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NHL Draft

No NHL players traded during first round of Draft

GMs cite lack of final salary cap number as reason, expect more activity on Day Two

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

VANCOUVER -- Jeff Gorton normally loves discussing trades with his fellow general managers, even if it might not lead to anything.

The Rangers GM ended up being bored on that front during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on Friday, when there was not a trade completed involving at least one NHL player.

"I thought it was a little dull that way," Gorton said. "There's a lot of conversations and things, we'll talk later. I think tomorrow maybe we'll see some more. A lot of focus on the first round and everybody trying to add their pieces, so we didn't see any NHL players traded. I'm not used to that."

 

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Gorton said the lack of trades might be partially attributed to the fact that the final NHL salary cap for next season has not been finalized. Some GMs said player movement could heat up once the number comes out.

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said the cap was expected to be somewhere from $81 million to $83 million, up from $79.5 million this season. That $2 million difference is significant for teams at or near the cap.

"We wait for the number and we'll see what happens," Gorton said. "It could be. There's a lot of conversations, and maybe we're waiting around to see what happens Saturday."

Video: Rapid Fire Recap of the 2019 NHL Draft

Rounds 2-7 are Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN). Free agency begins July 1, with teams permitted to begin interviewing pending free agents Sunday.

"I love to talk on the phone, it's fun," Gorton said. "I want to hear what other teams are doing and what they're thinking. You get an idea coming into here, but it was kind of quiet today. My phone wasn't ringing a ton."

Whether activity increases on Day Two remains to be seen.

The first round of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas had the Colorado Avalanche acquire defenseman Brooks Orpik and goaltender Philipp Grubauer from the Washington Capitals for a 2018 second-round pick. The following day, the Calgary Flames acquired forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin from the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Micheal Ferland, defenseman Dougie Hamilton and defenseman prospect Adam Fox.

"Will we see teams do something like that on the second day this year? Well, we still have the weekend," Flames GM Brad Treliving said. "There'll be movement, but I'm not sure how much there will be. There's a little bit of a noose right now. You've got everybody going into a narrow area right now. It's tight from a cap perspective. A lot of teams have their own players they have to sign, you have a lot of teams nudging against the cap. You've got a cap that might be a little bit lighter than people had thought. Then you look at the people you might have to sign a year from now. It makes things a little more cautious. Having said that, let's see what happens."

Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said the timing of the draft this year may have been a factor in the lack of trades involving players during the first round.  

"The draft seems a little earlier this year, so we still have a full 10 days before July 1," he said. "I think teams probably had their focus on the draft tonight knowing there's a lot of time between now and July 1 to figure things out."

Philadelphia was involved in the only trade during the first round, sending its No. 11 pick to the Arizona Coyotes for the Nos. 14 and 45 picks.

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