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Names In Play

from Frank Seravalli, formerly with TSN, now with the Daily Faceoff,

Here are 20 names in play as the NHL prepares for a wild summer:

Seth Jones
Right Defense, Columbus Blue Jackets
Age: 26
Contract: 1 year at $5.4 million AAV remaining

Scoop: It’s not often that a Norris Trophy-vote-earning defenseman makes it to market at age 26, but the Blue Jackets haven’t run from the fact that Jones has informed the team he won’t be re-signing long-term there. He won’t be playing out his contract in Columbus, unlike Artemi Panarin or Sergei Bobrovsky. Jones holds the cards, with both his 10-team no-trade clause and his ability to signal his (dis)interest in an extension, but there have quietly been legitimate concerns voiced from multiple teams behind the scenes about his two consecutive seasons of declining production. That, plus the need to pay Jones, makes Eichel the clear No. 1 trade target.

Evander Kane
Right Wing, San Jose Sharks
Age: 29
Contract: 4 years at $7 million AAV remaining

Scoop: Doug Wilson is navigating choppy waters in the Bay Area. Sources indicate significant friction built up between Kane and a number of his teammates last season, frustration that was expressed clearly to management in exit interviews. The trouble is Kane is also coming off the best season of his career: 32 goal and 40 assist pace over an 82-game season. He is one of the best at his position with a relentless forechecking style  – and he’s signed to a contract that is commensurate with that production. We’ll see where this goes.

Rights to Chris Driedger
Goalie, Florida Panthers
Age: 27
Contract: Pending UFA

Scoop: The Panthers are willing to move Driedger’s rights to a suitor. Driedger is coming off two solid seasons in which he proved to be a capable NHL netminder. With the Expansion Draft, this is not an easy time to trade goalies (and the Blue Jackets might be moving one of theirs, including an expansion-exempt Elvis Merzlikins). But there are a few teams who do not have expansion concerns at that position and might be in the market to lock up a reasonably priced ($3 million?) option in Driedger.

17 more names...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hippy Dave's avatar

I know the Wings are in no position to be making a splash in the UFA market this season, but if I had a choice of two on this list, it would be Conor Garland and Chris Driedger. 

Garland has tremendous upside and is about to hit his breakout season.  If we can get him while he’s relatively affordable and lock him up to a medium-term contract (at the expense of Bobby Ryan) that would pay dividends for seasons to come.

Driedger could be the franchise goalie that carries us until Wallstedt is ready to go.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 06/23/21 at 12:54 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Driedger could be the franchise goalie that carries us until Wallstedt is ready to go.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit

Good one, HD. I got a really good laugh out of that.

On the other hand, if Yzerman does pull the pin and take Wallstedt at #6 (assuming he’s still avalable), I’d love to see Driedger share the net with Greiss for a year and someone else after that for one or two more until Wallstedt is ready.

Driedger would even be a good option if Yzerman waits and uses his #23 pick (or moves up a few spots in a deal) to take Cossa. Or maybe he’ll go completely bonkers and do what they’re projecting at mynhldraft.com and take both of them.

What a hoot that would be.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/23/21 at 07:18 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 06/23/21 at 12:54 PM ET

Wow! Great stuff HD! Garland is a very good player with lots of upside. Great mention.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 06/24/21 at 12:13 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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