The 2018 Stanley Cup Final will end by no later than June 13. Soon afterward, the NHL trade market will return to life.
In the coming weeks, several players who’ve been the subject of trade speculation this season could find themselves on the move.
Here’s a look at 10 notable names who could be traded this summer.
10. Conor Sheary, Pittsburgh Penguins
General manager Jim Rutherford has said his roster could have a different look next season. Their blueline must get faster and younger. Winger Phil Kessel’s become the hot topic of recent Penguins trade chatter but Rutherford denied he’s on the block.
Sheary, a speedy forward who can play either wing, could be a more realistic option to fetch a blueliner. Though the 25-year-old struggled this season, he reached 53 points in 2016-17. He’s also signed through 2019-20 at an affordable $3 million per season.
9. Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes
Despite coming off a disappointing 45-point season, the 23-year-old left wing still has plenty of upside. Rebuilding clubs, such as the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks could come calling. On May 29, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Penguins had “real interest” in Domi.
The Coyotes also own the fifth-overall selection in the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft. Perhaps they’ll get creative and package Domi with that pick in hopes of landing an impact player.
8. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Too many slow, aging defensemen on the Lightning’s blueline contributed to their elimination from the 2018 Eastern Conference Final. GM Steve Yzerman could draw upon his forward depth by moving Johnson and his $5-million salary-cap hit for a younger, faster and more affordable blueliner.
On May 30, The Athletic’s Joe Smith observed Johnson’s no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. Perhaps Yzerman could use that narrow window to shop the 26-year-old center for a young, affordable fleet-footed defenseman.
7. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins
Krug, 27, is the Bruins top offensive defenseman. However, the front office wants to add more size and two-way speed on their left side. As a result, he’s been mentioned as a possible trade chip to address this need.
Teams seeking more blueline production, especially on the power play, could pursue Krug. If the Bruins intend to move him, they’ll have to act soon. He has a modified no-trade clause in his contract, which also comes with $5.25-milion annual cap hit through 2019-20.
6. Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild
Nagging wrist injuries contributed to Coyle‘s disappointing 37-point output this season. Still, the 26-year-old forward frequently surfaced as a potential trade candidate. With the Wild under new management and looking to shake things up, his future in Minnesota appears uncertain.
Coyle isn’t the only member of the Wild to be mentioned as a possible trade chip. Given his 6’3″, 221-pound frame and versatility, he could perhaps fetch the best return.
5. Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner has been the hot topic of trade conjecture for months. For a team in need of offense, however, it makes little sense to ship out their one of their leading goal scorers. Faulk, on the other hand, seems a more likely bargaining chip.
The Hurricanes have considerable blueline depth and have made long-term investments in young defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. Given the market for right-shot blueliners and Faulk’s lack of no-trade protection, he could become their best bargaining chip.
4. Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
Pacioretty frequently appeared in rumors leading up to the trade deadline. Eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July and lacking a no-trade clause in his current contract, the 29-year-old left wing’s future in Montreal remains a hot topic.
Last Friday, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the Canadiens had engaged in preliminary contract discussions with the Pacioretty camp. On Sunday, however, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman proposed the possibility of a “sign-and-trade” scenario as teams are calling to inquire about the winger’s status.
3. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Rumors dogged the Senators captain leading up to this season’s trade deadline. Uncertainty over the club’s long-term plans and Karlsson‘s eligibility next July for unrestricted free agency ensures he’ll feature prominently in this summer’s trade speculation.
The earliest the Senators can sign the 27-year-old Karlsson to a contract extension is July 1. As a league superstar, he could price himself well outside Ottawa management’s comfort zone. That could force them to shop Karlsson to the highest bidder this summer.
2. Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo Sabres
The 27-year-old O’Reilly is considered among the league’s best two-way forwards. While he carries a $7.5-million cap hit through 2022-23, it might not deter clubs in desperate need of a first-line center. He also lacks a no-trade clause, giving the Sabres plenty of options if they decide to put him on the block.
1. John Tavares, New York Islanders
Tavares is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. If the Islanders can’t get him under contract before then, they could shop his rights to a team with a better chance of signing him.
Under that scenario, the Islanders might not get a lot in return. Still, for a superstar of Tavares’ magnitude, perhaps they can stoke a bidding war among interested clubs in hopes of landing at least a draft pick and a top prospect.
Salary cap info via Cap Friendly.