It was an interesting week in Ottawa; first The Athletic reported the agent for Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki, Steve Bartlett said his client will head to the free-agent market.
Borowiecki, then re-iterated the same in a Postmedia interview. It wasn’t that long ago Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion was quoted the club wanted to make the rugged blue-liner a “Senator for life.”
But with the evolving climate of the NHL, as the league attempts to adapt to the existence of COVID-19 for a full season in the coming months, players will want to cash into the fullest. There will be no hometown discounts. We may see something comparable to Major League Baseball in recent years, where multiple free agents were left holding the bag well into the season. Many called the league out, suggesting collusion. But in the case of the NHL, teams may truly lack resources.
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NBCSports analyst Pierre McGuire admitted as much this week during one of his regular morning hits on TSN1200.
“I’m going to caution everybody including Mark Borowiecki’s agent, these are way different times in the National Hockey League, and you’re just starting to see just a little ripple in the water. This is going to be a very different time financially for the league, and for a lot of member clubs in the league. I’m just telling you. The stories haven’t broken yet, but this is going to be a way different time for free agents, be a way different time for established players. You’re going to see some major cost-cutting around the National Hockey League, major, major cost-cutting. There are people writing stories now about this team laying off these people. You’re going to see a lot more. It’s going to trickle down to player’s salaries. This is a very different time in this league. It’s not getting enough exposure right now. I completely understand because of the playoffs. No one really wants to talk about it.
With the possibility of the free-agent marketplace becoming an unknown, expect an active trade front.
We’ve already seen the Penguins add forward Kasperi Kapanen in a multi-player deal with the Maple Leafs while sending centre Nick Bjugstad to the Wild for a conditional pick. The Canadiens acquired netminder Jake Allen from the Blues to serve as Carey Price’s backup. And Saturday Montreal dealt a 2020 fifth-round selection to the Hurricanes for the rights of pending UFA d-man Joel Edmundson – a move that’s normally consummated closer to the opening of free agency, not four weeks out.
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But these are different times as McGuire noted. Games are still being played. The Cup is yet to be awarded.
One NHL executive told Full Press NHL, there’s plenty of trade chatter, emphasizing, “Good players are in play for the first time in awhile. It’s not a traditional roster-building time.”
Here’s a list of possible trade candidates per team:
Anaheim – 27th overall Draft selection, injured Ryan Kesler’s $6.875M cap hit (2 years)
Arizona – Antti Raanta, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Darcy Kuemper, Derek Stepan
Boston – John Moore, Nick Ritchie
Buffalo – Colin Miller, Rasmus Ristolainen
Calgary – Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan
Carolina – Ryan Dzingel, Nino Niederreiter
Chicago – Brandon Saad, Zack Smith
Columbus – Josh Anderson, Alexander Wennberg
Colorado – Tyson Jost, Vladislav Kamenev
Dallas – Taylor Fedun
Detroit – Frans Nielsen, Brendan Perlini, one of three second-round selections.
Edmonton – Andreas Athanasiou, Adam Larsson
Florida – Mike Matheson
Los Angeles – Jeff Carter, Jonathan Quick, one of three second-round selections.
Montreal – Phillip Danault, Max Domi, one of three second-round selections.
Nashville – Kyle Turris
New Jersey – 20th overall selection
New York Islanders – Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy
New York Rangers – Lias Andersson, Alexander Georgiev, Ryan Strome
Ottawa – Christian Jaros, Anders Nilsson, Chris Tierney, first-round selection acquired from Islanders.
Philadelphia – Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek
Pittsburgh – Jack Johnson, Jared McCann, Matt Murray
San Jose – Brent Burns, Martin Jones
St. Louis – Robert Bortuzzo, Tyler Bozak, Jaden Schwartz
Tampa Bay – Alex Killorn
Toronto – Fredrik Andersen, ZAlex Kerfoot, William Nylander
Vancouver – Sven Baertchi, Jordie Benn, Tanner Pearson, Jake Virtanen
Vegas – Marc-Andre Fleury, Nick Holden, Bradyen McNabb
Washington – Lars Eller, Carl Hagelin
Winnipeg – Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine
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