The general manager meetings are currently taking place, so there’s some trade buzz brewing around the league. There has also been a large volume of significant injuries this season, especially for teams that had hopes of improving this year.
Now that the GM Meetings are happening, I’m going to update NHL trade rumors as they swirl to keep an eye on what teams are talking about, what people are saying about teams looking to buy/sell, and how that might impact the Blackhawks (if at all).
With that, here are five noteworthy teams this week in the trade rumors. And, for the buyers, this is worth keeping in mind:
Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion was very open about his day at the GM meetings on Tuesday. As a reminder, the Senators were supposed to be the big winners of the summer after adding Alex DeBrincat (you’re welcome) via trade and signing Claude Giroux. Their record hasn’t reflected that, however. They’re trying to build something, but they don’t have DeBrincat signed after this season (yet).
Do they make a bold move to change this season’s trajectory? Do they look for someone with term left on their contract? Here’s some of what Dorion had to say:
Here are a couple more quotes from Dorion (courtesy Pierre LeBrun at The Athletic):
“You figure out what’s going on, if anyone’s on the market, and you have an idea with injuries or whatever, who’s talking to who. We’re all trying to talk to each other and trying to better our teams.”
“Very active,” Dorion said. “Very active to see what’s out there and what’s going on.”
Ottawa has Thomas Chabot and Josh Norris on IR right now; Norris is done for the year. That’s almost $16M in cap space not playing right now, which doesn’t help. Also keep in mind the Sens have a long-term extension kicking in for Tim Stützle at $8.35M next year. So they’re a fascinating potential trade partner for anyone/anything.
- Ottawa’s biggest need: a rental defenseman — with term, money would likely need to leave (beyond this year)
- Ottawa’s cap space: $3.3 million (equates to roughly $14M at the deadline)
- Ottawa’s draft assets: no third rounders in 2023 or 24; two second and two fourth rounders in ’24
Potential Blackhawks Impact: Obviously, these two teams have done business recently, and the Blackhawks have some potential rentals. The biggest question is how much Dorion wants this year to matter, and how much he wants to leverage picks to help replace missing pieces for now.
The Blue Jackets, like the Senators, were supposed to be better. They won the bidding for Johnny Gaudreau and re-signed Patrik Laine — a total commitment of almost $19.5 million ($8.7M for Laine for four years; $8.75M for Johnny Hockey for seven).
It’s worth noting that the Blue Jackets have Adam Boqvist in LTIR, Zach Werenski is done for the year with a recent should injury and Jakub Voracek is also on IR. Laine is also going to miss some time with an ankle sprain (think 3-4 weeks). They have a lot of money on the injury list, not much cap space, and lots of needs.
The roster note below is interesting. Roslovic was acquired with Laine and, rankly, some folks in Columbus thought he was the better half of the addition for a while. He’s 25, has two years remaining on his contract with a $4 million cap hit and set career highs in goals (22) and assists (23) last year. He’s winning 52.2 percent of his faceoffs this year, but is off to an incredibly slow start (one goal in 14 games). If he’s available — at all — I’m interested.
- Columbus’ biggest need: healthy bodies everywhere, consistency. Likely looking for a rental
- Columbus’ cap space: Not much (think in the tens of thousands of dollars)
- Columbus’ draft assets: all of their own picks in rounds 1-4 the next two years plus an extra 3rd and 4th in 2023
Potential Blackhawks Impact: It feels like Columbus is okay with this season not necessarily being a huge step forward, so they might be more inclined to entertain a deal for a player who helps now and into the future (read: term left on the contract). That being said, with some of their long term injured players (Boqvist, Werenski) coming back next year, they might not look at more than a rental on the blue line.
On Monday, the Leafs announced a huge loss to their already-underwhelming blue line. Jake Muzzin’s regular season is in question (doubt?), and TJ Brodie is also banged up. They desperately need a body, but they have no cap space whatsoever.
- Toronto’s biggest need: defensemen (plural)
- Toronto’s cap space: Zero (they’re already into $5M in LTIR usage but could use more)
- Toronto’s draft assets: two thirds but no second or fourth round picks in ’23; no third rounder in ’24
Potential Blackhawks Impact: Toronto is in their all-in window, so any help they can get would be appreciated. The question is how they make things work financially, and how much they’re willing to pay (read: pick quality) to move salary to make a deal work while not hurting the core of their NHL roster.
“[Jakob Chychrun is] coming back Nov. 21,” Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong told media at the GM meetings. “He’s going to join the team to practice starting, I believe, tomorrow. That is the plan.”
He’s one of the big names that’s been on the market for a while, but injuries have kept him off the ice to start the season. So his return will have a lot of people intrigued — and watching.
Potential Blackhawks Impact: I don’t see Chychrun impacting anything the Blackhawks would do with regards to trading a defenseman unless one of Connor Murphy or Jake McCabe was made available.
San Jose Surprise
Erik Karlsson is probably going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer someday, but injuries have impacted his ability to help the Sharks to the level they hoped when they gave him the king’s ransom. He’s now 32 and has four years after this one left on his contract with a massive $11.5M cap hit. Even if the Sharks eat half of that, they likely will need a third party broker to make a deal work if a contender wants Karlsson (and that’s an enormous, expensive ask for a third team to eat money for 4+ more years).
However, Karlsson is back to playing exceptional hockey this season. His age and health history are concerns with the four more years, but a team looking to really go for it in the next 4-5 postseasons might be willing to swing big at a potentially modest cost.
Potential Blackhawks Impact: this one is worth watching. First, the Blackhawks have cap space to potentially play middle man (though the term left makes it hard to imagine the Hawks eating money for four more years). That being said, with the ongoing rumors regarding the futures of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Chicago, another player in this price range being made available means there’s another expensive, impact player who could require a third team to make a deal happen.