Which NHL team is most likely to make a trade early on here?
The Montreal Canadiens have been winning lately, but are still 4-7-1 overall.
The Edmonton Oilers have stemmed the tide of late, but own a 3-6-1 mark through 10 tilts.
The New York Rangers have points in four of their past six, but a 3-7-2 record is not leaving anyone happy.
Of those three teams, hockey Insider Elliotte Friedman was asked as Tuesday evening’s NHL slate was getting underway which franchise he thought might first make a move.
“I think Bergevin has really tried to see what’s out there,” noted Friedman during his radio hit on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650. “I just think he doesn’t like it. I think he’s looked around, he’s seen what’s out there, and he’s sitting there and he’s saying, ‘There is nothing here that makes sense for our team right now.’ So I think they’re out… and of course I always worry I’m going to hang up and we’ll have a trade right away. But as Bergevin said last week, the situation has to be solved in here.
“I do think that Peter Chiarelli has a lot of balls in the air. He sent out an email, as Chris Johnston the other day reported, about Jussi Jokinen being available. I think they’re figuring out what they’re going to do with Puljujarvi and I wonder if he gets a call-up to try to jump-start their offense. I think he’s a guy who is willing to try a few different things to see what’s out there.
“I think the Rangers be will an interesting one. I think they’re an organization that is willing to tear – I don’t know if tear it down is the right word, but they want to add prospects. They’re really excited about the two guys they drafted last year in the first round. Chytil, the one in the American Hockey League, looks really good. They’ve got a goalie in Russia who they’re really excited about. I think they look at it like, ‘We need to add young pieces.’
“So I think the Rangers are going to be fascinating to watch between now and the end of the season. I think at some point in time Nash will be traded. And I think they’re going to have a lot of questions about a guy like Kreider.
“So I look at the Rangers and I see a team that – I don’t know if they’re ready to do it yet, but I do think they’re a team that’s ready to do some interesting things in order to restock and sort of rebuild themselves because they went for it the last couple of years and they used up a lot of their tickets to do it.”
Nash 33, is in the final season of his eight-year, $62.4 million contract, which carries a $7.8 million cap hit.
He has a modified no-trade clause/no-move clause through which he submits a 12-team trade list.
Nash has two goals and an assist through his first 12 starts.
Kreider, 26, has two goals and three assists in that same stretch and is in Year Two of a four-year, $18.5 million contract.
He does not have any trade protection in his pact.
The Arizona market may not carry the pressures of the other three franchises noted, but a 1-10-1 start to the season can’t be sitting well with anyone connected to the team.
As Friedman’s segment continued, he was asked the most likely course of action with the Coyotes if the losing continues.
“I think they are determined to stick it out,” indicated Friedman. “The most amazing thing to me about it is what have they scored first, nine times and they’ve got one win? That doesn’t happen in the NHL anymore. That says to me that it’s the goaltending. And that’s why they went out and they got Wedgewood, who’s going to play again tonight in Detroit. I think they’re a team that believes they made good moves in the offseason, and the lack of goaltending has really punched them there.
“Now I do know this: A lot of people have speculated would they get to a point with a year away from unrestricted free agency that they’d be willing to move Oliver Ekman-Larsson. I’ve checked it, and I’ve been told they’re not doing it. So if you’re asking me if they’d move OEL, and other people have asked, I don’t think they’re willing to do it. Now, it could change later, but the answer now is no.”
Ekman-Larsson’s contract counts for $5.5 million against the cap, although he’s making $6.5 million in salary this season and will make $7 million in 2018-19.
He’s in the fifth season of a six-year, $33 million contract and does not have any trade protection included.