Updates on Joe Thornton, Mike Richards, Jason Spezza, Matt Niskanen, Kimmo Timonen and many more.
SAN JOSE MERCURY-NEWS: David Pollak reports agent John Thornton, who represents his brother Joe Thornton, said his client would consider waiving his no-movement clause if he felt Sharks fans didn’t want him back. John insists his brother is perfectly happy in San Jose and wants to stay and help them win a Stanley Cup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless there’s a massive “Dump Joe” campaign from Sharks fans, it doesn’t sound as though he’ll accept a trade.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger reports Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis he’d considered adding a skilled veteran who could help his team but a deal has to make sense and he doesn’t want to trade away his future. Word around the league is Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner might be available for the right offer. Zeisberger also reports Nonis confirmed he’ll willing to trade up in the first round of this year’s draft. The Leafs currently hold the eighth-overall pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis won’t tip his hand as to which players he has interest in or how far up in the draft he hopes to move. Still, I expect he’ll make at least one significant move by the opening round of the NHL Draft. Who gets moved or what the return will be is anyone’s guess, which should ensure the Leafs remain a fixture in the trade rumor mill over the next couple of weeks.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika believes the Stars will land a second-line center this summer. Trade targets could include Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton, while Brad Richards or Mike Richards could become free agents if they’re bought out before July 1. He also speculates the Stars might have interest in Canucks center Ryan Kesler, but given the ire between the owners of both clubs, he wonders if landing him would be a realistic option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars GM Jim Nill last summer showed his willingness to make bold moves by acquiring Tyler Seguin from Boston. Spezza could be on his radar if the Senators captain is willing to accept a trade to Dallas.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless believes Mike Richards could be a good fit with the Jets if he’s bought out by the LA Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they want to kick the tires on an affordable, short-term deal, perhaps Richards would be a good fit. Still, the decline in his performance this season has to be cause for concern, which could hamper his free agent value if he is bought out by the Kings.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Josh Yohe reports the status of Penguins pending UFA Matt Niskanen remains uncertain following the club’s recent management changes.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Sarah Baicker reports it remains uncertain if defenseman Kimmo Timonen returns with the Flyers next season. If he does, Baicker believes the Flyers still need to add a top-two defenseman. She suggests Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen might be a good choice via free agency, but it would be difficult for the cap-strapped Flyers to sign him. Given the lack of depth in this summer’s free agent market, Niskanen could also be difficult to sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flyers hope to bolster their defense I expect it’ll be via trade rather than free agency.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox reports Florida Panthers GM Dave Tallon said he’s received one “fair offer” so far for the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon reports Penguins winger James Neal could end up on the trade block…He wonders if the Penguins might sign Martin Brodeur to shore up its goaltending…Kris Letang’s expensive new contract (eight years, $58 million) with its limited no-trade clause could be tough to move once it goes into effect on July 1…No one would be surprised to see the Maple Leafs make an offer for San Jose’s Joe Thornton…The Blackhawks’ Nick Leddy could be an attractive trade target if they need to shed salary to re-sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews…The Anaheim Ducks could pursue Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler…The Senators want a top prospect, a player and a first-round pick for Jason Spezza, he could be a good fit for clubs like the Blues and Ducks seeking a second-line center. Ditto the Rangers’ Brad Richards if he’s bought out following the playoffs…Sabres winger Chris Stewart acknowledges the possibility he could be dealt this summer…The Bruins could move winger Brad Marchand to free up cap space to re-sign Jarome Iginla.