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Lightning Round: The NHL trade market is heating up prior to Draft Week

With less than a week before the 2023 NHL Entry Draft and free agent frenzy, NHL teams became more aggressive on the trade market in an attempt to get more draft picks or clear cap space for potential free agent signings. A couple of trades already happened yesterday, while we can see the others in their early stages.

The day started with the Nashville Predators sending Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Nashville will also retain 50% of Johansen’s $8 million AAV.

Colorado has been in search of a second-line center ever since Nazem Kadri left the team in the summer of 2022 and Johansen might be a good fit for the, however there’s a slight concern about his age: last season Johansen had 12 goals and 28 points in 55 games, which is a huge downgrade comparing to the 2021-22 season, when he had 26 goals and 63 points in 79 games. Speaking of Galchenyuk, it’s unclear if he will get another shot in the NHL after zero points in 11 games with the Avalanche last season.

The Los Angeles Kings made some people raise their eyebrows after trading 24-year-old defenceman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes for a second round pick in 2024 NHL Draft.

Durzy just had a career-high season with 38 points in 72 games and was one of the best offensive defenceman on the roster, but the big picture is that his departure will open the door for Brandt Clarke, one of the most talented prospect in the Kings pool and will possibly clear some cap space for Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s rumored to be their main target this offseason.

Another trade that could happen on Saturday was a potential Kevin Hayes trade to the St. Louis Blues. The Philadelphia Flyers reportedly were expected to send Travis Sanheim alongside with Hayes in exchange of a first round pick in upcoming draft and an unnamed Blues defenceman. That unnamed Blues defenceman, however, invoked his no-trade clause, which is why this deal wasn’t finalized yesterday. According to some reports it’s believed to be Torey Krug.

Meanwhile, the Flyers and the Carolina Hurricanes are working on a Tony DeAngelo trade. DeAngelo already played for the Canes in 2021-22.

The Arizona Coyotes are closing on a Connor Ingram’s extension, which will allow him to stay with the team for three more years with $1.95 million AAV.

The Hurricanes are working on a four-year extension with their captain Jordan Staal.

The Blues extended defenceman Scott Perunovich to a one-year, one-way deal with $775,000 AAV.