Are the Senators and Oilers planning to make moves at the draft? Could the Blue Jackets shop their first round pick? Are the Thrashers close to re-signing Andrew Ladd? Read on for the latest.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Chris Yzerman of Canadian Press recently reported a coaching change isn’t the only change coming for the Ottawa Senators this summer. Ideally GM Bryan Murray would like to add a scoring forward, and also feels the team’s future is in good shape given their prospects and additional draft picks. Murray also has to consider either re-signing or replacing UFAs Ryan Shannon and Curtis McElhinney.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Murray has five picks in the first two rounds and is open to shopping them to see if he can move up into the third, fourth or fifth spots overall, which are currently owned by Florida, New Jersey and the NY Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray could also perhaps shop those picks to teams seeking to dump salary, ideally for a scoring forward in his mid-late twenties carrying a salary under $4 million per season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently speculated as to what the Oilers roster could look like next season, wondering what the future could hold for pending free agents like UFAs Jim Vandermeer, Jason Strudwick and Ryan Jones. Matheson was also curious if the Oilers might trade a notable roster player, specifically Ladislav Smid, Tom Gilbert and Ales Hemsky. He feels the Oilers need a long-term commitment from Hemsky, who’s slated for UFA status next summer, and feels the club could find some affordable transitional players via free agency.
FACEOFF.COM: Sean Fitzgerald reports Oilers GM Steve Tambellini could be open to trading this year’s first overall pick, which the club secured in last night’s NHL draft lottery, though he suggested the trading price could be substantial.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers already have depth in promising young talent like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle so it’s possible Tambellini could consider moving that first overall pick, perhaps in a package deal for an established young player. I agree they’ll need to determine if Hemsky is committed to remaining beyond next season, but wouldn’t be surprised if they hang onto him for the upcoming season even if he hasn’t decided about his future plans in hopes he’ll either help them make the playoffs or perhaps to peddle him again at the trade deadline.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Tom Reed recently reported the Blue Jackets could need to address their backup goalie position if they continue to have confidence in Steve Mason as their starter. If they feel they should bring in someone who can compete with Mason for the starter’s role Reed suggested Vancouver’s Cory Schneider or Washington’s Semyon Varlomov. He also suggested pushing for NY Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky if the Blueshirts end up having to dump salary this summer should they sign Brad Richards. Aaron Portzline meanwhile reported GM Scott Howson has made it clear he’s open to moving his first round pick, which will be eighth overall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets also need a skilled puck-moving defenseman along with a quality goalie and depth at center. Shopping their pick in a package deal might help to address one of those needs.
AJC.COM: Chris Vivlamore reports Thrashers GM Rick Dudley said one of his priorities this summer would be adding another experienced scorer, while his top priority is re-signing Andrew Ladd. UFAs Radek Dvorak and Eric Boulton meanwhile said their preference would be to return with the Thrashers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the links. Ladd will be re-signed and I also suspect Dudley, who has shown a willingness to wheel and deal, to land the additional scoring forward he’s seeking. It remains to be seen if Dvorak and Boulton fit into the Thrashers future plans.