As the 16-team field for the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs has been finalized, the postseason is far from the minds of some general managers throughout the NHL.
The New Jersey Devils didn't qualify for the league's restart this summer, while the New York Rangers are left to pick up the pieces from their qualifying round sweep at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Two prominent stars from those teams were the subject of rumors in recent days ahead of the offseason. P.K. Subban wrapped up a generally underwhelming year for the Devils to cast some doubt on his future in New Jersey, while Henrik Lundqvist's Rangers tenure might be nearing an end regardless of the fact that he's signed through 2020-21.
Subban Trade Doesn't Appear Likely
Excluding the 2009-10 season (when he only made two appearances), Subban's seven goals tied the second-fewest of his career, and his 11 assists were a personal low.
That wasn't a great return for a defenseman who counts for $9 million against the cap over each of the next two seasons. The Athletic's Corey Masisak questioned whether another team would be willing to assume that kind of financial commitment.
Masisak also explained that New Jersey may not want to cut bait on Subban already:
"The second reason is simply that the Devils don't want to give up on him after one season that included so much change around him. He played better than his traditional statistics suggested early in the 2019-20 season and wasn't rewarded with many points. If he plays better and produces more for the new coaching staff, his trade value could increase, and it might be worth revisiting the idea before the deadline."
Perhaps the Subban trade played a role in the Devils' decision to fire former GM Ray Shero in January. According to Masisak, Shero was in support of the move, dispelling any narrative that Subban's arrival was orchestrated by ownership against the wishes of the front office.
Big Cap Hit Could Dissuade Lundqvist Trade Suitors
Lundqvist signed a seven-year, $59.5 million extension with the Rangers in December 2013. At the time, he was still close to his peak and warranted that kind of deal to ensure he didn't hit free agency.
Now, that contract could tie the Rangers' hands, with the 38-year-old becoming surplus to requirements.
Lundqvist will count for $8.5 million against the cap next season, and the New York Post's Larry Brooks reported he "cannot imagine a team is going to trade" for him even if his cap hit is halved for the team acquiring him. As a result, Brooks sees a buyout as the likelier way for the Rangers to end what has been a 15-year partnership.
Nobody will be surprised to see New York move Lundqvist on. He set career worsts in save percentage (.905) and goals-against average (3.16) this season, and the team has the solid pair of Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin to serve as the goaltender rotation for 2020-21.
The specifics of Lundqvist's departure are the biggest source of doubt.
All salary cap information from CapFriendly unless otherwise noted.