NHL Trades That Teams Should Be Considering ASAP

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2022

NHL Trades That Teams Should Be Considering ASAP

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    SAINT PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Gabriel Vilardi #13 of the Los Angeles Kings scores a goal against Matt Dumba #24 and Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Minnesota Wild during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on October 15, 2022 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Los Angles Kings' Gabriel Vilardi scores against the Minnesota Wild (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images).

    It's barely been a week since the puck dropped on the 2022-23 NHL season, but the rumor mill is already churning out trade speculation. While it's still early for such conjecture, a handful of clubs appear to need some help.

    The Boston Bruins might have to consider moving one of their left-shot defensemen to free up salary-cap space when key players return from injuries. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild's porous goaltending could force them into the market for help if it doesn't improve soon.

    It could take some time for teams with early-season roster problems to address them. Available players could prove costly in terms of the contract or the team's asking price.

    A number of teams have little or no cap space, which further complicates matters. According to Cap Friendly, 13 teams are either pressed against the $82.5 million salary cap or have placed players on long-term injury reserve to exceed it. Six teams possess less than $550,000 in cap room, while three others have less than $1.8 million available.

    Nevertheless, these four NHL trade scenarios should be under consideration as soon as possible. Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

Mike Reilly to the Chicago Blackhawks

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    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 15: Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Arizona Coyotes  during the second period at TD Garden on October 15, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
    Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    The Boston Bruins have a logjam of left-side defensemen, while the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks could use some experienced depth on their blue line. The Bruins should thus consider sending Mike Reilly to the Blackhawks.

    The Hockey News' Mike Stephens recently noted that Reilly was among several players to clear waivers before the start of the season. He suggested the Chicago native could be a good fit with the Blackhawks given his puck-moving skills and affordable $3 million salary-cap hit through 2023-24.

    According to Boston Hockey Now's Jimmy Murphy, the Bruins had been shopping Reilly before he went on waivers. The Bruins will need to clear cap space when sidelined stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy return to the lineup later this season. They'll probably only want a draft pick in return for Reilly.

    The Blackhawks could've claimed Reilly off waivers. However, it could still prove worthwhile for them to acquire him from the Bruins.

    Chicago could shop Reilly near the trade deadline for draft picks. He could also perhaps be a decent short-term fit to take some pressure off the Blackhawks' developing young defensemen.

The Minnesota Wild Should Shop For A Goaltender

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    ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 13: Filip Chytil #72 of the New York Rangers scores a goal against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Minnesota Wild in the second period of the game at Xcel Energy Center on October 13, 2022 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
    The New York Rangers score against the Minnesota Wild's Marc-Andre Fleury (David Berding/Getty Images)

    Poor goaltending is among the reasons why the Minnesota Wild are off to a shaky start this season. Their 6.67 goals-against per game was the league's worst as of Oct. 19.

    This is a troubling development for the Wild as they attempt to build on last season's franchise-best 113-point performance.

    The Wild brought back 37-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year contract and acquired Filip Gustavsson from the Ottawa Senators in last summer's Cam Talbot deal. Given that duo's difficulties thus far, general manager Bill Guerin should monitor the trade market for a potential upgrade between the pipes.

    With $3.3 million in cap space, Guerin has some wiggle room to add an affordable netminder to back up Fleury and perhaps challenge him for the starter's job. He could also try to move some salary in the deal to give himself more cap flexibility as the season progresses. Gustavsson and his $787,500 cap hit could be part of the deal or demoted in the minors.

    Goalie options appear limited at this stage in the season, but the San Jose Sharks' James Reimer might be worth watching. Sharks general manager Mike Grier could decide to peddle the 34-year-old pending free agent if his struggling club's losses continue to mount. Reimer lost his first three games but sported a respectable .919 save percentage.

Montreal Canadiens Trade Jonathan Drouin For A Puck-Moving Defenseman

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - OCTOBER 17:  Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Centre Bell on October 17, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
    Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    Leading up to last season's trade deadline, the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens shopped several veterans on expiring contracts for draft picks and prospects. They could do the same thing this season with Jonathan Drouin, as the 27-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

    The Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan believes Drouin no longer fits into the Canadiens' plans and speculated that general manager Kent Hughes could attempt to trade him. However, his colleague Pat Hickey felt the oft-injured winger needs more playing time to bolster his trade value both as a potential playoff rental and as a free agent next summer.

    Hughes could try moving Drouin by the March 3 trade deadline for a draft pick and a prospect. However, it might not be a bad idea to see if he can use the winger to acquire a puck-moving defenseman on a longer contract to bolster his club's punchless power play.

    Finding such a defenseman won't be easy unless Drouin can stay healthy over the next few weeks and regain his offensive form. With the Canadiens carrying only $1.8 million in cap space, it might have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap. Still, it's something worth considering should the opportunity arise to give this team more of a competitive edge.

Ottawa Senators Should Acquire Jakob Chychrun

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    TORONTO, ON - MARCH 10: Arizona Coyotes Defenceman Jakob Chychrun (6) tracks the play in the second period during the NHL regular season game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 10, 2022, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Jakob Chychrun has been a regular fixture in the NHL rumor mill for several months.

    In late September, the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman told reporters that he and management agreed it would be best if he was traded. However, general manager Bill Armstrong is seeking a return of future assets to use as part of his roster rebuild.

    The Ottawa Senators have been among the clubs linked to Chychrun, but Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported in mid-October that there currently isn't a path for that deal to happen. Nevertheless, The Hockey News' Adam Proteau included the Senators with the Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild as possible trade destinations for Chychrun.

    Chychrun is still recovering from offseason wrist surgery and has no firm date for his return, according to Friedman. However, Proteau noted that those three clubs could benefit from the blueliner's skills and size. He felt the Senators have the cap room to absorb most of his $4.6 million cap hit as well as the depth in young players and draft picks to tempt the Coyotes

    The Senators must improve their defense to reach the playoffs this season. Armstrong understandably wants a solid return for Chychrun, but he also can't risk his trade request becoming an unnecessary distraction for his players. Both sides should be able to work out a deal to their mutual benefit.

    Stats (as of Oct. 19, 2022) via NHL.com with additional information via Hockey Reference. Salary info via Cap Friendly.