6 Players that could be traded as a result of the upcoming Expansion
1) FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN
Trading Francois Beauchemin could be difficult to do considering Beauchemin has a full no movement clause in his contract, along with his 4.5 million dollar cap hit that he carries. However, it benefits Colorado to figure out a way to get Beauchemin to waive his no movement clause and ship him out of town. The return won't be great for the aging defender, but Colorado will reclaim an additional 4.5 million in needed cap space, an additional player they can block in the expansion draft, and a possible conditional mid round pick.
Possible Destinations Edmonton Oilers: A possible suitor that could be interested in taking Beauchemin are the the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton has a young team and Beauchemin's leadership and experience in the playoffs could help guide the Oilers into their first campaign in the playoffs in quite sometime. Beauchemin does carry a no movement clause, and would have to waive it in order to go to the Oilers, but, Conor McDavid, who is tearing up the league this year, could convince Beauchemin that there is another shot at the cup with the Oilers. Columbus Blue Jackets: The biggest surprise in hockey this year, the Blue Jackets are performing surprisingly well in a tough division. However, they could look to add Beauchemin as a defensive anchor. Columbus could look to Beauchemin to help them win their first playoff series as well as helping the development of Seth Jones and Ryan Murray. The hard part however is convincing Beauchemin why Columbus is the place that is best for him and his career, because -- it's Columbus... good luck.
2) Marc-Andre Fleury
Fluery has had an amazing career, leading the Penguins to multiple Stanley Cup appearances. Fleury, who is also an All-Star goalie, is still performing at a high level and has an affordable contract, so why is he on this list? Two words: Matt Murray. Murray has won the job from Fleury and with the upcoming expansion draft, the Penguins would have to block Fleury and expose Murray to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Penguins will want to keep Murray, so they will look to Fleury to waive his no movement clause.
Possible Destinations Calgary Flames: The Flames are 3 points out of the final division spot in the playoffs, but it is still early, and the Flames goaltending woes could kill all hopes of making the playoffs in a division that includes offensive juggernauts like Edmonton, Los Angeles, and San Jose. The Flames acquired Brian Elliot for a draft pick this offseason and that hasn't worked out. Elliot who has posted a 3.21 goals allowed average and a .889 save percentage, which is not the statistics a team wants in a goalie competing for them in the playoffs. Fleury could immediately step in and provide solid goaltending which could lead to a completely different set of contenders coming out of a competitive Pacific Division. New York Islanders: The Islanders are struggling this year, in every way, shape, form, and fashion. Their offense isn't spectacular other than John Tavares, their Defense is not anything special, despite the efforts of a group of players who excel at holding down the blue line. And last and most disappointing, are their goalies. Yes, Griess has been decent, but Halak has been absolutely awful. The Islanders could look to acquire Fleury in order to show Tavares that there is a reason to stay because this team committed to winning now and not entering another rebuild. Fleury could be attracted to Brooklyn in order to stay in the same division and wreak havoc on the team that traded him.
3) Ben Bishop
Bishop is another example of a solid veteran goaltender who lost his job to a new young goalie who is cheaper and is without a doubt the future of the franchise. Andrei Vasilevskiy is without a doubt the new man in Tampa and with Bishop sidelined for multiple weeks due to an injury, Andrei has time to solidify himself as the official starter in Tampa. Steve Yzerman will have a challenge in finding a team that will take on Bishop but Yzerman is one of the leagues best GM's and will without a doubt find a team to take on the cap hit that Bishop carries. The good news for him is that Bishop will be cheaper to acquire in the form of assets in a trade, than Fleury (mentioned above).
Possible Destinations Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are a team that is for sale? The owner could look to add a name like Bishop's to slightly raise the team's value with nothing more than a name. This could be significant if he plays like he did when he led the Bolts to the Stanley Cup Final. The potential for Bishop to give this team the extra push it needs to get into the playoffs. And with 15 million dollars in cap space and a plethora of prospects to offer, the Hurricanes can afford to make this trade 2 times over. Buffalo Sabers: The Sabers are a lot like the Edmonton Oilers, except Talbot is playing out of his mind for Edmonton in the net, and Lehner is not. Lehner has not been bad, but acquiring Bishop will result in one of 2 things. One, the play of Lehner will improve due to the competition that Bishop will bring . Two, Lehner's play will suffer and the Sabers will have an immediate replacement. Being a team on the rise is not the worst thing for a franchise.
4... and 5) Ryan Ellis, and Sami Vatanen
Both are puck moving right handed defenders; a valued commodity in this league. Both are likely to be taken in the expansion draft due to being on teams that have significant depth that would rather block 3 more forwards instead of an extra defenceman but don't wish to lose a player of this caliber for nothing. The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks are setting themselves up to bring in a decent return for the assets they are trying to trade. The Preds could ask as high as a 1st round pick and a C grade prospect, while the Ducks should be looking for a 2nd round pick and a B grade prospect.
Possible Destinations Columbus Blue Jackets : I include Columbus in this list specifically with the Nashville Predators and Ryan Ellis in mind because teams work with teams that don't screw them over. The Preds and Jackets made a huge trade last year that sent Seth Jones to Columbus and Ryan Johansen to Nashville. The Blue Jackets could offer their 1st round pick this year to fuel their playoff run, but Nashville is also looking to go deep this year in the playoffs, so Nashville would also want a defenseman to fill in Ellis' spot. Same with Anaheim and Vatanen. Insert the once great Jack Johnson coming back the other way on a lower salary because of Columbus retaining salary. The Blue Jackets could be looking at a solid defender that will help the development of Zach Wereneski. New Jersey Devils: The Devils flayed the Oilers when they sent Adam Larsson to Edmonton for Taylor Hall. The Devils are now missing Larsson, and will look to give goaltender Cory Schneider some support from a competent defenseman. The Devils won't want to part ways with a draft pick this year but if they believe enough in the future of their team with the addition of this asset, they may be okay with parting ways with next years 1st or 2nd round draft pick, which is what the Devils would have to offer, since the Devils lack players that could step in this year and make a difference.
6) Patrik Berglund
Berglund is a very underrated player, and, in my opinion, one of the best 3rd line centers in the game. He could provide defensive support at the 11th hour of a playoff game, and since Berglund is on the stacked St. Louis Blues, they could look to ship him out and get a mid round pick out of him before the Golden Knights have the chance to claim him for free. Berglund carries a 3.7 million dollar cap hit, but would not be a hard player to trade given his age, 28, as well as his defensive abilities.
Possible Destinations Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are looking like they have the opportunity to do something in the playoffs this year, and in the playoffs, crucial games are won down the middle with consistent players winning crucial face-offs. The Oilers could use Berglund this year and the next few years in order to possibly start another dynasty with the help of pieces like Cam Talbot, Milan Lucic, Oscar Klefbom, and the great Conor McDavid. The days of Edmonton having good draft positions is over, and it is time to buy at the deadline instead of selling. Ottawa Senators: The Senators are second in their division, and after trading away Mika Zibanejad, the Sens could look to St.Louis in order to address that vacancy before the playoffs. As of right now, the Sens have Brassard (aquried in the Zibanejad trade), Kyle Turris, Curtis Lazar, and Pageau at center. Berglund would be an upgrade over Lazar and Pageau. The Sens could offer up Hammond to the Blues who could use a decent back up behind Jake Allen.