Your NHL trade proposals: Analyzing fun fan ideas on who could go where

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The Matthew Tkachuk trade was so exciting because few times do we see trades of that caliber in the NHL. So, did it spark some creativity?

We asked for your best trade proposals and picked a handful to analyze — well, some of the most fun proposals. Not all pitches are good, but neither are all NHL trades. 

To help in our analysis, Prashanth Iyer helped us quantify the exchange in value with the trade machine. For draft picks that didn’t include a year, we assumed 2023 to put a value on all assets on the move. 

Let’s use a Patrick Kane deal as an example to show how this all works. One offering sent Kane at 50 percent salary retention to the Rangers in exchange for Nils Lundkvist, a first-rounder and two spare parts that are barely NHL-caliber in Julien Gauthier and Libor Hajek. The trade machine laughed at the deal because Chicago’s takeaway would be less than half of New York’s. 

Get it? Let’s go.


To Detroit: Oliver Kylington
To Calgary: Filip Zadina

The Red Wings did bulk up their defense this summer, but the real question when looking at that group of eight NHL-caliber defensemen is how many are truly top-four worthy? That’s what adds some intrigue here. 

If Detroit could bring in a player like Kylington, whose timeline should match up somewhat well with theirs, it would allow management to flip lesser defenders for some depth forward adds. His skill set would click well in Detroit, too. The focus there this summer has been strengthening play in their own zone, but it still helps to have blueliners who can break the puck out of their own end and move it up the ice. The only question is how well Kylington would adapt to a team with a lot less defensive structure than Calgary, and if his game would slide at all without the shutdown capabilities of his mainstay partner of this past season, Chris Tanev. 

This could make sense for the Flames as well now that MacKenzie Weegar is in the fold. Calgary has five top-four caliber defensemen and could be inclined to move one for forward help. The advantage from this trade is the years Zadina still has under team control, plus the cap space he’ll absorb over the next few years compared to Kylington. That’s what makes Calgary the winner here, by the trade machine. 

So even though there are ways to project Calgary as the winner in this circumstance, it’s possible the Flames want more assurance with a more established forward in exchange for one of their defenders. 


To Calgary: Timo Meier
To San Jose: Noah Hanifin, 2023 first-round pick

For Calgary to get that assurance up front, it could take more than Kylington despite his potential and progress this past season. The tricky part of moving on from a player like Hanifin, as pitched here, means committing to the rest of those top-four defenders. And one of them, Weegar, only has a year left on his contract until unrestricted free agency so Calgary may want to be sure he’s sticking around long term first. Hanifin, on the other hand, has two years left. The lefty also is a few years younger. 

But for a forward like Timo Meier, it could be a consideration. Again, the Flames would probably want some security if Meier were the trade target, seeing as he’s also an unrestricted free agent in a year. If there could be more contract certainty, it wouldn’t hurt Calgary to add a frequent shooter like Meier into the mix — he’d pair up well with a passer like Huberdeau. The problem is that the cost of acquisition (Hanifin and a first) is too great, unless there’s a really cost-effective extension in there. A mid-round pick plus the defender would be more balanced. 

From the Sharks’ perspective, Hanifin could slot right into their top four on the left and elevate that blue line. But their forward group would suffer greatly without their best winger. So ideally management can find a way to tighten up their defense without setting their offense this far back. 


To Toronto: Jonathan Huberdeau
To Calgary: William Nylander, Rasmus Sandin, second-round pick (conditional)

There were quite a few deals that sent Nylander out of Toronto, but this one was wild enough to get my attention. 

Yes, Toronto’s cap situation is tight and it’s going to get worse when Nylander’s cost-effective contract expires and Auston Matthews hits unrestricted free agency. But that’s exactly why the Leafs have to maximize these next two years — and that means around the core they’ve built with these two forwards and Mitch Marner. It makes even less sense to move such key assets in Nylander and Sandin to bring in a passer like Huberdeau when Toronto already has Marner. The conditional second that could push up to a first just pushes the return to the next level for one (one!) year of Huberdeau, before he cashes in on presumably the most lucrative contract of his career.  

Of course, if I’m Calgary, I would race to take a deal like this when the return would be worth double what they’d be losing. 


To Edmonton: Scott Mayfield, fourth-round pick
To New York (Islanders): Tyson Barrie

Cap space is awfully valuable in this league and flexibility is crucial to both squads — so while Barrie grades out as the more valuable, the real winner is whoever doesn’t invest as much cap in this depth defenseman role. It doesn’t make sense for the Islanders to take on more cap when they still have Noah Dobson unsigned and little left over to upgrade at forward. As it stands, management is probably looking for ways to move cap out, not absorb more. So while they may have looked for a puck-mover this summer for the blue line, that was already addressed at a high cost with Alexander Romanov. While he’s less established, his next contract probably won’t be as high as Barrie’s hit for the rest of the year. 


To Calgary: Jonathan Toews (25 percent salary retention)
To Chicago: Sean Monahan, Juuso Valimaki, mid-round pick

For our purposes, we wrote in a fourth-rounder to put a value on it. 

Calgary could get out of Monahan’s contract in this deal, and save a bit of cap at the end of the day (under $2.7 million), but that may not give them the flexibility they’re looking for to address any other lineup concerns. 

By the numbers, the Blackhawks look to be the winner in this deal given a rough couple of years for their captain. But, there are no guarantees for Monahan either, who is coming off of a disappointing season and hip surgery. That’s a risk the tanking Blackhawks would probably be fine with — best case, he helps them land in the basement sooner. Given the dwindling trade assets left in Chicago after this summer, it wouldn’t be surprising if they felt they deserved more in return for Toews considering how other general managers may feel about him after his Stanley Cup runs. That’s what gives pause here.


To Chicago: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cole Perfetti, 2024 first-round pick
To Winnipeg: Jonathan Toews (50 percent retention), Patrick Kane (50 percent retention)

Sticking with Toews (and tossing in Kane), what if the Blackhawks were to move the pair together? Packaging assets can diminish the return, and this doesn’t do enough for Chicago. Despite his flaws, Kane does have on-ice value (especially at 50 percent salary retention). So it’s probably better for management to move him somewhere Toews doesn’t go because the acquiring team then is adding $10.5 million in cap space between the two which won’t bring back the same return as one forward at $5.25 million. Winnipeg should be focused on now and the future, instead of acquiring players for one year and having nothing to show for it later. 

On the flip side, this doesn’t make enough sense for Chicago unless they were to flip Dubois again. The forward didn’t sign a long-term deal with the Jets this offseason and could hit unrestricted free agency in two years, so he honestly doesn’t serve much of a purpose for the Blackhawks on the ice when there’s no chance they’re competitive before then.


To Montreal: Pierre-Luc Dubois
To Winnipeg: Christian Dvorak, Josh Anderson, first-round pick (from FLA)

A trade to Montreal could make sense because the Canadiens, who probably won’t be very competitive ahead of Dubois’ contract expiring, wouldn’t have to worry about him walking like other teams would. This trade gets Montreal out of Anderson’s contract that hasn’t aged too well yet, and likely only trends down further over the next couple of years.  

By the numbers, Winnipeg comes out ahead in this trade. There’s more contract certainty between Dvorak and Anderson, plus they get a (likely later round) first-rounder that can either be used or flipped for more players to bolster this lineup. 


To Anaheim: Sergei Bobrovsky, Spencer Knight
To Florida: John Gibson, Anthony Stolarz

I can appreciate how wild this would be. But if I’m Anaheim, I reject this deal. Having Bobrovsky and Knight blocks a path for Lukas Dostal to come up and make a push at the NHL level. So while it gives the Ducks a chance to have long-term certainty past John Gibson between the two young goalies (one of which can eventually be traded), there’s still a weight in Bobrovsky’s contract lingering over them. For Florida, I see the appeal of Gibson without a doubt, and the cap relief — that should help them address the defense. But the team 1) needs a new backup 2) mortgages the future some more and that will likely bite them going forward.


To Carolina: Max Pacioretty, Dylan Coghlan
To Vegas: Nothing

Who in the world would trade Max Pacioretty for nothing? 

Oh, that happened? Odd asset management! 


To Edmonton: Martin Necas
To Carolina: Jesse Puljujarvi

Just like we expected Dubois-related proposals, we knew we’d get our fair share involving Puljujarvi. There were deals that sent him to Buffalo for Victor Olofsson, essentially trading a play-driver for a player with finishing talent. If only you could combine the two to really round out their skill sets. 

Another packaged the winger with Barrie and a first for Josh Anderson and a third-rounder, which would clear about $1.5 million in cap space for the Oilers in 2022-23, but bite them in the long run with Anderson’s cap hit. 

Instead, the trade that sparks the most interest involving Puljujarvi was in exchange for Necas. The forward’s value seems to have trended down in Carolina, so this could give him an opportunity to show his two-way ability in Edmonton. And the Oilers seem to want more than what Puljujarvi has brought to the lineup. Plus, it keeps the Finns per 60 rate high for the Canes. 

Necas has a bit more value by the numbers thanks to his defensive instincts and extra year of team control. But given Puljujarvi’s play-driving that should lead to results, there’s still potential for Carolina to tap into with him. 


To Carolina: Alex Formenton, Jacob Bernard-Docker, first-round pick (OTT), second-round pick (OTT)
To New York (Islanders): fifth-round pick (CAR)
To Ottawa: Sebastian Aho, Sebastian Aho

Yep, this is the kind of chaos I need. I like the effort and thought that went into this. Defenseman Aho should probably change his first name to 2ebastian. 


To Carolina: Jakob Chychrun
To Arizona: Martin Necas, Ethan Bear, Dominik Bokk, first-round pick (2023), second-round pick (2024)

Along with Necas, there are some questions on where the Hurricanes stand in the long run with Ethan Bear. The restricted free agent, unlike Necas, has already been extended. But that doesn’t mean he’ll start the season with the Hurricanes. 

Arizona doesn’t have to rush to trade Chychrun given his contract status, but the sooner they move him, the more they can ask for in return. The defender’s value did take a hit this past season, but the quality of the team around him has to be taken into consideration. That’s why there should be quite a few squads in on him. Los Angeles is one of those teams, and there were pitches sent in — but the return felt a bit too high. 

Instead, this proposal for the Hurricanes could make some sense. They may not need Chychrun as much as other teams around the league, but if handedness is a priority then another lefty wouldn’t hurt. If Carolina’s going to move NHL-caliber players, Bear and Necas feel like the two who could be in the mix. And both are young enough that they should be fits for what Arizona is looking for. The expectation should be an emphasis on future assets as well, so that’s where the draft picks and prospect (Bokk) come in.  

Altogether, this return is probably too steep for the Hurricanes — but there’s potential if something could be removed (maybe it’s Bokk or Necas on the move, but not both, or one of the picks is removed).  


To Philadelphia: Vladimir Tarasenko (10 percent salary retention), Marco Scandella, Niko Mikkola, Tanner Dickinson, first-round pick (2025)
To St. Louis: Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov

To end it off, we’ll look at another popular trade target: Tarasenko. There were two offers that sent him to the Islanders. One was in exchange for Anthony Beauviller, Kieffer Bellows and a second-rounder which doesn’t seem like enough for the Blues forward. The other sent Oliver Wahlstrom, Simon Holmstrom and a first to St. Louis, which mortgages the future way too much for the Islanders on one year of Tarasenko (without any salary retention). There was even some spice to send him, Zachary Bolduc and a first to Boston for David Pastrnak. 

But the one that caught my eye was the biggest trade of all — a blockbuster featuring the Blues and the Flyers. For 2022-23, the salary could work out for both sides which is a win. But the value exchanged is quite a bit different. 

Mikkola’s limited NHL time hasn’t showcased him to the best of his abilities, so maybe the trade machine underrates him. But the Flyers’ defense wouldn’t be getting any better with Scandella on the back end over Provorov. 

The Tarasenko versus Konecny conversation is an interesting one. The veteran had a bounce-back year now that he’s healthy, but he has just one year left on his contract. Konecny trended down but still has potential, especially when he’s not on a tire fire of a team. But his contract term does make this a gamble because there’s a chance he doesn’t rebound. When Tarasenko’s deal expires, the Blues will save some cap which helps balance out Robert Thomas’ extension and probably Jordan Kyrou’s in a year as well. With Konecny and Provorov, the Blues lose that space since both had term left on their deals. 

That’s the part of it that makes this deal iffy — St. Louis loses flexibility while giving up a prospect and a pick. This deal just doesn’t do enough for them. The Flyers, at least, get future assets that help in the long run and a very good power forward in Tarasenko. But their direction is still murky, so it really depends on what they actually want to do moving forward. 

Data via CapFriendly, Dom Luszczyszyn, Prashanth Iyer, HockeyViz, Evolving-Hockey and AllThreeZones 

(Photo of Patrick Kane: Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today)