The start of the NHL season is just days away, and as teams play their final preseason games, there are moves to be made as general managers prepare to fine-tune their roster.
One of the teams that is likely to be involved in a pre-opening-night deal is the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
General manager George McPhee has 11 defensemen on his roster, including several who will be free agents at the end of the season. It would seem to make sense for McPhee to deal one or more of those defensemen for prospects and/or draft picks.
McPhee acknowledged that a deal was likely when he visited with the Hockey Central crew on Sportsnet. "We'll probably have to do something," McPhee said. "I've just started returning calls to clubs yesterday that expressed some interest in obtaining a defenseman. I wanted to take some time, four games, to get to know them a little bit better."
Jason Garrison may be the most attractive candidate for potential trade partners. Garrison, 32, has a huge shot from the point and he could help out on the power play. He is a solid defenseman who spent the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and would clearly have quite a bit of value.
Matt Duchene has been mentioned in potential trades since the early part of the year. Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has been criticized for not making a move with Duchene prior to last year's trade deadline, during the draft or at any point in the summer.
However, Sakic's patience could pay off shortly. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is "aggressive" in his pursuit of Duchene.
Duchene has two years remaining on his contract, and Sakic has also had talks with the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators. If any of those teams remain interested in Duchene, it would be possible for Sakic to get the strong return for the center that he is hoping to get.
The Senators have a need for a center since Derrick Brassard is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The presence of Duchene could make the Sens much more competitive in the early part of the season.
The Detroit Red Wings and forward Andreas Athanasiou continue to engage in a staring contest as the season approaches.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reported Athanasiou and his agent Darren Ferris have not spoken with general manager Ken Holland since they last met and engaged in talks September 16.
St. James said that Red Wings have offered Athanasiou a two-year deal at $1.9 million per season.
If the two sides can't come to an agreement, that could open things up for Martin Frk, who has played well throughout training camp and the Red Wings' preseason games.