In a normal year, the NHL Entry Draft is usually a hotbed for trading action. The event normally takes place at least a week before free agency opens and brings the front offices of every team in the league into one room at the same time. This year might be different, but thanks to a flat cap and poor financial situations for several teams, the next two weeks may actually have even more trade action. With that in mind, Frank Seravalli of TSN released his latest Trade Bait board, which includes a snippet of each team’s current situation. Matt Murray remains on top of the list, with Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford essentially guaranteeing a move before the season begins.
Still, it’s the rest of the board that may draw interest. Nikolaj Ehlers has disappeared from it, for one thing, while Matt Dumba has climbed to the second spot. Stars like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Patrik Laine and Kris Letang all fall in the top-ten, suggesting that it could be more than just depth moves coming around the corner.
- Interestingly, the negotiating rights for Alex Pietrangelo also found a home on the board, just two weeks before the star defenseman hits unrestricted free agency. Perhaps that’s because of Pierre LeBrun’s latest for The Athletic, where he details the possibility of a sign-and-trade of the St. Louis Blues captain. Of course, these sign-and-trade moves basically never happen in the NHL, even if it could be a beneficial situation for all parties. As LeBrun notes, adding an eighth year onto Pietrangelo’s next contract (which only the Blues can do) would likely serve to reduce the cap hit for a new team. St. Louis could also get an asset out of the deal, but it still seems like a long-shot plan given the rarity of these moves in the hockey world.
- Of course, in many of the trades made over the next few weeks, there will be a draft pick component as rebuilding squads try to accumulate talent on October 6. Corey Pronman of The Athletic writes about the prospects currently causing the biggest divide among scouts, with quotes from either end of the spectrum. For a player like Kaiden Guhle for instance, who is expected to go in the first round, one scout believes he can play 22 minutes a night in the NHL and the other believes he’s nothing more than a third-pairing defender. Guhle was ranked eighth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting after his breakout season with the Prince Albert Raiders.