Wild West: On The Trading Block – Part 2
Playoff Western Leaders
Goals – 10 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver
Assists – 17 – Miro Heiskanen – Dallas
Points – 25 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado
PPP – 10 – Elias Pettersson – Vancouver
Shots on Goal – 77 – Shea Theodore – Vegas
PIM – 46 – Antoine Roussel – Vancouver
Best plus/minus – plus 13 – Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado
Hits – 87 – Ryan Reaves – Vegas
Blocked shots – 61 – Alexander Edler – Vancouver
Best FO% (min 200 draws) – 62.7% – Ryan O'Reilly – St. Louis
Worst FO% (min 200 draws) – 42.3% – William Karlsson – Vegas
Giveaways – 37 – Miro Heiskanen – Dallas
Takeaways – 18 – Miro Heiskanen – Dallas
Draisaitl Hat Tricks – 1 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton, Mikko Rantanen – Colorado, Cale Makar – Colorado, Corey Perry – Dallas, J.T. Miller – Vancouver, Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado, Nazem Kadri – Colorado
Goalie wins – 11 – Anton Khudobin – Dallas
Save percentage (min 10 starts) – 92.4 – Cam Talbot – Calgary
Quality starts – 11 – Jacob Markstrom – Vancouver
The Stars are up three games to one against Vegas, so it might be premature to make any sweeping roster proclamations, but that is what we're here for. Unrestricted free agents will be Mattias Janmark, Corey Perry, Roman Polak, Andrej Sekera and Anton Khudobin. The team will probably move on from everyone except Janmark and Khudobin depending on their demands. I found it interesting that Corey Perry signed a base salary of $1.5 million this year with incentives for another 1.75 million in bonuses (he has earned $1.5 million of those bonuses so far and can still earn another $250k depending on the future playoff success of the team this year).
Dallas will need to re-sign restricted free agents Radek Faksa, Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz and this trio will not be signed cheaply. Gurianov has emerged as perhaps the most expensive of the bunch but he and Hintz should be pretty close.
Players that Dallas might move on from as they head into their UFA year are Andrew Cogliano (M-NTC; six-team no-trade list), Blake Comeau, Stephen Johns and Jamie Oleksiak. Unfortunately for Johns, it appears that he re-sustained his concussion symptoms and he is a likely candidate for Injured Reserve. Players that have full no-movement clauses (NMC) are Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski, Alexander Radulov and Ben Bishop. The average age of the five players with NMCs is 32.4 which will be an issue sooner than later. The team will need to re-sign Miro Heiskanen for a hefty contract after 2020-21 but they look like they will be in a good cap situation unless they go UFA crazy this off-season.
I can see the team making Jason Dickinson available because I'm not sure they can't get what he can offer for less than the $2 million-plus he might require to keep him after 2020-21.
The Oilers have just over $10.5 million in cap space next season as things stand. Unrestricted free agents are Riley Sheahan, Tyler Ennis, Mike Green (announced retirement) and Mike Smith. Ken Holland might bring back Sheahan and Ennis for similar money and term but will surely move on from Smith. Restricted free agents are Andreas Athanasiou, Matthew Benning and Ethan Bear. It would be something if Holland moves off of Athanasiou after giving up two 2nd round draft picks to get him, but he played 13 games in Edmonton after the trade and had one goal and one assist. He is going to need to be qualified at over $3 million AAV and he might not be worth it. Benning will be an unlikely re-signing as he is overpaid for what he brings and there are some good young players in the pipeline or Holland might dip into free agency. Teams just can't afford to pay bottom pairing defencemen who play less than 15 minutes/game $2 million AAV. Ethan Bear will be deserving of a raise but won't have much-negotiating power to demand much.
I think the Oilers will see where they are next season and then decide on what to do with pending UFAs at the end of next season in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alex Chiasson, Adam Larsson and Kris Russell. The only players possessing any no-trade clauses are Kris Russell (M-NTC; 15-team trade list) and Mikko Koskinen (15-team NTC). I'm not sure why Koskinen has one, but McDavid or Draisaitl don't?
If things go south in Edmonton next season, you might see this team blown up, but that won't include McDavid or Draisaitl but just everyone else around them, save Kailer Yamamoto and Oscar Klefbom (his $4.167 million AAV is far too good IMO). Darnell Nurse's two-year contract extension of $5.6 million looks like a timeline benchmark for this team as he will walk as a UFA as early as July 1st, 2022.
Even with almost $11 million wasted in terminated and bought-out contracts, the Kings still have over $19.6 million of cap space heading into next season. Their unrestricted free agents are Trevor Lewis, Ben Hutton and Joakim Ryan with Hutton being the best bet to bring back. With Sean Walker signed they have no RFAs other than Nikolai Prokhorkin who signed in the KHL. Los Angeles has one of the best prospect pools in the NHL and while it may be tempting to spend on free agency, Rob Blake would be wise to be patient and grow from within. The Kings will need to upgrade at defence and goalie in the next few years unless they believe that Cal Peterson and his 19 career NHL games are a true indicator of where he is at.
Drew Doughty has the only NMC, while Anze Kopitar (M-NTC, 7-team trade list) and Dustin Brown (M-NTC, 7-team no-trade list) have some say in their future with the Kings. Jeff Carter would be a difficult contract to move and might have to wait until nearer the trade deadline in 2022, while Alex Iafallo will be surely moved this season.
The Kings are so deep with forward prospects and have 11 entry picks in 2020, that they might move a prospect or draft pick for an entry-level defenceman to bolster their back end as outside of Tobias Bjornfot, Kale Clague and Mikey Anderson their prospect pool is a little uncertain for the future.
The Wild have just over $15.2 million of cap space with unrestricted free agents being Alex Galchenyuk and Carson Soucy. Mikko Koivu has announced his retirement from the NHL at the age of 37. Restricted free agents are Jordan Greenway, Nico Sturm and Luke Kunin. The best thing Minnesota can do is walk away from Galchenyuk and re-sign Greenway and Kunin to term and perhaps give Sturm another inexpensive one year contract.
The arrival of Kirill Kaprizov makes the signing of Zuccarello even more troubling and makes moving on from Galchenyuk that much easier. Matt Dumba is heavily rumoured to be moved as he will have an M-NTC kick in next season that allows him to submit a 10-team no-trade list. Minnesota would not be trading him at his highest selling price, so would be better served to hold him and see if his value increases to where it was from a year or two ago if the rumours are indeed true. The acquisition of Nick Bjugstad was partially made to replace the retiring Koivu and provide the team with a big, experienced center in the bottom six.
Players that might be moved this year will be Eric Staal, Devan Dubnyk, Marcus Foligno, Jonas Brodin, Greg Pateryn and Brad Hunt as they all head into unrestricted free agency at the end of 2021. Staal and Dubnyk might want to move to a contender, while the Wild will look to re-sign Foligno and Brodin and perhaps Hunt or move on if the asking is too high. The team will look to give Victor Rask away but will have a hard time doing so unless they add value to the deal in salary retention and/or a pick/prospect.
Teams will target Kevin Fiala as he should be asking for big money that would make his contract the biggest on the team. We will see how that might play out in the next year, but Minnesota would be making a mistake to let him go.
The Predators are a team in transition and not transitioning the direction their fans would like them to be going. Colin Blackwell, Craig Smith, Mikael Granlund, Yannick Weber and Korbinian Holzer are all into unrestricted free agency and the team has just over $8.1 million of cap space available. They might bring Blackwell and Smith back but the others are unlikely. The only restricted free agent is Yakov Trenin who played 21 games last year in Nashville.
Roman Josi has the only NMC on the team while Pekka Rinne has an M-NMC that allows him to submit a 10-team trade list. Most of the Predators roster is set until 2022-23 except for Nick Bonino and Pekka Rinne who both become UFAs at the end of next season. Expect Bonino to be on the move unless the Predators are in the thick of things at the deadline. I don't think there is a kind way to say that Colton Sissons had a bad year and his $2.857 million AAV with six years remaining doesn't look good.
The team is always looking to move Kyle Turris and his $6 million AAV with four years remaining. Mattias Ekholm will be 32 years old when he becomes a UFA at the end of 2022 but has such a reasonable salary at $3.75 million AAV, they will keep until he doesn't re-sign. If things start to teeter over the edge with the team, I would think Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene won't be safe along with Ryan Ellis. Filip Forsberg is also scheduled to be a UFA at the end of 2022 so his time in Nashville might be ending sooner than later as well. It's an interesting roster as it has the potential to change quite a lot over the next two seasons.
Other teams should be looking at Ekholm, Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson for help now with price tags that won't be as high as they were a year or two back. If Juuse Saros doesn't appear to be the heir apparent to Rinne (he doesn't), then the Predators might be looking at one of the top UFA goalies this off-season.
Next week we will look at the rest of the teams in the West.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know below and/or follow me on Twitter @gampbler15.
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