The trade market in the National Hockey League is about to start heating up.
Who has the best shot at getting moved this summer?
Rumors are starting to swirl and in the coming months, many teams will attempt relieve themselves of cap space by trading some of the game’s top players. As Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, the lowered cap for the 2013-14 should make plenty of scorers available.
Don’t be surprised when you log in to Twitter and you see one of your favorite players got dealt because it’s bound to happen this summer. Are any of the stars on your team in jeopardy of getting moved? Let’s take a glance.
Here are the latest updates regarding Jaroslav Halak, T.J. Galiardi and James Neal, including notes and analysis about their current situations and where they may wind up—if anywhere—this summer.
Flyers Eyeing Halak
Philadelphia has been one of the more active franchises in the NHL over the last few weeks, but despite all of the moves, the Flyers are still without a goaltender. The Flyers decided to buyout Ilya Bryzgalov less than a week ago, per the team’s official website. Now, Steve Mason is the lone option, and he’s not going to cut it.
One netminder that Philadelphia is looking at is the backup for the St. Louis Blues, Jaroslav Halak, according to Tim Panaccio of Comcast SportsNet Philly. As Panaccio writes, Halak lost the starting job to Brian Elliott last season after some groin injuries and only has one year left on his current contract.
A source tells Panaccio that it will take a good player to land Halak, but not one of the top players on the roster. But the source also points out that if the Flyers were to acquire the Slovakian, he’d probably be the starting goalie for next season. As long as it won’t cost Philly very much, the idea makes plenty of sense.
Halak finished the 2011-12 season with 26 victories, a .926 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average. He couldn’t carry that success into the 2012-13 season, though, as he played in just 16 games, winning six, and saving less than 90 percent of shots on goal. He still has the skills to be a starting goalie in the NHL.
Galiardi on the Block
The San Jose Sharks were busy throughout the 2013 NHL draft, making a few deals. The most notable was when the Sharks dealt the 50th overall pick in the draft to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Tyler Kennedy, as announced by the organization’s official Twitter account:
That acquisition made forward T.J. Galiardi very expendable, and Kevin Kurz of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reports that he’s now on the trade block. Galiardi is a restricted free agent whose talents aren’t as necessary as they were before San Jose landed Kennedy.
Galiardi was a great option for the Colorado Avalanche early in his NHL career. In 2009-10, his first full season, he totaled 39 points in 70 games. Since, he hasn’t been able to total more than 15. After getting traded to the Sharks during the middle of the 2011-12 season, Galiardi has yet to impress.
In 14 games with San Jose after the trade, he only had one point in 14 games. He scored five times in 36 games this past year in addition to nine assists and 14 penalty minutes. While it’s yet to be confirmed as to teams with interest in him, he’d be an average third- or fourth-line winger with most teams in the league.
Pens May Deal Neal
The Penguins already dealt Kennedy away, and he might not be the only player leaving Pittsburgh this summer. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the Penguins will likely trade forward James Neal. Neal is owed $5 million in each of the five seasons, as he’s signed through 2017-18.
One of the teams targeting Neal is Ottawa, but the Senators need to re-sign captain Daniel Alfredsson beforehand, per Garrioch. Neal would fit in nicely with the Senators if the two front offices can work out a fair deal. You could slot Neal right into the first line of Ottawa, as he’d instantly become the top scoring threat.
Last season, Neal was part of the top offense in the NHL. He scored 21 goals and racked up 15 assists with Pittsburgh in 40 games. The left-winger was just a few points shy of averaging one per game. In comparison, there wasn’t a Senator during the 2012-13 season with at least 30 points.
While some may believe it will be difficult to move Neal, it actually won’t be. Neal has a no-trade clause in his current deal, but it doesn’t kick in until the 2015-16. Then, he can veto any trade to eight teams of his choice, according to CapGeek.com. That being said, Ottawa is free to move to him to wherever it wants.