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Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Things have quieted down around the NHL in recent weeks. Many of the top free agents have signed with teams, and there have been numerous trades to have been completed. Now, there’s a waiting period to see when the league will decide to set the start date for the 2020-21 season.
That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be more roster moves in the meantime, including on the trade market. There’s a possibility that teams will continue to have discussions and opt to make moves to try to better their rosters for when the new year arrives.
Here’s some of the latest trade buzz from around the NHL.
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Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Even though the New York Rangers are improving their roster and getting closer to contending, The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello believes the team could still be a seller at the trade deadline during the upcoming season. And if that’s the case, one potential trade chip could be center Ryan Strome.
“He’s been offered around already, and if he’s having another big year, even if it’s boosted by skating alongside Artemi Panarin, he could be a target of a contending team as a right-handed center who can play special teams,” Carpiniello recently wrote.
However, Carpiniello also noted that only certain teams are likely to be in the market for Strome, who is set to make $9 million over the next two seasons. And because of that, the 27-year-old could be “a more likely trade chip the following year, as a rental, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent,” per Carpiniello.
Strome is coming off his first full season with the Rangers in which he had a career-high 59 points (18 goals and 41 assists) in 70 games. He spent his first four NHL seasons with the New York Islanders, who selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of the 2011 draft, then went to the Edmonton Oilers, who traded him to the Rangers during his second season with the team.
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David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Tyler Johnson is entering the fourth season of his seven-year, $35 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the team wants to trade the 30-year-old center, then it’s quite possible that deal could end up being even more costly.
According to The Athletic’s Joe Smith, the Lightning would likely have to add a “sweetener” in any potential Johnson trade so that they could get another team to take on his large contract. Could it take Tampa Bay adding in a first-round draft pick along with Johnson?
“The Lightning would likely balk at having to give up a first, having already traded next year’s second-rounder away,” Smith recently wrote.
Smith added that it may come down to the Lightning having to retain some of the money from Johnson’s contract in order to complete a trade. And there may not be any move imminent, as Smith noted discussions have “been pretty quiet the last few weeks.”
Johnson has spent his entire eight-year NHL career with Tampa Bay, tallying 339 points (153 goals and 186 assists) in 534 games. This past season, he had 14 goals and 17 assists in 65 games while going on to win his first career Stanley Cup with the Lightning.
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Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
The Chicago Blackhawks’ rebuild is underway. But there are still likely to be some key veterans on the team for at least the time being.
According to NHL.com’s Tracey Myers, the Blackhawks have “made no indication” that they’re going to trade defenseman Brent Seabrook, who has spent his entire 15-year NHL career with Chicago. Myers noted that a deal would be unlikely either way, considering the 35-year-old Seabrook’s eight-year $55 million contract isn’t set to expire until after the 2023-24 season.
Seabrook was limited to a career-low 32 games last season, undergoing surgeries on his right shoulder and both hips. He had three goals and an assist during the limited action. However, if he can get healthy, there’s a chance he could still contribute and provide veteran leadership for the Blackhawks in the future.
It will be interesting to see if Chicago decides to trade any of its other veteran players as it tries to build a roster that can get back to contention in the years to come.