B/R NHL Staff Roundtable: 3 Ridiculous Trades That Could Actually Work
It's always trade season in the NHL.
From contenders that need a boost in scoring to rebuilding teams that need to shed high-priced veterans for priceless young assets, every NHL front office is looking to get creative to get the best deal. As we pass the quarter mark of the 2021-22 campaign, a few teams could end up becoming desperate looking to optimize their rosters for now or the future.
And while the seemingly never-ending Jack Eichel saga finally came to a close last month as the former Sabres captain was sent out West, that doesn't mean there aren't more deals out there to be had.
Our Bleacher Report NHL writing staff decided it was time to come up with ridiculous trades. They're so ridiculous...that they just might work.
Disagree with our trade proposals? Feel free to submit your thoughts on them in the comments and have a go coming up with some trade offers of your own!
Vegas Rolls the Dice on 'Sid the Kid'
The Trade: Sidney Crosby for Max Pacioretty, William Carrier and a first-round draft pick
Why It Seems Ridiculous: Well, come on. It's Sidney Crosby. He's been the face of the Pittsburgh franchise—and arguably the league—since being drafted first overall in 2005 and has rewarded the Penguins with two scoring titles, two MVPs and three Stanley Cups. It'd rattle the city and its hockey establishment to the foundation. But it's new ownership and a new era. So let's rattle away.
Why It Could Actually Work: Though the Penguins are off to a respectable enough start—they were fourth in the Metropolitan Division and 13th in the league heading into Tuesday night—it's no stretch to suggest the championship window is all but closed. Pittsburgh hasn't won a playoff series in any of the last three seasons and hasn't advanced past the second round since hanging its last banner in 2017.
Crosby, though, remains an impact player at age 34, having produced 15 points in his first 15 games this season after scoring 24 goals and adding 38 assists in 55 games in 2020-21. And it's something less than hyperbolic to suggest that, given his staying power as a gold standard among players, he'd be eager to find himself in a situation where a chance at a fourth Cup is something better than a long shot.
Enter the Golden Knights, who've been a contender in each of their four NHL seasons but haven't yet found their way over the hump. The November acquisition of Jack Eichel from Buffalo certainly helped, but there's no guarantee the ex-Sabre will be back to 100 percent by the time the postseason arrives. And even if he is, it's no stretch to suggest adding Crosby would make Vegas a prohibitive favorite.
He'd provide the firepower needed to overcome the likes of Colorado and Minnesota in a powerhouse Western Conference, and having him locked up for three seasons past this one would presumably provide several more opportunities for title runs before he skates off into the desert sunset.
As for the Penguins, adding a still-productive winger in Pacioretty—who's potted 10 goals and 17 points in 10 games—would soften the offensive blow, and the fact that his $7 million annual deal comes off the books after next season provides the new owners a quicker path to rebuilding their salary structure.
Chip in useful depth winger William Carrier to even out the cash and it's a new era for both teams.
Rangers Swing Big on Patrick Kane
The Trade: Patrick Kane for Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, 2022 first-round pick, conditional 2024 second-round pick (if Rangers make the Stanley Cup Final, this becomes a first-round selection)
Why It Seems Ridiculous: There have been no rumblings that the Chicago Blackhawks would even consider moving Kane, who also has a full no-move clause on his current deal, which runs through the rest of this season and next. And this would be a massive home run swing for a New York Rangers team that might be overachieving a bit this season. And a third team would likely need to be involved to make the cap situations square.
Why It Could Actually Work: Full credit goes to Larry Brooks of the New York Post for getting us thinking about Kane in The Big Apple in the first place. He asks some important questions in his post, identifying the fact that the Rangers are sort of a team of two cores.
They have Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome and Barclay Goodrow who are all between 28 and 30, with Jacob Trouba playing through his age-27 season. If New York wants to take a shot while all those players are still in their primes, the time to do so is now.
If you're general manager Chris Drury, you don't want to wait for Panarin and Zibanejad to start showing their age before you supplement their skills—assuming that's the route he wants to take, instead of waiting for younger players to develop. You want to do that when they're still playing high-end puck, and they are doing so right now.
They have the ninth-worst expected goals for percentage at five-on-five, however, indicating that they might need an offensive boost to continue their strong season. Adding Kane, who has an established chemistry with Panarin, would be a massive boost in talent on the right side, where the Blueshirts need help with Sammy Blais on injured reserve for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks will need to come to terms with their looming and inevitable rebuild eventually. Esteemed colleague Lyle Richardson recently listed Chicago as a team that needs to blow things up ahead of the March 21 trade deadline. We're inclined to agree.
Swapping Kane for what amounts to three first-round picks and another lotto ticket could be a pretty stellar way for Chicago to begin its long climb back to relevancy.
San Jose Sharks Ship out Evander Kane in Three-Team Trade to Hurricanes
The Trade: The San Jose Sharks trade Evander Kane and two seventh-round picks in the 2022 NHL draft to the Arizona Coyotes for a 2022 sixth-rounder. The Sharks also retain 50 percent of Kane's $7 million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25.
The Coyotes trade Kane and a 2022 fourth-rounder to the Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Brendan Smith and a third-round pick in 2022. The Coyotes also retain 50 percent of the $3.5 million of Kane's cap hit that they acquired from the Sharks.
Why It Seems Ridiculous: Kane, 30, is a reliable power forward with seven 20-plus goal seasons on his resume. However, he's currently skating with the Sharks' AHL affiliate while they attempt to find a trade partner. On Nov. 27, the New York Post's Larry Brooks suggested Kane could be a PR problem for any club that acquires him. Kane's estranged wife accused him of sexual assault and domestic violence in September, and Kane was suspended 21 games in October for an "established violation" of COVID-19 protocols after being investigated for falsifying his vaccination status.
Why It Could Actually Work: On Nov. 29, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun speculated the Sharks and Kane's agent could be seeking a three-team trade scenario involving a division of the winger's cap hit. They could be willing to part with one or two draft picks as sweeteners to move him out.
Cap Friendly shows the Hurricanes sitting $2.9 million over the $81.5 million salary cap with Jake Gardiner on long-term injury reserve. Taking on Kane at $1.75 million would be more palatable.
The Carolina Hurricanes took a chance on defenseman Tony DeAngelo. They signed him to a one-year, $1 million contract after the New York Rangers bought him out following a post-game incident with teammate Alexandar Georgiev. The 26-year-old blueliner is thriving with the Hurricanes under head coach Rod Brind'Amour, sitting third in team scoring with 19 points.
An experienced and physical scoring forward, Kane would provide the Hurricanes with some offensive grit as they push for a Stanley Cup. To salvage his career and reputation, Kane could fit in well playing for a respected coach like Brind'Amour. Given their cap situation, they'd have to part with Smith's $800,000 cap hit to free up sufficient space for Kane.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, are a rebuilding club with plenty of cap space and draft picks. They could be enticed into retaining part of Kane's cap hit if they received additional picks from the Sharks and Hurricanes.