There are just two teams left standing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs which means two things…
1. The NHL season is nearly over
2. The NHL trade season is about to begin
It won’t be long now until the trade rumour mill kicks into high gear again. Anyone speculated about around the deadline who didn’t move will again be floated around. Teams that fell short of expectations, or ones with new leaders in the front office, will be motivated to make some personnel changes before next season starts. And though this could go on all summer, a flurry of moves are usually made in the lead up to and at the NHL Draft, which runs June 22-23 in Dallas.
Until then, we look at 24 players who could move at some point this summer, if the offers are right.
OSCAR KLEFBOM, EDMONTON OILERS
Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been shy to make big trades in his career as a GM. Tyler Seguin. Taylor Hall. Jordan Eberle. The last two were moved in the past two years, and with the Oilers coming off a terribly disappointing season Chiarelli may be motivated/pressured to do more.
There’s little doubt the 10th overall pick Edmonton holds will be in play. They’re looking for a backup to push Cam Talbot, but the first-rounder is too rich for that role. Speed up front is a priority, as is a puck-mover on defence.
Oscar Klefbom‘s name has been floating around the rumour mill since Edmonton’s season ended, which could be a dangerous proposition. Injury limited Klefbom to 66 games this past season and his point total dropped by 17 from 2016-17. He averaged 22:51 per game, so he was the Oilers’ most-used defenceman, and at just 24 years old Klefbom is under control for a while, with a contract that carries a $4.167 million cap hit running another five seasons.
Klefbom seems like a player more likely to bounce back than continue to struggle. And if Edmonton is looking to add an offence-minded blueliner, Klefbom already fills that role so what’s the rush? If anything, the Oilers could be selling low on a young, controllable asset, depending on the return.
P.K. SUBBAN, NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Maybe it’s because he’s been traded before. Maybe it’s because he makes $9 million against the salary cap. And maybe it’s because Nashville’s defence is so loaded (the highest-scoring blue line in the league), it could leverage one of them for more scoring punch up front. Either way, Subban has come up in trade rumours early this off-season, even though the Predators have already shot this idea down.
“Where’s he going?” Laviolette asked at his year-end press conference when the rumour was raised. “P.K. is here for me. Listen, he’s been here for two years, and we’re moving in a pretty good direction here with him as part of our club. He’s been awesome. His regular season, I thought, was really good last year; he might have been the best player on our team in the playoffs last year, just with regard to the way he and (Mattias) Ekholm played and defended.
“He’s up for the Norris Trophy. I thought again that P.K. and Ekholm had an outstanding playoffs. I don’t know if there was growth from Year 1 to Year 2. He was just awesome in both years for me. He’s coachable. Plays big minutes. Plays against the best players. Produces in the defensive zone and produces in the offensive zone. I mean, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Before Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin traded Subban, he also shot down any suggestion it could happen. And Poile is no stranger to making large moves. This seems like a long shot to happen this summer because the Preds aren’t facing any pressing cap issues, but with the defencemen they have in place you do have to wonder if trading Subban becomes a possibility one day.
ERIK KARLSSON, OTTAWA SENATORS
Everybody was waiting for this deal to happen at the trade deadline. Now, everyone is expecting it this off-season.
Karlsson, one year away from unrestricted free agency, had suggested earlier in the season that he would be seeking top dollar on his next deal, echoing comments from Los Angeles’s Drew Doughty (more on him later). He would certainly be the most attractive player for any of the other 30 teams to add via trade, and with Ottawa struggling and considering some form of a rebuild, the Swedish defenceman was linked to various teams including Vegas and San Jose at the deadline.
Karlsson can sign an extension with Ottawa as soon as July 1, and if he’s not dealt by then we could quickly get a better idea of how likely it is he’ll stick around. The Sens are facing the prospect of paying him $10 million or more on his next deal, which may become a sticking point. The Senators are already picking fourth overall at the draft, but have to give up next year’s pick to Colorado, so they could use Karlsson to load up on futures and offset that loss. If they act, it better be a can’t-miss, home run return along the lines of what Colorado got in the Matt Duchene trade — but much better.
For his part, Karlsson shot down any notion he wanted out of Ottawa.
“I never wanted to leave. I never had any say in that,” Karlsson said after the deadline passed. “That’s a different part of the business I can’t control. Hearing your name being thrown around as much as it was is very stressful and not something that I enjoyed going through. I love it here, I’ve always loved it here. I think the city of Ottawa has really made it home for me. I love everything about it, I love the fans. I’m pleased with where I’m at and I signed a long-term deal for a reason.”
DREW DOUGHTY, LOS ANGELES KINGS
Along the same lines as Karlsson, Doughty is also up for UFA status in 2019 and can re-up with the Kings as early as this July 1. He’s the one who set off the whole trade speculation firestorm, beginning with comments made before the season even started.
“I’d love to re-sign in L.A. But if our team isn’t going in the right direction… I want to win Cups. I don’t give a s— where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line,” he told The Hockey News.
The Kings, of course, were swept in the first round by the Vegas Golden Knights.
It was a situation that kept snowballing all season, too. Doughty was asked about it at every turn, and elaborated on his and Karlsson’s options in November:
“I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for,” Doughty explained. “I’ll kind of look at what money I’m looking for. I don’t know if he’s going to re-sign with Ottawa. I don’t know if I’ll re-sign with L.A. You just never know what’s going to happen.
“Right now, I guess we’d be gauging off what P.K. (Subban) makes. I think both of us deserve quite a bit more than that ($9 million AAV).”
A finalist for the Norris Trophy this season, Doughty is among the elite defencemen in the NHL and would be as difficult for Los Angeles to trade as Karlsson would be for Ottawa. The Kings are still trying to re-invent themselves on the fly and become a speedier team — they could certainly take major strides in any return they got for Doughty, but at the same time, lose the type of player they’d immediately be chasing after again.
Doughty grew up a fan of the Kings, and they can offer a great lifestyle and top dollar, but with a few bad contracts already on the books, a cap squeeze would follow. Doughty, like Karlsson, said he wanted to stay with the Kings beyond the expiry of his current contract.
“I always wanted to be an L.A. King and I want to stay an L.A. King,” Doughty told NHL.com in April. “I can’t remember what day we can start talking, but I’m sure we will when the time comes.
“(General manager) Rob Blake and (team president) Luc Robitaille, they took this job because they want to win and they want to transform this team into their winning ways again. Whether or not they do a lot in the off-season, I don’t know, but we have these young guys coming up that I think are going to make a difference. I think that shows me how much potential we have in the future and I’m good with it and I’m happy to hopefully re-sign here.”
JUSTIN FAULK/JEFF SKINNER, CAROLINA HURRICANES
With a new owner and new faces at the top of hockey management, changes are coming for a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs in nine years. The only player who has been given a vote of confidence is forward Sebastian Aho who’s fresh off a 29-goal, 65-point season and was just named the best forward at the World Championship. No one else is safe.
Goaltending is an obvious area that needs an upgrade, but it’s unlikely that teams will come calling about Scott Darling and his $4.15 million cap hit. Carolina could use more goal scoring too, as it finished with the 23rd-ranked offence in 2017-18 and has cracked the Top 20 just once in the past five years. Their strength is along the blue line, where the Hurricanes have plenty of young talent, and they could flip one of them to address a need elsewhere.
But who are the top candidates to get traded? Defencemen Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin are about to start on long-term contracts recently signed with the Canes and Noah Hanifin is a 21-year-old RFA. Any of them could go, but given how long the Hurricanes have each of them under control, it would have to be a massive return.
More likely to move might are certain players who have been around for a number of playoff-less seasons and inching closer to unrestricted free agency. This is when we turn to 26-year-olds Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk, who have been around for nearly the entire playoff drought with varying degrees of individual success. There is no question both are valued and productive players, but Faulk’s minutes and points have decreased four years in a row and Skinner has ranged between 18 and 37 goals the past four years. Faulk is two years from UFA status, while Skinner is about to enter the last year of his deal.
“We have to look at every position on our hockey team. We’ve gone nine years without making the playoffs and some guys have been here five, six, seven years,” Canes GM Don Waddell told Steve Kouleas on the NHL Network’s Sirius XM radio show recently. “Not that they’re bad players — both [Skinner and Faulk] are some of our top players — so we want to make change, but when you make change you want to make sure you’re making the right change or making the right decision.
“[Skinner and Faulk] are guys certainly that people have called about. I talked to almost every general manager, that we’re looking to make some changes, so certainly when other teams are calling, they usually want to call about your better players. So we’re in discussions with not only those players but multiple players.”
But there is a huge risk to move either of these guys. Skinner is still a sniper who finished second on the team in goals, despite having a low 8.7 shooting percentage this season. Faulk is the most-used Carolina defenceman on the power play and is coming off a down year of his own, tallying just eight goals after reaching at least 15 each of the previous three years. The Canes should be wary of selling low on these two players.
RYAN O’REILLY, BUFFALO SABRES
Everyone is always in the market for centres in the NHL, so if the Sabres do decide to move O’Reilly there will be no shortage of suitors. The 27-year-old is coming off a 24-goal, 61-point season and may be one of the most underrated two-way forwards in the NHL. While he brings a good level of offence — finishing second in team scoring — O’Reilly is very much also a shutdown option who matches up against the opposition’s best. He’s also under contract for another five years, with a $7.5 million cap hit.
O’Reilly is the type of player who could help put a team over the top, or help get the Sabres out of the basement.
But we’ve heard former Sabres players talk before about the losing culture in Buffalo and how great it was to be away from that and part of a team where “losing is not an option.” O’Reilly went down that same road with comments at the Sabres’ locker clean out, though also noted he wasn’t looking to get out of Buffalo and wanted to be part of the solution. Still, it’s troubling to hear one of your best players say he’s lost his passion for the game.
“We’re stuck in this mindset of just being OK with losing,” O’Reilly said at the end of his season. “I feel it, too. I think it’s really crept into myself. Over the course of the year, I’ve lost myself a lot, where it’s just kind of get through, just being OK with just not making a mistake. That’s not winning hockey at all, and it’s crept into all of our games.
“It’s disappointing. It’s sad. I feel throughout the year I’ve lost the love of the game multiple times. You need to get back to it because it’s just eating myself up and eats the other guys, too. It’s just eating us up, and it’s tough.”
This might be a situation where a change of scenery is what’s best for the player, but it may not work out that way for the Sabres. If O’Reilly were on a playoff team, he’d certainly get more recognition as an elite talent.
ALEX GALCHENYUK/MAX PACIORETTY, MONTREAL CANADIENS
The Canadiens could go in all sorts of directions this summer. On the one hand they are still trying to compete with Carey Price locked in for the long-term, and 32-year-old trade acquisition Shea Weber starting to enter his twilight years (though he’s still good!). But on the other, the only blue chip prospect Montreal has is whoever it chooses third overall in the draft next month and it has a desperate need for centres to play on the top two lines. One eye is on the long-term stability of this team, but GM Marc Bergevin has made it clear the idea is to win now.
Still, the futures of some players are up in the air. Forward Alex Galchenyuk has been in the rumour mill for a couple years now and since they’ve all but given up on him playing his natural centre position, the Habs could find it more useful to ship him off to a team that will use him in that valued role. But at just 24 years old and coming off a 51-point season, Montreal would risk trading away the type of player it actually needs.
Pacioretty was expected to be traded by the deadline, before he started the final year of his contract. He can re-sign as early as July 1, but even after a down year Pacioretty figures to fetch the most in any trade. Usually a lock to score 30 goals, Pacioretty posted just 17 in 64 games this season. Put him with a legit top-six pivot, however, and he’s one of the truly elite scoring wingers in the NHL.
The $7 million contract extension Evander Kane signed with San Jose on Thursday is an interesting measure for what Pacioretty could get on his next deal. He’s surely worth more than a player who has scored 30 just twice before with inconsistent offensive levels through his career.
After the trade deadline, Pacioretty spoke very candidly about wanting to stay in Montreal and how difficult it was hearing trade rumours all season.
“I did not ask for a trade,” he started. “I still have 20 games to worry about finding my game and you know what, I’m not on social media and I don’t have all this stuff. But even just having the TV on today I hope you guys can realize I’m a human being with three kids, and there’s been a lot of stuff… whether it be… I don’t want to go into details… but there’s been a lot of stuff and some of it has been hard to swallow and I care because I care so much about playing here. But you guys want to say, or people have asked me if maybe the role of a captain made it harder on myself. But I’ll dispute that all day and say that it’s made it easier on me.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully finding answers as to why this happened. I want to be a part of this group. It’s obvious that given my contract, given where I stand on the team that there’s holes to plug in this lineup and I could be a candidate to fill those holes, but I hope that’s not the case and maybe making it through the trade deadline, with some conversations I kind of already started in the sense where trying to get on the same page and trying to work through this together as a group hopefully we can figure out a way to keep this group intact and win hockey games building up to next year.”
JAKE GARDINER, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
The Maple Leafs defenceman is an analytics darling, but with his aggressive attempts for offence come defensive breakdowns the other way. Gardiner was in the spotlight for mostly the wrong reasons during Toronto’s seven-game defeat against Boston in the playoffs, getting caught on bad pinches that a few times led to goals the other way. His Game 7 was especially bad, where he finished with a minus-5 rating in 24:01 of ice time.
“Personally, I got to be better. A lot of this game is on me,” Gardiner said after the loss. “It’s just not good enough, especially in a game like this. It’s the most important game of the season, and I didn’t show up, so… there’s not much you can say really.”
Toronto’s biggest need this off-season is to upgrade the defence and rather than another all-or-nothing player like Gardiner, the Leafs need to get a more defensively responsible player this summer. But would they explore trading the 27-year-old defenceman to get it?
The problem is that if Toronto is looking for one or two defencemen already, trading Gardiner would just add another depth need. There is something to be said for how he’s grown under coach Mike Babcock — the coach trusts Gardiner as the team’s TOI leader. He’s also coming off a career-best 52-point season and has the skill set (speed, puck movement, offensively inclined) that works well in today’s game. And if recent Stanley Cup champions and challengers have taught us anything it’s that you don’t necessarily need a No. 1 defenceman to win it all — you need a corps that can move the puck to a cadre of scorers up front.
But Gardiner’s potential availability goes beyond that. He makes $4.05 million against the cap for one more season before becoming UFA eligible, which lines up with new (yet unsigned) contracts kicking in for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Both of those are expected to be heavy hits and William Nylander also needs to sign an extension this summer. Will Gardiner’s salary fit into the structure of Toronto’s next phase? There is no shortage of teams looking for a puck-moving defenceman.
CONOR SHEARY/CARL HAGELIN, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has never been shy to make trades. At this year’s deadline he picked up Derick Brassard, filling the third-line centre role he was searching for all season. He got Phil Kessel a few years ago for a cheap acquisition cost considering he’s scored 83 goals over three seasons with the team. Carl Hagelin was a great pick up three years ago and a central piece of the HBK line for Pittsburgh’s first of the back-to-back championships. Justin Schultz has been a successful reclamation project.
So when Rutherford says he’s looking for change in the off-season, your ears perk up.
“I think it’s obvious that I’m going to keep an open mind to making some changes, and I will make some changes,” he told local media after the Pens were eliminated in Round 2. “I can’t give you a definite answer on who that’s going to be right now and exactly the positions, but we’re a good team, and we will be a good team going forward. We’ll have a chance to win again. We have the nucleus to do that.”
Earlier this month we explored four potential players the Penguins could consider moving this summer. Kessel is on that list mostly because of his cap hit and a trade value that should be high after a 34-goal season, but Sheary and Hagelin may be the more realistic targets.
With their centre spots now filled, the most pressing need for the Pens to address is on the blue line and either of these players could get put toward that. Hagelin is the speedy, veteran who kills penalties, while Sheary is the younger player signed for longer, but coming off a season of struggles. Either way, Rutherford also said prospect Daniel Sprong would have a spot on next year’s Penguins, which means a winger needs to move.
JOHN TAVARES, NY ISLANDERS
If the New York Islanders figure they won’t be re-signing Tavares, they may choose to trade his rights to a team that wants to have a brief period to exclusively negotiate with the pending UFA. It’s certainly possible Tavares is moved at or around the draft, just before the negotiation period opens to any team to discuss interest with Tavares ahead of July 1.
The return wouldn’t likely be anything massive, but it would afford the Islanders an opportunity to recoup a prospect or pick for the elite talent. They’ll only make this trade if they’re positive they’ll lose him, too — the Lightning didn’t deal Stamkos’s rights, but he stayed with the team even after talking with others during the negotiation period.
ANDRE BURAKOVSKY, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
When the Capitals had to shed the likes of Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson last summer, the thinner roster opened an opportunity for Burakovsky, who scored 17 goals and 38 points as a sophomore in 2015-16. More ice time and better linemates were expected to bring out the best in the 23rd overall pick from 2013, but injuries and mental frustration stunted his season and he finished with just 12 goals and 25 points in 56 games.
Now Burakovsky is one year away from being an RFA, finishing off a deal that paid him $3 million against the cap. The Capitals have to deal with signing pending UFA John Carlson and RFAs Tom Wilson and Phillip Grubauer this summer. Burakovsky will surely get some kind of a raise when the time comes, and his play next season could determine just how much of one, but it’s possible the Caps elect to use the 23-year-old as trade bait to upgrade the roster. An acquiring team would be adding an intriguing talent and gamble that he’ll have his breakout next season.
He scored his first two goals of the playoffs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, so a good carryover performance in the Stanley Cup Final could increase his value.
NINO NIEDERREITER/CHARLIE COYLE, MINNESOTA WILD
The Wild have made six straight post-season appearances, but haven’t reached the third round and got out of the first round just twice. When this year’s team failed to move on from the Round of 16 again, GM Chuck Fletcher took the fall and was replaced with former Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton. Some degree of change is destined to come to the Wild, because expectations start sky-high for the new guy in charge.
“I’m confident we have a very good team in Minnesota and believe Paul shares that same belief. The goal remains to bring a Stanley Cup to the state of hockey,” Wild owner Craig Leipold said at Fenton’s introductory press conference. “No pressure, Paul, but that is where it starts.”
There is no rebuild coming for this team. The owner is expecting championship and the salary structure makes it hard to move away from a significant portion of this core. Still, there are options, and in a season-ending column wondering where it went wrong for the Wild, the Pioneer Press’ Dane Mizutani pondered two players who could become moveable assets:
“Although Parise and Suter are unmovable based on their matching 13-year, $98 million contracts, guys like Coyle and Niederreiter might have finally worn out their welcome after following up disappointing regular seasons with scoreless post-seasons,” he wrote.
MATHEW DUMBA/JONAS BRODIN, MINNESOTA WILD
The Wild were one of the teams facing difficult expansion draft decisions last summer and before they lost Erik Haula and Alex Tuch to the Golden Knights, there was a lot of speculation they’d make a trade elsewhere so they would have enough protection spots to keep everyone they wanted. Included in those discussions were defencemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba, on whom the Wild received offers.
Dumba’s role with the team has increased the past few years — he averaged a career-high 23:49 and scored a career-best 50 points in 2017-18. Now he’s an RFA due a hefty raise and if there is any hitch in those negotiations, he could become a valuable trade option. The ugly season-ending injury sustained by Ryan Suter, and the uncertainty of his recovery time, may make it more likely Dumba stays as his importance grows, but he would bring back the biggest return of any Minnesota blueliner in trade.
If Fenton looks at trading a defender, Brodin is the more likely option. The 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, he came into the league with major expectations and mostly lived up to them early on. By Corsi and Relative Corsi, Brodin’s best season was his rookie year, though, and he’s never been a big offensive driver. Brodin’s value is as a defender and his contract isn’t bad, with a $4.16 million cap hit for another three years.
But remember, Fenton is coming from a Predators team that built its identity around a strong and deep blue line, so this may be a little out of character.
DOUGIE HAMILTON, CALGARY FLAMES
Shortly after Calgary’s disappointing season ended, Dougie Hamilton‘s name started popping up in trade rumours. A 24-year-old, top pair defenceman would draw serious interest around the league, but the Flames are in win-now mode, so likely wouldn’t be looking for a first-rounder and two seconds, the same return they gave up to get Hamilton from the Bruins. He’s making $5.75 million for another three years and has become a perfect complement to captain Mark Giordano. Hamilton’s minutes have risen and his underlying Corsi numbers have gone up markedly — this season Hamilton’s 57.58 CF% at 5-on-5 was second in the league to only his partner.
After missing the playoffs, GM Brad Treliving could be motivated to do something since another miss could lead to his dismissal. But is trading Hamilton the best option here? The Jets underperformed expectations for years before they finally found their groove — the Flames could take a page out of that book and trust the talent in place under new coach Bill Peters.
It’s no secret the Flames need scoring. Micheal Ferland may have found a fit on the top line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, but Calgary became a one-line team. Mikael Backlund is a fantastic second-line centre, but his strength is more on the defensive side of the puck. Matthew Tkachuk is a pest and a talent on the rise, but the Flames need more of a sure thing to take a run at 30 goals from the second line. Michael Frolik is a far better fit on the third line.
So, Calgary has been linked to James van Riemsdyk this summer, but if he goes elsewhere in free agency or the price is too rich, they could try and land that type of player plus a prospect or pick for Hamilton. But that’s an astronomically high price to pay and you have to wonder if Treliving ends up moving another blueliner.
COREY PERRY/JAKOB SILFVERBERG, ANAHEIM DUCKS
Like his counterpart in Pittsburgh, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is never afraid to make a big splash in the trade market and did it again this season by swapping Sami Vatanen for Adam Henrique in November. With his team eliminated in a quick four-game sweep at the hands of the much-faster San Jose Sharks — a team that re-tooled itself with youth after the 2016 Cup final — Murray talked aloud about the desire to build a faster team and was critical about one long-standing franchise pillar in particular.
“Corey’s (Perry) got to buy into some more things in the off-season,” Murray said in April. “He’s got to buy into playing fast.
“Hopefully I can give [Carlyle] a healthy hockey team to start the year to see if they will change.”
Perry has been a central piece of Anaheim’s roster since he entered the league, but his play has started to dip in his 30s and he hasn’t scored 20 goals in either of the past two seasons. The problem in trying to trade him is that with an $8.625 million cap hit for another three years, he’s not an enticing pick up for many teams. Any potential move would likely have to involve either Anaheim eating a portion of that salary, or adding a valued prospect or two to make the deal work.
As Perry struggles, another right-winger, 22-year-old Ondrej Kase, is on the rise. The third-liner scored 20 goals in his sophomore season and brings the kind of speed Perry has lost.
Jakob Silfverberg could be the more realistic trade option here, because he’s still in his prime (27) and his contract isn’t too onerous ($3.75 million). His deal does expire at the end of next season, at which point he could become a UFA, so unless an extension is agreed to, Anaheim might not be able to regain full value. Murray landed Silfverberg in the first place from Ottawa for Bobby Ryan, who had two years left on his deal at the time.
It’s not that Silfverberg is a problem or anything, but if the Ducks are going to slowly transition this off-season he’s a good candidate to start the process. He’s a decent checker with 20-goal upside and PK responsibilities.
MAX DOMI, ARIZONA COYOTES
After scoring 18 goals in a promising rookie season, Domi has scored 18 goals combined over the two years since and is now an RFA coming off his entry-level contract. Around the trade deadline, reports surfaced that the Coyotes were entertaining offers on the 23-year-old.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a trade where they’re looking to dump him or unload him or get rid of him,” Elliotte Friedman said on Hockey Night in Canada Feb. 10. “I just think they are looking around to maybe see if there is someone who feels a fresh start will help him.”
And in his 31 Thoughts column, Friedman reported if it didn’t happen at the deadline, it could happen over the summer, if the Coyotes received a good offer.
“Max Domi scored his fourth of the year to open Arizona’s stunning 6–1 victory over Chicago on Monday night,” Friedman wrote. “It has been a hard year for the talented forward. The Coyotes are prepared to give him a fresh start, pending a fair offer. If it doesn’t come before the deadline, expect it at the draft. I do think Montreal will took a look, but I don’t know if that’s going anywhere.”
Domi could be a good buy-low option if the Coyotes are motivated sellers. His shooting percentage has declined each season and fell to just six per cent in 2017-18 — nearly half of what it was in his first year. At the same time, though, he set a new career-high in assists, finishing with 36.
It’s also worth noting how well Domi finished. The Coyotes were a much-improved team with a healthy goalie in the second half of the season, going 17-12-3 from Feb. 1 onwards. Over that same stretch Domi scored six goals and added 24 points in 32 games.
The 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Domi was a high-end scorer in junior, tallying 39 goals in his draft year.
CHRIS TANEV/ALEXANDER EDLER, VANCOUVER CANUCKS
As long as the Vancouver Canucks are rebuilding, their veterans will pop up in the trade rumour mill.
But for Vancouver to trade either of these two defencemen, the player would have to sign off on it. Edler has a full no-trade clause, while Tanev can submit a list of eight teams to which he cannot be traded, per CapFriendly. But with the Canucks likely to finish near the bottom again, the 32-year-old Edler and 28-year-old Tanev may be open to a move if one comes up.
Tanev’s contract is a very affordable $4.45 million for another two seasons and he’s a defensively responsible right-shot, which is a valued piece around the league. He’s a better fit as a second-pair blueliner on most teams than a No. 1 or 2, but the downside is that Tanev is prone to injury — he has not played more than 70 games in his career and has failed to even reach 54 games the past two seasons.
“I’m happy in Vancouver,” Tanev told Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup in Vancouver. “I love the city, I love all the guys, it’s out of my control.”
Edler would be the most logical trade candidate if he didn’t have full trade protection, but his destiny is in his own hands. He’s one year away from unrestricted free agency and has been a huge part of Vancouver’s defence for nearly a decade, averaging at least 23 minutes a game eight years in a row. And although the Canucks are rebuilding, it’s important to maintain competitiveness and if they trade either Edler or Tanev, a ton of on-ice minutes would leave the roster.