Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander and Winnipeg Jets players Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele land atop the latest Trade Targets list from The Athletic, written by Shayna Goldman. All pending unrestricted free agents, Nylander finds himself first on the list after recording a career-high 40 goals and 87 points in 82 games last season. As Goldman notes, it’s highly unlikely a potential Nylander extension becomes top of mind for Toronto GM Brad Treliving until an extension for teammate Auston Matthews is signed, sealed and delivered.
Regarding Hellebuyck, his trade value has decreased in recent months, with teams shying away from doling out large sums of cash to bonafide starting netminders, instead looking for value options in the crease to guide them deep in the playoffs. Goldman posits, however, that it’s a method that can work only for a select few – namely Colorado and Vegas, as it has the past two seasons, given the strengths of their defense corps. While teams should be rightfully wary about handing out too much term to Hellebuyck on an extension, given he’s already 31 years old, acquiring a clear-cut elite starter is still necessary for some teams to reach championship contention. Other names on the list included Anaheim Ducks netminder John Gibson, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce, Calgary Flames players Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm, and Arizona Coyotes forwards Nick Schmaltz and Jason Zucker.
- In a well-deserved and meaningful gesture, KHL club Salavat Yulaev Ufa will be retiring Rodion Amirov’s number 27 after the young forward passed away from a years-long battle with a brain tumor on Tuesday, according to The Hockey News’ David Alter. The 21-year-old Maple Leafs prospect had suited up in 70 games for his hometown team before he had to stop his playing career in 2021 to undergo cancer treatment. Reports indicate Salavat’s captain, 625-game KHL veteran Grigori Panin, initiated the decision.
- Alexander Nylander is a candidate to slide into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ top six to begin the season, says The Athletic’s Rob Rossi. The 2016 eighth-overall pick could get a look at either Sidney Crosby’s or Evgeni Malkin’s left wing with Jake Guentzel sidelined for the first few games of 2023-24 after undergoing ankle surgery earlier this month. Now on his third NHL organization, the 25-year-old Nylander will look to capture a full-time spot in the NHL for the first time since he played 65 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019-20.