Could the Oilers swap the first overall pick? Could they have interest in Sabres winger Drew Stafford? What plans do the Panthers have for the off-season? All this, plus a suggestion the Penguins might want to consider moving Malkin instead of Jordan Staal.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports, despite speculation, the Oilers are unlikely to trade this year’s first overall pick. The biggest trade buzz suggested shopping the pick to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal, but Matheson dismissed this for contractual reasons (Staal is a UFA next summer) and the fact he’s never potted more than 50 points in a season. He also dismissed talk of the Canadiens parting with PK Subban and the third overall pick for the first overall, and expressed doubt the Blue Jackets (second overall) and Islanders (4th overall) would be interested in flipping picks. In response to a fan’s question, Matheson doubts the Oilers would be able to pry winger Drew Stafford away from the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean the Oilers won’t move that first overall pick, but let’s just say it’ll take one heck of an offer to convince them to do so, one which should center around a top young defenseman. And no, you don’t get Subban and the third overall pick for the first overall. Matheson is correct in calling that silly. Subban is a key part of the Canadiens future. Yes, the Habs would love to land a top young forward prospect, perhaps someone like Nail Yakupov, but they won’t go to that extreme.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: James O’Brien linked to an interview TSN’s Darren Dreger recently had with Sportsradio 93-7, in which Dreger suggested the Penguins should, if necessary, consider trading Evgeni Malkin, rather than Staal. Dreger also went through a list of things Penguins GM Ray Shero could consider this summer, among which is perhaps dumping the bad contracts of defensemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger wasn’t saying the Penguins will move Malkin or Staal, or that they’re considering it, but was merely making his own suggestion of what he might consider if he were in Shero’s shoes. Still, food for thought, eh?
MIAMI HERALD/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon intends to build on the momentum of his club’s first playoff appearance in 12 years in the off-season, but isn’t expected to be as busy this summer as he was last year, especially in the free agent market.
Tallon said getting pending UFA defenseman Jason Garrison and RFA winger Kris Versteeg under contract are his priorities. The Panthers aren’t expected to get into the bidding for top UFAs like New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Nashville’s Ryan Suter. Tallon could re-sign pending UFA Mikael Samuelsson as a mentor for his young players, but fellow UFAs John Madden, Marco Sturm, Wojtek Wolski, Krys Barch and Scott Clemmensen aren’t expected to be re-signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be surprising if Garrison isn’t re-signed, but if not, that could push Tallon into the UFA market to replace him, though he won’t go after Suter. Versteeg should be re-signed. He and Tallon have a good relationship going back to their days with the Chicago Blackhawks. I wouldn’t rule out re-signing Clemmensen, but with Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings, and Jose Theodore signed through next season, that appears unlikely.