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 the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
In today’s post, we looked at the Pittsburgh penguins need and addressing the Malkin rumors, if Toronto will make a move with Kessel and Phaneuf, the chase for Cam Talbot, Robin Lehner and many other rumors circulating as we are one week to the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Malkin is not on the trade block
The Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has put to bed a rumor that was on the table and across the social medias that the Pittsburgh Penguins were listening on offers for star Evgeni Malkin. Rutherford denied the rumor on Wednesday in a interview with the local newspaper Pittsburgh Post Gazette. This rumor originated from the fact that the Penguins who only have one pick in the first 136 selections would want more selections in a deep draft year and their need to add more depth on the wings to play with Sidney Crosby.
Rutherford added that neither the Pittsburgh Penguins or Evgeni Malkin is interested in leaving or being traded. “No, he’s not available,” Rutherford said flatly. “Based on my communications with him or with his agent, he does not have an interest [in a trade]. He loves Pittsburgh and he wants to win here. Like everybody else, he’s disappointed with us not reaching our goal. He played hurt. He actually played when most guys wouldn’t play. There’s no interest from either side [the club’s or the player’s] in moving him.”
Rutherford will be looking at wingers as his main effort and that is why the rumor of Brandon Sutter makes more sense. He doesn’t hesitate to state the facts that Tampa Bay and Chicago are tow exemplary teams to build like they are built. “The Blackhawks played this year the way they played in the other years they won it,” Rutherford said. “There are other teams that have different styles and have built their teams differently, but what you saw in the finals was two teams who were highly skilled and had good speed compared to some teams who are very good in our league but who have tried to do it another way. “I don’t think there’s one set way of doing it, but those were two highly skilled teams.”
The Ryan O’Reilly file
In a phone interview on Thursday Colorado Avalanche general managers Joe sakic stated that the is not inclined on trading his star center Ryan O’Reilly. Sakic must decide for the sake of his team salary cap and willing ness to progress if he should keep O’Reilly or trade him and get more assets. Sakic admitted he likes O’Reilly and would like to keep him. “I like Ryan a lot. He’s a very valuable player and part of our core,” Sakic said. “My first priority would be to sign him. Obviously, we’ll see where it all goes.
“His priority for players on his current roster remains Ryan O’Reilly.
“Signing forward Ryan O’Reilly to a contract extension before the season remains a priority”, Sakic said. “But a trade is possible. We know where they are, and I’d like to have him signed by the start of the season, hopefully, but right now is a time where we’re focusing on the draft and free agency,” Sakic said.
O’Reilly is a pending unrestricted free agent in 2016. Sakic would like the O’Reilly file dealt with meaning with a long term deal in place. His intention remains to offer a long term contract extension to O’Reilly. What remains to be seen is if O’Reilly will take it.
Cam Talbot is in high demand
According o Darren Dreger from TSN Insider trading he indicated that the interest for New York Rangers goaltender is growing leading to the NHL Draft. Team interested in Talbot are: the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the San Jose Sharks, the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers. It is believed the New York goaltender has received many offers. It is also believed the New York Rangers are trying to package Talbot with other players of value for them to acquire a first round pick in this year’s draft. With the Edmonton Oilers holding two picks in the first round, they are rumored to have made available the 16th pick (acquired from Pittsburgh) in the first round of this year NHL Entry Draft. The Edmonton Oilers are one of the teams active in pursuing Talbot and the 16th selection may be the dangling price by the Oilers.
Talbot who was called upon to relieve no.1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist when he went down to injuries compiled a record of 21-9-4 with goal against average of 2.21 and a save percentage of .926 with 5 shutouts.
Price for Kessel too high
According to TSN Insider Trading and ESPN.com writer Pierre Lebrun, the Toronto Maple Leafs have shopped around across the league the name of Phil Kessel ahead of the NHL Draft next week. But Lebrun specifies that the Toronto Maple Leafs’ asking price on Phil Kessel is too high and teams are staying away until the price comes down, it it comes down. Lebrun reported this information after talking with two NHL executives “Two hockey executives from rival teams said that over the past several weeks the Leafs have a price for Kessel that is way, way too high. So the executives are staying away until it comes down. Can’t blame Toronto for starting high. Why wouldn’t you?”
“They’re going to have to eat more of his salary than they think right now,” said one of the rival executives.”
Kessel holds a partial no-trade-clause in which includes eight teams he would accept being traded to. They are: the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. This list can be expanded if Kessel agrees to another destination that he’d be happy to go to. On that Kessel rumor, Darren Dreger also added that the Leafs would be really to keep Kessel and Phaneuf for next season if a trade doesn’t materialize. This possibility is also a strong possibility.
Editor’s Opinion: If Kessel is to be traded, the Leafs have no choice to eat up some of his salary to make it happen. The same goes for Phaneuf. Of the eight teams Kessel has on his partial no-trade-clause list, none of them have really the cap space to fully accept Kessel on their roster.
Sharp to the Capitals?
Darren Dreger also mentioned in his TSN Insider segment that the Chicago Blackhawks who are faced in liquidating some assets because of the salary cap may be force to part with veteran Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell. In the case of Patrick Sharp, Dreger indicated rumors are pointing towards the Washington Capitals as a possible destination. Defenceman Brent Seabrook could also be a casualty of the salary cap the Blackhawks are facing. Chicago intends on keeping him so we wouldn’t expect the Hawks trading Seabrook during the off-season.
St-Louis shakeup expected?
Pierre Lebrun mentioned that the St-Louis Blues could be in on a trade or two leading to the NHL Entry Draft next week in Florida. Lebrun reported that the St-Louis Blues are shopping veterans David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund. With their recent playoff elimination in the first round, the Blues need to find a way to get to past the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks. With a solid core in place with the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen, Jayden Schwartz, and Kevin Shattenkirk, the St-Louis Blues would like to add a couple of players to group.
Many believes the Blues have the team to be a contender but the Blues feel like they need one or two solid pieces to accomplish this and could let go the veterans listed above by Lebrun.
Reilly rules out Columbus
According to Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch, Mike Reilly’s agent Pat Brisson has informed yesterday the Blue Jackets’ management that he will not be signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reilly was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fourth round (98th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Reilly will be signing with another team on July 1st or after.
“We did everything we could possible do,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen told tThe Dispatch yesterday. “From player development since we drafted him, to recruiting him — or whatever you would call it — over the last few months … it wasn’t enough. “We have to respect it. It’s part of the (collective bargaining agreement). He has this right.”
According to sources Reilly has now reduced his list of possible destinations to three or four teams. Chicago seems to be the front runner but don’t discount the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings. Kekalainen also said that based on that refusal of Reilly to sign with the Blue Jackets, his off-season plans has changed and he will need to look for defenceman depth and a possible high end prospect which could come via trade. “Now that we know this is the case, we’ll have to look at things differently,” Kekalainen said.
** UPDATE – 4:20PM ** According to Larry Brooks from the NY Post, the New York Rangers are also out of the race for defenceman Mike Reilly. The team was informed on Wednesday. That leaves now three teams left in the hunt for Reilly. The only teams left are: the Blackhawks, Wild (his father is a minority owner of the team) and Los Angeles Kings.
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