Top Five Trade Destinations for Joffrey Lupul

Joffrey Lupul…probably isn’t getting traded.  He’s 33-years-old, he’s played just 329 of a possible 513 games over the last 7 seasons, has just 35 points in his last 101 games, and he carries a $5.250M cap hit through 2017-2018.  But how does that old saying go?  If David Clarkson can get traded, anybody can get traded.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five teams that might be a fit for Lupul ahead of this month’s trade deadline:

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

New Jersey is among the teams with the most cap space in the entire NHL.  They’re also the lowest-scoring team in the NHL.  Plus, they have some bad contracts on their hands that they could potentially swap for Lupul’s.  It doesn’t hurt either that, while New Jersey is competing for a playoff spot right now, they’re really not in “win-now” mode.  They’re not in tank mode either, so maybe a shot in the dark on a veteran scorer could make sense for them in the short-term, especially if they can get a bad contract off of their hands.

Potential Trade Pieces: Mid-to-Late Round Draft Picks in 2016 or 2017, Jiri Tlusty

Potential Salary Dumps: Ryane Clowe, Tuomo Ruutu

ARIZONA COYOTES

The Coyotes actually have a fairly decent offense this year.  But, they’re still thin up front, especially with the likes of Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker slated to hit free agency this summer.  And the Yotes, like the Leafs, are in the middle of a rebuild.  So taking a short-term chance on a guy like Lupul, especially when he’s a guy with good intangibles that has the added bonus of helping them reach the cap floor over the next couple of seasons, comes with little consequence.  This is a situation where maybe they’d be willing to take Lupul off the Leafs’ hands for an extremely light price, similar to when they took on Sam Gagner from Tampa Bay a couple of summers back.

Potential Trade Pieces: Max Domi

Just kidding…

Potential Trade Pieces: Mid-to-late round draft picks in 2016 or 2017

Potential Salary Dumps: Joe Vitale

CALGARY FLAMES

Yeah, the Flames have some forwards already – Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett – the list goes on.  But the depth up front isn’t great in Calgary, and that’s not even taking into account the fact that Jiri Hudler and David Jones are pending UFAs.  This is another team where, like New Jersey and Arizona, there might be at least some willingness to take a swing on a guy like Lupul, even if it’s just for a little bit of added depth.

What might help this along is the fact that Brian Burke is in Calgary, and he’s the guy who brought Lupul to Toronto in the first place.  Burke would be familiar with the sort of things Lupul is capable of both on and off the ice.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Burke thought he was a guy worth bringing into the organization.

Another important factor is that the Flames have plenty of bad contracts.  Matt Stajan has just 9 points this year and appears to have fallen off of a cliff.  Lance Bouma has 1 point in 20 games.  Ladsiav Smid and Deryk Engelland have put in similarly troubling performances.  So if Calgary can pawn one of those guys off on Toronto, that could speed things along.

And hey, the Flames aren’t exactly built to win right now either.  I don’t think they want to lose, but taking a short-term gamble on Lupul could be justified for a team that’s not far off from a top five pick in this June’s draft.

Potential Trade Pieces: Mid-to-late round draft picks in 2016 or 2017

Potential Salary Dumps: Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Is Vancouver right now worse than Calgary right now?  Maybe.  Is Vancouver’s long-term outlook worse than Calgary’s?  Hell yes it is.

The Canucks suck.  Sure, they have some good veteran pieces.  But they’re an old team in the running for a top five pick, with a coach and a GM that don’t really appear to know what they’re doing.  That either helps in that Jim Benning might be stupid enough to want Joffrey Lupul, or it might help in that, because they don’t expect to be very good in the immediate future, taking on Lupul for a couple of seasons isn’t the worst thing in the world.

And while the Canucks literally have the least amount of cap space in the league right now, there’s still room to make it work.  For one, Dan Hamhuis is almost certainly headed elsewhere this deadline.  Radim Vrbata might be too.

What’s more important, though is that the Canucks also have lots of bad contracts, such as Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Derek Dorsett, and Luca Sbisa.  So maybe something can get done around that.  I actually think a Lupul for Burrows trade would be about as close to fair a trade as you could find in the league right now (although if the Canucks were smart, which they aren’t, they probably wouldn’t do that).

Potential Trade Pieces: Mid-to-late round draft picks in 2016 or 2017

Potential Salary Dumps: Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Derek Dorsett, Luca Sbisa

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

The Jackets actually have a decent stable of forwards to draw from – Brandon Saad, Nick Foligno, Brandon Dubinsky, Scott Hartnell, Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, Boone Jenner, and so on.  Really, their need is more-so on defense (at least in the short-term).  But rumor is guys like Hartnell and Atkinson could be on the move.

And, one should also consider that the Blue Jackets are a rebuilding team, so taking on Lupul comes with little risk for a team like Columbus.

It’s also very much worth mentioning that Columbus, too, has lots of bad contracts – and not just David Clarkson’s.  No, Matt Calvert, Jared Boll, Gregory Campbell, and Fedor Tyutin all carry some term, and all are currently failing to live up to their price tag.

But most importantly, one should consider that Jarmo Kekalainen is one of the worst GMs in the league.

Potential Trade Pieces: Mid-to-late round draft picks in 2016 or 2017

Potential Salary Dumps: David Clarkson (lol), Rene Bourque, Matt Calvert, Jared Boll, Gregory Campbell, Fedor Tyuton

A BRIEF CONCLUSION

When I first started writing this article I thought it would be an exercise in futility – no way is a team trading for Joffrey Lupul.  But after doing some research and typing this thing up, I actually think it’s a real possibility.  Guys like Clowe, Ruutu, Burrows, and Tyutin, I think, make an especial amount of sense for not just the Leafs but the teams on the other end.  The Leafs can afford to eat the dead money carried by Clowe (whose career is likely over) a lot easier than the budget-laden Devils can.  Lupul for Ruutu would be an easier out for the Leafs, but if the Devils want some scoring, it could be worth it from New Jersey’s perspective.  Lupul for Burrows is close to equal value, and while Burrows has less term and a smaller cap hit, it’s close enough to conceivably make sense.  Lupul for Tyuton, too, might really make sense.  Tyutin’s cap hit is slightly below Lupul, but the term on his contract is the same, and he’s arguably an even worse player at this stage in his career.  I’d have a tough time telling you a Joffrey Lupul trade is probably going to happen, but there’s no question in my mind now that it’s most certainly possible.

  • Gary Empey

    I think we should do a trade to Calgary involving Lupul and Bernier for Bouma and a 2017 3rd or something along those lines. Bouma is a Babcock type of player and we could get a good return for him

    • FlamesRock

      Bouma may not have many points this season but he was not signed to score a ton. I highly doubt that Bouma will get traded. Now if you want a overpaid defensemen we got you covered! Or perhaps you want a former player back? We got you covered there to with Raymond and Colbern! I would love a trade where we get Bernier for something like a 2nd round pick!

      • FlamesRock

        I realize that a second is arguably fair valve for bernier considering the way he has been playing lately but The leafs gave up frattin, scrivens, and a second for bernier, so it would look a little bad if they gave him up for just a second. The leafs also have the luxury of time with a year left on his contract after this season, so they could look at moving him in the summer or next trade deadline. I think it’s more likely they move Reimer than bernier from a strictly contract point of view, but ultimately leafs management has to make a desision on who will be “the guy” in net for the foreseeable future.

        • dougie88

          While that is what the Leafs gave up, it’s not what the current front office gave up. If they think that the flexibility of losing $4.1 Million next season in a back-up (as you said, it’s who they see as “the guy”, so who knows if they see Bernier or Reimer as the back-up) is worth it, you make the deal for a 2nd in a heartbeat. The new front office is still accumulating assets, and they aren’t tied to values previously given up for certain players.

  • jimithy

    Lupul is just another bad choice. All these bad choices are not good. Imagine having millions of dollars to play around with, and whether you win or lose you don’t have to worry, because it’s not your money anyway, and there’s plenty more from where that came from to keep making more bad choices. And meanwhile nobody really cares because it’s all for a good cause. Nice racket.