0 out of 5
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
While we wait for NHL prospect games to play and training camp to open, we all have plenty of free time, and free time for the hockey fan means coming up with trade ideas. .
Everyone loves to play armchair GM for their favorite team and come up with their totally unequal favorite trade ideas that instantly make their team the winner and the other team looks like they traded Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat. And you know what? We are no different.
Trade and business ideas are the fuel that powers the Internet. It is rocket fuel that sends blog comment sections soaring out of the galaxy and into the realm of galactic brains. We love the trades on offer, we hate that the person who invented the latest one dared to post it online, and we love to hate it all.
That’s why we’ve put together some craft ideas that, on paper or in video game form, would be fascinating to see come to fruition. Sure, it would be easy to find wild stuff like Connor McDavid for a bunch of draft picks, then have you all throw your computer or phone in the trash in disgust. Instead, we’ve come up with these ideas that might get you doing the same thing, just not as fast.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll yell at me online for putting these ideas in the ether, but mostly you can’t wait to see what’s next.
1 out of 5
Toews could probably see his house from the arena in downtown Winnipeg (Photo: Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
It’s no secret that the good times are over in Chicago. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, free agents after the 2022-23 season, are more likely than not to be traded, so if you’re going to trade Toews, sending the Winnipeg native home would make sense.
The Jets have had an offseason filled with rumors of locker room angst. Players are frustrated at missing the playoffs, and forward Pierre-Luc Dubois went so far as to travel to Montreal in the NHL Draft this summer, anticipating a trade to the Canadiens during the event. You’re trading both players, and that makes sense for both teams, although Chicago may want a little more.
Winnipeg’s 2017 first-round pick Kristian Vesalainen is expected to play in Sweden after ups and downs with the Jets. He was a restricted free agent this summer and was qualified by the team, but most of the time when something like that happens, if or when that player comes back to the NHL, it’s usually with another team. Maybe a new situation would do him good. With Chicago in full rebuild mode, playing time would be easy to come by.
Toews’ production dwindled last season, when he scored a career-low 37 points. He is 34 years old and it is still possible that he hangs up after this season. Chicago gets the best player right now in Dubois, so a round pick trade gives the Jets a true second-round pick and Chicago moves one of its two seconds to add a third-round pick.
2 out of 5
Patrick Kane teaming up with Mitch Marner would be crazy (Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
As we mentioned about Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane will likely end up somewhere else before the end of the season. We also know that the Toronto Maple Leafs are this almost desperate to win a Stanley Cup. They’re closer than they’ve been in a while, and they’re perpetually one piece apart. So if you have Auston Matthews on the roster and you can score a ton of goals, why not score a ton more and get Matthews to play with one of the best American players in NHL history?
The main issue here is money. Kane has a cap of $10.5 million, and the Maple Leafs are currently a little over the cap, so making sure the money evens out or gets as close as possible. With that in mind and knowing full well that younger players are needed for Chicago to be good with a deal, let’s give it a try.
Alexander Kerfoot ($3.5 million hits the cap), TJ Brodie ($5 million) and former Blackhawk David Kämpf ($1.5 million) can make that potentially doable. Their combined caps are $10 million, which puts them half a million less than Kane’s cap. Nick Abruzzese, 23 and basically already developed in college, can play in the NHL right away. Dmitry Ovchinnikov has been playing in Russia since being drafted in 2020, and the smaller-sized skilled wingers seem to be doing well in Chicago.
Ian Mitchell gives Toronto a little more depth on their blue line. Kerfoot and Kampf are both UFAs after this season, and Brodie has another year after this one, so Chicago’s current commitments wouldn’t be too heavy. But Toronto would land the Buffalo native in Kane and add a guy who’s been there and won it all a few times before.
3 out of 5
Kaapo Kakko in Calgary has a rhythm (Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
One of the biggest issues with the New York Rangers is how flexible they play defense. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin is perpetually under fire, and it showed in the Eastern Conference playoffs how badly that can wear down even the Vezina Trophy winner. Their defensive depth isn’t ideal, especially for a team that was so close to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, and now according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, they are looking to move potential defender Nils Lundkvist, who is frustrated with his lack of a role. It is a problem.
The Rangers not only need to improve their defense, but also trade one of their best, as yet unproven, defensive prospects at the NHL level. This is where the addition of Kaapo Kakko would help the cause. Kakko would have a change of scenery with the Calgary Flames, who, while they did a great job of catching Johnny Gaudreau in free agency and trading Matthew Tkachuk, could still use some offensive juice.
The Flames have plenty of depth on defense, and while Noah Hanifin is one of their top four defensemen, the addition of Lundkvist would more than soften that blow. Calgary could then slide Juuso Välimäki down the depth chart and try to replicate the puck control and puck moving ability provided by Hanifin.
Moving Kakko and Lundkvist to acquire a strong puck possession player like Hanifin would deepen their top four on the blue line considerably. Getting Hanifin to join Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller and Ryan Lindgren would give New York a dynamite body of defense that would take the stress off Shesterkin. This alone makes entering into an agreement worthwhile.
4 out of 5
Robin Lehner’s lost season could mean Ned heads to Vegas (Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Vegas should be worried about its goalie after double hip surgery that will miss Robin Lehner all season. The Knights acquired depth guards Adin Hill from San Jose and Michael Hutchinson as a free agent. These two accompany Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit. That’s a lot of goaltenders, and the one with the most NHL experience is Hutchinson, and he’s presumed to play in the AHL with Henderson. Vegas will be desperate to return to the playoffs after missing out for the first time in franchise history last season, and Detroit has a viable option in Alex Nedeljkovic.
Nedeljkovic is in the final year of his contract with Detroit, and the Red Wings signed Ville Husso to a three-year, $14.25 million deal this summer. Detroit also has 2021 first-round pick Sebastian Cossa in the pipeline to be the eventual No. 1 goaltender. He’s 19, so it’ll be a couple of years before that happens.
With Ned on an expiring contract with a $3 million cap, it’s a digestible deal for the cap-strapped Golden Knights. That contract status and Husso’s presence on a new contract takes away some of the leverage to really keep Vegas’ feet on fire. That would mean first-round picks are off the table, which is a good thing because Vegas doesn’t need to spit out any more. A second-round pick is a great idea; however, Vegas has none in next summer’s draft. Let’s make him the second-round pick next year and give Detroit a goaltender who can support Husso.
5 out of 5
Jake Allen might wish he didn’t have Gabriel Landeskog parked in front of him in Colorado (Photo: Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Alright, so this one doesn’t have the pizzazz of our other offerings, but hear us out and go down the rabbit hole with us.
After the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, it became immediately clear that goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper was going to sign elsewhere in free agency, meaning the defending champions were going to start the season with a new No. more questions. They landed Alexandar Georgiev from Rangers to be that guy, but that didn’t really make the picture any less hazy. Georgiev showed flashes of genius with Rangers but lacked consistency.
Pavel Francouz was Kuemper’s replacement last season and could very well be Georgiev’s replacement again. He played well in limited action, which made him the perfect guy to come on as a substitute, but it also didn’t give him a real opportunity to be number one. A trade to the Canadiens for Jake Allen would solve a lot of problems.
Allen has been a No. 1 in the past and can still play well between the posts and should be Montreal’s starter this season. Montreal is also on paper not to be very good this season. Allen would provide a veteran backstop for Georgiev and someone who can step in and hold things steady if he gets hurt or plays below average.