The regular season has come to an end and the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have also concluded and the fallout from this season is already beginning to have an impact on the rumor mill around the National Hockey League. Some truly huge names have been connected to trade rumors in recent weeks, thanks in large part to underperformance from their respective teams, and if even a few of these players end up moved we could be in store for one of the most exciting offseasons in quite some time.
Not everyone of these names will be traded of course, but all of the ones making the list today have been mentioned in rumors as of late. With that in mind here are the 5 biggest names that have been connected to potential trades this offseason.
#1 Jack Eichel - Buffalo Sabres.
There is simply no other name that could be at the top of this list. Eichel is not only a former 2nd overall pick but he is currently the captain of the Buffalo Sabres and is widely recognized as being among the National Hockey League's most talented players. The Sabres superstar center has had a very public falling out with his team, especially over a recent dispute regarding the appropriate treatment for an injury, and there is now a strong belief that Eichel will not be returning to the Sabres after what was another horrible season in Buffalo.
#2 Mitch Marner - Toronto Maple Leafs.
Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and team president Brendan Shanahan have both expressed a desire to move forward with their current core group of forwards, but in spite of that Marner's name has been connected to trades since the Leafs made another disappointing first round exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Marner's inability to find the back of the net in the playoffs has provoked the ire of a passionate Maple Leafs fan base and many have called for him to be moved as a result of his performance in the playoffs. NHL insider Chris Johnston also recently hinted at a major change coming to the Leafs roster and that would require moving out some salary to make a reality.
#3 Seth Jones - Columbus Blue Jackets.
This one seems inevitable, so much so that it may not even be fair to call it a rumor. Jones has made it clear that he will not be signing a new long term contract extension with the Blue Jackets, a trend that has unfortunately become all too common for fans in Columbus, and there's no doubt that trading him prior to Jones entering the final year of his contract next season is in the best interest of the Blue Jackets franchise.
#4 Johnny Gaudreau - Calgary Flames.
The Calgary Flames have once again underwhelmed and it feels like the organization will look to make a significant change in the offseason. Gaudreau's performance has declined over the last two seasons and he has become a scapegoat for criticism, especially after the Flames missed the playoffs entirely just two years after finishing atop the Western Conference during the regular season. General manager Brad Treliving will never have a better chance to trade Gaudreau either with his modified no trade clause kicking in during the final year of his deal.
#5 Vince Dunn - St. Louis Blues.
The St. Louis Blues defenseman has often been the subject of trade speculation over the last two seasons and after an early first round exit in which the Blues were completely dominated by the Colorado Avalanche, Dunn's name has once again entered the rumor mill. On Saturday NHL insider Elliotte Friedman indicated that teams had once again began calling the Blues about Dunn's availability and it could very well be that this is the offseason in which he finally does end up being dealt to a new team.