The latest on Rick Nash, Ryan Suter, Dustin Penner, TJ Oshie, Petr Sykora and more.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports sources claim “as many as seven teams” have had significant talks with Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson regarding winger Rick Nash, while “three or four” other clubs have “kicked the tires” regarding the cost of a trade. Most of the teams interested in Nash are believed to be those who expressed interest prior to this year’s trade deadline. Portzline believes the NY Rangers appear the most likely fit, while San Jose, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Carolina apparently have “considerable interest” in Nash, though the Blue Jackets asking price is believed to be high, perhaps too high according to some GMs. Their asking price could include “help at Nash’s position at forward”, and doesn’t preclude a defenseman. It’s also believed the Blue Jackets, who interviewed St. Louis Blue president John Davidson for a front office job, won’t be holding up their plans for Nash, the draft or free agency awaiting Davidson’s decision.
TORONTO SUN: The Blue Jackets are reportedly listening to offers for their first round pick (second overall) in next weekend’s NHL entry draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the interest in Nash has heated up in the last couple of weeks. Expectation is Nash could be moved perhaps a couple of days prior to the entry draft at the earliest. If not, expect his name to hang over the entry draft weekend, with fans holding their breath in anticipation every time league commissioner Gary Bettman says, “We’ve got a trade to announce…” It’s interesting there’s no mention of a goaltender as part of the asking price for Nash, but then again, the Jackets could be considering a separate deal for one. Looks like we’ll be facing an interesting couple of weeks regarding the Jackets.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Ryan Dadoun reports agent Neil Sheehy, who represents Nashville Predators defenseman (and pending UFA) Ryan Suter, denied a report out of Philadelphia claiming his client has provide a list of preferred trade destination to the Predators, and that he didn’t wish to go to an Eastern Conference team. Dadoun also cited a report claiming St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is interested in talking with winger T.J. Oshie “about something that might have a little bit of term to it”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should give hope to those Eastern based teams hoping to get into the bidding for his rights if the Predators decide to shop him, or to bid for him if he hits the open market on July 1st. Oshie, meanwhile, is coming off a one-year contract and is a restricted free agent. No word yet as to what kind of term Armstrong has in mind, though “a little bit” could suggest two-three years in length.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports Capitals GM George McPhee confirmed UFAs Jeff Halpern and Mike Knuble won’t return next season, but so far no decision has been reached regarding Alexander Semin or Dennis Wideman. The Capitals aren’t expected to get into the bidding for big name UFAs like Ryan Suter or Zach Parise.
NHL.COM: Curtis Zupke reports winger Dustin Penner said the possibility of re-signing with the LA Kings were “pretty good”, adding he’d settle for something different in salary from the $4.25 million per season he made on his current contract.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports forward Petr Sykora hopes to re-sign with the Devils.