NHL Rumors: 3 Pacific Division Defensemen Expected to Be Traded This Summer

Welcome to the latest series at NHLTR where we'll dive into each division across the NHL and examine the most likely trade candidates. Forwards, defensemen and goaltenders, you will see them all as it's expected to be a wild and wacky summer of transactions. 

For round two, let's begin with three defensemen from the pacific division who could be changing jerseys for the 2022-23 season:

Brent Burns

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has been involved in more trade rumors these past few weeks than likely any other time he's been a part of the Sharks. The team is trying to cut cap space and transition to a younger core so the 37-year-old mobile defenseman who makes $8 million annually could certainly be on his way out. From what's been said by insiders, San Jose is disappointed how it's worked out with having Burns and Erik Karlsson on the same team. As for trade protection, Burns holds a good one as he submits a list of three teams each summer that he's willing to be traded to. Last season he recorded 54 points in 82 games and even though he's getting up there, Burns is in great shape, is healthy and can still get it done on the ice. Whether or not that's in the Shark Tank next season, is now the question. 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

The Vancouver Canucks are trying to create some salary cap flexibility so they can keep Brock Boeser and J.T Miller in house, and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be the fall guy. The 30-year-old who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes hasn't really worked out in western Canada and last season he only recorded 29 points in 79 games, meanwhile makes $8.25 million against the cap. It's likely the Canucks have to retain some salary in any trade as it appears Ekman-Larsson's game has fallen off a bit and teams aren't interested in $8.25-million mentors. The Boston Bruins were extremely interested before OEL was dealt to the Canucks, so let's see if they circle back this summer. He holds a full no-movement clause and will hold all the cards in any decision.

Alec Martinez

The Vegas Golden Knights are just like their divisional rival Canucks and Sharks, they too are trying to become more financially flexible. Vegas may have the worst cap situation in the league as they are currently only $200,000 under the cap for next season and still need to sign several players. Defenseman Alec Martinez is a prime trade candidate as the 34-year-old is signed for $5.25 million for the next two seasons. He'll submit a list of 12 teams he'd like to avoid this summer and Vegas may see what the other 20 teams are thinking. Last season was rough as injuries crept in and Martinez only appeared in 26 games, registering eight points. Interesting times in Vegas to say the least and look for the team to try and move the veteran defenseman early on this offseason.

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