NHL Teams with the Most Trade Assets in the 2014 Offseason
When the Stanley Cup playoffs finally end in mid-June, NHL general managers will set about improving their rosters for next season. Most of this will be done through trades and free-agent signings.
The bulk of offseason player movement usually takes place via free agency, but several factors this summer could result in increased trade activity compared to recent years.
One is the ability of teams to retain a portion of a player's salary to improve his trade value. Another is a lack of depth in quality talent available in this year's free-agent market. Several NHL stars whose contracts expire next season could become trade candidates.
Each team has different needs to address. There are clubs which must shed salary to create room for other acquisitions. Rebuilding teams have young players who could be exchanged for veteran depth. There will be teams attempting to overhaul their rosters, while some will tweak their lineups to improve their Stanley Cup chances next season.
The following is a list of 10 NHL teams with the most trade assets heading into the offseason. While most of the players on this list have appeared in recent trade rumors, there's no guarantee they will be dealt.
All NHL player salary information via CapGeek.com.
10. Detroit Red Wings
Trade Assets: Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco, Jakub Kindl, Jordin Tootoo
Analysis: The Red Wings possess some promising young talent in their ranks. Teams might inquire about Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Danny DeKeyser, Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan, but the Wings won't part with them.
MLive.com's Ansar Khan believes the emergence of Glendening and Sheahan could make Andersson expendable. Khan also thinks the Wings' depth in promising defensemen could put Kindl's future in question.
Jurco could be shopped, but he's also waiver-exempt next season and if necessary, could be demoted to their farm team. Tootoo was buried in the minors this season. With the cap rising next season, there could be more interest in his services.
Likely to move: Khan notes the Wings will be in the market for a right-handed defenseman. Andersson, Kindl or Jurco could be used as part of a package (perhaps with Tootoo or a draft pick) to acquire such a blueliner.
9. Winnipeg Jets
Trade Assets: Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian, Tobias Enstrom
Analysis: After three seasons in Winnipeg, the Jets are no closer to being a playoff contender than they were when they moved from Atlanta. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could be prompted to trade shake up the core of his roster.
The Winnipeg Free Press' Gary Lawless reports Cheveldayoff could bolster his forward depth via trade or free agency. While Cheveldayoff claims Ondrej Pavelec will return as their starting goalie, Lawless speculates the Jets could add another netminder. Kane's been a fixture in the NHL rumor mill for some time.
Likely to move: Cheveldayoff seems reluctant to move the 22-year-old Kane, who has yet to reach his playing prime. The Jets GM can draw on his blue-line depth to use as trade bait for help up front. Given rookie Jacob Trouba's strong debut, Byfuglien could become a trade candidate. He has two years left on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.2 million, plus a limited no-trade clause. Byfuglien's also a right-handed shot, which could interest teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers.
8. New York Islanders
Trade Assets: Calvin de Haan, Anders Lee, Matt Martin, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome
Analysis: Lost in the late-season hubbub over John Tavares' season-ending knee injury and the Thomas Vanek trade speculation was the fact the Islanders posted a post-Olympic record of 12-7-3. One reason for that solid finish was the performance of those young players noted above.
The Isles lack experienced depth on defense and their checking lines. One of those promising players could be packaged with their first-round pick (fifth overall) to address one of roster deficiencies or to move up in the draft order.
Likely to move: Islanders GM Garth Snow has a tendency to retain his young players. He could hang onto them and look toward free agency to address his roster needs. Still, this club has a reputation for doing the unexpected, so don't rule anything out. If Snow decides to deal big, he's got the young assets to do it.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning
Trade Assets: Kristers Gudlevskis, Anders Lindback, Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, J.T. Brown
Analysis: The Tampa Bay Times' Damian Cristodero reports the Lightning have a glut of goaltenders behind starter Ben Bishop. Cristodero speculates Gudlevskis or Lindback could be shopped. The Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson reports the Lightning's defense is one of the weaknesses which will be addressed this summer.
Likely to move: Gudlevskis or Lindback could be traded, perhaps in a package deal for a defenseman. Rival clubs could have interest in one of their promising young forwards. Calder nominees Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson aren't going anywhere, nor is promising prospect Jonathan Drouin. Kucherov, Killorn or Brown could be part of a package to attract a quality blueliner.
6. Anaheim Ducks
Trade Assets: Frederik Andersen, Emerson Etem, Jakob Silfverberg, Devante Smith-Pelly, Sami Vatanen
Analysis: Ducks GM Bob Murray could use one or two of his promising young players as trade chips to add a second-line center.
By trading Bobby Ryan last summer to the Ottawa Senators, the Ducks own the Senators' first-round pick (10th overall). That pick could be packaged with one of those young players and a prospect.
ESPN.com's Craig Custance believes the Ducks should pursue Ottawa's Jason Spezza or Vancouver's Ryan Kesler. The Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire reports Murray could revisit his interest in Kesler, while the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch claims Murray inquired about Spezza leading up to the March trade deadline.
Likely to move: Etem or Smith-Pelly could be part of a package offer for Spezza or Kesler. With Jonas Hiller departing via free agency, Andersen will split the goalie duties with John Gibson. However, if the Ducks decide to add a veteran starter (Ryan Miller, perhaps?), Andersen could also be dealt.
5. Boston Bruins
Trade Assets: Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk, Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Malcolm Subban
Analysis: If the Bruins seek a swift puck-moving defenseman, The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa suggests Marchand and Boychuk as trade candidates. Boychuk is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If he's too expensive to re-sign before next summer, he could be dealt.
With Carl Soderberg moving up in the depth chart at center, Kelly could be expendable. Bartkowski is a restricted free agent and re-signing him could be an issue for the cap-strapped Bruins. Goaltending prospect Subban could be shopped if current backup Chad Johnson decides to re-sign.
Likely to move: The Boston Herald's Steve Conroy reports Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli wants to add speed to his roster. Chiarelli also has only $9.1 million in projected cap space next season. Marchand, Kelly and possibly Boychuk could be dealt this summer to free up salary. Teams in need of scoring depth (Nashville, Phoenix, Edmonton, New Jersey, Florida and Buffalo) could pursue Marchand.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Trade Assets: Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer, Jake Gardiner, Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson
Analysis: The Leafs need an experienced shutdown defenseman, another center and depth on the checking lines.
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos recently claimed there were teams interested in Phaneuf. Kypreos believes the Leafs would have to absorb part of his annual $7 million cap hit to facilitate a trade.
Reimer was relegated to backup duty this season. He's a restricted free agent and could be traded. Franson's also a restricted free agent who could become trade bait. Gardiner and Kadri were fixtures in this season's rumor mill. Leafs GM Dave Nonis was reluctant to move them, but could change his mind for the right offer.
Likely to move: Teams in need of blue-line depth (Colorado, Washington) could pursue Gardiner or Franson. There's not much of a goalie market this summer, so the Leafs could have difficulty moving Reimer. The Globe & Mail's James Mirtle reports team president Brendan Shanahan sounds like he'd prefer to retain Phaneuf. Trading Kadri could hurt their depth at center.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
Trade Assets: Kris Letang, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Brandon Sutter, Simon Despres
Analysis: Another early playoff exit cost GM Ray Shero his job while coach Dan Bylsma's fate rests with Shero's as-yet-unknown successor. A roster shake-up could also be in order.
Forget about moving franchise players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. NBC Sports' Jason Brough feels this is the right time to shop Letang. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Josh Yohe believes the roster must get younger, while his colleague Rob Rossi suggests moving Neal. Sutter's a restricted free agent and could be moved if his salary demands prove too steep.
Likely to move: Letang's expensive new contract and health issues dampens his trade value. Neal, on the other hand, lacks a no-trade clause and would be of interest teams in need of a scoring winger. Phoenix, Nashville, New Jersey, Vancouver and Edmonton could be among the suitors. Kunitz could also be moved, though his age (34) could hurt his value. With Derrick Pouliot and Brian Dumoulin close to cracking the roster, Despres could be the odd man out.
2. Ottawa Senators
Trade Assets: Jason Spezza, Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner, Eric Gryba, Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Analysis: Following a disappointing season, big changes could be coming for the Senators.
Spezza has one year left on his contract. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported sources claiming the Senators were talking to Western Conference clubs about Spezza. Garrioch anticipates they want to move their captain before the NHL Draft next month.
The Senators could also shop one of their goalies this summer. Anderson, like Spezza, has one year remaining on his contract. Lehner is considered his heir apparent.
Likely to move: If there's a suitable deal for Spezza he could be gone by the draft weekend. Garrioch claimed the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks had interest in Spezza since the trade deadline. Trading him, however, will leave the Senators thin at center. They could address that by shopping Anderson or Lehner, perhaps packaging one of them with Gryba or Pageau.
1. San Jose Sharks
Trade Assets: Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Antti Niemi, Martin Havlat
Analysis: Following yet another early playoff exit, changes are expected for the Sharks this summer. They need a good third-line center, plus another experienced defenseman.
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson wondered if Thornton or Marleau could be dealt. CSNBayArea.com's Kevin Kurz suggested Pavelski, coming off a 41-goal season, would be a valuable trade chip. Kurz also speculated they could move out Niemi to make room for free-agent goalie Ryan Miller.
Havlat could be traded or bought out.
Likely to move: Havlat is gone for sure one way or the other.
Pavelski's new five-year contract begins July 1, but he lacks a no-trade clause on his current deal. The Sharks could try to trade him before his new contract kicks in.
Niemi has one season left on his contract and also lacks a no-trade clause. Given the lack of quality goalies available via free agency, the Sharks could retain him.