NHL teams always have to be planning ahead. Even now, with no start date set for the 2020-21 season and the initial wave of offseason moves having slowed down, they have to be thinking about the future.
General managers must keep an eye open for opportunities to better their team's roster. And although many top free agents are off the market, there could be trades to explore. Or there could be possible trade offers and/or targets that may pop up down the line.
Here's some of the latest buzz about potential trades in the NHL.
Could Gostisbehere Garner Trade Interest in Future?
According to Charlie O'Connor of The Athletic, there hasn't been much interest in Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere this offseason. But there's always a chance that could change in the future.
O'Connor noted that the 27-year-old is the "most likely candidate" to be traded if the Flyers decide to move a player to clear salary cap ahead of the 2021-22 season. But if that were to happen, he may have to play better to boost his value.
"His deal is largely buyout-proof (the Flyers would save just $666,666 in 2021-22 cap space by doing so next summer), making a trade his most likely way out of Philadelphia," O'Connor wrote. "... As injuries start to pile up around the league during 2020-21, perhaps a club has a change of heart and decides it needs another puck-moving defenseman."
Gostisbehere was selected by the Flyers in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft. He's spent his entire six-year NHL career in Philadelphia, with his best season coming in 2017-18, when he set career highs in games (78), assists (52), points (65) and plus/minus (plus-10).
This past season, he had five goals and seven assists with a plus-minus rating of minus-four over 42 games. He still has three seasons remaining on his six-year, $27 million contract, so he's not set to hit free agency until 2023.
O'Connor reported that the Flyers' front office "knows it needs another top-four quality defenseman capable of playing the right side to solidify the blue line," noting that the Pembroke Pines, Florida, native could be the solution if he returns to playing at a high level.
So the 2020-21 season could be a big one for Gostisbehere. And it will be interesting to see whether he garners more trade interest in the process.
Who Could Sharks Deal at Trade Deadline?
If the San Jose Sharks aren't playoff contenders in 2020-21, it's possible they could deal some of their players at the trade deadline. One player who's not likely to get moved is forward Tomas Hertl, according to The Athletic's Kevin Kurz.
"I don't see them under any circumstances moving Hertl, who was named as an alternate captain last season and is viewed as someone who can help lead the team on and off the ice," he wrote.
The 27-year-old has spent his entire seven-year NHL career in San Jose, and he's been a solid offensive player, having tallied 16 goals and 20 assists in 48 games this past season. He doesn't become a free agent until 2022, and it makes sense why the Sharks would want to keep him.
But that doesn't mean they won't consider trading other players at the deadline. Kurz noted that "the most likely guys to get dealt would be the pending unrestricted free agents like [Devan] Dubnyk, Stefan Noesen, Matt Nieto, Marcus Sorensen or maybe even Patrick Marleau again."
Of course, this is assuming the Sharks don't have a bounce-back season in 2020-21. They went 29-36-5 last term, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
However, if San Jose struggles again, then perhaps some of the aforementioned players could appear in trade conversations.