The Biggest Trade Rumor for Every NHL Team in the 2014-15 Season
The approach of NHL's holiday trade freeze period (Dec. 19 through Dec. 27) has sparked an increase in trade rumors. Several trades since mid-November have also fueled the speculation.
Struggling clubs could seek players to improve their rosters. Some teams could draw upon depth in one area of their rosters as trade bait to improve in other areas. Players due to become free agents at season's end could also attract interest.
The following slideshow lists the biggest trade rumor for each NHL team this season, analysis for each rumor and predictions as to how it will pan out.
Rumor: TheFourthPeriod.com reports the Anaheim Ducks were among several teams in trade talks with the Edmonton Oilers.
Analysis: The Ducks already made a couple of trades in November. They shipped defenseman Bryan Allen to Montreal for winger Rene Bourque and acquired defenseman Eric Brewer (pictured above) from Tampa Bay for a draft pick. Brewer, however, was recently sidelined for up to six weeks with a broken bone in his foot.
Prediction: TSN indicates injuries were taking a toll on the Ducks defense prior to the acquisition of Brewer. His injury could force them back into the trade market and perhaps renew talks with the Oilers.
Rumor: On Nov. 15, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney was calling around the league to gauge the trade value of center Antoine Vermette.
Analysis: Vermette is an unrestricted free agent next summer who is currently earning $3.75 million per season. The Arizona Republic's Sarah McLellan reports Maloney is still awaiting clarity on next season's budget but hopes to re-sign Vermette.
Prediction: Maloney might be gauging Vermette's trade value, but that doesn't mean he's in a hurry to move the veteran center. That could change, however, if Vermette doesn't re-sign before the March 2 trade deadline.
Rumor: CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty reports Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he'd like to augment his club's size and strength during this season.
Analysis: During a recent mailbag segment, Haggerty noted the high cost of adding someone like Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane. He suggested more affordable options like Columbus Blue Jackets winger Nick Foligno or Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.
Prediction: The Blue Jackets will attempt to re-sign Foligno, who's enjoying a career-best performance this season. Stewart could be the Bruins' best bet right now, but he has only four points in 25 games. Chiarelli could be forced to remain patient and hope the trade market improves.
Rumor: Sportsnet's Luke Fox cites a report from Fox Sports Midwest's Andy Strickland claiming the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks had “some level of interest” in Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart. Fox also notes the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins were linked to Stewart.
Analysis: A former two-time 28-goal scorer, Stewart has struggled offensively in recent years. In 25 games this season he's managed only three goals and four points. While he plays a physical style, his poor offensive numbers hurt his trade value. He's an unrestricted free agent next summer and isn't expected to be re-signed.
Prediction: While some teams seem to be “kicking the tires” on Stewart, none appears ready to make a serious pitch. The Sabres will attempt to trade him, but it could take up to the March 2 trade deadline to find a serious suitor.
Rumor: The Calgary Sun's Randy Sportak muses over the possibility of the Flames making some veteran additions this season. He suggests their biggest need is at right wing. Though Mason Raymond is set to return soon from injury, Sportak feels they're still thin at that position.
Analysis: The Flames are currently among the top teams in the Western Conference, so general manager Brad Treliving can afford to be patient. ESPN.com's Craig Custance (subscription required) reports Treliving is always looking to improve his roster but won't part with “young assets, long-term assets” for a quick fix.
Prediction: Expect Treliving to wait until later in the season to determine if there's a need to add a veteran right wing. The club's position in the standings could factor into that decision.
Rumor: On Nov. 6, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reported Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis isn't in the mood to trade captain Eric Staal. However, Matheson cited sources who believe the Toronto Maple Leafs will eventually make a big push for Staal.
Analysis: Matheson cited a pro scout who believes the Leafs could offer up defenseman Jake Gardiner and center Nazem Kadri for Staal. However, Staal is under contract through 2015-16 and carries a full no-trade clause. On Oct. 28, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Staal made it clear his preference is to remain with the Hurricanes.
Prediction: Unless Staal has a change of heart, he's not leaving Carolina this season.
Rumor: The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc reports the possibility of a stagnant salary cap for 2015-16 could force general manager Stan Bowman to shed salary. Kuc suggests core players like Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook or Bryan Bickell could be dealt.
Analysis: With more than $65 million invested in 15 players for next season and having to re-sign forwards Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger, Bowman has no choice but to dump salary. Such moves, however, won't happen until the offseason.
Prediction: Sharp, Seabrook and Bickell won't be going anywhere this season. At least one of them, however, will be traded next summer in cost-cutting deals.
Rumor: On Nov. 15, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported NHL executives were waiting to see if the struggling Colorado Avalanche might deal some young players for immediate help. Garrioch believes they need a top-four defenseman, but it could cost them two-way forward Ryan O'Reilly.
Analysis: O'Reilly's contract status last season made him a frequent topic of trade chatter. However, he's now signed through 2015-16. It also doesn't make much sense to trade the best two-way forward to improve the blue line.
Prediction: While the Avalanche need defensive help, young forwards like O'Reilly, Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog won't become trade bait. Management won't sacrifice the future for a quick fix.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumor: CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty speculates Columbus Blue Jackets winger Nick Foligno could be a good fit on the Boston Bruins. Haggerty notes Foligno is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, and the Blue Jackets could be out of playoff contention this season.
Analysis: Foligno is currently enjoying a career-best season. While he could be a good fit with the Bruins or any other NHL club, he's also among the few bright spots for the injury-ravaged Blue Jackets this season. Expect them to try and re-sign the 27-year-old winger.
Prediction: If Foligno decides to test this summer's free-agent market, the earliest he'll become available is near the March 2 trade deadline.
Rumor: The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch included the Dallas Stars on a list of several teams that could be interested in Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch.
Analysis: Within the past month, the Stars made a couple of moves to improve their defensive play, including shipping blueliner Brenden Dillon to San Jose for puck-moving rearguard Jason Demers. The Stars defensive corps could still use another experienced blueliner.
Prediction: Wiercioch might be an option for the Stars, but management could remain patient in hopes that better defenders become available in the trade market.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumor: On Oct. 30, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reported the Buffalo Sabres could hang onto defenseman Tyler Myers to see if the Detroit Red Wings get more interested in him.
Analysis: The Red Wings have had interest in Myers since the summer, but as Matheson noted, the asking price is steep. The Sabres reportedly wanted one of the Wings' top forward prospects (Anthony Mantha or Dylan Larkin) as part of the return.
Prediction: The Wings would love to land Myers, but not if the Sabres persist in asking for one of their top prospects.
Rumor: TSN's Darren Dreger claims Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish would trade right wing Jordan Eberle “in a heartbeat” if he could get a fair return. So far, however, rival clubs are trying to pick his pocket.
Analysis: The Oilers are once again mired in the bottom of the standings and dealing from a position of weakness. Eberle could be a valuable trade chip, but at this point he's not going to fetch a return that significantly improves the team.
Prediction: MacTavish won't trade Eberle unless he is offered a true first-line center, top-two defenseman or a top starting goalie.
Rumor: The Florida Panthers are trying to move some veteran forwards to make room for younger players.
Analysis: Sun-Sentinel.com's Harvey Fialkov claims a team source said the club could move some unnamed veterans. Fialkov speculates Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Kopecky could become trade candidates. Sportsnet's Mike Johnston cites colleague Elliotte Friedman, who claims several teams have interest in winger Brad Boyes.
Prediction: Fleischmann, Bergenheim and Kopecky are eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Boyes is among the few Panthers with 10-plus points this season and is signed through next season. The Panthers are more likely to peddle those pending free agents than one of their few reliable scorers. It could take months, perhaps up to the March trade deadline, to move any of them.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumor: On Nov. 11, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the Los Angeles Kings need some long-term salary-cap relief. He claimed center Mike Richards was a possible trade candidate.
Analysis: McKenzie pointed out Richards still has five years remaining on his contract at an average cap hit of $5.75 million. Because his contract is a lengthy back-diving deal, there are also salary-cap recapture penalties to consider should he retire before his contract expires.
Prediction: Despite Richards' two-way skills, championship experience and leadership, his contract is toxic. Unless the Kings are willing to absorb part of his salary, he's not going anywhere this season.
Rumor: Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding could be available. Last month he cleared waivers and was demoted to the Wild's AHL farm team in Iowa.
Analysis: The Hockey News' Jared Clinton notes Harding made 50 saves in a losing cause during his debut with the Iowa Wild. Given the recent injury history among Minnesota's goalies, he could be kept on the farm as insurance in case Darcy Kuemper or Niklas Backstrom is sidelined. Clinton doesn't rule out the possibility of Harding getting traded to another NHL team.
Prediction: For the time being, the Wild will keep Harding on the farm. If their current goalie tandem remains healthy and productive, they could entertain trade offers for him later in the season.
Rumor: The Edmonton Oilers are interested in Montreal Canadiens centers Lars Eller and David Desharnais.
Analysis: The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reports Oilers winger David Perron was linked with the Canadiens, but Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin won't part with Eller or Desharnais.
Prediction: Eller was re-signed over the summer to a four-year, $14 million contract, and Desharnais has great chemistry with sniper Max Pacioretty. Don't expect either guy to be traded this season.
Rumor: ESPN.com's Craig Custance reports (subscription required) the Nashville Predators could move one of their veteran forwards. The return of Mike Fisher from injury and the improvement of several young players could make Olli Jokinen or Matt Cullen expendable.
Analysis: Cullen, 38, has seven points in 15 games since returning from injury in late October. Jokinen, 35, has only one point in 24 games. Cullen has more value, but Custance notes he's also carrying a $3.5 million hit.
Prediction: Rival clubs could wait until the March trade deadline approaches to pursue Cullen. The Predators will have paid out most of his contract by that point.
New Jersey Devils
Rumor: NJ.com's Randy Miller suggests the Philadelphia Flyers should offer up winger Matt Read to the New Jersey Devils for young defenseman Adam Larsson.
Analysis: Miller feels the Devils have been "jerking around" Larsson for four seasons. His trade suggestion appears a natural fit, as the Devils need offense, while the Flyers need defense. However, Miller acknowledges the division rivals probably won't deal with each other.
Prediction: It remains to be seen if Larsson has a long-term future with the Devils. If they do trade him, it won't be to the Flyers.
New York Islanders
Rumor: On Nov. 2, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported that New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow would like to move struggling forward Cal Clutterbuck.
Analysis: Since Clutterbuck's recent return from a lower-body injury, his play has improved. His $2.75 million annual cap hit through 2016-17 isn't easy to move. The Islanders are off to their best start in years, so Snow isn't in any hurry to move a player.
Prediction: Clutterbuck's contract will hamper any trade attempts during the season. The best time for such a move is in the offseason, when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend.
New York Rangers
Rumor: On Nov. 6, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the New York Rangers were among several teams waiting to see what the Carolina Hurricanes might do with defenseman Andrej Sekera.
Analysis: At the time, the Rangers had lost several regular blueliners (including Dan Boyle and Ryan McDonagh) to injury. TSN indicates the Blueshirts defense corps is now healthier. The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports their limited cap space will affect any potential moves this season.
Prediction: Barring another rash of injuries to their defense corps, the Rangers won't pursue Sekera this season.
Rumor: The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could move a defenseman or possibly trade an extra forward. He notes wingers Colin Greening and Erik Condra are available and speculates teams in need of blue-line depth could pursue Patrick Wiercioch.
Analysis: Greening and Condra have been available for some time. That probably says all we need to know about their current trade value. Wiercioch could have more value, but his $2 million annual cap hit is a stumbling block.
Prediction: One of those players could be dealt, though it might take until later in the season to improve their trade value.
Rumor: The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reports of some “intriguing discussion” of the Philadelphia Flyers shipping forward Brayden Schenn to the Oilers for defenseman Justin Schultz. He also speculates about the Oilers sending winger David Perron to the Flyers for blueliner Braydon Coburn.
Analysis: Both clubs are struggling big time. While the Oilers are actively shopping for help, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is taking a patient approach. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reports Hextall won't make a trade just for the sake of doing so. He's also not interested in short-term deals.
Prediction: Hextall isn't ruling out making a move that makes sense for his club. However, such a deal doesn't appear to exist with the Oilers.
Rumor: The Pittsburgh Penguins seek a replacement for sidelined winger Pascal Dupuis. USA Today's Kevin Allen lists Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart of the Buffalo Sabres as trade options, as well as Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers.
Analysis: Yakupov has promise but is still struggling, while Stewart's most recent best season was in 2010-11. The Penguins would probably love to land Eberle, but their limited cap space prevents it. Stafford could be a more affordable option, but the Sabres could wait until the March trade deadline to move him.
Prediction: The Penguins are currently riding high in the standings, so there's no rush to find a replacement for Dupuis. They'll monitor the trade market in search of the right deal.
San Jose Sharks
Rumor: On Nov. 21, ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reported big changes are likely for the San Jose Sharks if they don't improve. Among them could be trading goaltender Antti Niemi.
Analysis: On the same day LeBrun's piece appeared, the Sharks shipped defenseman Jason Demers to Dallas for rugged rearguard Brenden Dillon. Management won't seriously entertain trading Niemi until it's sure Alex Stalock has returned to form following minor knee surgery.
Prediction: Stalock recently returned to action. If he plays well in his upcoming starts, the Sharks could start shopping Niemi in earnest.
St. Louis Blues
Rumor: The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reports there's speculation the Edmonton Oilers have interest in St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund.
Analysis: The Blues and Oilers have a trade history, as the Blues shipped winger David Perron to Edmonton in the summer of 2013 for forward Magnus Paajarvi. While Perron is again considered trade bait, it's doubtful the Blues want him back.
Prediction: Given the Blues' high position in the Western Conference standings, they're in no hurry to make any major deals right now. Berglund could become trade bait at some point, but that'll depend upon the Blues' needs as the season progresses.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumor: On Oct. 18, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch included the Tampa Bay Lightning among several teams looking for a defenseman “in some way, shape or form.”
Analysis: Garrioch's report appeared around the time that star defenseman Victor Hedman was sidelined by a broken finger. The Lightning played very well during his absence. His recent return is better than acquiring a blueliner via trade.
Prediction: Unless injuries mount over the course of the season, the Lightning aren't in the market for a defenseman.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumor: TSN's Darren Dreger said he'll be surprised if center Nazem Kadri is still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs by the March trade deadline. Dreger cites Kadri's inconsistency and the expense of re-signing him this summer.
Analysis: Kadri has been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season. There will be interest in him if the Leafs put him on the trade block. Moving him, however, will leave the team weak at center.
Prediction: Unless the Leafs get a great offer, they'll remain patient with Kadri this season. His contract talks next summer, however, could be a determining factor in his long-term future in Toronto.
Rumor: With Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis sidelined by injury, TSN's Matthew Sekeres wonders if the Canucks might inquire about Buffalo Sabres blueliner Tyler Myers.
Analysis: Myers would be a welcome addition to the Canucks defense corps. However, The Vancouver Province's Jason Botchford reports general manager Jim Benning still has seven defensemen and intends to use them to offset Hamhuis' absence.
Prediction: Don't expect to see Myers in a Canucks jersey anytime soon.
Rumor: On Nov. 12, ESPN.com's Rob Vollman (subscription required) examined the trade value of Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green. He suggested the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild as possible destinations.
Analysis: Green is an unrestricted free agent next summer, coming off a contract that is paying him more than $6 million annually. Unless he agrees to a pay cut, he's unlikely to return to the Capitals. Management could wait until the March trade deadline in hopes of bolstering his trade value.
Prediction: The Red Wings have sought a top-four right-handed defenseman since the summer. On July 8, MLive.com's Ansar Khan suggested Green would make the most sense for them. If Green hits the trade block this season, the Wings could pursue him.
Rumor: On Nov. 15, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff had some tough decisions to make regarding Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Ladd and Byfuglien are eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2016.
Analysis: The Jets are currently jockeying for playoff positioning in the very competitive Western Conference. Kane, Ladd and Byfuglien are among the Jets' best players. Cheveldayoff isn't about to shake up his roster now.
Prediction: Unless the Jets fall well out of playoff contention, don't expect Kane, Ladd and Byfuglien to be traded this season.