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What’s the trade market for a RHD like Hronek? 13 teams that might be interested

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 month ago
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Welcome back to an offseason unlike any other in recent memory.
The Vancouver Canucks of the Summer of 2024 just aren’t like the Canucks of summers past. Previous offseasons have typically been dominated by the Canucks attempting to rid themselves of multiple problematic contracts, and all the while navigating the issue of having very few tradeable assets on hand through which to upgrade the roster.
Not so for the Canucks of 2024. They’ve got many, many decisions to make surrounding free agency, it’s true. But they’ve also only really got one questionable contract to deal with in the form of Ilya Mikheyev. And, should they choose to or feel compelled to, they’ve also got at least serious trade chip to offer around, and that’s Filip Hronek.
Until he’s extended, files for arbitration, or is traded elsewhere, Hronek remains the biggest question mark in the organization, and you can expect plenty of coverage on every angle of the conundrum.
Today, we’re talking market.
Should the Canucks decide that Hronek’s contractual demands are not a fit for the future of the team, they will look to trade him. And given that he’s a 26-year-old RHD capable of playing top-pairing minutes and coming off a career season, there will be suitors for his services.
Who might those suitors be? We’re looking for teams that A) have a clear need at the RHD position and B) are in both a financial and competitive space to offer Hronek the kind of contract extension he’s seeking.
The list we’ve come up with is as follows:
 
Anaheim Ducks
We know we said we were looking out for competitive teams, and that Anaheim isn’t quite there yet, but everyone knows this is a team on the rise. The Ducks already have a strong crop of young forwards in the NHL, and a boatload of defensive prospects ready to break in. But their only veterans under contract right now are Radko Gudas and Cam Fowler, both of whom are still effective, but neither of whom are leading figures.
Hronek could arrive in Anaheim, be “the guy” for a couple of years, and then ideally be surpassed by one or more of those prospects. This could be seen as way for the Ducks to accelerate their ascension, and they’ve definitely got the cap space and assets to make a trade happen fairly easily if they wanted it.
 
Carolina Hurricanes
Hronek’s name has straight-up been attached to the Hurricanes, and to forward Martin Necas specifically, several times already this offseason. Carolina isn’t anywhere near done competing, but with Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, and Jalen Chatfield all potentially departing as UFAs, they’ll need to do some refurbishing on the blueline.
Hronek’s age fits in exceptionally well with their established core, and if there’s any D corps out there that could paper over some of the holes in his game, it’s Rod Brind’Amour’s. In lieu of saying more here, we’ll probably dive into the Hronek-for-Necas proposal more deeply in a different article, as it strikes as us a very strong probability.
 
Columbus Blue Jackets
We don’t think Don Waddell arrived in Columbus to mess around with a retool. He’ll have eyes on turning the considerable talent they have on hand into something meaningful as quickly as possible.
To that end, Hronek could look appealing. The Blue Jackets have some veterans at RHD, like Damon Severson and Erik Gudbranson, and some promising prospects in David Jiricek and Corson Ceulemans. But if they want more results now, they could envision Hronek coming in and joining Zach Werenski on that top pairing, giving Werenski the sort of support he gave Quinn Hughes this past season.
 
Dallas Stars
The Stars won’t be satisfied with a Western Conference Final finish, but they’ve got some free agency-related struggles of their own to contend with, including the potential departures of RHDs Chris Tanev and Jani Hakanpaa, leaving Nils Lundkvist as the top-ranking natural RHD on the roster. That’s not good enough for a contender.
With more than $15 million in cap space to play around with, the Stars could absolutely make a bid for Hronek, and in doing so secure a potential long-term partner for Miro Heiskanen. Hronek’s age fits very nicely into middle of the multifaceted core the Stars have set up for themselves.
 
Florida Panthers
This one is pretty much a swap-in, swap-out situation. Whether the Panthers win it all this year or not, there’s a good chance that top RHD Brandon Montour bails as a UFA in the summer, and the Panthers could rightly see Hronek as a replacement that is A) cheaper to sign for the time being and B) younger.
The goal here would be for Florida to absorb the loss of Montour without skipping a beat competitively, and this gives them a chance at that. Coming up with the assets to pay for Hronek might be the primary challenge.
 
Minnesota Wild
The Wild are so close to escaping their pit of buyout despair. Next summer, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise’s dead cap becomes a lot more manageable, and so Minnesota is just holding out for one more year. And they’ve actually got some really nice pieces on hand to build around as soon as they’re out of it, including RHD rookie sensation Brock Faber.
But there’s not much behind Faber currently on that blueline until Jared Spurgeon returns and recovers from double-surgery this past season. They may rightly rule Hronek a luxury they can’t afford until next offseason, but he would represent a fantastic means of insulating Faber from the dreaded sophomore slump, and is young enough to play a role in what comes next.
 
Nashville Predators
The Predators got a full view of Hronek in the playoffs, for better and for worse, and that may have them looking elsewhere for RHD help. But they will have to look somewhere. They showed last year that they’ll continue to be playoff-competitive for the next while, and their top RHDs are currently Luke Schenn and Dante Fabbro, with Alex Carrier potentially departing as a UFA.
Hronek would be the same age or younger than the bulk of the Nashville core, so that’s a major plus, and the overall defensive-orientation of Nashville may lend itself to giving Hronek the kind of support he needs on the blueline.
 
New York Islanders
It’d be kind of fun for Hronek and Bo Horvat to end up on the same roster after effectively being traded for one another. The Islanders will try to compete as long as Lou Lamoriello is in the big chair, and while they’ve got plenty of NHL D on staff, including RHDs Noah Dobson and Ryan Pulock, they’ve got spending space for at least one more big-ticket defender.
Hronek might just be the best on the trade market this summer, and the Islanders still have at least a few assets worth offering in return, as well as a decent amount of cap space.
 
Ottawa Senators
The Senators should be seen as one of the leading candidates for Hronek. He fits their age range exceptionally well, he offers the offence from the blueline they so desperately need, and he joins an RHD corps of Artem Zub and not much else.
As they try to make something of a haphazard collection of core forwards, the Senators need to get better immediately. Acquiring Hronek is one of the most direct ways to do so, and they’re flush with picks and prospects to make it happen.
 
Seattle Kraken
With just Adam Larsson and Will Borgen on their right side, and coming off a disappointing season, it’s obvious why the Kraken would be interested in Hronek.
Would the Canucks be interested in sending him to a regional rival? Probably not, especially with so many other suitors available.
 
Toronto Maple Leafs
Another team already attached in rumours to Hronek are the Maple Leafs, who seem to have an annual tradition of revamping their blueline in the summer. As of now, their top signed RHD for next season is Conor Timmins. The need for Hronek is obvious, and the fit is clear. He’s got more than enough talent to take advantage of ice-time alongside the likes of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.
Cap space is always an issue in Toronto, but they’ve currently got more than $18 million of it to play with, and RHD is their most glaring need. Paying the acquisition cost would be a much bigger challenge for them, but it’s doable.
 
Utah TBAs
The unnamed Utah franchise has $44 million in cap space on hand and zero NHL defenders under contract for next year. But they do have an excellent collection of young forwards and the potential to start competing in the immediate future.
Given the difficulty a new location might have in drawing UFAs, perhaps Utah reasons that the trade market is a better fit for them, and as a pending RFA, Hronek holds no trade protection.
If we’re talking suitors with the most cap space and spendable assets available, it’s definitely Utah, and it’s not even close.
 
Winnipeg Jets
Similar to what we said about Florida, we can imagine the Jets letting top RHD Dylan Demelo go and swapping in Hronek. Except in this case, it would probably be considered a considerable upgrade. We could also mention the same UFA-attracting factor here as we did for Utah, and that could see the Jets pushing for a trade more than a signing.
And who’s better on the trade market than Hronek right now?
 

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