Another team drops out of the bidding for Rick Nash, the Senators are in the mix for Bobby Ryan, a possible return for Roberto Luongo, and an update on Jay Bouwmeester.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson won’t trade Rick Nash for “less than market value”, suggesting this saga could drag on into September. The Boston Bruins are among Nash’s list of preferred trade destinations, which includes “the New York Rangers, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and San Jose”. The consensus among NHL GMs is Howson’s asking price remains too high.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports the Carolina Hurricanes have dropped out of the bidding for Nash, as the Blue Jackets insist on forward Jeff Skinner being part of the return.  Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said he’ll consider other free agent and trade options, including Coyotes UFA Shane Doan or former Capitals winger Alexander Semin.

DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland will continue shopping for a defenseman and a top six forward. The Wings are on Nash’s list, but he could prove too expensive. Gregg Krupa, meanwhile, suggests the Wings should practice patience and wait for next summer, when the crop of free agent talent could be deeper, with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla and Shea Weber possibly available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets can afford to be patient throughout the summer, but this could also backfire on them if this stretches into September. The start of the season (provided there’s no work stoppage) will be close at hand, and that could force them to lower their asking price to facilitate a Nash trade. I daresay that’s what most general managers will be counting on, and will be content to wait. In short, I don’t see the Nash saga ending this month or next.

Senators targeting Ryan?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch suggests not to rule out the Senators making a pitch for Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan. If the Ducks do shop Ryan, they’ll want a big return, as they “badly need” a young defenseman after losing Justin Schultz to free agency, plus a second-line center. It’s believed “the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings (and) Tampa Bay Lightning” could also have interest in Ryan.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi has the opinion Flyers GM Paul Holmgren won’t be dealing for Nash or Ryan, as he doesn’t want to part with promising young forwards Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Ducks will receive considerably more interest in Ryan from those clubs tired of waiting for the Blue Jackets to drop their asking price on Nash, but the Ducks won’t just give him away. If the rumors of their asking price of Schenn and Couturier from the Flyers is any indication, he could prove an expensive option. 

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports there’s speculation the Canucks would insist on Jose Theodore being part of the return if they were to ship Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers. Theodore has a limited NTC which lists ten teams he can be dealt to without waiving his clause, but the Canucks aren’t on that list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, the Panthers could threaten to make Theodore their number three unless he accepts a trade, but if, as the piece suggests, he didn’t get along with current Canucks goalie coach Rollie Melanson during their days together in Montreal, that threat might not work. 

SPORTSNET’s Roger Millions yesterday “tweeted” the following: “Flames have NOT tried to trade Bouw. Others have expressed some interest I am told, we may find out quickly if that’s so.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ryan Suter now off the market, I wouldn’t be surprised if those clubs which lost out in the bidding for him turn their focus toward Bouwmeester, especially if they’re willing to offer up a scoring forward.