David Zalubowski/Associated Press
The 2017-18 NHL season is young, but there is already plenty of action in the rumor mill with some teams looking to improve immediately and others looking toward the future.
Most of the league’s trade activity takes place during the offseason or prior to the deadline, however, due to the risk of players getting injured during the arduous NHL campaign and then losing them for nothing in free agency, some blockbuster deals could take place early in the season.
Here is a closer look at some of the top players and teams rumored to be in on trade discussions already this season.
The Colorado Avalanche are a team in rebuilding mode, and while forward Matt Duchene is still young with plenty of promise, he has long been the subject of trade rumors.
Duchene has just one season remaining on his contract beyond 2017-18, which means his trade value isn’t likely to increase as time continues to pass.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, as many as eight teams have discussed a Duchene deal with the Avs, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Garrioch noted the biggest reason no trade has been consummated yet is that Colorado is looking for a top defenseman, high-end prospect and draft pick in return.
Duchene struggled last season to the tune of a career-low 41 points and a minus-34 rating, but early returns have been good in 2017-18.
Entering play Wednesday, the 26-year-old had recorded one goal and two assists for three points in three games for an Avs team that looks to be improved.
Colorado is likely still a couple of years away from being a playoff team, though, and trading Duchene for a package of players and picks may help expedite the process.
Duchene is just two years removed from a 30-goal campaign, and in 2013-14 he set a career high with 70 points, so the potential is there for him to be a bona fide top-line center in the NHL.
Colorado may have to temper its expectations a bit in order to move him in terms of what it is hoping to get in return, but there is clearly a market for a player of Duchene’s ilk, and he figures to make a major impact for a playoff-bound team at some point in the 2017-18 season.
The Ottawa Senators are looking to take the next step after falling one goal short of last season’s Stanley Cup Final, but there is some question to whether forward Kyle Turris will be part of the equation.
Turris can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the Sens have been unable to come to an agreement on an extension thus far.
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger (h/t Lyle Richardson of the Hockey News), Turris wants a seven- or eight-year deal, but Ottawa has been unwilling to give him that thus far.
Also, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos (h/t Richardson) reported teams have said Turris is available, and he expects the Senators to listen to offers.
Turris set a career high with 27 goals last season, and he was a solid contributor during Ottawa’s playoff run, registering four goals and six assists for 10 points in 19 games.
His best overall season came in 2014-15 with the Sens when Turris put up a career-best 64 points on 24 goals and 40 helpers.
Turris is far from an elite No. 1 center, but he is a strong option up the middle in a top-six role who could thrive elsewhere with even more talent flanking him.
The 28-year-old is oozing with talent as evidenced by his No. 3 overall selection by the then-Phoenix Coyotes in the 2007 NHL draft, and he is well worth pursuing for a possible playoff team in need of a playmaking pivot.
After losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, the Nashville Predators have begun the long road back to the top.
While much of their team from 2016-17 is back, along with some key additions such as forwards Nick Bonino and Scott Hartnell, they lost important players such as James Neal, Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson.
Mike Strasinger/Associated Press
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Preds are already in search of acquiring a forward via trade, although they would prefer to not move someone from their NHL roster in order to get one.
Friedman added that 2017 first-round pick Eeli Tolvanen could be on the radar of teams looking to deal with Nashville.
Nashville is off to a solid start from a scoring perspective with Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala and Hartnell leading the way, but secondary scoring could be an issue as the season goes on.
The Predators do have a leg up on most other teams offensively due to the fact they have so many active defensemen capable of jumping into the play, including P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm.
Nashville also has an elite goaltender in Pekka Rinne, but a team can never have too much offensive punch, and the Preds would benefit greatly from adding at least one more offensively gifted forward over the course of the season.