The NHL general managers are now all in Florida in order to get ready for the NHL Entry Draft on Friday. Expect more trade talks and trades to occur as teams want to get set for picking at the right selection or obtain selection they do not currently hold.
In this article, we look at the trade of Carl Soderberg to Colorado, the goalie and Phil Kessel saga and the possibility of seeing Kevin Bieksa being traded by the Vancouver Canucks. Finally, we close with the two important signings the Ottawa Senators got done today.
Avalanche acquires Carl Soderberg’s rights
The first deal of the off-season has finally arrived. The Colorado Avalanche obtained the rights to sign unrestricted free agent Carl Soderbeg from the Boston Bruins. In exchange the Boston Bruins receives a sixth round pick in 2016. Soderberg earned 1.0M last season but will be due for a raise this season. Soderberg, 29, signed with the Bruins at the end of the 2012-2013 season, a three year deal worth 1.025M.
Soderberg is seen by the Avalanche to add scoring depth along other forwards Nathan McKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchesne, Jarome Iginla, and Alex Tanguay. In 2014-2015, Soderberg recorded 13 goals and 44 points
A second round draft pick by the St-Louis Blues at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, he was later sent to Boston in 2007. Soderberg spent some time playing in Sweden before joining them in 2013. In 161 games played in the NHL, Soderberg compiled a record of 29 goals in 161 games. He also scored one goal in 14 playoff games.
The trade means the Avalanche acquires Soderberg’s exclusive rights until July 1st. If no deal is reached with Colorado, he can still offer his services to any other remaining teams.
Four teams are in on Talbot
According to TSN Insider Trading Darren Dreger, Cam Talbot could be traded any day now and he says four teams are in on the backup goaltender. The teams are: the Buffalo Sabres, the Edmonton Oilers, the Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks. As mentioned many times before, the New York Rangers are looking at maximizing the return for Talbot. What is not clear is if Talbot will be part of a bigger deal. The Rangers are looking at adding depth on the third and fourth line that can brings toughness around the boards. They are also looking shedding some salary as well to resign RFA Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin to substantial raises with each a contract extension.
Bob McKenzie also explained that right now the trade market for the goalies is somewhat stalled. Vancouver will likely trade Eddie Lack and not Jacob Markstrom and the price seems to be a second round selection. We have to keep in mind as well the unrestricted free agents Antti Niemi and Devan Dubnyk who will also appear on the goalie availability. It’s a matter of the dominos falling into place, McKenzie said today from Sunrise, FL. He suspects once a goalie gets traded (Talbot or Lack), the destinations for Martin Jones, Kari Lehtonen, Robin Lehner or Craig Anderson will be more defined.
Bieksa being dangled in trade talks
Bob McKenzie also stated that defenceman Kevin Bieksa is being mentioned in trade talks this week between Jim Benning and other general managers. Bieksa, 34, has a no-trade-clause and hasn’t been asked yet to lift it for any teams. Yesterday, we mentioned that Benning could be interested in bringing hometown product Milan Lucic from Boston to Vancouver. Playing for Benning in his hometown may be soothing for Lucic to re-ignite his career as a Canuck, a team he cherished growing up.
Bieksa is the style that fits perfectly the Boston Bruins and for both players (Lucic / Bieksa), the salary is almost identical and will fill needs on both ends. In 2014-2015, Kevin Bieksa scored 4 goals with 14 points and was even on the +/- front in 60 games with the Canucks. His best season goes back to 2011-2012, where he compiled 44 points.
Trading Kessel, not an easy accomplishment
Bob McKenzie indicated on the Trade Insider segment that although the name of Phil Kessel is out there and being discussed for trades, this trade is not an easy one to make. Brendan Shanahan also said today, they are not in a rush to trade Kessel. Time is not an issue in the case of Kessel. This is due mainly of huge contract with 7 years left at a cap hit of 8 million per season.
Not too many teams are willing to take on this type of contract. What general managers are looking at is how this contract will affect my payroll 4-5 years from now. Many of the teams who have the cap space now to accept Kessel’s contract may not have the same flexibility in the future. One perfect example, may be the Florida Panthers where Phil Kessel has been rumored a few times to be heading to. The Panthers are already starting the process to re-sign players as part of their core with Jonathan Huberdeau. Soon, other contracts like Nick Bjugstad, Erik Gudbranson and Aaron Ekblad will be knocking at the door for a new deal.
Although President of Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan declared today that there was a lot of interest in Kessel, this is one trade that may or may not happen. The Leafs are also planning to have Phil Kessel with the Leafs in September when training camp starts. With head coach Mike Babcock now at the helm of the Leafs, the desire of winning will come back and Kessel may embrace this new philosophy.
I am sure we will hear more about Phil Kessel before the weekend is over – guaranteed.
Mike Green and Eric Fehr will not return to the Capitals
Chuck Gormley from Comcast Sportsnet reports in his editorial that Washington Capitals Mike Green and right wing Eric Fehr will not be returning to the washington capitals. The report was made public by Green and Fehr’s agent Chuck Oster.
“At the end of the day, it’s a decision by them as to how they make their best team and based on all the factors it wasn’t going to work out for Mike or Eric or the organization and both sides will continue to move on,” Oster said.
Fehr and Green are both slated to become unrestricted free agent and were able to start negotiations with any teams starting today but they are not able to sign until July 1st. In the case of Mike green it is a matter of dollars and cents and with a salary of 6.0M a season, the Green side will be asking for a salary in that vicinity once again which the Capitals can’t give. Like the Bruins did today, you may expect a trade for Green’s exclusive rights, so the Capitals get something in exchange for the defenceman.
The 29-years-old has been one of the best offensive defenceman in the least 8 years, obtaining 483 points second to veteran Duncan Keith from the Chicago Blackhawks at 603 points. Back injuries have slowed Green in the last three years but has had a decent season in 2014-2015 playing in 72 games and recording 10 goals and 45 points and a plus -15 rating. Mike Green was the 29th overall selection of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
As for Eric Fehr, he is his 10th season and was drafted 18th overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. seen as an excellent two way forward, Fehr will have no issues finding a new team. In 2014-2015, Fehr had 19 goals and 33 points in 75 games played. Fehr earned 1.6M and we can expect he will improve on that salary.
Zibanejad and Stone inks new deals
The Ottawa Senators have resigned RFA’s and cornerstone prospects Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone. Zibanejad, 22, has signed a two year deal worth 4.25M at an average annual salary of 2.625M a season. Zibanejad had a breakout year with the Senators recording 20 goals and 46 points in 80 games. He was drafted 6th overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The winger added one goal and three assists in six playoff games against the Montreal Canadiens. Zibanejad will earn 2.0M next season and 3.25M the season after.
As for Mark Stone, he has signed a three year deal worth 10.5M and a cap hit of 3.5 million a season. His salary is broken down like this: $2.25 million in its first season, $3.75 in its second and $4.5 million in 2017-18. He was nominated for the Calder trophy after also enjoying a breakout year with Ottawa. In 2014-2015, Stone scored 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points in 80 games. He added another 4 assists in the playoff in six games against Montreal. The Winnipeg native, was drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Senators.
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