The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline saw several stars, such as Ryan McDonagh and Evander Kane, shipped off to new teams. There were also several high-profile players considered trade bait who, for a variety of reasons, still remain with their current clubs.
Those notables who weren’t moved by the deadline could resurface in this summer’s rumor mill. They might draw the attention of the teams that failed to suitable address their needs this season. Clubs that attempted to land those players could revisit their interest.
Here’s a look at the best remaining trade candidates heading into the off-season.
1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Speculation over Karlsson surged in the week leading up to the trade deadline. The Senators’ expensive asking price (believed to be between five to seven assets consisting of players, draft picks and prospects) for the superstar plus their wish to include high-salaried winger Bobby Ryan in the deal proved too rich right now for the teams attempting to acquire him.
Karlsson has a year remaining on his contract. While Senators general manager Pierre Dorion could try to re-sign his captain this summer, he might also continue listening to trade offers.
With more teams flush with lots of salary-cap room this summer, it could become easier to find a willing trade partner. Among them could be the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights, who were among those reportedly interested in Karlsson.
2. Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
With the Canadiens in free-fall this season, Pacioretty was a fixture in the trade-rumor mill. It’s believed GM Marc Bergevin sought a good young scoring forward, preferably a center, as part of the return.
Like Karlsson, Pacioretty’s signed through 2018-19. With the Canadiens in rebuild/retool mode, they could encourage potential suitors to revisit their interest. The 29-year-old left wing was linked to the Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues leading up to the deadline. They could circle back this summer.
3. Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Throughout this season, Hoffman was the player most often mentioned in Senators’ trade speculation. However, GM Pierre Dorion seemed reluctant to part with the 28-year-old winger leading up to deadline day.
A streaky scorer, Hoffman nevertheless is on pace for his fourth straight 20-goal, 40-point campaign. Linked to the St. Louis Blues in the rumor mill, Hoffman might prove enticing to them again this summer.
4. Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
In early-February, Skinner’s name popped up in the rumor mill amid speculation he was clashing with head coach Bill Peters. With the Hurricanes fighting for a playoff berth, they opted not to move one of their most experienced offensive forwards.
If Carolina misses the playoffs again, however, changes could be coming to their lineup. GM Ron Francis has yet to swing a major player-for-player deal but he could consider that option this summer. Perhaps Skinner could available for the right price.
5. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens
Going back to last season, Galchenyuk’s been regularly featured in Canadiens’ trade speculation. The 24-year-old winger’s inconsistency and $4.9-million annual average salary through 2019-20 dampened his trade value.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin resisted the temptation to move Galchenyuk last summer. However, he could warm up to that option heading toward the 2018 NHL Draft. Earlier this year, the Blues were rumored to have inquired about Galchenyuk. The Edmonton Oilers could also be the market for a top-six left winger after trading Patrick Maroon to New Jersey on deadline day.
6. Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes
Completing the final year of his entry-level contract, Domi’s offensive production is significantly down this season. One reason is the 22-year-old winger became a second-line center, where he adopted a two-way style.
Still, the decline in Domi’s scoring prompted several pundits to speculate over his future in Arizona. For the right offer, perhaps a first-round pick or a top prospect, the Coyotes might be tempted to part with him. Domi could interest rebuilding clubs seeking affordable young players with upside, such as the Canadiens, Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks.
7. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers
The Rangers made several notable deals leading up to the trade deadline, shipping out Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller and Michael Grabner. Zuccarello also surfaced in the rumor mill from time to time.
With the Blueshirts in the midst of a significant roster rebuild, they could attempt to move Zuccarello before the 2018 NHL Draft in June. The 30-year-old winger might fetch a good young prospect or a second-round pick. The Calgary Flames failed to add more scoring punch at right wing before the trade deadline. Maybe they’ll take a look at Zuccarello this summer.
8. Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets
As the Blue Jackets struggled to retain a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Jenner surfaced as a possible trade candidate. GM Jarmo Kekalainen dismissed the notion, considering the 24-year-old left wing to be among the Jackets’ core players.
Should the Jackets fail to make the playoffs or make another early postseason exit, Kekalainen could look at shaking things up a little. Perhaps he’ll change his mind regarding Jenner’s status with the club.
9. Zack Smith, Ottawa Senators
Smith was overshadowed by all the trade chatter surrounding teammates Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman and now-former Senators center Derick Brassard. Still, the 29-year-old left wing was at times linked to the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks as a possible trade option.
A big, gritty two-way forward who can play left wing or center, Smith could become attractive this summer to clubs that make early exits from this year’s playoffs.
10. Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres
Once again, the Sabres are a mess. Languishing near the bottom of this season’s standings, there was some speculation suggesting Lehner could be available.
It remains to be seen, however, if the 26-year-old goaltender has a future in Buffalo. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who could prove difficult to re-sign. GM Jason Botterill could decide to shop Lehner to a team in need of goaltending depth. The New York Islanders could be a suitor.