The wheeling and dealing already have heated up days before the 2019 NHL draft opens its doors in Vancouver on Friday night.
The San Jose Sharks locked up Erik Karlsson to a mammoth eight-year, $92-million US contract. The Winnipeg Jets traded defenceman Jacob Trouba. Former Jets centre Kevin Hayes, who was moved to the Philadelphia Flyers, has signed a long-term deal to stay in his new home.
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While the Jets have been the busiest among the seven Canadian-based clubs, each general manager is expected to give their mobile phone a workout.
Here’s a look at each of the Canadian teams’ to-do list at the draft and heading into free agency in 10 days:
Season review: Finished first in the West, but the Flames were eliminated in the opening round in five games by the Colorado Avalanche.
First-round pick: 26th overall.
The skinny: Flames GM Brad Treliving has a history of pulling off draft-day trades … Last year, he landed defenceman Noah Hanifin and right wing Elias Lindholm from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for right wing Micheal Ferland, defenceman Dougie Hamilton and the rights to college prospect Adam Fox. Fox, however, signed with the New York Rangers in the off-season … Calgary signed free-agent defenceman Alexander Yeltsin from the KHL last month … The Flames need to increase their forward depth.
Season review: Finished 25th overall and missed the playoffs for the second season in a row and for the 12th time in 13 seasons.
First-round pick: 8th overall.
The skinny: They need depth at all positions … Oilers have top-flight prospects in defencemen Evan Bouchard and Caleb Jones, as well as forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Kirill Maksimov … New GM Ken Holland will run his first draft for the Oilers … Edmonton desperately needs a goalie to share the duties with Mikko Koskinen.
Season review: Montreal finished 14th overall, just two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
First-round pick: 15th overall.
The skinny: They have top-flight prospects in Guelph Storm forward Nick Suzuki and Ryan Poehling, who scored three goals in his debut in the Habs regular-season finale … Poehling scored three goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season finale … GM Marc Bergevin nearly has $12 million in salary cap room for free agency … Suzuki’s younger brother, Ryan, who scored 25 goals for the Barrie Colts last season may be available when the Habs make their first-round selection … Montreal has a need to add to its blue-line depth.
Season review: 31st overall.
First-round pick: 19th overall from Columbus in Matt Duchene trade. They gave away the fourth-overall choice to the Colorado Avalanche in Duchene acquisition from November 2017.
The skinny: The Senators need a centre with the departure of Duchene … Ottawa GM Peter Dorion admitted he’s exploring the trade market for defenceman Cody Ceci, a potential restricted free agent … The Senators already have a blue-line that consists of Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, Christian Wolanin, Dylan DeMelo, Christian Jaros and possibly Max Lajoe … Senators also have the 32nd and 44th selections.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Season review: Finished seventh overall, but were beaten in Game 7 of the first round by the Boston Bruins.
First-round pick: Selection was given up in Jake Muzzin deal.
The skinny: The Maple Leafs don’t have a pick until the second round, 53rd overall … They need to add toughness up front and on defence … Toronto GM Kyle Dubas is in salary cap trouble. He has three significant restricted free agents to sign in Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen … Dubas needs to make room by moving someone like third-line forward Patrick Marleau or defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, who has requested a trade but has a hefty five years at $4.5 million a season left on his contract?
Season review: Finished 23rd overall and missed the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
First-round pick: 10th overall.
The skinny: Even though youngsters Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi could earn blue-line spots in training camp, the Canucks are expected to continue to build defensive depth with their first selection … Calder Trophy-winner Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat provide plenty up front … Tanner Pearson was a nice late-season addition. He scored nine goals in 19 games with Vancouver … Adding intrigue to the Canucks situation is veteran defenceman Alex Edler, slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Season review: Finished 10th overall and were eliminated in six games in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup-champion St. Louis Blues.
First-round pick: 20th overall.
The skinny: They traded Jacob Trouba to the Rangers in exchange for Neil Pionk and the first-round selection (20th overall) they sent to the Rangers for the Hayes move at the trade deadline … The Jets didn’t have a pick until the second round, 51st overall until GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made the Trouba trade … With defensive prospects such as Logan Stanley and Dylan Samberg developing, the Jets are in search to add to their depth up front.