Will the Panthers trade the first-overall pick tonight at the NHL Draft? The latest plus updates on pending free agents Paul Stastny, Brad Richards, Thomas Vanek, Dan Boyle, Dave Bolland and more.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said there’s a 70 percent chance he’ll retain the first-overall pick.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports Islanders GM Garth Snow is willing to shop his first-round pick (fifth overall) for players or to move down in the draft. He’s also rumored to have “kicked the tires” on former Rangers center Brad Richards.
VANCOUVER SUN/VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Iain MacIntyre and Jason Botchford reports Canucks GM Jim Benning was in talks with the Panthers regarding the first-overall pick, but he’s also prepared to keep his current selection (sixth overall). Overshadowing this is the trade rumors swirling about Canucks center Ryan Kesler. Benning said he’s spoken with clubs interested in Kesler but will only move him it he gets an offer which makes sense for his team.
NATIONAL POST/TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos and Rob Longley reports Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis expects to remain with the eighth-overall pick. Longley also reports pending UFA center Dave Bolland’s asking price remains too expensive for the Leafs, Nonis also has interest in bringing back winger Leo Komarov, and said it’s possible RFA goalie and trade candidate James Reimer could return with the Leafs next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless there’s a significant offer, the Panthers will retain their pick. It doesn’t appear as though such an offer will come from the Canucks or Leafs. I think Bolland’s a goner from Toronto, while Reimer is likely to be moved at some point.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports more than ten teams have expressed interest in Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny… A number of clubs are also interested in defenseman Dan Boyle. The Tampa Bay Lightning are believed among them. Boyle’s asking price could be two years at $5.5 million annually…The Chicago Blackhawks are willing to trade defenseman Nick Leddy ($2.7 million cap hit)…The Vancouver Canucks have interest in Ryan Miller…The Boston Bruins are trying to re-sign Jarome Iginla…Thomas Vanek has no shortage of destinations, including the Minnesota Wild…Garrioch wonders if the Nashville Predators could be a destination for Vincent Lecavalier…Dave Bolland could be headed to the Florida Panthers…The Buffalo Sabres contacted Ryan Callahan’s camp prior to his re-signing with the Lightning…Five teams have interest in Leo Komarov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve already commented about most of this elsewhere. I will say if the Blackhawks need to shed salary Leddy could be a trade candidate, especially if they’re unwilling to move a higher-salaried player like Patrick Sharp. I would expect the Panthers to be very interested in Bolland, who knows GM Dale Tallon from their days with the Blackhawks.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien cites a report from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun claiming up to 15 NHL teams are interested in Paul Stastny.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Stastny hits the market he’ll be the best available free agent. Little wonder so many teams are interested in him. Stastny could cash in big, meaning he could on his way out of Colorado if the Avs are unwilling to match an offer between $6-$7 million annually.
TWINCITIES.COM: Chad Graff reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher notes there’s considerably more interest in his club from potential free agents than in the past. He cites the club’s improvement over the past two seasons as the reason. It’s believed the Wild have interest in Thomas Vanek and Matt Niskanen.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Benoit Pouliot has received offers believed worth up to $9 million over three seasons, which could prove difficult for the Rangers to match.