The hockey world is collectively holding its breath at the moment.
Erik Karlsson‘s future certainly doesn’t seem to lie in Ottawa with the Senators, and much of the past week(s) has been dubbed #KarlssonWatch as such.
But while Karlsson is obviously the biggest commodity on the trade block, there are several other players with pretty good pedigrees that could be on the move as well.
Let’s take a look at five prime candidates to still switch teams this summer, in no particular order.
• Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Here’s how a solid defenseman gets his name on the trading block:
1. New owner arrives
2. New owner appoints new front office pieces
3. New front office pieces see team in shambles
4. Team in shambles hasn’t made playoffs in nine years
5. Team in shambles that hasn’t made playoffs in nine years doesn’t have a starting goalie
6. Team in shambles that hasn’t made playoffs in nine years doesn’t have a starting goalie already traded away prospects for another good defenseman
6. Trade good players to help rectify bad situation
The Hurricanes are rebuilding and already made a good trade to get Dougie Hamilton from Calgary. Faulk had a down year, sure, but the Hurricanes weren’t a very good team.
And they need to address Scott Darling and his inability to be a starting goalie in the NHL if they want to compete this year. They’ve found a backup in Petr Mrazek, but missed out on Philipp Grubauer and now need to try and pry something away from a team willing to give up a potential starter.
It’s either that, or they need to find a way to get better in front of Darling.
• Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
This one is pretty much set in stone, right?
When your general manager reportedly comes out and says there’s not going to be any contract negotiations regarding an extension, that’s a good a sign as any that it’s game over in Montreal.
That same report even suggested that Pacioretty might even look at re-signing with the Canadiens, the NHL’s brightest-burning tire fire at the moment.
Sure, the Canadiens are rebuilding and Pacioretty likely will command a decent return given his friendly salary, but any rebuild requires some veterans to stick around, and Pacioretty is the guy they should be wooing instead of bringing back Tomas Plekanec.
Oh, Marc Bergevin.
• Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
The days of Hart trophies and Art Ross’ are long gone for the aging Perry, who has begun the descent in his career arc.
Perry carries with him a salary cap hit of nearly $9 million a season and that doesn’t run out for another three seasons, so moving the former ‘Rocket’ Richard winner won’t be easy.
Salary retention would likely be a must in any trade the Ducks pull off, but the Ducks need to sign a few players, including Ondrej Kase, who is quickly becoming Perry’s replacement at right wing.
This one seems unlikely given what Perry makes, but some teams need to hit the cap floor and some teams are willing to give a player of Perry’s stature a fresh lease on life hoping to extract some end-of-career heroics.
• Milan Lucic, Edmonton Oilers
It goes without saying, but this is a brutal contract for the Edmonton Oilers.
Lucic hasn’t fit and isn’t adapting to the game that’s getting faster around him, leading many observers calling for the bruiser power forward to be traded.
It’s not easy.
Perhaps we could see a Karlsson-lite sort of deal, where Lucic is packaged with a better player to shed his salary, similar to what Ottawa is trying to do to rid themselves of Bobby Ryan‘s contract.
It’s a bit of mess for Peter Chiarelli, who got himself into it in the first place. He loves himself some Lucic after winning the Stanley Cup with him in 2011.
But Chiarelli’s job isn’t getting easier after missing the playoffs with arguably the world’s best player. This isn’t about loyalty anymore for Chiarelli, it’s about his job security.
• Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets
When a player is on the fence about committing his long-term future to a team, it usually means he doesn’t want to commit his long-term future that certain team.
This is devastating for the Blue Jackets, who have one of the better teams in the NHL.
From our own James O’Brien:
He set a new career in total points. He averaged more shots on goal per game. His possession numbers jumped to an elite level. He was Columbus’ best and most impactful player for the entire season. When he was on the ice during 5-on-5 play the Blue Jackets controlled 57 percent of the total shot attempts. They outscored teams by a 61-37 margin. Without him on the ice the Blue Jackets were outshot (49 percent shot attempt) and outscored (108-111).
Panarin has a year remaining on his current contract and will turn into an unrestricted free agent next July. The return on him would be pretty good if perhaps slightly muted given the situation at this point.
It’s a lose-lose for Columbus, unless they want to give him a two-year deal and hopefully convince him to sign a longer-term contract later down the road.
The Blue Jackets aren’t far off from competing for the Stanley Cup. They have a lot of talent on their roster, including a world-class goaltender.
But you can’t lose Panarin, your best player, for nothing in a year’s time. If he isn’t willing to re-sign and meet your criteria, then you’re forced to move him, and that’s the situation, at least it appears, the Blue Jackets find themselves in.
Think someone else is likely to get moved?
Have your say in the comments.