The dust has settled on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the NHL is rapidly approaching an avalanche of transactions, with the entry draft, expansion draft, and free agency all occurring before the end of July.
With so much action on the horizon, we ask five pressing questions surrounding key talking points for what promises to be a high-octane offseason.
1. Will Jack Eichel be dealt?
Regardless of what may occur this offseason, no event will be as seismic as a potential trade involving the Buffalo Sabres captain. It's highly unlikely to happen before the expansion draft, but until Eichel pulls a Sabres jersey over his head again, the hockey world will be wondering when and where he's playing next.
The state of Eichel's neck injury is still largely unknown, and while he and the team are working towards a solution - whatever that may mean - the forward's incendiary comments towards the organization at the end of the year led many to believe bridges have been burned for good. And as much as it may sting for Buffalo and its loyal fans, now is the best time to trade him. Eichel's market will shrink considerably after the coming season, as a full no-move clause kicks in for the final four years of his contract starting in 2022-23.
Do the Los Angeles Kings dip into their deep pool of assets to accelerate their rebuild with a new No. 1 center? Is there a contender, say Vegas or Boston, lurking for Eichel's services? It's hard to predict now, but one thing is clear: Once the Seattle Kraken's draft concludes and the initial wave of free agency is wrapped up, Eichel watch will be in full force.
2. Who will be Seattle's biggest get?
The Kraken will have their fair share of depth options to choose from, but will they end up with any stars? The Vegas Golden Knights targeted skilled, cost-effective players with upside when they picked their squad in 2017, and they have since blossomed into foundational pieces. But Marc-Andre Fleury - easily the biggest name available in that draft - instantly became the face of NHL's 31st franchise.
Could P.K. Subban be that guy in Seattle? The Devils are likely to expose Subban, and the defenseman would instantly provide the Kraken with a recognizable household name. The 32-year-old's $9 million cap hit would also help reach the cap floor and is easily affordable for one season.