The first big trade of the NHL offseason went down on Thursday afternoon when Jonathan Drouin was sent from Tampa Bay to Montreal, and it seems very likely there will be more in the coming days.
Teams are looking to make moves prior to next week's expansion draft, where they risk losing unprotected players to the Vegas Golden Knights. If franchises want to ensure that they get some compensation for those unprotected players, they have to swing a deal before this Saturday's roster freeze ahead of the draft.
Enter: Silly Season.
There are plenty of rumors flying around right now, so let's take a look at some of the bigger names that have reportedly been discussed in trade talks.
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Matt Duchene, Colorado
The 26-year-old Duchene has been rumored to be on the block since the middle of this past season.
Colorado is looking to move one of its talented young(ish) forwards for some defensive help as they rebuild following a horrendous year. Duchene is a leading candidate to get shipped out of town and, not surprisingly, there's a bunch of interest.
Duchene finished this past season with 41 points (18-23-41) but has proven to be a 70-point caliber player on a decent team.
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Sami Vatanen, Anaheim
The Ducks have a solid group of defensemen that they want to hold on to but the expansion draft may force them to make a deal or lose one of those guys for nothing. The odd man out could be the 26-year-old Vatanen.
The Finnish blue liner is coming off a bit of a tough season, but he's been solid in the past and can log minutes, so he's an attractive option for teams in need of defensive help. He's under contract for three more seasons at a cap hit of $4.875 million.
The Ducks could part ways with one of their other pieces on the back end, but it seems that Vatanen is the name that's being floated in most rumors.
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Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal
The Canadiens are rumored to be shopping the 23-year-old Galchenyuk pretty hard (he was initially speculated to be involved in the Drouin trade) and there's plenty of interest around the league.
The young center tallied 44 points (17-27-44) last season but scored 30 goals the year prior. He's got plenty of potential but has been inconsistent and has yet to settle into a solidified role in Montreal.
The Habs are weak down the middle and Galchenyuk probably prefers to play center, but the Canadiens may elect to swap him in order to get better defensively. Galchenyuk is a pending restricted free agent in need of a new contract.
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Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
Eberle has been the subject of trade rumors in Edmonton for years, but it seems that there's a good possibility he may finally be sent packing this offseason.
The 27-year-old winger can be a liability defensively but is a proven scorer with 165 goals to his name over seven pro seasons.
Edmonton is strong up front already and shedding Eberle's $6 million cap hit would take a little weight off their shoulders as they look ahead to signing some of their younger players.
There's not a huge rush to get rid of the winger but Edmonton could look to capitalize on the pre-expansion draft desperation of other teams.
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Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado
Like Duchene, Landeskog is one of the talented young players that the Avalanche have been rumored to be shopping for a while now.
The 24-year-old captain is a good two-way winger that usually falls within the 50-60 point range. Like most Avs players, his production was down this past season (18-15-33).
Landeskog has four more years on his current deal at a cap hit of $5.571 million.
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Jonas Brodin, Minnesota
The Wild are most likely going to protect Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon heading into the expansion draft, so that means either Brodin or Matt Dumba could be exposed to Vegas.
Instead of losing them for nothing, Minnesota will likely exploring trading one of their young blue liners. Brodin is the more attractive option for potential suitors. He's about to enter his age 24 season and is an established top-four caliber defenseman that is very strong in his own end.
Brodin won't thrill anyone with his offensive production, but he's a good defensive defenseman that brings a modest cap hit of $4.16 million for the next four seasons.
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Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh
One way or another, Fleury is on his way out of Pittsburgh. The veteran netminder -- fresh off his third Stanley Cup -- has already agreed to be exposed to Vegas in the expansion draft, so he could be selected by the Golden Knights next week.
But he could also be traded -- either by Pittsburgh before the draft, or by Vegas afterward -- to a team that's in need of help between the pipes, as long as he agrees to waive his no-movement clause for the potential destination.
There are plenty of teams that need goaltending and Fleury proved during the Penguins' playoff run that he can still be a strong starter, so he's an enticing option. He has two years left on his current deal with an AAV of $5.75 million.
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Evander Kane, Buffalo
The Sabres are looking for defensive help, which means that the 25-year-old Kane could be on his way out of Buffalo.
The explosive winger scored 28 goals in 70 games last season, but one of the common knocks against him is that he brings baggage off the ice. A spat with former teammate Dustin Byfuglien preceded his trade from the Jets to Sabres, and he has also run into a few legal issues in recent years.
There are still teams that could still make a play for the strong, skilled winger -- especially considering he only has one year ($5.25 million) remaining on his current deal.
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Matt Dumba, Minnesota
Again, if the Wild make a deal, it's likely going to be Brodin or Dumba on their way out of Minnesota.
Dumba isn't quite as reliable defensively but he's better in the offensive zone. He's also a year younger, a little cheaper -- at least for now, as he's got one year left on his contract at a $2.75 cap hit -- and likely won't require as much of a haul to acquire.
The Wild's GM reportedly has quality offers on the table for both Brodin and Dumba, so it just depends on which deal they want to make.