Top 5 pre-draft trade possibilities
1. Rick Nash, LW, Columbus: If talk indeed turns to action, Nash will be dealt this summer.
The New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks were left at the altar at the February trade deadline because they weren’t willing to pay the massive price being demanded by Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson.
The Jackets are in a tough spot because Nash has made it clear he wants out. His $7.8-million cap hit through the 2017-18 season means only certain teams can be involved in the discussions and he has to approve any deal.
Nash wants to be moved to a contender. The Rangers and Sharks both need scoring. Don’t be surprised if the Buffalo Sabres try to get into these discussions.
2. Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver: There are a lot of teams looking for goaltending: Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus and the Chicago Blackhawks to name a few.
The issue is the contract given to Luongo by Canucks GM Mike Gillis. He always considers himself the smartest guy in the room, but giving Luongo a deal through with a cap hit of $5.3 million through 2021-22 was ridiculous.
Moving the contract is going to be even more difficult. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman has declared he wants nothing to do with that kind of trade. Toronto GM Brian Burke would have to swallow his pride to acquire Luongo.
Burke has often been an opponent of long-term deals. Perhaps the only hope for Gillis and the Canucks is an “amnesty” clause in the new CBA. That would allow the Canucks to buy him out and not have a cap hit.