SERAVALLI: Trade Targets: Will Seth Jones be the first to move?

Happy NHL Draft Day 2021. There’s plenty on the move, so hurry up and dive in to read about the 30 Trade Targets in play before everything changes.

1. Jack Eichel
Center, Buffalo Sabres
Age: 24
Contract: 5 years remaining at $10 million AAV
Scoop: The asking price for Eichel seems to be “fantastical” by all accounts. Teams are on high alert in the hours leading up to the first round of the NHL Draft. The Rangers, for one, were calling around to teams inquiring about a pick inside the Top 10 – believed to be part of the ask from Buffalo to get into the Eichel ballpark. Buffalo wants a futures-type transaction with multiple picks and prospects. It’s still difficult to imagine a scenario in which Eichel returns to the Sabres next season, but this weekend should be a strong indicator of the odds on that.

2. Seth Jones
Right Defense, Columbus Blue Jackets
Age: 26
Contract: 1 year remaining at $5.4 million AAV
Scoop: There is no doubt the Chicago Blackhawks are working hard to pry Jones loose from Columbus. The belief is Chicago is not willing to part with either Alex DeBrincat or Kirby Dach in a deal. The leverage Chicago has is there are few markets where Jones is willing to sign long-term – and that have the ability or interest in trading for him. Chicago is one of them. The difficulty for Columbus is teams do not want to pay twice, both the acquisition cost to get him, then the cost to sign him.

3. Conor Garland
Right Wing, Arizona Coyotes
Age: 25
Contract: RFA (Arbitration Eligible)
Scoop: There’s been very little update since this info on June 28 – The Coyotes have not treated Garland like the player who was the heartbeat of their team. Garland’s camp, led by agent Peter Cooney, submitted two contract proposals (as requested by the club) on May 20 and there has been zero communication or dialogue since. “We’re just looking for Conor to be paid respectfully like the core player he was for the Coyotes,” Cooney told Daily Faceoff on Tuesday. It appears that will be elsewhere, which is no real shock given that Arizona nearly moved Garland in the days prior to April’s trade deadline.

4. Vladimir Tarasenko 
Right Wing, St. Louis Blues
Age: 29
Contract: 2 years remaining at $7.5 million AAV
Scoop: Blues GM Doug Armstrong said Thursday that he could envision a scenario in which Tarasenko is in St. Louis to start next season. Really, what else was he supposed to say? In requesting a trade, Tarasenko holds the cards with a full “no-trade” clause, but we’re told that isn’t an issue in this case. He’s willing to play almost anywhere. And with a recent report from The Athletic that offered further clarity on his health situation, it certainly seems like that shoulder should not be an issue that prevents Tarasenko from getting back to his usual 35-goal self.

5. Darcy Kuemper
Goaltender, Arizona Coyotes
Age: 31
Contract: 1 year remaining at $4.5 million AAV
Scoop: Kuemper has emerged as the premier goaltender available on the market. At least three teams have expressed interest in the veteran, including the Colorado Avalanche, Seattle Kraken and Toronto Maple Leafs, all of whom viewed him as a primary target in net. The Kuemper camp has made it clear to Arizona that he will not be signing an extension in the desert. The ask from Arizona has been a first-round pick, but GM Bill Armstrong will likely be forced to readjust those expectations based on the return for a younger, less expensive Alex Nedeljkovic, who was under team control and doesn’t have the same injury history. Nedeljkovic only brought back a third-round pick plus pending UFA veteran Jonathan Bernier.

6. Josh Manson
Right Defense, Anaheim Ducks
Age: 29
Contract: 1 year remaining at $4.1 million AAV
Scoop: The Ducks are certainly listening to offers on Manson, one of the top right-shooting defensemen available this summer, either via trade or free agency. He will be due a new contract. Some teams wonder about Manson’s game since sustaining concussions, noticing a pretty significant drop off since then. Nonetheless, he remains right at the top of the list for a team like the Philadelphia Flyers. The Ducks are looking for a first-round pick as part of the package. But any departure would also create a pretty significant hole for the Ducks to fill – after already losing Haydn Fleury on the left side earlier in the week to Seattle in the Expansion Draft.

7. Rasmus Ristolainen
Right Defense, Buffalo Sabres
Age: 26
Contract: 1 year remaining at $5.4 million AAV
Scoop: Interest in Ristolainen has picked up in recent days. Feels like years now that ‘Risto’ has been part of the rumor mill, but after a Covid-19 ravaged season, this offseason probably brings the best probability that he’s finally on the move. To think, at one point, Ristolainen put together four straight seasons of 40-plus points. Can that ability be unlocked again?

8. Johnny Gaudreau
Left Wing, Calgary Flames
Age: 27
Contract: 1 year remaining at $6.75 million AAV
Scoop: Many wondered last October whether Gaudreau had played his final game as a Flame. That question looms larger this summer after a disastrous season for Calgary’s core. Extrapolated over 82 games, Gaudreau actually had an average production season, with a 28-goal and 71-point pace. But change would seem to be on the horizon in Calgary and an extension would be required at some point as well, making him a logical candidate to move. You could also add Sean Monahan, who has previously been in trade discussions, to the list in this spot.

9. Reilly Smith / Jonathan Marchessault
Right Wing / Left Wing, Vegas Golden Knights
Age: 30 (both)
Contract: 1 year remaining at $5 million AAV / 3 years remaining at $5 million
Scoop: Smith has emerged a couple weeks backas one of the trade chips on the wing that GM Kelly McCrimmon is willing to part with to better balance the forward corps. Sounds like his partner in crime Marchessault is also in the same category. His assist production waned last season, but Smith still scored at a 22-goal pace over an 82-game season, which has been a sure bet almost every season on the Strip. One of the original Golden Misfits, already one of just eight remaining from 2017-18, is also due a new contract. Marchessault has a little more term and cost certainty that could up the return.

10. Sam Reinhart
Center, Buffalo Sabres
Age: 25
Contract: RFA (Arbitration Eligible)
Scoop: The Sabres are reportedly looking for a first-round pick and a prospect in exchange for Reinhart. But shoot some truth serum into Sabres GM Kevyn Adams and he’ll likely tell you that his real preference is not to move Reinhart. He finished tied for 11th in the league in goals (25), which is a 37-goal pace over 82 games. By all accounts, Reinhart also emerged as one of Buffalo’s leaders. It’s just that Reinhart is one year away from free agency and his negative comments indicate there is little chance he’ll be signing long-term, so this summer might be the best time to rip the band-aid off.

11. Evgeny Kuznetsov
Center, Washington Capitals
Age: 29
Contract: 4 years remaining at $7.8 million AAV
Scoop: Kuznetsov is probably a difficult trade chip to move, but the Capitals have been trying. Simply put, the Caps are tired of Kuznetsov’s antics. From being one of the only NHL players to test positive for Covid-19 twice this season, to his four-year suspension from international hockey after testing positive for cocaine, the time is right for a change. Kuznetsov is unquestionably a talented player – he’s reached a Conn Smythe-worthy level that few can attain – but he’s also been mercurial. His contract and cap have been deterrents, but perhaps less so after the Caps pay his $5 million signing bonus due in July.

12. Jake Bean
Left Defense, Carolina Hurricanes
Age: 23
Contract: RFA (not arbitration eligible)
Scoop: The Hurricanes have been working to move Bean since the Expansion Draft ended and he was not selected by Seattle. The asking price is a second-round pick. Bean is looking for more opportunity, more than the Canes can currently provide with their embarrassment of riches in their top four. First team to hit the price will take him.

13. Ryan Reaves
Right Wing, Vegas Golden Knights
Age: 34
Contract: 1 year remaining at $1.75 million
Scoop: If you have a Tom Wilson problem, Reaves is your solution. The belief is the Rangers have been interested in the presence Reaves brings to the ice. After starring on the Strip for parts of the last four seasons, moving Reaves would provide the Golden Knights with a little more salary cap flexibility, as well.

14. Flyers’ 1st Round Pick
No. 14 overall (13th pick)
Scoop: There are other first-round picks believed to be in play, including the Vancouver Canucks’ at No. 9 overall, but Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher was pretty vocal about his willingness to move it. “I think we have to explore what we can do with it. If there’s some way we can help our team — not just in the short term, but moreover several years over the longer term — and it cost me the first-round pick? If I can get that type of asset, I’ll certainly look at doing it.”

15. Rights to David Savard
Right Defense, Tampa Bay Lightning
Age: 30
Contract: Pending UFA
Scoop: Tampa Bay advised all 31 other teams that they’d be willing to trade early negotiating rights of Savard, Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman – and only the Rangers have taken them up on it for Coleman. Teams have privately questioned how much tread is left on Savard’s tires. The Lightning paid a huge price to get him and he helped them win a second straight Stanley Cup, but the fit was not seamless. He played with three different defense partners before settling in. The term he receives on the market will be more interesting than the money.

16. Warren Foegele
Left Wing, Carolina Hurricanes
Age: 25
Contract: RFA (Arbitration Eligible)
Scoop: It’s probably no great shock that Foegele is hungry for more opportunity and ice time. It’s also probably no great shock that Carolina may not be in the position to give him more. Foegele is a capable player who competes, brings a shovel and is ready to dig in. Carolina has had no shortage of interest in Foegele, with many teams thinking he can play a similar role on a successful team as Goodrow and Coleman, at a much cheaper salary cap price point.

17. Tyler Johnson
Right Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning
Age: 30
Contract: 3 years remaining at $5 million AAV
Scoop: There’s no secret here. Last offseason, Johnson was clearly the odd-man out in Tampa, as the Lightning put him on waivers twice (once in October, once in January) in an attempt to alleviate their salary cap crunch. They’ve now doubled down on those efforts this offseason. Yanni Gourde was the first two-time champ under contract to move; Seattle plucked him for nothing. The Lightning will have to pay to move Johnson this time around, even though he authored an awesome story with a two-goal game (including the game winner) in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

18. Pavel Buchnevich
Right Wing, New York Rangers
Age: 26
Contract: RFA (Arbitration Eligible)
Scoop: Sources indicate new Rangers GM Chris Drury has engaged in conversation about the possibility of moving Buchnevich. Why? He is coming off a career season, where he collected 20 goals and 48 points in just 54 games – a 30-goal and 72-point run over an 82-game stretch. That means he’s about to be paid. His arbitration award, at a minimum, is well above the $4.54 million walkaway rate – and any arbitration award would walk him to free agency anyway. It’s time to either buck-up or book a ticket for Buchnevich.

19. Jakub Voracek
Right Wing, Philadelphia Flyers
Age: 31
Contract: 3 years remaining at $8.25 million AAV
Scoop: Voracek has been a big part of Philly’s core for a decade, but clearing out his contract also represents the Flyers’ cleanest path to cap flexibility. The Flyers weren’t willing to entice Seattle to take him, but they are still trying to move one of Voracek or James van Riemsdyk. They will have teams lining up if Philly is willing to retain $2 million or so. Because it wouldn’t shock anyone to see Voracek, who is owed a few million fewer in real dollars on the backend of his deal, be back in the 60-point range again next season.

20. Evander Kane
Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
Age: 29
Contract: 4 years remaining at $7 million AAV
Scoop: Doug Wilson is navigating choppy waters in the Bay Area. Sources indicate significant friction built up between Kane and a number of his teammates last season, frustration that was expressed clearly to management in exit interviews. The trouble is Kane is also coming off the best season of his career: 32 goal and 40 assist pace over an 82-game season. He is one of the best at his position with a relentless forechecking style  – and he’s signed to a contract that is commensurate with that production. We’ll see where this goes.

21. Nate Schmidt 
Left/Right Defense, Vancouver Canucks
Age: 29
Contract: 4 years remaining at $5.95 million AAV
Scoop: Publicly, the Canucks denied a report saying Schmidt wanted to move on from Vancouver, with GM Jim Benning saying: “He was real positive in his exit interview. It’s not true. He doesn’t want out of Vancouver so I don’t know where that got started.” Behind the scenes, there seems to be some fire surrounding that smoke. There has been no formal ‘trade request,’ but there is also no denying Schmidt was not a great fit during his first season with the Canucks. There’s seemingly been little by way of development here.

22. Nicolas Deslauriers
Left Wing, Anaheim Ducks
Age: 30
Contract: 1 year remaining at $1 million AAV
Scoop: It raised more than a few eyebrows when the Ducks decided to protect Deslauriers on their Expansion list, as opposed to say, center Derek Grant. The reason? You don’t expose players you know other teams value. Deslauriers was linked to Pittsburgh last season at the trade deadline. There are other teams with interest in the big, bruising winger who once hit double digit goals and could do it again.

23. Jake DeBrusk
Left Wing, Boston Bruins
Age: 24
Contract: 1 year remaining at $3.675 million AAV
Scoop: One of the NHL’s more consistent, young goal-scoring wingers found himself on the outside of the Bruins’ lineup in Game 5 of the second round. It was the fourth time DeBrusk was healthy scratched by Bruce Cassidy last season, leaving Cassidy to say after the season that the two needed to sit down and find ‘common ground.’ If Taylor Hall re-signs, that gives Boston more flexibility to explore a fresh start for DeBrusk.

24. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Left Defense, Arizona Coyotes
Age: 29
Contract: 6 years remaining at $8.25 million AAV
Scoop: The word around Arizona is everyone is available aside from Jakob Chychrun. That includes the captain. Last offseason, Ekman-Larsson only gave Arizona two options: Boston and Vancouver. There is more flexibility there this time around. But that is a very difficult contract to move in a flat cap world and there are plenty of questions about Ekman-Larsson’s recent and noticeable drop-off in play. The Coyotes are believed to be looking for a Ryan O’Reilly (to St. Louis)-type deal: pick, prospect, roster player and are willing to maybe take a smaller, less desirable contract in return.

25. Rickard Rakell
Right Wing, Anaheim Ducks
Age: 28
Contract: 1 year remaining at $3.789 million AAV
Scoop: Keep an eye on the Ducks to reshuffle the deck this summer. GM Bob Murray wants to speed up the rebuild after three straight seasons picking in the Top 10. Rakell is a talented player who was one of the hottest players in the league for a stretch this season until an untimely injury derailed a possible deadline deal.

26. Marcus Pettersson
Left Defense, Pittsburgh Penguins
Age: 25
Contract: 4 years remaining at $4.025 million AAV
Scoop: The issue for Pittsburgh isn’t Pettersson the player, but Pettersson at that cap hit with that kind of term – one of the holdovers from GM Jim Rutherford’s tenure. The blow, of course, is softened by Rutherford delivering two Stanley Cups to the Steel City. The Penguins have attempted to package Pettersson in other transactions, but no team is willing to take him at full cap hit. Retaining salary would make teams more interested, but that would also mostly defeat the purpose.

27. Nikita Zadorov
Left Defense, Chicago Blackhawks
Age: 26
Contract: RFA (arbitration eligible)
Scoop: The Blackhawks would like to find a suitor for Zadorov, who was exposed and not taken in the Expansion Draft by Seattle. The Kraken opted for forward John Quenneville instead. The issue isn’t necessarily with Zadorov’s play or contribution. Teams like his 6-foot-6 size. It’s just that no one is banging down the Blackhawks’ door knowing that an arbitration award might be expensive.

28. Alexandar Georgiev
Goaltender, New York Rangers
Age: 25
Contract: 1 year remaining at $2.425 million AAV
Scoop: Sources say Georgiev placed a trade request with the Rangers a while back, hoping to break out from behind Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers have sought a first-round pick for him. But that won’t be happening – not after the return for Alex Nedeljkovic set the market price. And not if teams do their homework on Georgiev, who wasn’t exactly known as a favorite teammate on Broadway.

29. Ethan Bear
Right Defense, Edmonton Oilers
Age: 24
Contract: 1 year remaining at $2 million
Scoop: Edmonton’s preference probably is not to trade Bear, who is still finding his footing in the NHL, but they may have to consider the possibility depending on the other balls GM Ken Holland is juggling on the backend. The trouble for Bear, like a lot of young players, has been consistency. He is a gifted player. The knock on him is his commitment to being in top-end condition.

30. Sami Niku
Left Defense, Winnipeg Jets
Age: 24
Contract: 1 year remaining at $725,000 AAV
Scoop: The Jets are resigned to the fact that a change of scenery is on the horizon for their former AHL Defenseman of the Year, who could not crack the team’s lineup last season. His one-year deal at league minimum makes Niku a no-risk proposition.

Next up: Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins.

Traded: No. 9 Duncan Keith (Edmonton).

Removed: No. 11 Rights to Dougie Hamilton; No. 15 Tyler Bertuzzi; No. 20 Alex Kerfoot; No. 21 Dante Fabbro; No. 22 Vince Dunn (Expansion); No. 24 Chris Driedger (Expansion).

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