With the NHL Entry Draft fast approaching later this week, there are plenty of teams looking to make trades or even better, looking to move up in the draft, especially in the first round. The trick is finding a team who would be willing to move their first-round selection.
The Athletic’s Craig Custance (subscription required) looks at the entire first round and identifies team that might be open to trading their first-round pick and it doesn’t take long to notice that there are plenty of Metropolitan Division teams on his list of teams. The New York Rangers, already picking at the No. 2 position, also have the 20th pick in the draft, acquired from Winnipeg for Kevin Hayes, and might be willing to move that to further hasten their rebuild. In fact, it’s already been rumored to be sent back to Winnipeg as part of a package to acquire Jacob Trouba. The Philadelphia Flyers could be a team that might be willing to move the 11th overall pick as they are also looking to make changes to get them back into the playoff discussion.
Custance adds that you can’t count out either Pittsburgh (#21) or Carolina (#28) as well. The Penguins might be more open to moving the pick as they want to get one more chance at the title before the Sidney Crosby era ends, while Carolina wants to continue with the success they had last year and wants to continually build its core.
- NHL.com’s Bill Meltzer writes that the Philadelphia Flyers are still working on a new contract for Hayes, according to general manager Chuck Fletcher. The team traded a fifth-round pick to acquire Hayes’ rights recently in hopes they could begin negotiating early and convince him to sign before other teams could be allowed to speak to him. “We’ve had some very good, constructive dialogue with Kevin. We’re continuing to work with his representation. We’ll see how things play out, but so far it’s been a positive process,” Fletcher said.
- NBC Sports’ J.J. Regan writes that when the Washington Capitals acquired Radko Gudas from Philadelphia for Matt Niskanen, it likely ended the team’s relationship with veteran Brooks Orpik as well. The Capitals already had six defensemen under contract and restricted free agent Christian Djoos would make seven once they re-sign him. That would make Orpik the team’s eighth defenseman and with plenty of cap issues, it would be highly unlikely the team would consider bringing him back. Orpik said he would decide later this offseason whether he would retire or come back for one more year, but if he does want to come back, it’s likely going to be with another team.
- NBC Sports’ James O’Brien also adds that with the signing of Carl Hagelin to a new four-year extension, that leaves little money left for the rest of their roster. The team already has committed $72.26MM committed to 17 players, leaving them with approximately $10.7MM in cap space to fill out their roster, assuming the salary cap will be set at $83MM this year, which is not a certainty. The team still has a number of key unsigned players, included unrestricted free agent Brett Connolly and restricted free agents Jakub Vrana and Andre Burakovsky. O’Brien wonders whether the Hagelin deal could mean the team considers moving Burakovsky’s rights. The Capitals and Burakovsky have had issues with each other at times, but the 24-year-old might be worth something as he still has quite a bit of talent left in him.