With the NHL's trade deadline having passed, the trade market is shuttered until the end of the regular season. Once the postseason begins, non-playoff clubs can make deals with each other, but most moves will take place once the playoffs end in July.
Several notable players who were mentioned in trade rumors prior to Monday's deadline could find themselves changing clubs over the course of the summer. Disappointing performances this season by Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn could make them summer trade candidates.
An added wrinkle this offseason is the Seattle Kraken expansion draft on July 21. Teams intending to trade players must ensure those moves won't adversely affect their expansion draft protection lists. They don't want to risk making a deal that could leave a good player available for the Kraken to snap up.
Here's a look at the five NHL players most likely to be traded during the offseason.
Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues
Vince Dunn was the subject of trade speculation earlier this season following reports the St. Louis Blues had held trade discussions regarding the 24-year-old defenseman. He was on TSN's Trade Bait List leading up to the trade deadline. While he's still in St. Louis, that could change this summer depending on his performance over the remainder of the season.
A puck-moving blueliner, Dunn has struggled to match or exceed his promising 35-point sophomore performance in 2018-19. With 18 points in 40 games, he could reach 25 points by season's end. He's a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and will seek a significant raise over this season's $1.875 million.
With $63.4 million invested in 15 players for 2021-22 and key forwards Jaden Schwartz, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou also slated for new contracts, the Blues could lack sufficient cap room to re-sign Dunn. They also risk losing him in the expansion draft if they protect blueliners Justin Faulk, Torey Krug and Colton Parayko. Those factors could see him peddled during the draft weekend.
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Two years after finishing atop the Western Conference standings, the Calgary Flames are in danger of missing the playoffs this season. That could lead to a roster shakeup involving at least one core player such as Johnny Gaudreau hitting the trade block this summer.
Much like the Flames, Gaudreau's performance has declined over the past two seasons. He followed up a career-best 99-point performance with a disappointing 58 points in 70 games in 2019-20. This season, the 26-year-old winger has 31 points in 43 games.
Gaudreau is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He's earning $6.75 million, and his modified no-trade clause kicks in on July 28. Flames general manager Brad Treliving could attempt to move the winger during the 2021 NHL draft weekend on July 23-24 for a return involving draft picks and one or two promising players.