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 rosteer salary cap, you have a perfect storm of many changes leading to NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
Below are some of the rumors collected by NHL Insider Elliott Friedman from Sportsnet.
Toronto and Phil Kessel
Friedman points out that one of the of the rumors ramping up prior to the NHL Draft is the one with Phil Kessel potentially being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kessel is all offence and he describes the fact that Kessel has collected 151 goals in the last five seasons. His only down season, he still managed to get 25 goals which is still not too shabby.
Kessel’s name surfaced at the NHL Combine in Buffalo, where some general managers inquired about the Toronto forward. Friedman mentioned in his 30 thoughts, taht some general managers were asking others about their opinion on Kessel’s his game, his ability and his future. The question to the Toronto Maple Leafs management is: “If we want to do this, what’s the price?”
The word out of Toronto is that the Maple Leafs are likely to do the move because by the time they are a winning team and a competitive team year after year, kessel’s offensive numbers will be on the downward trend. In order to maximize the return, Toronto is better to act now while the interest is there from other teams, even if Kessel’s contract is a heavy one to take on. This is a deal that will take some time to make and a team with cap space with also some prospects will be the team where Kessel couldd end up.
Friedman also adds that it will have to be a team that Kessel wants to go and win with. Right now talks are not at that level yet where Kessel is to give a list of teams he would be inclined to be traded to.
Toronto, Arizona and their picks
Elliott Friedman reported that Toronto assistant GM Kyle Dubas is not against trading the fourth pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. But to make such a bold move, the price would have to be right. In addition to Toronto willing to trade the fourth pick pending an offer they couldn’t refuse is also Arizona siting in third place at the NHL Entry Draft. According to Craig Custance from ESPN.com, the Coyotes general manager Don Maloney received calls from three different teams about their thirs pick and if he was willing to trade it. Maloney is still not sure what to do, but looking at his roster and the years away before being a contender, I would imagine he will keep it. After Eichel and MacDavid, the picks are not clear on who exactly is the third best or the fourth best.
Although Maloney is known to go down in draft selection, he will likely stay put at no.3. Arizona is in need of a scoring center and there aren’t that many on the market. So the draft is where you will find such a player. Look for Maloney to go after a centre that will bring offense,win faceoff and being defensively responsible. The loss of Vermette further amplify this need. But as reported, Vermette could choose to return with Arizona in the off-season.
Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets will have to be watched. They’re desperate in getting a talented defenseman and may want to move to get it. They would have to trade with a team willing to go down and still get the player they want. Could Arizona or Toronto be one of them? Columbus is sitting in the eight position at the NHL Entry Draft.
Could Mikko Koivu be a solution for the Canadiens?
Friedman also reported that the Canadiens after signing Petry will have to shed salalry, which we reported here in a previous post. Friedman wonder if the canadiens now should go after a guy like Mikko Koivu who has always liked the city just like his brother did. The Koivu’s and Montreal have a strong bond and Mikko Koivu from the Wild may represent the type of center Montreal needs to anchor their first line.
Editor’s Opinion: Unless Friedman knows something we don’t, I doubt Koivu will be traded to the canadiens in the summer. Koivu is the heart and soul of the Wild, which is a bit like his brother Saku was with the Canadiens.
Mike Reilly may still end up in Columbus
Do not discount the Columbus Blue Jackets from resigning prospect defenseman Mike Reilly prior to the NHL Draft. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen declared that his team is still in on the bid to resign their prospect defenseman prior to the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Kekalainen declared at the NHL Combine in Buffalo that although other teams spoke with Reilly’s agent, the Blue Jackets are still one of the teams negotiating to keep him.
Mike Reilly was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft but became available to discuss with other teams following his senior year of college in Minnesota. The Blue Jackets retains his right up to June 15th, this year. Reilly wouldn’t be able to sign with a team until July 1st, which is the date where free agent can sign with their team.
Kekalainen said “Hopefully, it will be with us, and if not then we’ll just move on.”
Mike Reilly is coming out of his best season with 42 points. he had six goals and 36 assists in 39 games played. Close to eight teams are trying to get Reilly.
Will the Bruins let go Soderberg?
This probability exist more and more. Don Sweeney has made his top priority to resign blue chip prospect Douggie Hamilton in the off season. Hamilton who is coming off an entry level contract will be restricted free agent after July 1st and is apparently asking for a lot of money for a long time. We reported on here at Trade Rumors.ca on Friday that Hamilton is looking at the kind of money that Kris Letang and Drew Doughty is already earning, while the bruins are more looking at a bridge type of contract in the 3 million range. Signing and keeping Hamilton may mean that Soderberg may be let go as a UFA. Boston would also like to retain him but may not have the choice.
Some observers think the Bruins may the prey of a team presenting an offer sheet to Hamilton since they don’t have the cap space to match and attend to their other contract needs. Teams like the Oilers who are in need of quality defensemen and cap space may be tempted to present an offer sheet to Hamilton. Since the Oilers have had plenty of first round picks in the last few years, letting go three of them in the next three years doesn’t present a problem. So Soderberg may be a casualty of the salary cap era and look for teams to make an offer to him comes July 1st. He is good 2nd or third line center who can play well also defensively.
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