While most NHL teams are currently focused on the 2014 NHL draft and upcoming free agency, there are still a few players who have begun to generate buzz as potential pieces to be traded.
The NHL draft begins this Friday, while the free-agency period will start up on July 1. Both dates are quickly approaching, and that means that some teams may wait before trying to pull the trigger on any of the potential trades that are starting to generate some buzz.
With the offseason in full swing, let's take a look at some of the latest trade rumors swirling around the league.
Note: All contract information is provided by Spotrac.
Multiple Teams Interested in Jason Spezza
As one of the more productive centers in the NHL over the past decade, Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza is on the final year of his deal and is set to count for $7 million against the cap, which means that the team may be ready to part ways with him.
At 31 years old, Spezza is likely wanting to land on a team with better odds to win the Stanley Cup in the near future, and according to Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen, he might just get his wish. A number of teams are reportedly in the running for Spezza, with Warren claiming that the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks are the clear favorites.
The Senators might not want to trade away Spezza, who has been with the team since 2002, but if they don't, then they'll most likely see him depart after next season, giving them nothing in return. Despite a minus-26 plus/minus rating this past season, Spezza still had 66 points thanks to 23 goals and 43 assists, so some team will be willing to bring him in.
According to AJ Jakubec of TSN 1200 Ottawa, the Blues are reportedly working on a trade package to send Spezza to St. Louis.
An NHL source tells me STL interest in Jason Spezza is serious & they are putting together a package that would include Patrik Berglund.— AJ Jakubec (@AJonSports) June 13, 2014
Spezza does have a no-trade clause in his contract, but if a legitimate contender wants to bring him in, there's a good chance that the 31-year-old will be willing to switch teams.
Wild Shopping Kyle Brodziak and Niklas Backstrom
The Minnesota Wild are apparently interested in shaking things up as they prepare to make a deeper postseason run than they did this past season, and that apparently means trying to trade away a couple of interesting names.
Michael Russo from the Star Tribune wrote that Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher is interested in shopping center Kyle Brodziak and even retaining salary and cap space to encourage a team to trade for goalie Niklas Backstrom. Fletcher, who has made draft-day trades before, talked about potentially making a trade this coming weekend.
“Everyone calls everybody,” Fletcher told Russo. “You don’t see a whole bunch of trades the week prior to the draft. It’s all about trying to figure out who your likely dance partners can be the week at the draft. It’ll take a move or two to get the ball rolling, and then there’s usually a domino-type effect. We’re not there yet.”
At 36 years old, Backstrom's career at goalie is about done. He played in just 21 games this past season due to season-ending hip and abdominal surgeries that have kept him off of the ice since the end of January. However, Backstrom was solid in previous seasons, and with the Wild talking about retaining his salary, a team in need of a backup could pull the trigger on him.
Brodziak isn't a huge playmaker at center, but at 30 years old, he'd be a reliable veteran who could provide minutes on one of the bottom lines and provide a spark when needed. Overall, neither player is extremely appealing, but they could provide value for a team that needs depth.
Vincent Lecavalier Soon to Be on the Move?
While past the prime of his career at 34 years old, Vincent Lecavalier has still proven to be a productive center in the NHL, and teams could be interested in trading for the established veteran.
Over the course of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, Lecavalier recorded a total of 200 points with 92 goals and 108 assists. He's obviously not the same player now, recording just 37 points in 69 games with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013-14, but he still wasn't a bad option on the fourth line this past season. However, those numbers aren't up to par for someone making $4.5 million.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Flyers may move Lecavalier so they don't have to pay him that $4.5 million, saying:
He's a fourth-line forward making $4.5 million and I can't believe that Ron Hextall is going to want to pay him that. So the word on the street is yes, Lecavalier most definitely is in play. But keep in mind that he has a no-move clause.
I know that his agent Kent Hughes has already talked to Hextall about the possibility of moving his client. There are no specific teams yet, there's no list, but if they want to move him they are going to have to go to Vinny and identify a specific place.
As a former Stanley Cup champion, Lecavalier could still come in and become a leader for a younger team to help up-and-coming players learn the game, but the Flyers can't expect to get too much if they try to trade him. However, the 34-year-old can still be a dangerous scorer at times, and that could be enough for someone to make an offer.