With three games of the Stanley Cup Finals in the bag, it is hard for anyone without a direct interest in the series not to turn their eyes towards the near future. Coming up soon, we have the NHL Entry Draft June 24 and 25 in St. Paul, MN. After that, on July 1, the free agency floodgates will open.
Any experienced NHL fan also knows there is a hidden event to cast their dreams on: the summer trading season. Typically, you can see deals at the draft or deals to acquire the rights to players prior to them hitting the market.
The summer can also be a good time for a move to shake the team up or to deal an established star or player of importance. Most fans never know when a big deal is coming. Sometimes you catch wind, but do not know what your team will be getting back.
That is why it can be fun to be a fan; you can cook up all kinds of theories. Sure, they may not come to pass, but why let that stop us?
There is a plethora of trade rumors out there on bleacherreport.com and across the net (great sites like hockeybuzz.com, spectorshockey.net, thefourthperiod.com, mynhltraderumors.com, etc.), or at least names of players that could be moved. With that in mind, I did some searching and threw some stuff against the wall.
Will any of it stick? Probably not. But who cares? Let's take a look at 10 fantasy trades that work for both teams...
What the Lightning get: Evgeni Nabokov to return to the NHL.
Why they should make the move: Nabokov would solidify the goaltending situation as a solid No. 1 and mentor for the future.
What the Islanders get: Value for Nabokov, who refused to report after being claimed.
Why they should make the move: Nabokov wants to play in the NHL, but for a contender. That will not be in the Islanders plans for 2011-12, but adding another high draft pick may accelerate the process.
What the Maple Leafs get: the rights to upcoming unrestricted free agent Brad Richards
Why they should make the move: Getting the rights to Richards would allow exclusivity in negotiation prior to July 1. Would also stir the fanbase up for the upcoming season as the year that Toronto returns to the playoffs. It would also cause a lot of other moves with the roster to free up cap space before the start of the season. Shaking up parts of the roster is not a bad thing.
What the Stars get: Draft picks. The more, the better.
Why they should make the move: A murky ownership situation assures the Stars no chance of re-signing Richards. In a situation he likes, perhaps he would approve his no-trade clause to help the team out by bettering his chances at completing the big deal he is seeking.
What the Sharks get: Defenseman capable of moving pucks, solid defense and excellent penalty killing.
Why they should make the move: The Sharks have three unrestricted free agents and a chance to reshape their blue line. Martin had a so-so year with the Pens offensively, but kept a clean crease most nights.
What the Penguins get: A winger capable of playing on the top two lines.
Why they should make the move: Setoguchi would be a nice compliment to the Penguins' top two lines. This deal would provide small cap relief. Moving a defenseman would also free up space for the eventual arrival of QMJHL standout Simon Despres.
What the Maple Leafs get: Columbus' 2011 1st round draft pick (No. 8 overall).
Why they should make the move: Many say the Leafs are looking to move up in the draft. How does right ahead of their pick that was traded to Boston for Kessel sound? Pretty good, I bet. Could also clear some space for the Brad Richards trade suggested earlier.
What the Blue Jackets get: A talented player and some headlines to hopefully drum up interest in the team.
Why they should make the move: Rumors suggest Columbus wants to move the pick for an established NHL player. This fits the bill. Columbus is reported to be struggling financially. They need an impact, especially in the playoffs now, or the future will look even worse.
What the Penguins get: Any draft picks the Canadiens are willing to part with.
Why they should make the move: It seems unlikely the Penguins are even interested in re-signing Talbot. GM Ray Shero has made similar moves in the past to salvage some value out of guys he will let walk.
What the Canadiens get: A Francophone who grew up in their province. Do Habs fans even need any more reason than that? Okay, he has a history of big goals at the right moment and can kill penalties.
Why they should make the move: Talbot would be a good fit with the teams group of smaller, speedy forwards.
What the Capitals get: Any draft picks the Oilers are willing to part with.
Why they should make the move: Washington may not be able to afford Laich. While their preference would be to sign him, if it becomes apparently the sides are too far apart, get something back for him.
What the Oilers get: The rights to a player they are rumored to target in free agency to lead their young group.
Why they should make the move: Exclusivity in negotiation and the chance to add an established, all around hockey player.
What the Blackhawks get: The Sharks' 2011 second round draft pick (59th overall), possibly another later round or future year's pick to sweeten the deal.
Why they should make the move: Cheap pieces for the future and cap relief.
What the Sharks get: Another younger defenseman to help reshape the blue line.
Why they should make the move: At 23, Hjalmarsson's best days are far in front of him.
What the Predators get: A winger with something left in the tank and experience to help try and push the Preds farther than their successful 2010-11 playoff run took them.
Why they should make the move: Chances are the price tag might seem a bit high, but with potential throw in, they could gain additional veteran experience up front.
What the Devils get: Some breathing room and an eye on the future.
Why they should make the move: They can gain both cap space and a future first round pick. That first round pick would be huge, since they'll have to forfeit one of their own in the near future because of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract saga.
What the Blues get: A talented player that could benefit from a fresh start.
Why they should make the move: With the right draft pick, the Blues could add a piece by subtraction based on the rumors of Oshie's troubles there and get something good in return.
What the Capitals get: Fresh blood at a time when they seem to need it most.
Why they should make the move: Would be a good signal to the fanbase that they want to achieve more and will keep aiming for that in to the future.
What the Islanders get: A top flight goalie.
Why they should make the move: Combine this with the proposed Nabokov deal, and this team has taken the moves needed to reshape its future through stockpiling draft picks. The hope is that the 2013 1st rounder is not a high pick based on these moves.
What the Flames get: Cap space and a good bet.
Why they should make the move: Much needed cap relief and the hope that Islanders woes continue and you end up with a shot at a No. 1 overall pick.