The Stanley Cup playoffs are still going, but the future Vegas Golden Knights rival Seattle Kraken are lurking on the NHL trade market. We’re watching the Kraken, and GM Ron Francis put the new team in a position to land a superstar in exchange for a top-prospect selected with the second overall pick.
Speaking of the NHL trade winds and the NHL Draft, as reported on Off The Record before, the Los Angeles Kings and the Ottawa Senators are primed to be major players this offseason. One source went off the record to gush about the opportunity both rebuilding franchises have before them.
And there are consequences to failure. For some teams, failure is not making the playoffs. For others, it’s potentially being a great team but continued exits far too early in the NHL playoffs. See also the Colorado Avalanche. Could Colorado cut ties with captain Gabriel Landeskog? OTR is hearing big rumblings out of Colorado that could shake up that franchise in several ways.
1. Could The Kracken Swallow The NHL Trade Market?
So, what’s to stop the Seattle Kraken from drafting Simon Evidsson or Dylan Guenther or William Eklund or Matty Beniers and then trading whichever of the projected Top 5 NHL Draft Picks they select with the second overall pick at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft in a package for Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel after the expansion draft?
The Buffalo Sabres could essentially shore up their defense for the foreseeable future by adding expected No. 1 pick overall Owen Power to a blue line that already includes Rasmus Dahlin, the first overall pick at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Then they could add a top 5 prospect that could be ready to play next season.
At least one NHL team exec who spoke with the National Hockey Now network sees it as possible.
Off the record:
“It’s crazy to think about, but it could really happen,” an NHL Executive told OTR this past weekend. “I know this right now. Ron Francis wants to make an immediate impact like George McPhee did (in 2017), and he can do it if he plays his cards right. I was told he’s checked in on Eichel, so take that for what it’s worth.”
Hot damn. This 2021 NHL Draft just got a lot more interesting.
2. Kings And Sens Ready To Deal
You may recall that we have been telling you to get ready for the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators to pounce this offseason. Now that the NHL offseason is almost here, we can confirm to you that both clubs are prepped and ready to wheel and deal in the next few months. The Kings own the eighth overall pick at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, and the Senators own the 10th. According to numerous NHL sources, those two picks are very likely to be moved and potentially the numerous blue-chip prospects each team owns.
Off the record:
“If I’m picking winners of this draft and offseason coming up, I’m going with the Kings and the Sens,” an NHL scout told OTR on Sunday. “They are freaking primed! Watch out. With everyone pressed up against the cap and just everything that just happened this season, I don’t think there are two teams in a better position to do damage.”
With so much talent available at bargain prices, there may never be a better time to buy, though we do like the young, scrappy Ottawa culture they are building.
3. Could Avalanche Say Farewell To Their Captain…and More?
Make no mistake, in the eyes of the Colorado Avalanche, their fans, and the media like my good buddy Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now that covers them, the Avs choked away a big chance.
They were six minutes from a 3-0 series lead. And lost the series, 4-2.
That’s just a fact and a sick feeling that general manager Joe Sakic and his staff need to deal with in the coming weeks. What will Sakic do with captain Gabriel Landeskog, 28, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 28? Word around the league is that if Sakic doesn’t shake things up with a coaching change, he will with his lineup. Landeskog was not good against Vegas in Round Two and was shuffled around the lineup as Vegas dominated the Avs top line.
Feelings are still a bit salty in Colorado.
Off the record:
“I don’t know,” a well-placed Avalanche team source told OTR on Sunday when asked if Sakic is going to retain Landeskog. “He has one or two (paths) …maybe both ways to shake it up, and he needs to. You let your captain walk, or you fire the coach or even both. I don’t know if Joe is there with the coach, but the captain is a real possibility.”
Yes, the source confirmed the whispers in NHL circles that Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar may have to worry about his job, too.
The Avalanche appears to be on the Washington Capitals’ treadmill; have great regular seasons, President’s trophies, tons of top-end talent, and early tee-times due to a division rival (*looking at you Pittsburgh Penguins). After a couple of head coaches, Washington eventually broke through with coach Barry Trotz.
Sakic has a few big decisions ahead.