The start of NHL training camps and preseason is over a month away. We've reached the stage in the offseason where trade activity has dropped off from July's frantic pace.
Business could pick up in the trade market once training camp begins in September and leading up to the start of the regular season in October. Teams sitting over the $82.5 million salary cap could make cost-cutting moves to become cap compliant. Others could make deals hoping to fine-tune their rosters before the schedule begins.
As the regular season progresses, there will be clubs looking to make moves to bolster their rosters to reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, non-contenders will look to peddle pending free agents who no longer fit into their plans beyond 2022-23.
Some of those moves could involve players on non-playoff teams interested in playing for a Stanley Cup contender. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks could fall into that category. Others might involve players intent on signing elsewhere when their contracts expire within the next year or two.
Here are five NHL stars who could ask to be traded during the coming season.
Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings
For the past six seasons, Tyler Bertuzzi has been part of the Detroit Red Wings' long rebuilding process. To date, the 27-year-old winger has yet to skate in a single Stanley Cup playoff game.
Bertuzzi has been among the few reliable scorers on the offensively anemic Wings through most of his tenure. He tallied 21 goals in 2018-19 and 2019-20, missed all but nine games to back surgery during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign, and roared back with a career-best 30 goals and 62 points in 68 games last season.
Entering the final season of his two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.75 million, Bertuzzi will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could shop the winger if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the trade deadline.
Bertuzzi could also force the issue by requesting a trade. Six seasons without a taste of playoff action could become a source of frustration for him. If he knows he's not going to re-sign with the Wings or if contract talks stall, he could ask to be shopped before deadline day. A lack of a no-trade clause in Bertuzzi's contract could also make him easy to move.
So far all's quiet regarding any potential contract discussions between Bertuzzi and the Wings. Nevertheless, his situation could be worth watching over the course of the season.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets
Unlike others on this list, Pierre-Luc Dubois isn't an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center signed a one-year, $6 million contract last month, meaning he'll once again become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at season's end.
Dubois will also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer. He became the subject of trade rumors last month linking him to the Montreal Canadiens. Dubois sought to minimize that chatter during his Zoom media conference announcing his recent contract signing, insisting he hasn't requested a trade nor that thought entered his mind.
The rumors have died down since Dubois' remarks. He's acknowledged he'll face the same situation next summer as an RFA but insists his focus for the coming season is on helping the Jets reach the playoffs.
Given Dubois' RFA status next summer, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wouldn't be under pressure to move him. That could change, however, if the young center remains unwilling to ink a long-term contract.
Dubois could surface again in the rumor mill, especially if the club should end up struggling to reach the playoffs. If he feels his long-term future isn't in Winnipeg, he could ask to be shopped before the trade deadline.