The latest on Jason Spezza, Ryan Kesler, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, Jarome Iginla, Johnny Boychuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Eric Duhatschuk believes the Anaheim Ducks to be in on the trade discussions for Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and San Jose’s Joe Thornton. He expects the cost for Spezza or Kesler could be a players, first-round draft pick and a prospect, while the Ducks landing Thornton would be a long shot. He also speculates on the possibility of the Rangers and Kings buying out Brad Richards and Mike Richards.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio notes trade rumors have linked the Flyers to Ryan Kesler, but believes they should pass on pursuing him. He notes the Flyers are already deep at center and need a scoring left winger and a study No. 1 defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Panaccio, it makes no sense for the Flyers to pursue Kesler. I believe the Ducks will try to acquire either Spezza or Kesler. They probably prefer to land Kesler, who’d make a better fit as a number-two center than Spezza, but they have a recent trade history with the Senators, while the Canucks might not want to move Kesler to a Western Conference team. I doubt very much the Sharks would trade Thornton to a division rival, especially one in the same state.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples examines the pros and cons of the Oilers possibly pursuing Toronto’s Jake Gardiner or Nazem Kadri, but suspects the asking price would be more than the Oilers are willing to pay. It could mean parting with Nail Yakupov, David Perron or their first round pick (third overall) in this year’s draft.
CSN BAY AREA: NBC analyst Keith Jones believes the San Jose Sharks will win the Stanley Cup next season, but believes they must replace Dan Boyle on their blueline, even if it means parting with Joe Thornton to do so. The Sharks dealt Boyle’s rights last week to the New York Islanders.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brought cites a tweet from Andy Strickland claiming there won’t be contract talks between Boyle and the Islanders unless he decides he wants to play for them. The decision could come this week. Strickland believes the chances are “very slim to none” Boyle signs with them, as at this stage of his career he wants to play for a winner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Boyle hits the UFA block I expect the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning could pursue him as a short-term option to bolster their defense. As for the Sharks trading Thornton for a top defenseman, that could be easier said than done, given his no-movement clause giving him full control over his future.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports contract negotiations are underway between the Bruins and Jarome Iginla. Given the Bruins tight cap space, Haggerty believes they’ll push to re-sign him to a one-year deal with a $1.8 million base salary. Haggerty also believes it would be wise for the Bruins to retain defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who’s been the subject of recent trade speculation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins might have to move some salary to free up cap space for next season. Along with Boychuk, winger Brad Marchand has also been mentioned as a potential trade candidate.
NJ.COM: Randy Miller reports of a recent rumor claiming Ilya Kovalchuk, who “retired” from the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL, was in talks with the Devils to return next season. Miller points out that’s impossible until 2018-19 (when he turns 35 and comes off the NHL’s voluntary retirement list), as he would have to sit out a full season of professional hockey and requires the unanimous consent of all 30 NHL teams.