The latest on Joe Thornton, Kris Letang, Brad and Mike Richards, Paul Stastny, Jarome Iginla and more. 

Will Joe Thornton accept a trade?

Will Joe Thornton accept a trade?

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman believes it’ll take being deal to a “five-star lock” Cup contender for Joe Thornton to waive his no-movement clause, like Chicago or Los Angeles. Friedman guesses Thornton will wait to see how next season unfolds…The Canucks could be in better position to “win” a Ryan Kesler trade now than at the trade deadline. Friedman wonders if the asking price for Senators’ center Jason Spezza (a player, first-round pick and prospect) could drive up the asking price for Kesler…Friedman envisions a scenario whereby the Panthers trades the first overall pick, then using the first-round pick acquired in that deal (provided it’s sufficiently high enough in the first round, and if the prospect they’re targeting could still be available) to trade down again. In that way, they get the player they want plus an extra haul from the two trades…He wondered if the Islanders, who selected Griffin Reinhart in 2012, might select his brother Sam in this year’s draft…Friedman doubts a rival team will try to sign away P.K. Subban with an offer sheet as the Canadiens will match…The Canadiens and Mike Weaver had talked about re-signing but decided to wait until the season was over…

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton holds the cards. If he won’t accept a trade, there’s not much Sharks management can do to convince him. If he will accept a trade, you can bet he’ll favor going to Cup contenders…If the Sharks do trade Thornton, it could affect the Kesler and Spezza situations…I think the Panthers will trade the first overall pick, it’s just a matter of finding the right deal…Forget about anyone signing away Subban. The Habs have a projected $26 million in cap space. Subban’s not going anywhere. For that matter, I doubt Subban’s even interested in an offer sheet from a rival club, stating his desire to spend his career in Montreal…I can see Weaver being an affordable re-signing for the Habs. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Vancouver Sun columnist Cam Cole expects the New York Rangers could buy out Brad Richards, while the Kings could buy out or try to trade Mike Richards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently covered this in detail in a recent Hockey News column.

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Chicago Blackhawks want to find a taker for forward Kris Versteeg, who struggled upon his return with the club this season. They’ll also need to find a replacement for pending UFA center Michal Handzus…Oft-traveled forward Benoit Pouliot, a UFA this summer, hopes to re-sign with the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said he still sees Versteeg as part of his club’s future, citing the fact he’s still recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last season. 

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports new Penguins GM Jim Rutherford had praise for defenseman Kris Letang, who’s been the subject of trade rumors over the past month. “You need that type of player”, said Rutherford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out soon enough if Rutherford intends to retain or move Letang.

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports contract talks between the Colorado Avalanche and Paul Stastny are unlikely to begin before June 20th. Dater claims the Stastny camp aren’t in any rush, suggesting they’re trying to use this as leverage to gain a better deal. Stastny is eligible for UFA status on July 1.

DETROIT FREE PRESS:  Helene St. James suggests Jarome Iginla would make an excellent addition for the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent news claims the Iginla camp and the Bruins are in negotiations for a contract extension. Iginla might not be available on July 1.