Latest on Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Evander Kane, Patrick Sharp and more.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Patrick Sharp’s agent, Rick Curran, issued a strong denial yesterday to recent trade rumors about his client. He called the rumors “complete fabrications”, adding he received assurances several days ago from Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman there was no truth to the rumors Sharp was available. Curran singled out Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos for criticism. “When the Sportsnet guy, Nick Kypreos, erroneously made a statement and everyone went crazy, I called Stan again. I asked, ‘Has anything changed?’ He said, ‘absolutely not.’ He’s full of [expletive].”
Curran added,”“Stan Bowman said he’s the last guy that would be traded… As far as I’m concerned, the whole thing’s a fabrication from a puke out of Toronto trying to make headlines, an absolutely, completely irresponsible report, based on absolutely nothing other than his own whim or fancy.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So you’re saying your client won’t be traded?
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports the Jason Spezza trade talk has picked up, with the Senators believed talking to three Western Conference clubs (Anaheim and St. Louis believed among them) and one “mystery” Eastern Conference club. Four clubs on Spezza’s “no-trade” list included Eastern teams Florida, Carolina, Columbus, and the New York Islanders. The Senators hope to get a first-round pick in this year’s draft as part of the return for Spezza…Darren Dreger reports the Oilers seek a defenseman and a center. Their first-round pick (third overall) is “very much in play” while Sam Gagner remains a possible trade candidate…McKenzie claims Joe Thornton as of now has no intention of waiving his no-movement clause…Dreger claims Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler has a six-team trade list, two of which – the Ducks and Blackhawks – are believed to have the most interest. Dreger believes those two clubs feel they’re the only two teams in the running, hence the reason the offers for Kesler haven’t been that good so far.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Spezza is more likely to be dealt by the opening round of the upcoming draft than Kesler. Toronto and Montreal aren’t on Spezza’s “no-trade” list but that’s only because he knows the Senators won’t ship him to either club. That leaves Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, NY Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington among the clubs who could be the “mystery team” interested in Spezza.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch claims “as many as five teams – including St. Louis, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville and Florida” have contacted the Senators about Spezza. The Senators hope to get a first-round pick as part of the return, as they dealt away this year’s pick to Anaheim last summer in the Bobby Ryan deal. Garrioch also wondered if all the recent trade talk will lead to action when the curtain opens on the opening round of the upcoming NHL Draft… Panthers GM Dale Tallon continues to entertain offers for the first overall pick but hasn’t yet set an asking price…The Jets aren’t shopping winger Evander Kane ($5.25 million annual cap hit) but are listening to offers. Garrioch wonders if he could be a good fit with the Bruins… The Blues have interest in Paul Stastny, Jason Spezza and Ryan Kesler…The Blackhawks also have interest in Kesler ($5 million annual salary) but must determine if they can afford to part with a player, prospect and first-round pick…Garrioch speculates Sharks GM Doug Wilson could try to pressure Joe Thornton into waiving his no-movement clause by getting three- or four-teams involved and lets Thornton choose one…The Flyers could try to move up in the draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators and Panthers are on Spezza’s “no-trade” list but it doesn’t hurt for those clubs to make inquiries…It’ll take a significant offer to pry Kane away from the Jets. The Bruins (with only $3.7 million in cap space and facing a $4.5 million cap penalty) aren’t a fit without shedding considerable cap space…The Blackhawks ($4.6 million in cap space) must do either a dollar-for-dollar swap to land Kesler, request the Canucks pick up part of his salary or shed dollars elsewhere…I get the sense Thornton has no intention of succumbing to any pressure by the Sharks to move him.