NHL Rumors: 3 Central Division Forwards 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 four, let's dive into forwards from the central division who could be changing jerseys for the 2022-23 season:

Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild are about to be in salary cap hell and forward Kevin Fiala is likely going to be the 'fall guy'. The Wild have dead money ($14+ million) after buying out Ryan Suter and Zach Parise last year, which is taking up a huge chunk of their $82.5-million team salary cap. Fiala is a restricted free agent who is already drawing interest from other teams as it's no secret the Wild have financial issues. Fiala is 25 years old and coming off a career season as he put up a timely 85 points in 82 games during his contract year. The New Jersey Devils are reportedly very interested, so might be something to keep an eye on at the NHL Entry Draft.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

As of right now, Patrick Kane has to inform the Chicago Blackhawks if he's open to being traded as the team has indicated they will only move the player if it's requested. Considering the amount of rebuilding changes that are coming to the roster this summer, there's certainly a chance Kane opens up to being moved. The 33-year-old is entering the final season of his contract, making $10.5 million annually. And while many teams can't afford this type of deal on their books, Chicago would likely retain some money if it meant the return was sweetened in the deal. Kane is still a dynamic offensive force who put up 92 points in 78 games last season on a struggling hockey club. Seeing him in New York or any other jersey for that matter would take some getting used to, but the possibility of a trade has never been stronger.

Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets

Mark Scheifele's exit interview was widely reported on as he indicated he's frustrated with his role on the hockey club and not happy he was leap frogged by Pierre-Luc Dubois on the depth chart. Scheifele mentioned multiple times he's in the prime of his career and wants a bigger role, now if that's in Winnipeg or elsewhere is still to be determined. The Jets aren't shopping the player but they are listening and the offers are expected to role in at the draft as team's try to get their ducks in a row before free agency opens on July 13. The 29-year-old has two seasons left on his deal, making $6.1 million annually and if he does get moved, look for the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings to have a ton of interest. Don't expect to see the Jets move Scheifele in the same conference, and any deal would likely involve an eastern conference hockey club.

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