There are a number of reasons why a player could be involved in trade talks. There are also some well-established principles of the NHL trade market.
Generally, contending teams are not going to move core pieces from their roster, unless it brings back an even more significant player in return.
Losing teams are not likely to take on money or players about to become unrestricted free agents. Business decisions are part of trade discussions. This is the way of the world in the NHL.
It is probably too early to start an official trade board but consider this a launching pad, a look at some players that could be involved in trade talks this season.
Some will be obvious, because their trade rumours have been floating for a while, and some others may be due to unexpected early results. Whether a team is a buyer or seller in trade talks is going to be dependent on where they sit in the standings. Last season, the Nashville Predators seemed destined to sell. Then they went on a run that thrust them into the playoff picture and selling was no longer part of the plan.
From a Toronto Maple Leafs perspective, certainly their slow start is disappointing, and some will howl that it is time to trade a slow-starting Mitch Marner but that is not the most likely way this season plays out. At least not yet.
I will dive into defence and goaltenders in the another piece but, today, here are some forwards that might be considered trade targets this season:
Jack Eichel, C, Buffalo
The biggest name on the trade market and the player in the most contentious situation with his team. Eichel needs surgery on his neck and he wants disc replacement surgery while the Sabres are insisting on a fusion. That has led to the current impasse but if another team is willing to let Eichel have that surgery, they could add a No. 1 centre, and that’s not easy to accomplish.
Peyton Krebs, C, Vegas
The reason that I have a couple of Golden Knights at the top of the list is that they are reportedly the leaders in Eichel sweepstakes at the moment and there are some natural pieces that Buffalo would want and Vegas could include. Krebs was the 17th pick in the 2019 Draft and only fell that far because of an Achilles injury he suffered before the draft. He could be a solid core piece if the Sabres could pry him out of Vegas.
Alex Tuch, RW, Vegas
A power forward with a nice combination of size, speed, and skill, Tuch has five more years left on his deal, with a $4.75 million cap hit. Tuch is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery
Tomas Hertl, C, San Jose
The Sharks had a good start to the season, but expectations are not especially high so if they start to fade from contention, a skilled center who is headed for unrestricted free agency would be very appealing to a lot of teams. It’s really a matter of whether Hertl wants to commit to the Sharks long-term.