The latest on Ryan Kesler, Vincent Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn, Marc-Andre Fleury, Devan Dubnyk and more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports goalie Devan Dubnyk has returned to Alberta to be with his family and will begin training this week as he prepars to look for a new team as an unrestricted free agent in July…Canucks new GM Jim Benning hopes to meet with center Ryan Kesler, who requested a trade. His agent won’t speak about what it could take to change Kesler’s mind or his list of preferred trade destinations (Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay), though Friedman thinks that list could change…Contract talks between the Blue Jackets and RFA Ryan Johansen are set to begin shortly…One roster change the Sharks could make is moving goalie Antti Niemi, who has a year left on his contract at $3.8 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk won’t get a starter’s job anytime soon, but perhaps a club takes a chance on him as a backup. He might have to earn that through a training camp tryout…The Ducks and Penguins could be the only suitors on Kesler’s current list, so he might have to broaden it to allow for more destinations if he truly wants a trade…The Jackets will re-sign Johansen…The Sharks can try to move Niemi, but given the limited market for goalies this summer, could have a difficult time finding trade partners.
ESPN.COM: Mike Hume suggests the Vancouver Canucks as a possible trade partner for the Florida Panthers, who are willing to shop their first round pick (first overall) in this year’s draft. Hume also lists Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, Ottawa’s Jason Spezza and Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov as possible trade candidates this summer. He also believes the Philadelphia Flyers could be forced to trade RFA Brayden Schenn or somebody else to free up cap space this summer to re-sign Schenn. He lists the Penguins, Capitals and Islanders as three teams which could be active in this summer’s trade market. Hume pointed out Craig Custance recently suggested the Calgary Flames as a trade destination for Marc-Andre Fleury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would certainly be a bold move by the Canucks to deal for that first overall pick, as they would have to not only include their first round pick (sixth overall) but a quality player to land that pick. Would Kesler or Alex Edler consent to being dealt to the Panthers? Would either guy be enough to tempt the Panthers to part with that pick? I have my doubts Phaneuf or Yakupov are moved but Spezza certainly appears a trade possibility. I can see the Flyers trying to shed salary to re-sign Schenn, but it won’t be easy. Lots of speculation about moving Vincent Lecavalier but that could be easier said than done. Flames management insist they’re sticking with Karri Ramo as their starter. If so, that rules them out as a destination for Fleury.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Ryan Kesler would be a perfect fit as a shutdown center for the Ducks, who have two first round picks, a young center in Mathieu Perreault and some promising young players like Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem to offer up in a return. He believes the Ducks can offer up three pieces in a swap for Kesler. Failing that, their other trade target could be Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, though he’s not a shutdown center…Matheson also reports the Flyers hope their former coach and current Predators bench boss Peter Laviolette likes Vincent Lecavalier enough to convince Predators GM David Poile to acquire him, though such a move could mean the Flyers absorb part of Lecavalier’s contract…Matheson cites TSN’s Craig Button wondering if the Penguins could re-sign UFA defenseman Matt Niskanen with young blueliners Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot both sidelined until possibly November to shoulder surgery…Matheson speculates the Red Wings, rather than pursue Niskanen via free agency, could instead opt to sign Dan Boyle to a two-year deal…Red Wings center Joakim Andersson could be of interest for clubs in need of a number four center who’s strong in the faceoff circle…Matheson wonders if Canucks GM Jim Benning might make a deal with his old boss, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. He wonders if they might do a Kevin Bieksa-for-Brad Marchand swap, or Edler for Marchand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have the depth in assets to acquire Kesler but it remains to be seen if Canucks GM Benning is willing to deal with a division rival…So much speculation suggesting Laviolette could try to convince David Poile to pursue Lecavalier, a 34-year-old center whose best seasons are clearly behind him with four more years at $4.5 million per season left on his contract. I think Poile’s smarter than that, or if he makes that move, he’ll want a young asset thrown into the deal. And the Flyers would have to pick up part of his salary. I don’t think Lecavalier’s the answer for the Predators’ scoring needs…Maybe the Penguins try to sign Boyle if they fail tor re-sign Niskanen?…I believe acquiring Marchand would be a disastrous move for the Canucks. Too much bad blood there between Marchand and the Canucks’ core players.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports Stars GM Jim Nill expects there will be plenty of moves at this year’s NHL draft.