Big Name Players Set to Be Moved at the Draft
This draft is regarded as the best draft since the Sidney Crosby one back in 2005, for right reason. The depth of this year is great, and it is all capped off by two generational talents in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. We know McDavid is going to be an Oiler and Eichel is going to be a Sabre, but what is unclear right now is what shuffling is going to take place in between all of the selections. Not only are the prospects spectacular in this draft, the possibility for big name players to be moved is very high. As of less than 48 hours before draft time, no general managers have dipped their toes in the trade water yet, but we should have an exciting next few days.
Phil Kessel is arguably the biggest name out there. His cap hit of 8 million for seven more years will scare off a lot of teams, not helped by the fact that he has a no-trade clause and can pick where he wants to go. The price would be astronomical, and would also require a first round pick going back to Toronto.
Prediction (if a trade happens): Kessel to Florida
Milan Lucic is another name floating around. The big bodied winger has one year left on his deal at a 6 million dollar cap hit. Lucic is coming off a 44 point season, his worst in a full season since 2009-2010. His discipline and anger raises some eyebrows, as he also hit 81 penalty minutes last year and has surpassed 100 penalty minutes three times in his career.
Prediction (if a trade happens): No trade, stays in Boston
Patrick Sharp will be on the move, mostly because of Chicago’s cap crunch. He struggled in the later portions of the playoffs, but had 43 points in 68 regular season games this year. He’s toppled 25 goals six times, most recently in 2013-2014. Sharp’s trade value may diminish due to the cap situation in Chicago, but he should still fetch a hefty return.
Prediction (if a trade happens): Sharp to Washington or Dallas
Kyle Okposo’s name has started being thrown out there recently, but a trade still seems unlikely. Garth Snow, as exhibited last offseason, is not afraid to get aggressive and Okposo is still being actively shopped. He carries a friendly 2.8 million cap hit for one more year.
Prediction (if a trade happens): No trade, stays in New York
Cam Talbot is one of the most sought after goalies this offseason, if not the most sought after. He pieced together an impressive campaign after Henrik Lundqvist went down with a throat injury. The Rangers are believed to have shot down a proposal with two second round picks in exchange for Talbot. He’s proved he can handle himself under a strong defense, but what will he be able to do backstopping a team like Edmonton or Buffalo if he goes there?
Prediction (if a trade happens): Talbot to Calgary
Pierre LeBrun suggested the other day that Jeff Skinner’s name is being talked about. Skinner carried a 5.75 million cap hit for the next four seasons, but is coming off a struggling campaign. He’s had concussion issues in the past, but has played in 190 of the last 212 possible games he could have. He’s 23, and a great investment for any team.
Prediction (if a trade happens): Skinner to Pittsburgh or Islanders
TJ ‘Sochi’ Oshie has been linked to trade rumors, mainly due to St. Louis’ playoff failures. Along with Patrick Berglund, he is being actively shopped. Oshie is vastly overrated due to the Olympic shootout, but is still a solid 50-60 point scorer. When put in the right situation, he will thrive.
Prediction (if a trade happens): Oshie to Pittsburgh or Ottawa
Eddie Lack and Robin Lehner are also being shopped by the Canucks and Senators, respectively. They are both solid goalies caught in a three-goalie fold (Miller/Markstrom & Anderson/Hammond), and would be solid in a 1A/B situation, but that may not be the case.
Prediction (if a trade happens): Lack to Buffalo; Lehner to San Jose
Lastly, Ryan O’Reilly’s name continues to be out there. The forward is reported to want 7.5 million per year on a max contact, which the Avalanche do not want to pay. The two-way forward has one year left on his deal and will attract big interest.
Prediction (if a trade happens): O’Reilly to Calgary
This is just the surface. Plenty of more moves could be made, or maybe none at all will be made. All it takes is one move to spark the avalanche, and Patrick Sharp’s deal which seems imminent could do it. It’ll be an exciting weekend, or at least, a rumor filled weekend.