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Top 5 Star Players Who May Hit NHL Trade Block in 2022-23



Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Trade, Brian Dumoulin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings

The lesson of Johnny Gaudreau was learned quickly by the Calgary Flames. Keep negotiating with someone who doesn’t really want to re-sign and lose a star player for nothing. Within a New York minute, Calgary tried to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, realized it was the sequel, and put him on the NHL trade block. A few more teams may be wise to learn that lesson.

Of course, the flip side is Nazem Kadri, whom the Colorado Avalanche held as their own rental and won a Stanley Cup. Of course, losing Kadri won’t make or break Colorado, assuming they find some sort of replacement before the 2023 NHL trade deadline.

Teams may be wise to move cornerstone players before a protracted negotiation turns into pictures of pajama pants on Twitter.

A few players are already on the block, including Pittsburgh native J.T. Miller.

Long-time Chicago Blackhawks duo Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are good bets to hit the NHL trade rumors, too. That’s a six-inch putt to predict they will at least pop up in rumors.

Top 5 Players to Watch in 2022-23:

1. Ryan O’Reilly

With a cap hit of $7.5 million, O’Reilly would be the top center behind Miller. The St. Louis Blues will be faced with a rebuilding question. Vladimir Tarasenko is also a pending UFA, and St. Louis could clear nearly $15 million in cap space with those two players but have two large holes in their lineup, which will be tough to replace.

With Robert Thomas and Braden Schenn, O’Reilly could be, will be, a blue-chipper on the NHL trade market.

O’Reilly, 31, has 58 points, including 21 goals. He figures to get a slight raise and a five or six-year contract. Centers of this caliber generally net at least a first-round pick and prospect. We’ve also recently seen some hockey trades for centers, including Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones and Pierre-Luc Dubois for Patrik Laine.

Teams on the cusp of the next step, such as the Ottawa Senators, could be players. The Carolina Hurricanes are back on the market for a second-line center after Max Pacioretty was lost for most of the season (or all of it) due to Achillies tendon surgery. Also, watch Nick Backstrom and the Washington Capitals. Should Backstrom’s career be over or paused until 2023-24, Washington would be wise to get aggressive to placate their aging core.

2. Vladimir Tarasenko

He wanted out last summer, but St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said nyet. Tarasenko recovered from shoulder injuries. After scoring just seven goals in 34 games combined in the previous two seasons, Tarasenko busted loose for 34 goals and 82 points last season.

His contract with a $7.5 million AAV expires after his coming season, and he’ll be able to choose his destination. It seems that St. Louis won’t be his choice. The New York Islanders were rumored to be interested.

There will be no shortage of teams that could use a 30-goal RW, but there will be a shortage of teams that can absorb his salary. Since he won’t command several assets, St. Louis would have to absorb salary or accept a player in return.

3. Tyler Bertuzzi

The Detroit Red Wings are better. They couldn’t be any worse. However, how close are the Red Wings to being a competitive team with a chance to make the playoffs?

Bertuzzi is the wild card in the Red Wings’ plans. They could be both a buyer and a seller by March, pending Bertuzzi’s desire to see the rebuild through.

Bertuzzi will be one of the jewels of the NHL trade deadline if he becomes available. The 27-year-old center had 62 points, including 30 goals, last season. His speed, tenacity, and offensive acumen make him the perfect power forward for many teams.

He will want big money and max term. Will he be part of the Yzer-plan? Or can he recoup a gaggle of assets that will mature with his existing pool of youngsters, rookies, and prospects, including Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond?

Based on recent trades, Bertuzzi will cost a top-six player and a first-rounder. Or several high draft picks.

The Canadian teams should be lining up. Montreal and Ottawa would be good fits with assets to spare. The Philadelphia Flyers chased big names over the last several months and have whiffed.

The LA Kings were a playoff team. Quintin Byfield was the No. 2 overall pick behind Alexis Lafreniere, and he will need a winger. The intriguing thing about a Bertuzzi trade is the number of teams that would toss their hat into the ring for a gritty winger who can score 30.

4. Shayne Gostisbehere

The Arizona Coyotes won’t be a contender, and Gostisbehere had a resurgent season after leaving Philadelphia. He’ll have significant value on the NHL trade market; 51-point defenders aren’t often available.

Tony DeAngelo was a bit of a salary dump by the Carolina Hurricanes. He fetched second, third, and fourth-round picks from the Philadelphia Flyers. Ben Chiarot cost a prospect, a first and fourth-round pick.

Gostisbehere, 29, has an affordable $4.5 million AAV and should garner plenty of interest. Unless Arizona gets his name on a contract, they’ll have no reason to hang on.

5. John Klingberg

The touted defenseman didn’t like the UFA market and finally begged out by signing a one-year, $7 million deal with the Anaheim Ducks. Perhaps the young Ducks roster jells and makes a playoff push. It’s less likely than probable, but it could happen, especially with Klingberg and goalie John Gibson.

That he has scores about .5 points per game or more each season is a selling point. That he’s also an RHD only adds to his value. Right-handed defensemen remain in short supply.

Jeff Petry cost the Penguins 30-point speedster defenseman, Mike Matheson. Klingberg, 30, will probably cost a bit more.

Should Anaheim deem themselves out of the playoff chase, getting Klingberg for only a $7 million AAV will be a temptation to many GMs. However, like any player that makes more than a few million, the number of teams that can accept his salary without sending salary out is limited.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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William Maloni
William Maloni
1 month ago

Dan–That’s great for all of those other teams, but what about guys coming to the Pens or are those just fantasies these days???

1 month ago

Um Bertuzzi plays wing, not center. Could we at least get the basic information correct on these?