5 NHL trades that could happen ahead of 2022 training camp
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New York Rangers (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NHL training camps for the 2022-23 season will open for the 32 teams on September 21-22. Their respective general managers and coaches will assess their rosters looking for strengths and weaknesses as they prepare for the start of the regular season in October.
Several teams that are above the $82.5 million salary cap for the upcoming season will also seek salary cuts. They can stay 10 percent over the cap during training camp and preseason, but must meet the cap when their respective regular season schedules begin next month.
Some teams, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, must break below the cap once they’ve signed all remaining restricted free agents. Others, like the New York Rangers, might try to remove a player for other reasons.
Here are five NHL trades that could happen before training camp opens later this week based on recent trade rumors. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.
Dallas Stars could try to move Anton Khudobin
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Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin (Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)
Two years ago, Anton Khudobin had a new three-year deal in his hands after pushing the Dallas Stars back to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals. Maybe he’ll play for another team before the start of the training camp or the upcoming season.
The stars are hoping to sign Jason Robertson when training camp opens next week. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent who has a career-best performance with 41 goals and 79 points. He will be seeking a substantial raise from his entry-level contract.
Matthew DeFranks of The Dallas Morning News speculated on September 13 that Robertson could land a three- or four-year deal worth a $7 million annual salary cap. With $6.3 million in cap space, the stars could be forced to strike a cost-cutting trade to accommodate Robertson’s new contract.
DeFranks suggested Khudobin or Radek Faksa as trading options. As the 36-year-old goalkeeper returns from off-season hip surgery, he could attract interest from clubs looking for experienced and affordable goalkeeping depth. He has signed at an average annual value of $3.3 million through the end of this season.
Edmonton Oilers could trade Jesse Puljujarvi
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Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Jesse Puljujarvi avoided arbitration with the Edmonton Oilers by signing a one-year, $3 million contract on July 26. Still, the 24-year-old winger remains the subject of frequent trade speculation. The Oilers are taking a pay cut to make room for a new contract with restricted free agent Ryan McLeod.
Puljujarvi was drafted fourth overall by the Oilers in the 2016 NHL draft and struggled to live up to goalscoring expectations. He has totaled just 46 goals and 98 points in 259 regular-season games and five points in 20 playoff contests.
On September 8, The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman reported that Puljujarvi, winger Warren Foegele and defender Tyson Barrie were all considered trade options. Four days later, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug tweeted The Oilers continued to pursue all trade options for Puljujarvi to create some cap space.
Puljujarvi could be enticing for some teams as a potential reclamation project. His cap hit might prove difficult as most clubs have limited cap space, but there might be someone willing to take the risk.
Montreal Canadiens could buy a forward for a defender
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Montreal Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman celebrates a goal (David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens have had a busy offseason. Her notable moves included transporting Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights for Evgeni Dadonov, trading two draft picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for Kirby Dach, trading Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders for a 2022 first-round winner and the Posting Jeff Petry to Pittsburgh Penguins for Mike Matheson.
General Manager Kent Hughes may not be done trading yet. On July 29, Montreal Hockey Now’s Marco D’Amico quoted Hughes as expressing a desire to add a right-shot defenseman. Habs executive vice president Jeff Gorton also pointed out that his club carries 15–16 forwards.
On Sept. 6, D’Amico sources reported that Canadiens forwards Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman and Joel Armia had received some interest in the trade market. Given their depth on the wing, he speculated that Hoffman or Armia could become a commercial contender. Hoffman has an average annual value of $4.5 million, while Armia’s is $3.4 million.
The Canadians are also above the $82.5 million salary cap at $10.2 million but can do so if goaltender Carey Price is placed on long-term injury reserve for the upcoming season. Still, they might be looking for a dollar-in-dollar-out deal to shore up their depth on the right.
New York Rangers try to trade Nils Lundkvist
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New York Rangers defenseman Nils Lundkvist (Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).
On September 1st, the New York Post‘s Larry Brooks reported that Rangers were trying to trade Nils Lundkvist. The 22-year-old defender has threatened not to report to training camp unless he is transferred. He fell into their depth chart behind the other right side blueliners Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba and Braden Schneider.
This situation is somewhat similar to that of Vitali Kravtsov, who declined to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last fall and requested a swap. The winger was subsequently loaned to KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk for the season. When a trade fell through, Kravtsov signed a one-year deal with Rangers and is once again attempting to secure a spot on the list.
Brooks reports that Lundkvist wants to play for an NHL club where he has a better chance of earning top 4 minutes and power play time. On September 16, TSN quoted USA Today’s Vince Z. Mercogliano as reporting that the blueliner’s agent confirmed that he had requested a trade and that his client would not be checking in at camp.
Maybe the Montreal Canadiens will become a trading partner. Montreal Hockey Now’s Marco D’Amico reported on Sept. 2 that the Habs were on the lookout for a right-back defender and had previously expressed interest in some of the Rangers’ brightest prospects.
Toronto Maple Leafs could sell Justin Holl
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Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl (Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are approaching training camp with Rasmus Sandin not yet signed. If they sign the 22-year-old defender before or during the training camp, they will have to give him some space in the cap. They are currently $1.5 million above the $82.5 million cap.
The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel noted on Sept. 8 that defenseman Justin Holl and center Alex Kerfoot were mentioned as trade contenders. Kerfoot carries a $3.5 million salary cap for the upcoming season, while Holls is $2 million.
Kerfoot looks like a viable trade option given the Leafs’ offseason calle Järnkrok center and recently signed Zach Aston-Reese to a professional tryout bid. However, the toronto sun‘s Terry Koshan believes if the Leafs wanted to trade 28-year-old Kerfoot, they would have done so long ago.
Siegel thought Holl was rather moved. The 30-year-old defender has a 10-team no-trade clause which could complicate things. Still, his affordable cap hit could make him attractive to teams looking for a proper blueliner.
Salary information as of Sept 18, 2022 for Cap Friendly.