Trade Bait: Jets stars Dubois, Hellebuyck, Scheifele rank high as trade candidates
With the Vegas Golden Knights putting an end to the 2022-23 NHL season after capturing their first Stanley Cup in franchise history earlier this week, the focus now turns to the excitement of off-season roster management.
The NHL Draft, free agency and, of course, the trade market, should give hockey fans plenty to talk about over the next couple months.
Our TSN Hockey Insiders have compiled their annual end-of-season Trade Bait board, listing the players that are most likely to have a new home come September.
Let’s take a closer look at the Top 10 on the Trade Bait board.
Trade Bait 1-5
No. 1: Pierre-Luc Dubois (F - Winnipeg Jets)
It appears Pierre-Luc Dubois’ time with the Winnipeg Jets will come to an end this summer as the 24-year-old forward wants to play elsewhere, according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.
Dubois made $6 million this season in his third campaign with the Jets and is a restricted free agent.
The native of Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., recorded a career high 63 points in 2022-23, including 27 goals and 36 assists.
No. 2: Connor Hellebuyck (G - Winnipeg Jets)
The 2020 Vezina Trophy winner, who is entering the final season of a six-year, $37 million contract, is also unlikely to return to the Jets in the fall.
Connor Hellebuyck, a 30-year-old American, has spent his entire eight-year NHL career in Winnipeg after the Jets selected him in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Hellebuyck is a two-time All-Star and has a career goals-against average of 2.66 with a save percentage of .916 over 445 games.
No. 3: Alex DeBrincat (F - Ottawa Senators)
On Thursday, the Ottawa Senators elected to file for arbitration with restricted free agent Alex DeBrincat, according to Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston, this means the Sens have "set the window for when they have to trade him."
"Any salary arbitration case comes with a one-year contract awarded and there's an understanding here that DeBrincat is most valuable as an asset if he gets a multi-year deal," Johnston said on Insider Trading. "And so that means they're going to have to deal him by the end of July or early August when the arbitration hearings happen. I believe they're going to put a push on here to get that deal done much, much sooner by the draft this month. There's said to be very strong interest from the smallest of teams DeBrincat and his camp provided. And right now for the Senators, it's working through those conversations and finding the best return."
The 25-year-old DeBrincat was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last July for draft picks and scored 27 goals with 39 assists over 82 games in 2022-23.
DeBrincat is also a restricted free agent after making $6.4 million in each of the last three seasons.
No. 4: Mark Scheifele (F - Winnipeg Jets)
Mark Scheifele Winnipeg Jets
Another longtime member of the Jets, 30-year-old Mark Scheifele, could also be on the move this summer.
Drafted seventh overall by Winnipeg in 2011, the native of Kitchener, Ont., has scored 272 goals and 373 assists over 723 career games with the Jets, including a career-high 42 goals this past season.
The centre is entering the final season of an eight-year, $49 million contract and has a modified no-trade clause.
No. 5: Erik Karlsson (D - San Jose Sharks)
Veteran defenceman Erik Karlsson is coming off the best season of his career with 25 goals and 76 assists and is a prime candidate to win the third Norris Trophy of his career.
He also could be traded this summer given the San Jose Sharks are currently in a rebuilding stage.
"Both sides met last week, Karlsson's reps from Newport Sports and Sharks management. They came out of that meeting saying, 'Yes, let's try to get a trade done.' Erik Karlsson wants to play for a contender and the Sharks are rebuilding and so they really have a unified vision on where this needs to go, but you mentioned the contract," TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun said on Thursday's Insider Trading. "Is there a team out there, that can eat enough of that deal or how much are the Sharks willing to eat? Of course, Karlsson, has a full no-move and will have the last say on if he's comfortable with a trade partner. No guarantee this deal gets done, but a few teams already kicking tires the last few days."
The biggest hurdle when it comes to moving the 33-year-old Karlsson is his salary. The Swede still has four years with an average annual value of $11.5 million left on his contract.
Trade Bait 6-10
No. 6: Brett Pesce (D - Carolina Hurricanes)
Brett Pesce Carolina Hurricanes
Another defenceman on the trade market this off-season is Brett Pesce of the Carolina Hurricanes.
LeBrun notes that the 'Canes would love to keep the 28-year-old blueliner, but won't hesitate to move him if they can't agree on an extension.
"Listen, if the Hurricanes have their way, they're not trading Brett Pesce, they're signing him to an extension," said LeBrun. "And those talks continue with his camp, but I think the Hurricanes are also pretty resolute that if they can't extend Brett Pesce, they will move him this summer to get max value on the asset with a year left on his contract. Among the teams, I'm told that have already reached out on Brett Pesce: the Buffalo Sabres, who have made a priority as Dregs has reported before of going out and getting a top-four D. They have interest in Pesce."
Pesce, who has spent his entire eight-year career in Carolina, has one-year remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $4.025 million.
No. 7: Noah Hanifin (D - Calgary Flames)
Noah Hanifin, 26, has one-year and $4.95 million left on his current deal and is ranked seventh on TSN's Trade Bait board.
The Boston native has spent the past five campaigns in Calgary, appearing in 81 games in each of the past two seasons.
No. 8: Travis Konecny (F - Philadelphia Flyers)
Travis Konecny Philadelphia Flyers
Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal reported earlier this week that Oilers general manager Ken Holland has contacted the Flyers regarding Travis Konecny's availability.
Konecny is a 26-year-old winger, who is coming off a career season with the Flyers, scoring 31 goals and 30 assists over 60 games.
The Canadian has two years remaining on the six-year, $33 million contract he signed with Philadelphia back in September of 2019.
No. 9: John Gibson (G - Anaheim Ducks)
John Gibson of the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks is another goalie who could find himself with a new team for the 2023-24 season.
The 29-year-old is entering the fifth year of an eight-year, $51.2 million contract that includes a modified no-trade clause.
Gibson has a career goals-against average of 2.83 and a save percentage of .912.
No. 10: Scott Laughton (F - Philadelphia Flyers)
Scott Laughton Philadelphia Flyers Thatcher Demko Vancouver Canucks
Scott Laughton is the second Flyers forward on TSN's Trade Bait board.
The 29-year-old native of Oakville, Ont., also had a career season in 2022-23, scoring 18 goals with 25 assists over 78 games.
Laughton is entering season three of a five-year, $15 million contract.