy package could well be best for both sides.
Where he may end up: Philadelphia Flyers
For: Matt Read and a 2013 first-round pick
It is hard to argue that a top-line right-winger is a bigger need to fill than a top-four defenseman for the Flyers. However, General Manager Paul Holmgren is ambitious, and would love to add a superstar like Ryan to his roster. The return isn't great, but Read is a promising talent who could reach the upper echelon of NHL scorers if he continues to develop well.
Once one of the NHL's very finest netminders and an All-Star Game regular, Montreal-native Roberto Luongo's Vancouver career has collapsed to the point where he has requested a trade.
Despite winning 31 of 55 regular season games (courtesy of a respectable 2.41 goals-against average and .919 save percentage) played little in the playoffs.
All indications point to it being time for the ex-Florida Panther to move on in his career. He may not be a Vancouver Canuck next season.
The only questions at this point seem to be when and where.
Where he may end up: Florida Panthers
For: Mike Santorelli, Colby Robak, and a 2013 first-round pick
Luongo is an elite goalie, but his price is dropping quickly with his demotion to backup. Santorelli has potential, and Robak is a good prospect on the blueline, a position where the Canucks lack youth. A good deal for both teams.