With the NHL offseason in full swing, hockey fans are focused on the upcoming NHL Draft and the start of the free-agent market on July 1. This is also the time of year when the trade market returns to life after months of inactivity following the March trade deadline.

Trade activity kicked off earlier this month with the Philadelphia Flyers shipping defenseman Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets via the Los Angeles Kings, the Jackets acquiring blueliner Damon Severson from the New Jersey Devils, and the Dallas Stars shipping forward Fredrik Olofsson to the Colorado Avalanche.

Business continued this weekend with the Nashville Predators trading center Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche for forward Alexander Galchenyuk. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings made a cost-cutting move by shipping defenseman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes for a 2024 second-round draft pick.

Several noteworthy players have turned up in trade rumors in recent weeks. Among the notables on our NHL Trade Big Board include Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois and Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat.

What those two have in common is they are restricted free agents this summer. Teams usually don't put such players on the trade block as they still retain their rights once the free-agent period begins on July 1. They continue to negotiate with their RFAs until signing them to a new contract before the start of the new season.

However, Dubois and DeBrincat have indicated their disinterest in signing new contracts with their current clubs. With both players a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility, their respective teams are gauging their value in the trade market.

Dubois and DeBrincat are among five restricted free agents who could be traded this summer. We'll examine the reasons why as well as potential destinations for each.

Did we miss anyone? Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Let us know in the comments section.


Alexis Lafrenière, New York Rangers

Sitting in the last spot in our June NHL Trade Big Board, Alexis Lafrenière became the subject of trade speculation after his New York Rangers were eliminated from the opening round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lafrenière, 21, is completing his three-year entry-level contract and can become a restricted free agent on July 1. Unlike the others on this list, he lacks arbitration rights. Nevertheless, he'll be seeking a raise over his $925,000 annual salary cap hit. The Rangers, however, have limited cap space and must also re-sign RFA defenseman K'Andre Miller.

Chosen first-overall in the 2020 NHL Draft by the Rangers, Lafrenière struggled to reach expectations as an offensive forward. A scoring star in Canadian junior hockey as a left winger, the Rangers have had little success turning him into a right wing.

Lafrenière won't get an opportunity to become a regular on the Ranger's scoring lines with veterans Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin filling those left-wing positions. That's what made him the subject of trade rumors, including reports of the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks having previously looked into acquiring him.

The Rangers hiring Peter Laviolette as head coach could dampen that trade speculation. During his introductory press conference on June 20, Laviolette cited the importance of giving his new club's young player a chance to develop.

Laviolette's comments suggest there's a low probability of the Rangers trading Lafrenière. Nevertheless, we won't fully dismiss that option. There's always a chance that a rival club could make an irresistible offer.