NHL Trade Rumors: Examining Latest Reports Ahead of 2020 Restart

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJuly 22, 2020

Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

When there are NHL trade rumors in July, that typically means deals could be imminent. Not this year. That's because of the unorthodox 2019-20 season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Because the season was suspended in mid-March and isn't scheduled to resume until August 1, the offseason likely won't arrive until October. And because of that, teams won't be able to make trades until after the Stanley Cup is awarded around that time.

However, there has still been some buzz surrounding players who could be traded during hockey's downtime.

One recent rumor involved Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser. Matt Sekeres of TSN 1040 (h/t Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 and The Athletic) had reported that the Canucks were "exploring the possibility" of dealing the 23-year-old.

Although some NHL teams will be in tight financial situations heading into the 2020-21 season (as the salary cap is set to remain at $81.5 million), The Athletic's Thomas Drance tweeted that if Vancouver were to trade Boeser, it would be "motivated more by potential return than by dire cap math."

Boeser, a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, has 156 points (71 goals and 85 assists) over the past three seasons as he's developed into a top offensive player for the Canucks.

Despite the reports, Vancouver general manager Jim Benning dismissed the idea of a Boeser trade.

"I have no intention of trading Brock Boeser," Benning told the media. "I haven't had one conversation about that, so I don't know where this stuff comes from."

For now, it appears Boeser will be staying with the Canucks. But as he's set to become a restricted free agent after the 2021-22 season, it's worth watching whether a potential trade develops down the line.

Another player who has generated some buzz during the downtime is Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. In May, the 23-year-old said during a conference call with reporters that he was "fed up with losing." The Sabres have struggled during Eichel's first five seasons with the team, not once making the playoffs.

NHL.com's Dan Rosen later wrote that in order for a team to acquire Eichel, it would take "high draft picks, top prospects and at least one key NHL player." Rosen also acknowledged that the Buffalo captain likely won't be on the trading block as the team doesn't appear to be actively pursuing a deal.

While there may not be trades anytime soon, with the NHL focused on its upcoming resumption, there's sure to be more buzz in the months to come.