The 5 NHL Stars Who Could Request a Trade During the 2022-23 Season

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured Columnist IVAugust 15, 2022

The 5 NHL Stars Who Could Request a Trade During the 2022-23 Season

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    The start of NHL training camps and preseason is over a month away. We've reached the stage in the offseason where trade activity has dropped off from July's frantic pace.

    Business could pick up in the trade market once training camp begins in September and leading up to the start of the regular season in October. Teams sitting over the $82.5 million salary cap could make cost-cutting moves to become cap compliant. Others could make deals hoping to fine-tune their rosters before the schedule begins.

    As the regular season progresses, there will be clubs looking to make moves to bolster their rosters to reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, non-contenders will look to peddle pending free agents who no longer fit into their plans beyond 2022-23.

    Some of those moves could involve players on non-playoff teams interested in playing for a Stanley Cup contender. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks could fall into that category. Others might involve players intent on signing elsewhere when their contracts expire within the next year or two.

    Here are five NHL stars who could ask to be traded during the coming season. You can express your views on this topic in the comments section below.

Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings

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    For the past six seasons, Tyler Bertuzzi has been part of the Detroit Red Wings' long rebuilding process. To date, the 27-year-old winger has yet to skate in a single Stanley Cup playoff game.

    Bertuzzi has been among the few reliable scorers on the offensively anemic Wings through most of his tenure. He tallied 21 goals in 2018-19 and 2019-20, missed all but nine games to back surgery during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign, and roared back with a career-best 30 goals and 62 points in 68 games last season.

    Entering the final season of his two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.75 million, Bertuzzi will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could shop the winger if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the trade deadline.

    Bertuzzi could also force the issue by requesting a trade. Six seasons without a taste of playoff action could become a source of frustration for him. If he knows he's not going to re-sign with the Wings or if contract talks stall, he could ask to be shopped before deadline day. A lack of a no-trade clause in Bertuzzi's contract could also make him easy to move.

    So far all's quiet regarding any potential contract discussions between Bertuzzi and the Wings. Nevertheless, his situation could be worth watching over the course of the season.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets

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    Unlike others on this list, Pierre-Luc Dubois isn't an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center signed a one-year, $6 million contract last month, meaning he'll once again become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at season's end.

    Dubois will also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer. He became the subject of trade rumors last month linking him to the Montreal Canadiens. Dubois sought to minimize that chatter during his Zoom media conference announcing his recent contract signing, insisting he hasn't requested a trade nor that thought entered his mind.

    The rumors have died down since Dubois' remarks. He's acknowledged he'll face the same situation next summer as an RFA but insists his focus for the coming season is on helping the Jets reach the playoffs.

    Given Dubois' RFA status next summer, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wouldn't be under pressure to move him. That could change, however, if the young center remains unwilling to ink a long-term contract.

    Dubois could surface again in the rumor mill, especially if the club should end up struggling to reach the playoffs. If he feels his long-term future isn't in Winnipeg, he could ask to be shopped before the trade deadline.

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

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    Vladimir Tarasenko made headlines last summer when it was revealed he requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues. Despite being a fixture in the offseason rumor mill, he was still in the Blues lineup when last season began.

    Tarasenko's request wasn't a distraction for him or the Blues. He enjoyed a career-best 82-point performance, helping the club reach the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs before falling to the Colorado Avalanche.

    Following the playoffs, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told reporters he wasn't concerned about Tarasenko returning in 2022-23. However, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported on July 8 that the 30-year-old winger hadn't rescinded his trade request.

    Armstrong isn't facing pressure to honor that request before the start of the season. Tarasenko is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but the Blues GM will likely retain the scoring winger for another run at the Stanley Cup and let him depart via free agency in July.

    Tarasenko isn't going anywhere this season if the Blues remain a playoff contender. Should they struggle to remain in the postseason hunt, however, the veteran scorer could remind Armstrong of his request before the trade deadline. By that point, the Blues GM could be willing to entertain offers.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Entering the final seasons of their contracts, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews' tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks could be coming to an end. With the club rebuilding, Kane and/or Toews could ask to be moved before the 2023 trade deadline.

    It won't be an easy decision. The Athletic's Scott Powers reports neither player really wants to leave Chicago and the only NHL team they've ever played for. They haven't approached general manager Kyle Davidson yet about a trade nor has he asked them to waive their no-movement clauses. Powers indicated they'll both be allowed to determine their futures.

    Both players could wait and see how the coming season pans out. Nevertheless, it's possible one or both will ask Davidson for a trade to a playoff contender before the deadline.

    On July 26, Toews told Powers' colleague Mark Lazerus that the thought of a five-plus year rebuild wasn't appealing to him. The 34-year-old center called the steady turnover of players from the Blackhawks in recent years “really, really draining” and “exhausting”. Lazerus later tweeted that Toews wasn't complaining but merely being honest about the situation.

    Kane, meanwhile, was the subject of frequent trade gossip last month. The New York Post's Larry Brooks felt the Rangers should pursue him at the trade deadline. The Edmonton Journal's David Staples cited oddsmakers linking the 33-year-old winger to the Oilers. A rumor claiming the Dallas Stars were in trade talks for Kane was dismissed as unfounded.

    Both players carry an annual salary-cap hit of $10.5 million. They're each earning $6.9 million in actual salary this season but $4 million has already been paid by the Blackhawks as signing bonuses. While their remaining $2.9 million salary is quite affordable, the Blackhawks would have to retain up to half of their cap hit to facilitate trading them.

    Despite their contracts, Kane and Toews could still draw considerable interest around the league among playoff contenders if they hit the trade block. While their loyalty to the Blackhawks is understandable, another year of plugging away for a non-contender could finally prompt one or both to ask for a chance to join a contender.

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