NHL Rumors: Notable Trade Reports on Road to 2020 Draft

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIIOctober 2, 2020

Tampa Bay Lightning's Alex Killorn during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Lightning will want to enjoy each day they can celebrate their Stanley Cup victory with their teammates while they can. It's looking rather likely the roster won't stay constructed as is for much longer.

With the NHL's salary cap remaining frozen at $81.5 million, the Lightning are already looking at offloading a few big-name players before the 2020-21 season begins.

According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, Tampa Bay has three key members of its Stanley Cup run on the trading block: Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.

Gourde posted 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 25 playoff games after recording 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) during 70 regular-season contests. Killorn was similarly productive in the postseason, with five goals and five assists after notching 26 goals and 23 assists in the regular season.

While moving any one of those three would count as a major loss for Tampa Bay, the champions should be able to command quite a haul in order to keep its title window open for as long as possible.

Spotrac estimates the Lightning have the fourth-highest payroll in the NHL at $76.16 million. That leaves little room to maneuver and makes a sell-off as necessary as it is painful.

Yet they are far from the only team looking to shed cap hits this offseason.

Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers of The Athletic report the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to free up space along the blue line to give some of their prospects on defense a chance to step into bigger roles.

The two specifically pointed to Olli Maatta, a 26-year-old who won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as one of the more immediately available assets.

Maatta has an AAV of $4 million, per CapFriendly. He's also under club control until 2022-23, making him a solid depth option for a team looking for bottom two D-man. If the Hawks aren't able to find a willing trade partner, the Finn's contract may be bought out, per The Athletic.

He's not the only defenseman who may be on the move, either.

TSN's Darren Dreger reports the Arizona Coyotes are "intensifying" discussions on a deal to part with Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins have emerged as the Arizona captain's preferred destinations, but Dreger notes it's "too soon" to call anything close to final. With Ekman-Larsson carrying an $8.25 million cap hit in each of the next seven years, teams will have to get creative in trade talks to make the finances work.

Boston and Vancouver each has about $14 million in cap space, per CapFriendly.