Trade rumors in the NHL typically run rampant two times per year, in winter and summer. In the winter, trade rumors usually occur just before the in-season trade deadline. During the summer, rumors fly at the end of June when the NHL draft takes place and free agents are declared.
Each season the NHL imposes a trade deadline at the two-thirds point in the schedule, which is typically late February. The days and weeks leading up to this time are usually filled with trade rumors and speculation, because after the deadline all rosters are locked until after the playoffs.
Rumors typically ramp up again just before the NHL draft and the declaration of free agency. The NHL entry draft occurs in mid or late June each year, while NHL free agents are declared every July 1st. During this hectic time span, teams attempt to deal expiring contracts and upcoming draft picks in a flurry of activity.