The 8 Biggest Stars Who Could Be Traded at the 2024 NHL Draft

Lyle LogoFeatured Columnist IVJune 3, 2024

The 8 Biggest Stars Who Could Be Traded at the 2024 NHL Draft

0 of 8

    Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.

    Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The 2024 NHL draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28 and 29. Most of the attention will be on the first round and which promising young players will be selected after the San Jose Sharks choose top prospect Macklin Celebrini first.

    Some notable NHL stars could also be on the move during the event. This draft will be the last one in which the general managers from all 32 teams will be on location, potentially setting the stage for wheeling and dealing.

    Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström could be among those on the move. He and several others on this list frequently appeared in the rumor mill leading up to the March trade deadline. Others, like Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers, have recently surfaced as trade candidates.

    Markström and Ehlers join six others on our player list, which we consider most likely to be traded at the NHL draft later this month. Follow along as we examine the reasons why.

    We’ve excluded Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl. They have appeared recently in the rumor mill, but we believe they’re unlikely to be moved because of their expensive contracts and value to their respective teams.

    Do you agree or disagree with our selections? Is there someone you believe deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the app comments below.

Jakob Chychrun, Ottawa Senators

1 of 8

    WINNIPEG, CANADA - MARCH 30: Jakob Chychrun #6 of the Ottawa Senators looks on during a second period stoppage in play against the Winnipeg Jets at the Canada Life Centre on March 30, 2024 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Senators defeated the Jets 3-2. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

    Acquired by the
    Ottawa Senators before the March 2023 trade deadline, Jakob Chychrun
    was expected to be a key part of their rebuilding plan. Having missed
    the playoffs this year for the seventh straight season, the
    26-year-old defenseman could find himself changing teams this summer.

    Chychrun has a
    year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $4.6 million. He
    will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

    During his
    end-of-season interview, Chychrun indicated that he hadn’t yet had
    contract extension talks with Senators general manager Steve Staios.
    He added that he was unsure of his future in Ottawa.

    The Senators carry
    three left-shot defensemen with Chychrun, Thomas Chabot, and Jake
    Sanderson but they’re thin in comparable right-shot blueliners. The
    latter two are under long-term contracts, leaving Chychrun as the
    most likely trade candidate.

    On May 23, the
    Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch reported the Senators could attempt to
    acquire Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark. He cited a league
    executive suggesting Chychrun would have to be part of the trade
    package to get him.

Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets

2 of 8

    DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 11: Nikolaj Ehlers #27 of the Winnipeg Jets congratulated by his bench after scoring a goal during the first period against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on April 11, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

    Sam Hodde/Getty Images

    Since joining the Winnipeg Jets in 2015-16, Nikolaj Ehlers has been among their most consistent scoring forwards. The 28-year-old winger has scored 20 or more goals seven times and reached or exceeded 50 points five times.

    Ehlers has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. However, there are media rumblings that this season could be his last with the Jets. The Athletic’s Murat Ates and the Winnipeg Sun‘s Scott Billeck believe he could be traded this summer if he and the Jets fail to agree to a contract extension.

    The Jets need help for their blue line after the Colorado Avalanche decimated their defense during their first-round playoff series. Ehlers could be a worthwhile trade chip to address that need.

    Ates suggested the Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and the Utah franchise as possible suitors for Ehlers. The Hockey News‘ Stefen Rosner suggested he’d be a good fit with the New York Islanders while Sammi Silber felt he’d be a fine addition to the Washington Capitals.

    Billeck, meanwhile, suggested the Jets trade Ehlers for draft picks and prospects. They could use the $6 million savings to pursue a defenseman in this summer’s free-agent market.

Jacob Markström, Calgary Flames

3 of 8

    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 16: Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Calgary Flames in net during the third period of their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on April 16, 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)

    Derek Cain/Getty Images

    Topping our May Offseason Trade Block
    Big Board
    , Jacob Markström is also the most likely trade candidate
    entering June. The 34-year-old Calgary Flames goaltender regularly appeared in the rumor mill leading up to the March trade deadline.

    Markström was noncommittal about his future in Calgary during his end-of-season media availability.
    Flames general Craig Conroy indicated he’s taking a wait-and-see
    approach toward the situation during the offseason.

    The Flames were reportedly close to
    trading Markström in February to the New Jersey Devils but the deal
    failed to materialize. Following the trade deadline, Devils GM Tom
    Fitzgerald said he intends to pursue a starting goalie this summer.
    Markström could remain his primary target.

    Markström is under contract for two
    more seasons
    with an average annual value of $6 million. His
    no-movement clause gives him complete control over this situation. If
    he agrees to be traded, Conroy’s asking price could be a first-round
    pick and either a top prospect or a good young NHL player.

    The Devils might not be the only club
    with an interest in Markström. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager
    Brad Treliving knows him well from his days as Flames GM and could
    make a pitch. The Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, and Los
    Angeles Kings could also come calling.

Martin Nečas, Carolina Hurricanes

4 of 8

    ELMONT, NEW YORK - MARCH 19: Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates his goal at 19:59 of the first period against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on March 19, 2024 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The elimination of the Carolina
    Hurricanes from the second round of the 2024 playoffs has already
    brought about some change as Don Waddell resigned last week as their
    general manager. Changes could be coming to their
    as they carry eight active roster players eligible for UFA
    status and six slated to become restricted free agents.

    Those changes could include Martin
    Nečas. The 25-year-old forward is an RFA with arbitration rights
    coming off a two-year contract with an annual average value of $3
    million. He’ll be looking for a more lucrative deal this summer.

    A versatile forward who can play center
    or right wing, Nečas reached or exceeded 40 points in each of the last
    four seasons. However, he’s also unhappy as a third-line winger and
    wants a top-six role. There’s speculation that he would welcome a
    trade to a club where he’d have more playing time as a first-line

    Nečas will attract plenty of interest
    from teams in the market for more scoring punch this summer. The
    Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, and Vancouver
    Canucks have been linked to the Hurricanes winger in the rumor mill.

    The Hurricanes will want a reasonable
    return for Nečas. They could seek a top-four defenseman to offset the
    likely departure of Brett Pesce via free agency this summer.

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

5 of 8

    VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 30: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) stops the puck during Game Five of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks on April 30, 2024, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo by Ethan Cairns/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Ethan Cairns/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Nashville Predators can sign Juuse
    Saros to a contract extension as early as July 1, when he’ll be
    officially a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free-agent
    status. However, there’s ongoing speculation over the 29-year-old
    goaltender’s future.

    Saros was a frequent fixture in the
    rumor mill before the March 8 trade deadline. Most of the
    conjecture linked him to the New Jersey Devils, but Predators general
    manager Barry Trotz opted to retain him as his club pushed for a
    playoff berth.

    The Predators have a promising young
    netminder in Yaroslav Askarov who could be ready to join their roster
    next season. They could re-sign Saros and have him share the net with
    the 21-year-old Askarov, keep Saros for next season and move him at
    next year’s trade deadline, or attempt to trade him this summer.

    Saros carries a reasonable $5 million
    cap hit for 2024-25. He also lacks no-trade protection, enabling
    Trotz to peddle him wherever he wants. Teams seeking a reliable
    starting goaltender like the Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Los
    Angeles Kings could be very interested in his services.

    Trotz could use Saros as trade bait to
    add a scorer to his forward lines. He could also seek a first-round
    draft pick or a top prospect as part of a return containing assets
    that could be put toward building up the Predators’ long-term future.

Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights

6 of 8

    DALLAS, TX - MAY 5: Shea Theodore #27 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on May 5, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

    Vegas Golden Knights general manager
    Kelly McCrimmon said there was a strong mutual interest to work on a
    new contract for Jonathan Marchessault. The 33-year-old winger is
    slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Doing so,
    however, could involve shipping out Shea Theodore before the end of

    The Golden Knights possess only $897,
    516 in salary cap space for 2024-25 with 20 active roster players
    under contract. They’ll get an additional $5 million in cap
    flexibility if goaltender Robin Lehner remains on long-term injury
    reserve. Nevertheless, that won’t leave enough to re-sign
    Marchessault and fill out the remainder of the 23-man roster.

    On May 13, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger
    suggested a defenseman like Shea Theodore or Zach Whitecloud as a trade
    candidate. Whitecloud carries an average annual value of $2.8 million
    for the next four seasons. Theodore, 28, is a year away from
    unrestricted free-agent eligibility with an AAV of $5.2. million.

    Granger also pointed out that the Golden
    Knights recently signed Noah Hanifin to a seven-year contract
    extension. Acquired from the Calgary Flames before the March
    trade deadline, Hanifin plays a similar puck-moving style to Theodore.

    McCrimmon will get plenty of calls
    about Theodore if he’s put on the trade block. He carries a five-team
    no-trade list but that shouldn’t adversely affect efforts to get a
    solid return of futures to restock the Golden Knights’ prospect

Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins

7 of 8

    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 16: Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark (35) looks on during a game between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators on April 16, 2024, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The goaltending tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman played a significant role in the Boston Bruins enjoying a record-setting performance in 2022-23 and exceeding expectations in 2023-24, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference. This season, however, could be the last time they play together.

    Winner of the Vezina Trophy last season, Ullmark popped up in the rumor mill before the March 8 trade deadline as reports emerged the Bruins had a deal with a club on his 16-team no-trade list. The 30-year-old goaltender is said to have rejected the deal, as is his right. Neither Ullmark nor the Bruins would comment on the rumor.

    Swayman supplanted Ullmark during the Bruins’ 2024 playoff run as their starting goaltender. The 25-year-old is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is expected to be re-signed to a long-term extension with a raise well above his $3.5 million cap hit for this season.

    Ullmark, meanwhile, has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $5 million and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July. The Bruins could peddle him before the draft and promote promising Brandon Bussi as Swayman’s backup.

    Several teams could be interested in acquiring Ullmark. The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils were among the clubs interested in the Bruins netminder before the trade deadline. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes discussed a deal involving Ullmark.

Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks

8 of 8

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 13: Trevor Zegras #11 of the Anaheim Ducks juggles the puck during warmups before the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Arena on April 13, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Nicole Vasquez/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Nicole Vasquez/NHLI via Getty Images

    A disappointing injury-shortened 2023-24 made Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras the subject of media conjecture leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. While Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek denied shopping Zegras or receiving trade calls from other clubs, that hasn’t stopped some pundits from pondering the youngster’s future.

    A dazzling puck-handler and a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2021-22, Zegras was poised to become the rebuilding Ducks’ franchise player following back-to-back 60-plus point performances. However, their trade of Jamie Drysdale in January to the Philadelphia Flyers for winger Cutter Gauthier prompted questions about Zegras’ future in Anaheim.

    Following this season, Zegras admitted it was difficult to be mentioned in trade rumors. He has two years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5.8 million. The young forward also lacks no-trade protection.

    Stu Cowan of The Montreal Gazette suggested Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes should have an interest in Zegras, pointing out the young winger’s friendship with Canadiens star Cole Caufield. The Hockey News‘ Sammi Silber believes he’d make a good addition to the Washington Capitals as they transition toward younger talent.

    The Ducks are under no pressure to move Zegras and could look for a bounce-back performance from him next season. However, there could be more speculation and trade suggestions about him in the coming weeks as the NHL draft approaches.

    Stats and standings via, salary info and line combination via Cap Friendly.

Related Articles

Back to top button