As the 2019 NHL offseason continues to unfold, the activity has begun to slow down. Most of the big names are off the free-agent market, but there are still some notable players available—if not to sign, then potentially via trade.
On Tuesday, for example, the Chicago Blackhawks dealt forward Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Zack Smith:
More trade deals are likely on the horizon, and some may involve the New York Rangers.
New York traded for Jacob Trouba this offseason and inked Artemi Panarin to a massive seven-year, $81.5 million deal. Now, the Rangers could be looking to get back some cap space.
According to Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, general manager Jeff Gorton could look to deal players in order to make that happen.
"Gorton still has to figure out how he's going to clear some cap space, and that includes deciding the future of power forward and team leader Chris Kreider, who is going into the final year of his deal," Cyrgalis wrote. "Also on the trade block would be restricted free agent Pavel Buchnevich, as well as Vladislav Namestnikov."
Acquiring cap space is important for the Rangers, not only to continue filling out the roster but also to sign restricted free agent Trouba to a long-term deal.
The Vancouver Canucks may also be looking to deal players, both for cap relief and in order to get down to 21 skaters.
"The Canucks now have 14 forwards, eight defencemen and two goalies under contract—two more than you can start the season with," Patrick Johnston of The Province wrote. "And that's before you dive into the salary-cap complications."
According to Johnston, trading forward Loui Eriksson could be part of the solution: "While [GM Jim] Benning insisted Eriksson still has NHL utility to the Canucks, his preferred solution to the roster crunch would be to trade Eriksson—not an easy task given the player's salary and subpar offensive stats."
The 34-year-old Eriksson is coming off a season in which he scored just 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists). He has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6 million.
Demoting Eriksson to the Utica Comets of the AHL could be an option, but as Daniel Wagner of the Vancouver Courier pointed out, the "Wade Redden Rule" would prevent the Canucks from getting much cap relief from the move.
"The Wade Redden rule only allows a certain amount of a contract to be buried in the minors: league minimum plus $375,000," Wagner wrote. "For the 2019-20 season, that amount will be $1.075 million. The rest of a player's cap hit still applies to the NHL team."
For the Canucks, the only realistic options appear to be trading Eriksson or playing him for one more year and trying again next offseason.
All contract information via Spotrac.