We looked at some of the rumors circulating prior to the NHL Draft where it is expected there will be some actions. many teams are looking to move up in the draft or some are looking to get a first round pick since they have traded it away in a previous deal. Add to this the fact the free agency pool is not deep and that some teams are near the cap on their roster salary cap, you have a perfect storm of many changes leading to NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
Today we look at what Elliott Friedman brings us from his weekly 30 thoughts. He talks about what the Flames intent is in the off-season, the Kessel file and who could he be traded to, and trade bits from Vancouver, Detroit and the Los Angeles Kings.
Defenseman available in Manchester
Now that the Monarchs have won the AHL Calder Cup, Friedman points out who could be ready to step in the NHL. Some players are apparently NHL ready with the Manchester Monarchs and that has some teams querying who would be available for a trade. Colin Miller has grabbed the attention of some NHL scouts in the Calder Cup finals and could be a player that could be offered to teams looking for defence.
“Colin Miller is ready to play in the NHL now,” said one NHL exec. Miller who was drafted in the fifth round of the NHL Draft in 2012 finished third in scoring for his team compiling 19 goals and 52 points in 70 games played. He also obtained 10 points in 19 playoff games with the Manchester Monarchs. Friedman also points out Derek Forbort, 22, who was drafted 15th overall in 2010 that could be on the trade block for the Kings. Their strong play in this Calder Cup run could be players targeted to other teams. Los Angeles still has to settle the Slava Voynov.
Players ready for the NHL from the Utica Comets
The Utica Comets, the Vancouver AHL affiliates will also have players ready for the NHL’s next season. Off that team, players that could make the jump next year to the Canucks are: goalie Jacob Markstrom, defencemen Adam Clendening and Frankie Corrado and forward Sven Baertschi. Speaking of Markstrom, he appears to be the one that the Vancouver Canucks will keep and trade Eddie Lack. Vancouver general manager was mentioning to Friedman that they want to make a hockey trade with Lack and not necessarily get a draft pick for his service. The current rumor has the Canucks trading Lack for a second round pick.
Cam Talbot the best option
In his 30 thoughts, Friedman also states that from speaking to two general managers, Cam Talbot is the best cap friendly option for teams wishing to add a netminder in this off-season. It is rumored the New York Rangers would like to package Talbot in a bigger deal instead of trading him individually. Talbot has a cap hit of only 1.45M and has played big minutes in Henrik Lundqvist’s absence.
Option two is Eddie Lack (1.15M) in Vancouver and Robin Lehner (2.225M), the third best.
Detroit looking for a physical type of defenceman
Friedman is mentioning the Detroit Red Wings are looking for a physical defenseman capable to take some work off Niklas Kronwall’s back. They like the prospect they have in the AHL but feel they are the same as what they currently have on the roster.
Who could fit the bill on free agency? Not too many. Barret Jackman recently let go from the St-Louis Blues could be a good addition to the Red Wings in that game. Jackman is a defensive defenceman who could take big minutes and have a bit of mean as Friedman points out in his article. One other defenseman that could do the job as well is Johnny Oduya currently playing in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Carolina’s situation with Eric Staal
We reported in the past week the situation with the Staal’s brothers and the meeting that agent Rick Curran had with Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis. When Ron Francis was asked the nature of the meeting and what is the outcome, Francis said this: “They laid out what they are thinking, we laid out what we are thinking. We’ll circle back in the next little while.” From what was said, the discussions revolved around a possible extensions for both Cam Ward and Eric Staal but a much reduced cap hit type of contracts.
Eric Staal’s AAV is at $8.25M and Ward at $6.3. Friedman thinks that instead of a possible trade we may actually see the two stay with a contract extension at a reduced cap hit for both. When asked if the two sides may have discussed a potential trade should negotiations fail, Francis stated: “We’re not at that point.”
Colorado and Ryan O’Reilly
It has been a well-known issue that Ryan O’Reilly has been on the trading block for quite a while. His contract is due to expire next year and Colorado would rather have a return they would be satisfied with before losing him to free agency. The Avalanche are listening on any decent offers for O’Reilly and the rumors appear to be they are looking for a right shooter top four defenceman. Since Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson are lefties, it makes sense that Colorado are looking for a right defenseman. One obstacles remain the fact that the team making a serious offer for Ryan O’Reilly would have the opportunity to negotiate a deal with the O’Reilly camp prior.
Kessel trade destinations
Friedman suggest two potential trade destinations for Phil Kessel. The first one being the Nashville Predators. The Predators were one of the teams in at the time Toronto acquired Kessel from Boston, a few years ago. Situation has changed in Nashville since then. Nashville will need to secure and resign prospect forward Fillip Forsberg and defenceman Seth Jones. It is expected Jones will be looking at Shea Weber type of money. One other team who could be in on Kessel this time are the Florida Panthers.
This rumor has been persistent in the last few weeks and Florida who have the cap space could be tempted to go after Kessel. They have the prospects that they can provide but they must keep in mind to resign forward Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad. Friedman indicates that Ekblad will be resigned at a hefty price, something Panthers general manager Dale Tallon will need to keep in mind. The Panthers’s current payroll is at $60.0M so they have some wiggle room.
Calgary Flames are more aggressive this year
The Calgary Flames are currently one of the most aggressive teams right now on the trade market. Even with their aggressiveness, they are fully aware they have to keep their core of: Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano. The message from the Flames is that they will do nothing to jeopardize the signings of those three players.
But the Flames are intending to acquire a player with power that can play alongside those players. A Ryan O’Reilly for example would fit that requirement. Friedman is stating that Jiri Hudler who led the NHL with 60 points at even strength and has one year left on his contract could be dangled as a trade bait to get that power forward.
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