Latest on Evander Kane, Cody Franson, Antoine Vermette, Ryan O’Reilly, Joffrey Lupul, Braydon Coburn and more.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman offers up his 30-plus thoughts for the NHL offseason. Among them: Friedman believes teams will have interest in Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette, who will be a UFA next summer. Coyotes GM Don Maloney hopes to re-sign him…Ryan O’Reilly is likely to follow Paul Stastny out of Colorado…The Washington Capitals prefer to see how defenseman Mike Green performs this season under coach Barry Trotz’s system…The Edmonton Oilers continue to seek a center, preferring not to rush prospect Leon Draisaitl…Friedman expects Edmonton’s Justin Schultz and Toronto’s Jake Gardiner to sign two-year “bridge contracts”…The Calgary Flames have let teams know they’re willing to take on a toxic contract provided they get something good as part of the return. Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman is floating in the rumor mill but he has a no-trade clause. They’re also believed to have looked at Toronto’s Cody Franson…The Montreal Canadiens reportedly had interest in Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul but the Leafs wish to retain him…It’s believed Evander Kane will start the season in Winnipeg…Canucks GM Jim Benning dismissed rumors he’s no fan of defenseman Chris Tanev…With Vladimir Sobotka headed to the KHL, the Blues are likely to retain Patrik Berglund…Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn has been mentioned in rumors but they’re not keen to move him…Stripping Joe Thornton of the Sharks captaincy won’t force him out of San Jose.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Coyotes cannot re-sign Vermette before the trade deadline and if they’re out of playoff contention by then they could shop him…Seems like it’s inevitable O’Reilly will be playing elsewhere within the next year or two…Green could also become trade bait if he struggles playing for Trotz or if the Capitals are out of playoff contention before the trade deadline…I don’t see many teams having interest in Wideman unless the Flames agree to pick up part of his annual $5.25 million salary. Doesn’t surprise me the Flames have interest in Franson, since former Leafs GM Brian Burke is now the Flames president of hockey operations…Given Lupul’s injury history the Canadiens would be better off looking elsewhere for size at forward…I can also see Kane starting the season in Winnipeg…Tanev is among the few promising young players on the Canucks. It would be foolish to move him…I don’t see Berglund, Coburn or Thornton going anywhere.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper doesn’t consider Winnipeg’s Evander Kane a good trade option for the Nashville Predators, citing character issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have made their moves to address their offense for this summer, acquiring James Neal and adding Mike Ribeiro via free agency. I don’t see them pursuing Kane or any other scorer this summer.
TORONTO SUN/THE GLOBE & MAIL: Lance Hornby reports Cody Franson, who recently agreed to a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs, acknowledged the trade rumors floating about him this summer. Franson said he doesn’t want to leave Toronto and hopes to remain part of their future. James Mirtle, however, doubts Franson and James Reimer have long-term futures in Toronto.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples notes a National Post report claiming the Maple Leafs could try to move Franson before he becomes eligible for UFA status next summer, pointing out the Leafs tried to trade him to Montreal earlier this summer for Josh Gorges. Staples examines if Franson would be a good fit with the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Franson will have to make himself invaluable to the Leafs blueline if he hopes to remain with the Leafs. I don’t believe they’ll move Franson or Reimer before training camp opens. They could start the season in Toronto.