On the eve of the NHL Draft, trade rumors are flying fast and furious. Read on for the latest on Ryan Kesler, Evander Kane, Keith Yandle and Vincent Lecavalier, plus updates on Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Jarome Iginla, Matt Niskanen and more.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports there’s a heightened sense of urgency regarding the Ryan Kesler trade situation, with some close to the situation suggesting a trade could happen within the next 24 hours, though no idea who the specific team involved in talks with the Canucks. Anaheim and Chicago have been rumored talking trade with the Canucks…It’s believed the Blues would like to acquire Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, and there’s been ongoing talk between the two sides, though a package centered around Patrik Berglund won’t suffice.
In a later segment, Dreger claimed there’s lots of interest in Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (two years left on his contract at $5.25 million annually), claiming the Coyotes aren’t trying to push him out but are listening to offers. The Red Wings are among those who could be interested, and they are also connected to Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. He also touched on rumors regarding Vincent Lecavalier and Evander Kane (more on that below). Dreger also reports Panthers GM Dale Tallon claims he’s got one really good offer for the first overall pick plus some “so-so” offers.
Dreger then joined Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun to discuss other moves. LeBrun claims a number of teams are trying to muscle their way into the Ryan Kesler sweepstakes, but the center must be willing to allow more clubs to get involved. Currently the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are believed his only preferred destinations….Dreger believes the Oilers and Canucks have interest in moving up but not to the level Panthers GM Dale Tallon seeks for the first overall pick. McKenzie believes Tallon would like to move the pick, while LeBrun notes he doesn’t want to accept any offers from those below tenth overall.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford fears another Roberto Luongo situation for the Vancouver Canucks if they’re unable to trade Ryan Kesler this summer. Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’s speaking with Kesler’s agent daily and talking to teams trying to find something which suits both sides. Benning states Kesler will remain a Canuck if no suitable deals are found.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Kesler just for the sake of moving him isn’t going to help the Canucks. If he’s unwilling to expand his trade list there’s a limited market for him. That being said, I think Benning could be waiting to see what happens with Spezza, who seems more likely to be dealt by tomorrow evening than Kesler at this point. Once Spezza’s dealt, that could open up the market for Kesler.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Tim Campbell reports Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff acknowledged there’s trade talk regarding his team, but declined to say which player it could involve. Evander Kane’s been the subject of trade speculation but Cheveldayoff said from his standpoint Kane remains a Winnipeg Jet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff also didn’t come right out and say Kane’s untradeable, which will ensure the young winger’s name remains in the rumor mill. I believe Cheveldayoff is listening to offers but it’s going to take a significant one to convince him to move Kane.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford speculates the Dallas Stars could be a big player in the coming days via trade or free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve said for weeks the Stars could try to get into the bidding for Spezza and Kesler, plus they could jump into the UFA market. They need a second-line center. Like the Ducks and Blues, they also possess depth in young talent to make competitive bids for either player, provided they’re willing to go to Dallas, who are an up-and-coming club. Stars GM Jim Nill last summer demonstrated his willingness to make bold moves with his acquisition of Tyler Seguin. He could make another big splash this summer.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports a league source claims Flyers GM Ron Hextall has given Vincent Lecavalier’s agent permission to speak to other clubs to gauge trade interest in his client.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap floor clubs like the Islanders, Panthers and Sabres could have interest, while Lecavalier’s been linked to the Predators for weeks now. Ultimately it’s up to Lecavalier as to which clubs he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause for.
SPORTSNET.CA: Chris Johnston reports the Boston Bruins limited cap space has forced Jarome Iginla to start exploring other options. The Bruins have limited cap space to offer Iginla a multi-year deal while still re-signing RFAs Reilly Smith and Torey Krug. They’re facing a cap penalty of $4.75 million for bonus overages tied to Iginla’s bonus-laden contract for this recent season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Bruins are willing to shed salary to re-sign Iginla, they’ll have no choice but to let him walk. Iginla loves playing in Boston but he’s not going to accept a bargain-basement deal to remain a Bruin.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Shelly Anderson reports Matt Niskanen’s agent said his client plans to test the UFA market.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the following via Twitter: “It’s believed Kane-Toews initial ask of CHI on extension is around $12M/yr each. They’ll end up lower but still could be $10M+ AAV players.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I guess they’d come in around $9.5 million per season so I wasn’t far off. $10 million per sounds like a like but the Blackhawks will pay it willingly. These two are the biggest reasons the Blackhawks won two Stanley Cups in four years and will be Cup contenders for years.