With the 2018 NHL Conference Finals underway, only four teams remain from the 16 that entered this year’s playoffs. The 12 eliminated clubs enter the offseason hoping to improve their rosters for next season.
As often happens, those teams are fodder for trade speculation. Promising clubs, such as the Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils, will try to build upon this season’s improvement. Veteran-laden teams, like the Minnesota Wild, could attempt a roster shakeup. Potential Stanley Cup contenders, such as the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins, could tweak their lineups in hopes of returning to the Final next spring
Many of these teams could turn to the offseason trade market for help. Here are the noteworthy potential trade candidates from each team eliminated thus far from the 2018 NHL playoffs.
Brandon Montour, Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks need more scoring punch at forward and carry considerable depth on defense. With Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson under long-term contracts, the 24-year-old Montour could become the odd man out. While some trade chatter centered on aging winger Corey Perry, Montour would be a more attractive bargaining chip.
Torey Krug, Boston Bruins – The Bruins need a solid left-side defenseman for their top blueline pairing. NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty believes shopping the 27-year-old Krug could address that issue. Moving him would affect their blueline offensive production but it could be worth it if he fetches a more defensive rearguard. It would clear his $5.25-million cap hit from their books.
Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche – Secondary scoring was an issue for the Avalanche this season. Barrie surfaced in trade speculation in the recent past. Teams with scoring forwards seeking a skilled puck-moving blueliner could be interested. The Edmonton Journal‘s Kurt Leavins included Barrie on his list of possible Oilers trade targets.
Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets – The Jackets are another club in need of scoring depth. Jenner, 24, struggled offensively over the last two seasons and could benefit from a fresh start elsewhere. He’s also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll seek a significant pay raise over his current $2.9-million annual cap hit.
Jake Muzzin, Los Angeles Kings – Like most teams on this list, the Kings need secondary scoring. While most of the trade chatter centers upon Drew Doughty, Muzzin could be the likely trade candidate. Earlier this season, there was speculation suggesting he could be shopped for a scoring forward. The 29-year-old rearguard lacks no-trade protection and is signed through 2019-20 with an annual cap hit of $4 million.
Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild – A disappointing performance this season (including no points in five playoff games) could put Coyle‘s future with the Wild in doubt. The Montreal Canadiens expressed interest in the 26-year-old forward leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. With new management coming for the Wild, Coyle could be on the move this summer.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators – The Hockey News‘ Matt Larkin suggests peddling Rinne might not be a far-fetched notion. Despite his age, the 35-year-old goaltender and Vezina Trophy finalist would have plenty of value in the trade market. GM David Poile is more likely to tweak his roster but he has a recent history of bold moves.
Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils – On Apr. 22, NorthJersey.com’s Abbey Mastracco suggested Kinkaid as a possible trade option. The 28-year-old goalie showed potential as a starter this season. With veteran Corey Schneider carrying a full no-movement clause, Mastracco wondered if Kinkaid might be peddled for a scoring forward or a two-way defenseman.
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers – Simmonds, 29, is only a year away from unrestricted free agent status. A physical two-way winger, the Flyers undoubtedly hope to re-sign him. If a new contract cannot be hammered out this summer, he could be used as trade bait to bring in a young center.
Carl Hagelin, Pittsburgh Penguins – The 29-year-old Hagelin has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Jason Mackey believes Hagelin could be traded to both free up salary-cap space and clear roster space for a younger forward.
Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks – Kane is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. It’s possible he and the Sharks could reach agreement on a new contract before then. But if contract discussions stall, perhaps management will attempt to trade his rights in exchange for a draft pick before the end of June.
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs – The National Post‘s Michael Traikos suggests the Leafs shop a good young forward such as Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen or Connor Brown in order to acquire a quality defenseman. While they could be reluctant to move Nylander, he could be the best trade chip they have to improve their blueline.