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This summer looks like a time for some big changes around the NHL and that includes some significant wingers on the move. The environment is ripe for trades, with rebuilding teams seeking greater long-term flexibility and contenders looking for a piece to put them over the top.
The Los Angeles Kings got the jump on this list when they traded to acquire Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild, but there are still some quality wingers that are considered to be available via trade.
While hockey might not generally value wingers on the same level as centers and defensemen, there are still potential impact players available.
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Here are 10 wingers that could get traded this offseason:
Alex DeBrincat, Chicago (41 G, 37 A, 48.8 CF%, 49.2 xGF%, 82 GP)
Maybe Chicago will ask for too much and they somehow won’t move DeBrincat, but once word got out that they were willing to trade a 24-year-old who is coming off the second 41-goal season of his career, the bidding was open, and it is hard to imagine that a team seeking to upgrade its offense would not consider paying a steep price for DeBrincat’s skills.
Patrick Kane, Chicago (26 G, 66 A, 49.1 CF%, 46.4 xGF%, 78 GP)
It appears that Chicago is engaged in a game of chicken with its superstars. It makes tons of sense for a rebuilding Blackhawks team to trade Kane and center Jonathan Toews, but both have no-movement clauses and one year left on their current contracts. While the team might want the stars to ask for a trade, because they don’t want to suffer through a rebuilding phase at this stage of their careers, but that has not happened yet. If Chicago can convince Kane to move, he could bring a quality return because, despite his defensive deficiencies, the 33-year-old has produced at least a point per game in nine of his past 10 seasons.
Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton (14 G, 22 A, 58.6 CF%, 59.8 xGF%, 65 GP)
The Oilers have made it clear that, when it comes to their young, homegrown wingers, Kailer Yamamoto will take priority over Puljujarvi, the mammoth 24-year-old winger who had some trouble finishing last season but has established that he is a play-driving force. A smart team might see a great buy-low opportunity for a player who is already solid but with upside for more.
Kaapo Kakko, N.Y. Rangers (7 G, 11 A, 50.0 CF%, 51.7 xGF%, 43 GP)
Drafted second overall in the 2019 Draft, Kakko missed significant time with injuries last season and while he has not busted out yet offensively, he has delivered excellent underlying numbers in the past two seasons. If the Rangers go big-game hunting on the trade market, Kakko might be one of the pieces that could help them land a proven scorer.
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg (17 G, 43 A, 50.2 CF%, 49.2 xGF%, 65 GP)
The Jets captain turns 36 this summer, his defensive play has been slipping notably in recent seasons, and he has a cap hit of $8.25 million for two more seasons. That might not sound too appealing but even if his last three seasons have shown signs of decline, Wheeler has still put up 171 points in 186 games over that time, so if the Jets are willing to retain salary, there may be a team willing to take a shot.
Martin Necas, Carolina (14 G, 26 A, 55.0 CF%, 50.0 xGF%, 78 GP)
After taking a step back in his third NHL campaign, the 23-year-old winger might be tempting for a team that sees his potential and might have more time to find out if Necas can get there. The Hurricanes are contenders and if moving Necas would bring them a player that could put them over the top, that might set the stage for a deal involving the restricted free agent this summer.
Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit (30 G, 32 A, 48.8 CF%, 49.5 xGF%, 68 GP)
Even though the 27-year-old left winger scored a career-high 30 goals and 62 points in 68 games last season, he is a prime candidate for trade because he is heading into the final year of his contract. The Red Wings could get a big return for him in trade, and there may still be some hard feelings over Bertuzzi’s refusal to get vaccinated last season, essentially making him the lone holdout in the league, so he missed games in Canada.
James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia (24 G, 14 A, 46.7 CF%, 48.1 xGF%, 82 GP)
The 33-year-old may have slowed down a bit but he can still finish, coming off a season in which he recorded more than 20 goals for the seventh time in his career. With one season, and a $7 million cap hit left on his contract, but only $4 million in cash due, van Riemsdyk would be a prime candidate for a team looking to hit the salary floor, or a team that could use a net front finisher, because JVR can still do that.
Tanner Pearson, Vancouver (14 G, 20 A, 52.9 CF%, 54.0 xGF%, 68 GP)
The Canucks are aiming on improving their long-term financial flexibility and that could open the door to many potential trades. Brock Boeser has signed a new deal, but J.T. Miller, Conor Garland, and Pearson are all reasonable candidates to move. Pearson turns 30 this summer but is a legit middle six winger who comes with a $3.25 million cap hit for the next two seasons.
Anthony Beauvillier, N.Y. Islanders (12 G, 22 A, 45.6 CF%, 46.6 xGF%, 75 GP)
After a disappointing season, the Islanders could use a shakeup, and moving veteran Josh Bailey might prove difficult, so moving 25-year-old Beauvillier could bring some value, especially if the Islanders can sell him as a good buy-low option, coming off a season in which he scored on a career-low 7.8% of his shots on goal.
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