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NHL Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Buzz on Jesse Puljujarvi, Michael Frolik, More

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (98) waits for a face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

The NHL offseason has already been pretty intriguing, but things will only heat up from here, with free agency opening Monday. As teams try to create salary-cap space or come to terms with moving on from unhappy players, a few trades appear to be on the horizon as well.

Below, we'll break down three players who could be on the move this summer.

                     

Jesse Puljujarvi

It would appear Jesse Puljujarvi's time with the Edmonton Oilers is coming to a close, at least according to a report from Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal:

"The player and agent have made it clear that they would prefer to move on from Edmonton. That's despite there being a new head coach and general manager in place that would appear to offer the young Finn a fresh start.

"So, Ken Holland has been taking calls from other general managers. A considerable number of them. A bunch, in fact. And as it turns out, I am told that that there is considerable interest in the struggling prospect."

Indeed, Puljujarvi's agent has made it clear his client wants a change in scenery:

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Puljujärvi’s agent Markus Lehto: ”It doesn’t make sense to go back where we were last season, it’s not good for either side. Discussions about parting ways have been going on for weeks already. Jesse needs a fresh start and it’s nothing against the Oilers”. #NHLfi

Leavins added that much of that interest is being shown by Eastern Conference teams, though he doesn't believe Puljujarvi would be interested in a "hockey-mad market" like New York, Boston or Toronto and would prefer to go somewhere a bit "quieter."

The 21-year-old has yet to live up to his billing after he was selected fourth overall in the 2016 draft. In 139 games over his first three seasons, the right wing has scored 17 goals and 20 assists.

Puljujarvi bears some of the burden for his struggles, but the previous Oilers regime didn't do him many favors either, as Mark Spector of MSN wrote:

"First, it must be said that Puljujarvi was absolutely failed by the previous Oilers administration, led by fired GM Peter Chiarelli. They were too late on getting him help with his English; they likely brought him over from Europe a year too soon; they should have given him more time in AHL Bakersfield; they left him far too often to his own devices, a teenager far from home in a foreign land with a foreign tongue."

Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent, but at this point it seems likely he will be traded. He's a smart buy-low option for teams looking to add young, affordable talent, and if the 6'4", 201-pounder turns around his career, he could be an absolute steal.

Obviously, his acquisition comes with the risk that he will never live up to his potential, regardless of a change in scenery. But for teams that still believe in his upside, pulling the trigger on what would likely be a pretty affordable trade makes all the sense in the world.

                

Michael Frolik

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Calgary Flames could deal right wing Michael Frolik before free agency opens, with the New Jersey Devils a potential landing spot.

The 31-year-old is coming off a solid season, scoring 16 goals and adding 18 assists in 65 games. He's scored at least 30 points in five of his past six campaigns and would offer a team like New Jersey solid depth as a two-way, third-line forward.

The Devils have already had a heck of a summer, trading for star defenseman P.K. Subban and drafting much-acclaimed prospect Jack Hughes with the top overall pick. Trading for Frolik, who has one year left on his contract and could be a rental, is the sort of solid, quiet addition the Devils need to make if they want to make a playoff push next season.

                       

Aaron Dell

The San Jose Sharks and goalie Aaron Dell could be parting ways this offseason, according to Friedman.

The 30-year-old was pretty mediocre in the 2018-19 campaign, finishing 10-8-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage. It seems likely the Sharks could find a better backup option for Martin Jones, though moving him would be mostly about clearing up some much-needed salary-cap space .  

The Sharks have young options they could audition for the backup spot in Antoine Bibeau, Josef Korenar, Andrew Shortridge and Zachary Emond. Bibeau and Korenar would likely battle for the backup spot in the event Dell was moved.

For a Sharks team looking to bring back some combination of restricted free agents Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Dylan Gambrell and unrestricted free agents Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist, any and all cap space they can create this offseason will be huge. Dell's time in San Jose, in other words, is likely coming to a close.

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