5 NHL Trades That Should Happen After 1st Wave of Free Agency

Published August 8, 2021 at 3:43 PM

Christian Dvorak to the Ottawa Senators


According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Senators may be looking to trade a centre and a winger. Maybe they're after Christian Dvorak of the Arizona Coyotes.

This offseason, the Coyotes traded away notable players like Darcy Kuemper, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Conor Garland to free up long-term cap space and draught picks. Dvorak is a possible trade candidate.

In an earlier 31 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman suggested Dvorak could be traded before the season. He believes several teams want the 25-year-old two-way centre. On July 21, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM mentioned the Senators.

If they bid for Dvorak, they have two advantages. They have more projected cap space ($28.5 million) than most teams, allowing them to afford his $4.45 million annual salary through 2024-25. They can also dangle draught picks and promising young players as trade bait.

Garrioch noted the Senators have 10 defensemen on call-up. A second and third round pick, plus a young blueliner like Erik Brannstrom or Lassi Thomson, might entice the Coyotes.

Anton Khudobin to the Edmonton Oilers


The Dallas Stars signed goaltender Braden Holtby to a one-year, $2 million contract on the first day of free agency. The Stars already have Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin, and Jake Oettinger under contract.

This move sparked speculation about the Stars' next move. On Aug. 3, the Edmonton Journal's David Staples looked into the Stars' goalie situation. He saw Jeff Marek and Mark Friedman on Sportsnet mentioning Khudobin to the Edmonton Oilers.

Staples doubts the Stars will accept Mikko Koskinen in exchange for Khudobin. He suggested the Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, or Ottawa Senators package Koskinen with a sweetener. Those teams aren't on his 15-team no-trade list.

Khudobin has four no-trade lists. So long as the Oilers aren't on board and they can clear Koskinen's $4.5 million cap hit, this move could benefit both teams

Bishop had knee surgery last season. The Stars could trade Khudobin to make room for a Holtby-Oettinger duo in 2021-22. This would free up cap space for other roster needs.

The Oilers would get a reliable backup for starter Mike Smith, 39. Due to Bishop's injury, Khudobin helped the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020. The Oilers could use that experience to become Cup contenders.

Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Islanders


The Blues have been trying to trade Vladimir Tarasenko for weeks.

On July 29, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic speculated the New York Islanders could be interested in the 29-year-old winger, joining the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils. With the Blues signing winger Brandon Saad for less than expected, Rutherford wondered if GM Doug Armstrong would consider trading Tarasenko's $7.5 million cap hit through 2022-23.

Anthony Beauvillier, a restricted free agent, could be part of the deal, Rutherford said. Arthur Staple doubted Beauvillier's departure, citing the Blues' winger depth even without Tarasenko. He also believes the Blues can't get a young top-nine forward in return.

In addition to Beauvillier, the Islanders have $11.9 million in projected cap space. A free agent signing like Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas, or Zach Parise? To avoid disclosing his remaining salary cap space, he believes Lamoriello hasn't announced his moves.

Staple believes the Isles must trade a winger even if the Blues keep part of Tarasenko's salary and accept a draught pick, prospect or depth defenseman like Thomas Hickey. He proposed trading Josh Bailey to another club. The 31-year-old has three years left on his $5 million contract.

It's a tricky move, but it could benefit both clubs. The Blues would save money on Tarasenko's cap hit thanks to the recent addition of Pavel Buchnevich. A proven sniper with Stanley Cup experience would bolster the Islanders' offence for a championship run over the next two seasons.

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