While the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars continue to do battle in the Stanley Cup Final, trade buzz is heating up around the NHL.
Below, we will break down all the latest rumors involving top names who could be on the trade block this fall.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine, who is under contract for one more year before becoming a restricted free agent.
TSN's Darren Dreger recently said on the Insider Trading podcast that the Winnipeg Jets were "serious" and listening to offers on the star forward (h/t Pro Hockey Rumors). Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic added that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes have interest in Laine, with Carolina already inquiring before balking at Winnipeg's asking price.
Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet is less inclined to believe the Jets will move Laine this offseason, however:
"Because of the way the Jets conduct their business and how general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff keeps his cards close to the vest when it comes to both contracts and possible moves, it's hard to get information on a subject such as this one from inside the organization.
"Could this be a where-there's-smoke-there's-fire situation?
"It would be negligent to ignore the possibility, while reiterating it seems like a longshot right now—unless the Jets are absolutely blown away by an offer from another team."
Laine, just 22, would be quite the addition for a team looking to bolster its attack. He posted 30 or more goals in each of his first three seasons in the NHL and surely would have made it four in a row this year had the season not been shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As it stood, he registered an impressive 28 goals and 35 assists in 68 games.
For teams looking for finishers, Laine's age and track record should make him the most appealing target on the trade block.
Another player who could be on the move this offseason is Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. Dreger reported that the blueliner is on the block but that Minnesota doesn't feel any particular urgency in dealing him (h/t Pro Hockey Rumors):
"[Dreger] believes that the Wild will hold on to Dumba, perhaps even through the season, until the asking price is met. Right now, that price is believed to be a legitimate top-six center, which Dreger feels might be asking too much. The other option could be a high first-round pick and a young roster forward, which is a more likely return. The team will hold out for one of those two returns, as there is no urgency to move on from Dumba at a lower price."
The 26-year-old appeared in 69 games this season, posting six goals and 18 assists while finishing minus-seven on the year, averaging 22 minutes and 30 seconds of ice time per game.
Something to keep an eye on could be a Minnesota-Winnipeg swap, as Murat Ates of The Athletic noted:
"On the surface, Winnipeg and Minnesota are a perfect match. The Jets don't have a second line centre to spare but it's well known Winnipeg has been open to the idea of trading Nik Ehlers or Laine in search of defensive help. LeBrun went as far as to say Minnesota might have to 'live with' Ehlers as a fair return for Dumba's services."
That's just one potential deal. Regardless of whether Winnipeg is interested, it sounds as though Dumba will be on the move this offseason given Minnesota's blue-line depth already and the risk of losing him to the Seattle Kraken in next summer's expansion draft.
Bryan Rust just had a hell of a season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. His reward could be a place on the trade block.
Here's what Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe of The Athletic are hearing:
"Several NHL general managers have inquired about Rust with Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who is not actively shopping Rust and would prefer to keep his breakout top-six winger, according to multiple league sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of trade discussions.
"However, the Penguins have not outright dismissed trading Rust, a team source said. Rutherford would be open to a deal if the return was significant, and the league sources said any trade would need to net the Penguins at least an NHL-ready player and a top prospect. The Penguins don't think Rust is untradable, but any deal would require a substantial return."
Rust, 28, had 27 goals and 29 assists this season, both career highs. If he is made available, teams around the league will have interest, even if there might be some concern that he caught lightning in a bottle and may not replicate 2019-20's stats. After all, his previous high in goals was 18 and his previous high in assists was 25.
Regardless, his $3.5 million cap hit for the next two seasons represents excellent value, and he's shown he can play with a top line's stars or score as part of a third line. That made him valuable to Pittsburgh this year—and could make him valuable for other teams looking to add forwards via a trade.