NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Speculation on David Krejci, Nikita Gusev and More

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Boston Bruins' David Krejci during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The 2019 NHL offseason has already had several high-profile players traded and, with a free-agent class limited in its number of true impact assets, the trade market should remain active all summer.

Jacob Trouba going from the Winnipeg Jets to the New York Rangers and P.K. Subban heading to the New Jersey Devils in a swap with the Nashville Predators headline the list of early moves, which also includes Carl Soderberg, J.T. Miller and Ryan Hartman getting dealt.

Let's check out some of the latest trade rumors from around the league, with analysis on what the buzz could mean for the teams and players involved.


David Krejci Back in the Rumor Mill

David Krejci has been a stalwart for the Boston Bruins during their run of success over the past decade, which includes three appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and one championship. The cost of long-term success is often tough salary-cap decisions, however, and that could be the case here.

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now reported that sources believe the 33-year-old center's trade value "hasn't been this high since he finished the 2013-14 season with 69 points," and the Boston front office could attempt to capitalize on that to clear space for other contracts.

The Bruins have three key restricted free agents in Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen this summer. They would probably like to sign Torey Krug and Charlie Coyle to extensions in the near future, with both players set to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Moving Krejci, who's set to make $7.25 million each of the next two seasons, wouldn't be enough to get all of those players signed, but it would be a major step.

It would also mean sacrificing one of the team's most reliable forwards. He's coming off a campaign when he tallied 20 goals and 53 assists to match his career high of 73 points, and he'd make a perfect second-line pivot for any title contender.

The Bruins will likely attempt to exhaust all other options before dealing the 2004 draft pick, though.


Nikita Gusev Could Be Moved as RFA

The Vegas Golden Knights signed Nikita Gusev to a prorated one-year contract to provide forward depth for the playoffs after he spent the past four seasons with SKA Saint Petersburg in Russia's KHL.

Gusev didn't appear in any games for the Knights and will now become a restricted free agent, with the team having extended a qualifying offer. Whether they would have the financial resources to match an offer sheet is unclear, so they could look to trade his rights.

Darren Dreger of TSN reported rival organizations are "expressing interest" in the 26-year-old winger given Vegas' cap issues. The club is $7.5 million over the upper limit, per CapFriendly.

Gusev was terrific for Saint Petersburg this past season, with 82 points (17 goals and 65 assists) across 62 appearances. He continued his hot play in the 2019 IIHF World Championship as he tied for second in the tournament with 16 points for Russia.

Although the 26-year-old doesn't have any NHL experience, his production in the KHL and at the international level suggests he should slot right in as a top-six winger next season. And interested teams should be able to acquire him using prospects and draft picks rather than roster talent given Vegas' cap woes.


Rasmus Ristolainen on the Trade Block

Rasmus Ristolainen is a strong offensive asset from the blue line with 170 points over the past four years, which ranks 22nd among NHL defensemen, per Hockey Reference. But the Buffalo Sabres are looking to shake things up after another lackluster campaign, and he could fetch the best return.

Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reported the Sabres have been shopping Ristolainen but have yet to find a taker at their asking price.

Buffalo general manager Jason Botterill is under a lot of pressure after presiding over a team that went from first place in the NHL through its first 24 games to the league's fifth-worst record at season's end. It's a dark cloud that hovers over the club's offseason.

Ristolainen would be a better fit on a team with whom he would play on a lower pairing—he's been exposed too often defensively on the top pair in Buffalo—to give him more offensive-zone starts and to maximize his work as a power-play quarterback.

Meanwhile, the Sabres need a second-line center and will prefer one as the centerpiece of any trade for the 24-year-old Finn.

Botterill hasn't found the right deal yet, but the heat is on to make changes over the next few months, which means it would be a surprise if Ristolainen remained on the roster to open next season.