Mike Hoffman – Ottawa Senators
Well, I had a part of this article ready to go before the unfortunate allegations against Hoffman’s fiancée were made public. For those of you that haven’t been informed, Hoffman’s fiancée supposedly harassed Erik Karlsson’s wife online. That’s as much attention as I want to give the situation. However, as this situation has been going on for months, it now explains why Hoffman was being shopped. Hoffman’s named first surfaced during the most recent trade deadline to the surprise of many. He has been a consistent offensive force for Ottawa, putting up four consecutive 20-goal seasons. Furthermore, he has scored a ridiculously high amount of clutch goals for Ottawa.
With a very reasonable cap-hit of $5.187 million per year for another two seasons, Hoffman has value. The real question for the Senators and GM Pierre Dorion is: How has his value been changed? The serious allegations pertaining to his fiancé might scare away GMs. The antics of one’s significant other should not lower said player’s and any GM who thinks this way is silly. Hoffman’s time in Ottawa does appear done and he is expected to be traded at the draft. Ottawa would most likely be looking for young NHL-ready forwards and a 1st-round pick. I expect many teams to circle back on Hoffman now that Evander Kane has re-signed with the San Jose Sharks.
Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens
Honestly, Canadiens fans have been talking about trading their captain since November 2017. Pacioretty, one of the best scorers in the game over the last 5 years, seems to be on his way out. The reasoning is very simple from the Canadiens’ perspective. They are extremely deep at left-wing at the moment. Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, Nikita Scherbak, Charles Hudon and Arturri Lekhonen are all left wingers. Pacioretty’s sweetheart contract, which boasts a ludicrous $4.5 million cap hit, ends next summer. It would be proper asset management for a team that might be going through a small re-tool. Trading Max would allow him to return to his 30-goal season form on a competitive team. If he does indeed succeed elsewhere, he would be in for a huge raise, likely $8-9 million per year.
Trading their captain would allow Montreal to get their hands on an extra 1st-round pick and possibly that elusive top-6 center prospect they have been lacking for years. It just seems like the Canadiens and Pacioretty are going in two different directions at the moment. Max wants to win now and get rewarded, and the Canadiens want to build through the draft. Teams like Anaheim and Florida had shown significant interest during the last trade deadline. I would expect those two teams and any other team that struggled to score in the playoffs to target Max. Elliot Friedman reported that some teams are interested on the condition that Pacioretty would sign an extension. Needless to say, it looks like teams are circling back on Pacioretty and might be ready to pull the trigger.
Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
Justin Faulk has been a part of the Carolina Hurricanes for over 7 years and has been a force on their blue-line. However, with the rise of Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce and Haydn Fleury and the eventual arrival of Jake Bean, the Hurricanes can now afford to move their pillar on defense for some added punch at forward. It has been clear since new Hurricanes owner Thomas Dundon took over that change was coming. Many have gone as far as to say that nobody is untouchable on their roster other than Sebastian Aho.
If you are a team looking to add the missing piece to your defense on the right side, Faulk is a great option. Faulk has scored more than 10 goals thrice in his career and runs Carolina’s powerplay. A team like Chicago or Toronto, who are on the hunt for a top-end RD would jump on Faulk. He’s at a very cost-controlled cap hit of $4.833 million for the next two years. At 26 years old, he is entering his prime and could be ready to take the next step on a competitive team. There have been rumours linking Faulk to the Blackhawks, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Imagine if the Toronto Maple Leafs could somehow land Faulk and add him to their impressive core. Needless to say, the Hurricanes are holding all the cards this year and they will certainly set their price high.
Milan Lucic – Edmonton Oilers
Milan Lucic sure has fallen from grace over the last two seasons. After being traded to Los Angeles in 2015, Lucic put up a remarkable 55-point season. This garnered him a 7-year $6 million contract with Edmonton, for whom he put up 50 points in 82 games last year. This year, however, he was limited to a putrid 34 points in 82 games, his lowest point total in 8 years. Furthermore, if his play continues to regress, the Oilers can’t easily get rid of him due to his No-Movement Clause. Many believe that with a more balanced top-6 in Edmonton, Lucic could return to form.
However, most of the talk out of Edmonton is that Lucic would welcome a trade to a few destinations of his choice. The talk has been to possibly trade him with an asset to entice a team to take on his whole contract. This would free up some much-needed cap space to pursue some forwards in free agency like James Van Riemsdyk. We fully expect Lucic to be traded by the draft, and wouldn’t be surprised if it was a US team.
Jeff Skinner – Carolina Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner started off his career with a bang in Carolina. He put up 63 points in his rookie season at 18. Unfortunately for Skinner, his career has been heavily impacted by injuries at the wrong times. He has only ever reached his Calder-winning rookie totals once more in his 8 years in the NHL. Had he remained healthy throughout the season, rather than playing through some pretty heavy injuries, his totals would be far higher. Recently, however, he has been rather healthy, playing 82, 79 and 82 games over the last three seasons. In as such, his production has shot back up in the 50-60-point range. However, this season saw the emergence of young wingers like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. They look primed to lead the next generation of Hurricanes players to success and thus make Skinner expendable. Skinner would be another highly valuable left-winger that has had multiple 30-goal seasons. His cap hit of $5.75 million would be a bargain for any team, but he only has one year left on his deal. Furthermore, Skinner has a No-Movement clause in his contract but might be convinced to lift it if he wants to go to a competitive team in order to secure a much more lucrative contract on July 1st, 2019. There have been a lot of rumours in regards to Skinner’s availability, but it seems like his future is in his hands