Hypothetical Trades Based on the Latest NHL Rumors

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2015

Hypothetical Trades Based on the Latest NHL Rumors

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    With the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs now in the conference finals stage, the teams knocked out of postseason competition provide more grist for the NHL trade rumor mill. 

    In recent weeks, much of the media speculation suggests deals between recently eliminated postseason teams or non-playoff clubs. Several also propose trades involving specific players.

    Here's a look at 10 hypothetical trades based upon the latest media rumors. The basis for each deal will be examined, along with analysis of the key issues behind these suggested moves. Factors such as a player's skills, contract and movement clause, as well as the salary-cap space and roster needs of certain teams, contributed to this ranking.

10. Michael Grabner to the Edmonton Oilers

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    Hypothetical trade: The New York Islanders ship winger Michael Grabner to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

    Basis: Newsday's Arthur Staple reports Grabner, 27, could be the odd man out on the Islanders' crowded forward lines. Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal suggests Grabner could be a good short-term fit with the Oilers, who need forward-line depth.

    Analysis: Grabner is a free agent next summer with a current cap hit of $3 million. That makes him affordable for the Oilers this season. Willis notes the Islanders lack draft picks in the opening two rounds of this year's draft. The Oilers, who possess two picks in each of the first two rounds, could help the Isles address that issue.

9. Nail Yakupov for Jared Spurgeon

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    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The Edmonton Oilers trade right wing Nail Yakupov to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defenseman Jared Spurgeon.

    Basis: Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggested this swap (with the Wild perhaps adding a “sweetener”) based on conversations with the StarTribune.com's Michael Russo. Matheson feels this move addresses the Oilers' need for defensive depth whilst providing the Wild with a promising young scorer.

    Analysis: If the Oilers wish to move one of their young forwards for a top-four defenseman, the struggling (but still promising) Yakupov seems the likely candidate. The 5'9”, 176-pound Spurgeon, 25, is a big-minute blueliner who could bolster Edmonton's defense. The Oilers, however, might prefer a bigger rearguard. 

8. Radim Vrbata to the Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Gerry Thomas/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The Vancouver Canucks trade right wing Radim Vrbata to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Brian Dumoulin and a draft pick in 2016.

    Basis: The Province's Jason Botchford pondered the possibility of the Canucks trading Vrbata. Despite posting a career-best 63 points, he had a poor postseason and didn't play on the top line. Vrbata's a free agent next summer, and the Canucks might be unable to re-sign him. Botchford wonders if a team like the Penguins could use the veteran winger.

    Analysis: The Penguins need a scoring winger. The Canucks need younger and more affordable defensemen, which the Penguins have in abundance. They also have limited cap space, so the Canucks must pick up part of Vrbata's $5 million salary. The Penguins lack picks in the first, second and fourth rounds this year, hence the reason for offering up a 2016 selection.

7. Craig Anderson for Cody Hodgson

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    Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The Ottawa Senators trade goaltender Craig Anderson to the Buffalo Sabres for forward Cody Hodgson and a prospect.

    Basis: With the Senators signing goalie prospect Matt O'Connor, they must trade Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman claims the Sabres could have interest in Anderson. While questioning if the Senators would send a goalie to a divisional rival, Friedman believes they could do it for a top-six forward.

    Analysis: The Senators also re-signed Andrew Hammond to a new contract, increasing the likelihood they'll trade a goalie. The Sabres need an experienced starter like Anderson. After struggling this season, Hodgson could use a fresh start. Given his annual cap hit ($4.25 million), the deep-pocketed Sabres must absorb part of his salary.

6. T.J. Oshie for Eric Gelinas

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Hypothetical trade: The New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Eric Gelinas and a draft pick or prospect to the St. Louis Blues for winger T.J. Oshie.

    Basis: NJ.com's Rich Chere speculates Gelinas, a restricted free agent, could be packaged for a scoring forward this summer. SI.com's Allan Muir believes Oshie could be part of a roster shakeup for the underachieving Blues.

    Analysis: Oshie, who lacks a no-trade clause, could bolster the Devils' sagging offense. They can afford his $4.175 million cap hit. While the Blues are deep in defensemen, adding Gelinas could provide an opportunity to shop one of their expensive blueliners for a winger to replace Oshie.

5. Corey Crawford to the San Jose Sharks

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Hypothetical trade: The Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Corey Crawford to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a first-round pick and a promising young player.

    Basis: The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa speculates the Sharks, in need of a starting goalie, might target the cap-strapped Blackhawks. Shinzawa suggests the Hawks could move out Crawford's $6 million annual cap hit and hand the goaltending reins to Scott Darling and Antti Raanta.

    Analysis: The Blackhawks could deal Crawford to a Western Conference club for the right return, provided he waives his no-trade clause. As the Hawks are shedding salary, they'll want an affordable return. A package of a first-round pick and a youngster such as Chris Tierney, Mirco Mueller or Matt Nieto might interest them.

4. Dion Phaneuf for Mike Richards

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The Toronto Maple Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for center Mike Richards, a prospect and a draft pick.

    Basis: TSN's Darren Dreger claims the Kings are among the clubs expected to make a pitch for Phaneuf this summer. The Kings would love to move Richards' contract. On Jan. 23, Sportsnet's Mike Johnston cited colleague Elliotte Friedman claiming a Phaneuf-for-Richards swap makes sense for both clubs. 

    Analysis: The Leafs would be doing the Kings a favor taking the fading Richards ($5.75 million cap hit) off their hands. They could even pick up part of Phaneuf's salary ($7 million annually) to close the deal. The real prize for the rebuilding Leafs is getting a promising young player such as Valentin Zykov, Nick Ebert or Brayden McNabb, plus a draft pick.

3. Jiri Hudler for Karl Alzner

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    Gerry Thomas/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The Calgary Flames trade Jiri Hudler to the Washington Capitals for defenseman Karl Alzner and a prospect.

    Basis: ESPN.com's Craig Custance believes the Flames should keep the young talent coming, suggesting they move Hudler or defenseman Dennis Wideman. Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald claims the Flames need a shutdown defenseman. CSNWashington.com's Chuck Gormley reports the Capitals' top priority is a first-line right wing.

    Analysis: Hudler tallied a career-best 76 points this season and would be a good fit on the Capitals' top line. He's a free agent next summer and could prove an expensive re-signing for the Flames. Alzner could fill the Flames' need for a rugged stay-at-home defender at an affordable salary. The Capitals can sweeten the deal by adding a promising young player or prospect.

2. Kevin Shattenkirk to the Detroit Red Wings

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The St. Louis Blues trade defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Danny DeKeyser, center Stephen Weiss and prospect Anthony Mantha.

    Basis: The Wings could seek a top defenseman this summer. They appeared to be interested in Toronto Maple Leafs blueliner Dion Phaneuf before the trade deadline. The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa believes changes are coming to the Blues defense corps, suggesting Shattenkirk or Alex Pietrangelo could fetch the best return.

    Analysis: Shattenkirk could prove too expensive (annual cap hit of $4.25 million) for the Blues to re-sign in two years' time. He's a better option for the Wings than Phaneuf. DeKeyser could be a more affordable long-term fit for the Blues. The struggling Weiss ($4.9 million annual cap hit) might benefit from a fresh start, but the Wings must pick up part of his salary.

1. Phil Kessel to the Montreal Canadiens

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    Hypothetical trade: The Toronto Maple Leafs trade right wing Phil Kessel to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for center Alex Galchenyuk or Jacob De La Rose, goalie prospect Zach Fucale and a 2015 first-round pick.

    Basis: The Hockey News' Matt Larkin suggested this deal. He believes Kessel, the NHL's fourth-leading scorer since 2010, could bolster the Canadiens' anemic offense. The Leafs are rebuilding and need depth at center and in young prospects, which the Habs could provide. 

    Analysis: While this deal could help both clubs, Larkin acknowledges these longtime rivals probably won't make this move. The Leafs would also have to pick up part of Kessel's salary ($8 million annual cap hit), while the Habs might prefer to retain Galchenyuk. Kessel also has a modified no-trade clause, and Montreal might not be on his list of preferred destinations. 

    Player stats via NHL.com and salary information via NHLNumbers.com.


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