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5 big names who could hit the NHL trade market this season

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Now that Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris are off the trade market, which big name is next up?

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Matt Duchene trade saga finally reached its conclusion over the weekend with the three-team deal that sent the talented forward to Ottawa and Kyle Turris to Nashville. As a result of the trade between the Avalanche, Senators, and Predators, two of the biggest candidates on the NHL trade market found new homes.

Usually these deals come closer to the trade deadline, which is set for Feb. 26 this season, but there was a unique urgency for Colorado given Duchene’s year-long trade request and his impending free agency in 2019. It’s clear everyone involved was ready to move on from an uncomfortable situation, so they did just that.

Now Duchene and Turris are settling in with new teams, and two of the biggest names are off the market. The Senators and Predators struck while the iron was hot to add reinforcements. Other teams will have to dig around to see who else might be available.

There’s no obvious star trade candidate anymore like Duchene, whose public trade demands were known across the hockey world. But given the Avs’ strong return, other floundering teams might consider what they’d take in exchange for a top player.

Now that Duchene and Turris are off the market, here’s a look at some other big names who could land on it.

John Tavares

It’s a massive long shot that the Islanders would move Tavares, but if he goes to management in January and says he’s going to leave as a free agent in July, the team will need to consider whether it’s best off trading him before the deadline to jumpstart a rebuild. It’s a delicate situation with a lot of moving parts, including where New York will play long term, but teams would line up to acquire Tavares, particularly if he’d be willing to sign an extension as part of the deal.

Evander Kane

Like the Islanders with Tavares, the Sabres need to figure out their future with Kane soon. The winger is also an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018, and he’s off to a scorching hot start this season with seven goals, six assists, and 69 shots on goal in 14 games. If Buffalo isn’t going to re-sign him, it might as well field offers from contenders that are looking to add some scoring punch. They reportedly haven’t decided which way they’re going here yet.

Justin Faulk

There’s no reason for the Hurricanes to move Faulk anytime soon given he’s signed through the 2019-20 season at a bargain $4,833,333 cap hit. But with the team struggling to break out after a busy summer, it seems possible he could be used as bait to make a major addition on offense. Carolina already has Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, and Haydn Fleury on the blue line, plus top prospect Jake Bean could be ready next season. It all makes Faulk a potential trade option, even though there’s no need to move him.

Alex Galchenyuk

The turmoil surrounding Galchenyuk and the Canadiens is well-known at this point. The No. 3 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has been playing better of late since the Habs put him on the same line as Jonathan Drouin, but it’s still not clear that his future lies in Montreal. With those issues and a reasonable contract that includes a $4.9 million cap hit through 2019-20, trading him is a potential solution. A couple of weeks ago, Eyes On The Prize made the cases for and against moving on from the 23-year-old.

Mike Green

Green might not qualify as a full-blown star now that he’s no longer competing for Norris Trophies, but he’s still the Red Wings’ No. 1 defenseman and has recorded 13 points in 16 games this season. As another impending free agent, Detroit could move him for future assets if it falls out of contention during the winter. The Red Wings may want to hang onto him if they’re capable of sneaking into the playoffs, though, given they don’t have much depth behind him.