NHL Rumors: Latest Trade Talk for 2021 Draft Picks and Prospects
It's already been an eventful week around the NHL. On Wednesday, the Seattle Kraken took 30 players from other teams in the expansion draft, beginning to assemble the roster for their inaugural season. And that was only the start of more eventful days on the horizon.
In the days leading up to the expansion draft, there was a roster freeze, meaning no trades could be made. That will be lifted Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, so deals can go back to taking place.
Then on Friday, the 2021 NHL draft gets underway. Teams will likely be considering whether they want to move picks, so the trade chatter is probably going to pick right back up from where it left off before the freeze.
With the draft getting closer, here's some of the latest trade buzz from around the league.
Sabres Still Have High Price for Teams to Acquire Eichel
Jack Eichel continues to be one of the players most heavily featured in trade rumors. But if the 24-year-old center is going to be moved, it's still going to take a big offer for a team to pry him away from the Buffalo Sabres, who took him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the price to acquire Eichel is two NHL players, two top prospects and/or multiple first-round draft picks, with the Sabres looking to land a minimum of four assets.
That's led to several teams no longer being interested in trading for Eichel. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames are among the teams now out. However, Friedman noted that the Minnesota Wild are still interested, while the New York Rangers could potentially be in the mix.
It makes sense that the Sabres want a lot in exchange for Eichel. He's been a strong offensive player over his first six NHL seasons, and he's still under contract through the end of the 2025-26 season.
However, Eichel is dealing with a neck injury, so it's unclear how that will impact his short-term future and whether he could miss more time next season.
Teams Showing Interest in Rangers' Buchnevich
Pavel Buchnevich is a restricted free agent, so that doesn't necessarily mean he'll return to the New York Rangers. In fact, it's possible that instead of re-signing the 26-year-old forward the team could trade him instead.
Friedman recently reported that several teams are showing trade interest in Buchnevich, including the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators. And Friedman added that he's "sure there's more."
Buchnevich has spent his first five NHL seasons with the Rangers, who took him in the third round of the 2013 NHL draft. He tallied a career-high 48 points this past season (20 goals and 28 assists) in 54 games, as he's continuing to improve and showcase his offensive skills.
New York will have the opportunity to bring Buchnevich back if it wants, considering he's an RFA. But with how well he's been playing, it's possible the team could get a big return if it opts to trade him this offseason.
Flyers Potentially Open to Trading 1st-Round Draft Pick
It's not too often that an NHL team trades its first-round draft pick. But it's happened in the past, and it's something that teams likely want to consider before using the selection to take an unproven prospect.
The Philadelphia Flyers appear to be among the teams that are at least considering a trade. They own the No. 14 overall selection in the draft, and according to The Athletic's Charlie O'Connor, it's possible the team will deal it rather than use it, noting it's one of the Flyers' "key trade chips" this offseason.
"It's not a certainty that they'll move the pick—and they certainly won't give it away—but they're absolutely open to doing so, and that combined with their desire to make big moves means it's fairly likely the pick gets dealt," O'Connor wrote.
After making the playoffs in 2020, the Flyers missed out this year as they finished the regular season in sixth place in the East Division at 25-23-8. However, Philadelphia still has a talented roster and could have a quick turnaround by making the right moves this offseason.
Will that include a trade involving the Flyers' first-round draft pick? We'll find out soon as they only have until Friday night to decide what they want to do.