The Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche combined to execute the biggest trade of the NHL season, and that deal could have a domino effect as the trade market adjusts.
Matt Duchene was one of the top players available until the Avalanche sent him to Ottawa. The Predators removed another name from the trade pool when they acquired Kyle Turris as part of the move.
General managers hoping to bolster their squads still have plenty of options, but adding Evander Kane, Gabriel Landeskog or Erik Gudbranson may prove easier said than done.
Evander KaneJeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press
Before the 2017-18 season, the Sabres trading Kane would’ve seemed somewhat likely. He’s in the final year of his contract, and, more often than not, he hasn’t been worth the headaches he has caused on and off the ice.
However, Kane leads the Sabres with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists). His 0.94 points per game are a career high as well.
In an interview with TSN Radio 1290, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Buffalo may not be in a hurry to offload the 26-year-old.
“My understanding is that he and Phil Housley, the coach now of the Sabres, have a pretty good bond developing there,” Dreger said. “They connected relatively early.”
Dreger added that “there’s going to be a ton of interest” in Kane and “calls are coming in” to the Sabres’ offices about the winger.
Were Kane a little older, then the Sabres should seriously consider moving him ahead of the trade deadline. But he’s in the prime of his career and should be able to help Buffalo for years to come.
The fact Kane will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason adds some risk to the Sabres, who could potentially lose him and get nothing in return. Still, that’s a preferable route than trading him, even if the team continues to hover near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Gabriel LandeskogDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press
Speaking with TSN 1200 Ottawa, TSN’s Bob McKenzie (h/t Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports) said the Duchene trade came as little surprise. Not only was Duchene a valuable trade asset, he had also been looking for an exit.
Landeskog, on the other hand, may not be agitating for a change of scenery, according to McKenzie:
“But in any case, Landeskog is a guy that’s never wanted out, but they felt like when things were going down the drain last year that those were two players that would have currency and would get them back some of the many things that they needed to make this team better. Now that they’re a more competitive team, I don’t know that they’d be as quick to move Landeskog. I think they’d listen on just about anybody. But I don’t think they have as burning a desire to shake things up as much as they did last year.”
A general manager wouldn’t be doing their job by issuing a blanket refusal of any trade offers for a player. With that said, it should take a massive return for Avs GM Joe Sakic to even consider trading Landeskog.
Landeskog has averaged 0.65 points per game, and he only turns 25 on Nov. 23. Most importantly, he’s signed through the 2020-21 season, with $18.5 million coming his way over the next three years.
Until the seven-year veteran is closer to approaching the end of his current deal, Colorado should consider him one of the more untouchable players on the roster.
Erik GudbransonMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, the overwhelming sentiment is that Erik Gudbranson’s days with the Vancouver Canucks should be numbered, according to the Province‘s Ben Kuzma: “The consistent clamour is that the Vancouver Canucks defenseman should have been dealt last summer or before the next trade deadline. And definitely before he enters the lucrative world of Blueliner Bingo—better known as unrestricted free agency.”
Of the three players listed, Gudbranson is easily the most likely to change teams.
The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and unlike Kane or Landeskog, he’s not an integral member of the Canucks lineup.
Kuzma wrote Gudbranson could be in a position to command $4 to $5 million on his next contract, which would be a big sum to pay a defenseman who’s on the team’s third line when everybody is healthy.
Another team may be willing to give up a solid asset or two for Gudbranson, in which case everybody could walk away a winner. The Canucks wouldn’t face a potential future in which Gudbranson walks away in free agency, Gudbranson would join a team where he might have a larger role and the team adding him would get a player who’s generally solid when he’s on the ice.