Twas the night before the NHL Entry Draft, and around the league, fans and pundits wondered, “what’s the latest trade rumors?” OK, it doesn’t rhyme, but here’s the latest NHL trade speculations.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported via Twitter” Hearing Jordan Staal turned down 10-yr mega offer from PIT. Has indicated to PIT he doesn’t plan on signing extension now.” McKenzie added, “If Staal won’t re-up in PIT, where he loves it, not expected to extend with anyone else who may trade for him. Except perhaps Carolina”, where his brother Eric plays.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might jump start the Jordan Staal trade rumors, but as more than one pundit already observed, it would be a heckuva risk for a team to acquire him, knowing they could lose him next summer…unless you’re the Carolina Hurricanes.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is willing to wait for as long as it takes, including past July 1st and even into next season, to get the right return. Muddying the waters is reports the Anaheim Ducks are listening to offers for Bobby Ryan, which affects the Jackets efforts to shop Nash.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports the Flyers are weighing their options to address an ageing, injury-ravaged defense. Among them could be targeting either Ryan Suter or Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, or pursuing Washington’s Dennis Wideman or Florida’s Jason Garrison. The Flyers are also linked to New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Columbus’ Rick Nash in the rumor mill, but Panaccio feels the Flyers would be doing an injustice to themselves by pursuing a big name forward they don’t need at the expense of their blueline.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes have been busy discussion trade options as well as speaking with draft prospects.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz believes the odds of the Sharks landing Nash are getting slimmer, suggesting they should consider an alternative target like Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Word today has the Flyers being very interested in Nash, though no word on what they might be offering, if anything. Again, it would be odd Flyers GM Paul Holmgren would shoot the works on acquiring another expensive forward at the expense of his banged-up, ageing defense corps, unless he’s able to land a quality defenseman as part of the return, or in a separate deal with another team. As far as the Blue Jackets are concerned, they’re playing it cool, with GM Howson today saying he’s no closer to move Nash than he was at the trade deadline, though he didn’t rule out anything happening before the end of the draft. 

SPORTSNET.CA: Mike Brophy reports Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is trying to find experienced players to fill some holes in his roster, suggesting Burke land goalie Roberto Luongo from Vancouver, and suspecting he’ll make a big push for Rick Nash. Other potential trade targets could include Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk and NY Rangers Brandon Prust.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Flyers have interest in Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan as “Plan B” if they can’t land Rick Nash. The Ducks aren’t shopping Ryan so much as teams are calling about him. A source said any deal with the Flyers for Ryan would have to include Braydon Schenn…The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t shopping Patrick Kane, while the Blackhawks aren’t interested in Roberto Luongo…The Dallas Stars are getting interest from rival teams in Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott…The Winnipeg Jets are continuing talks with Ondrej Pavelec, hoping to iron out a deal during the draft weekend.

ESPN CHICAGO: Jesse Rogers reports sources say the Chicago Blackhawks might be shopping defensemen Steve Montador and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Shedding their combined salaries could free up around $6.25 million in cap space. Hjalmarsson is signed for two more years, Montador for three. No word who they’re talking to about those two.