There have been a countless number of blockbuster trades that have occurred in the NHL, especially in the last few seasons and some of these trades were one for one. One for one trades seem very interesting since at first it seems like fairly even, but as time goes on there becomes a clear cut winner of the trades. Even though these blockbuster trades will probably not happen, NHL fans could imagine the effect these trades will have on the league.
Tampa Bay Lightning receive: William Nylander
Toronto Maple Leafs receive: Steven Stamkos
This trade is going to get a ton of heat but it could be a possibility. The Lightning desperately need to clear up cap space to sign their big name RFAs, Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak. The defending Stanley Cup champions only have less than $3 million in cap space to sign those three RFAs. There are reports that the Lightning are looking to trade one of their older players such as Steven Stamkos to free up cap space. Even though Stamkos has a very high cap hit of $8.5 million for four years with a NMC, teams could look to trade for Stamkos to get that deadly offensive scoring power they need.
A possible suitor for Stamkos would be his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs have been struggling to make it far in the playoffs and time is slowing running out for that core. A rumor from Luke Fox says that the Maple Leafs will likely end their “core four” of Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Nylander. With time slowly running out of Marner, Matthews and Tavares’ contracts, they can look into trading for Stamkos to try to win the Stanley Cup.
Winnipeg Jets receive: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Edmonton Oilers receive: Partik Laine
*Nugent-Hopkins and Laine both sign extensions*
Similar to the first trade, the Oilers and Jets could swap two top six players that will improve their respective teams. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a former 1st overall pick in 2011 and has been very consistent and underrated for the Oilers in his career. Nugent-Hopkins started off his career as a center, but transitioned to a winger as the Oilers had a stacked center core. He can also be effective on both sides of the ice and would be the perfect second line center for the Jets. Laine on the other hand is a promising future first line sniper that hasn’t had the room to flourish in Winnipeg. Laine is being foreshadowed by solid wingers such as Wheeler, Ehlers, and Connor. The Jets seem interested in trading Laine for either a top pairing defenseman or a top six center/winger.
This trade makes sense for both sides because Nugent Hopkins could be the future second line center for the Jets. Although the Jets just drafted center Cole Perfetti in the 2020 draft, it is projected that Perfetti will play LW in the NHL. This would complete the Jets top six of Connor, Scheifele, Wheeler, Perfetti, Nugent-Hopkins and Ehlers. On the flip side, the Oilers desperately need a top line winger to play with Connor McDavid. Laine will be a perfect match as McDavid is the best player in the league while Laine has one of the best shots in the league. They could even play reigning MVP Leon Draisaitl on that line which would make it the best line in the league.
Winnipeg Jets receive: Matt Dumba
Minnesota Wild receive: Blake Wheeler
The last trade would help both of these teams significantly in places of need. The Jets obviously need a top four defenseman to add to their very weak defense. Meanwhile, the Wild could use some good veteran players to play alongside their younger players. The Wild have a fantastic defense with Brodin, Suter, Spurgeon and Dumba. However, it seems that Dumba is overshadowed by those other defenders and the Wild could trade him while his value is high. Wheeler, on the other hand, is a top line winger for the Jets and is great both offensively and defensively.
If the Jets decide to take the path to keep Laine, Wheeler could be moved for a top four defenseman which would improve the Jets defense and allow Laine to play on the top line with Scheifele and Connor. Wheeler being traded to the Wild would also be beneficial since Wheeler is a Minnesota native and may want to spend the tail end of his career in his home state. He could be a great mentor to many of the up and coming Wild players such as Marco Rossi, Kirill Kaprizov and more.