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 mentioned by the panel of Insider Trading On TSN.
Eric Staal rumors heating up
According to Pierre Lebrun of Insider Trading on TSN.ca and ESPN.com, the rumors of Eric Staal are heating up and could come to an end by end of this week. Staal’s agent Rich Curran will meet general manager Ron Francis this week and find out what is in store for his client. The Carolina Hurricanes have two choices either extend Staal’s contract, who will be a UFA after this upcoming season or trade him. If Staal is to go on the block, many teams in need of a top 6 forward will be lining up for Staal. One of the issue with Eric Staal is the cap hit of his salary and for the Hurricanes, it may be time to unload him now while he still have a year left on his contract. Staal has a full no-trade-clause and would have to agree to lift it and have the veto on the team he would be traded to if it is not one of his liking.
Curran will also be discussing Eric Staal’s brother Jordan who’s also been rumored to leave the Hurricanes. Latest rumor was sending Jordan Staal potentially back to the Penguins where he flourished as probably the best 3rd line center in the NHL. On the agenda will also be the status of Cam Ward who’s agent is also Rich Curran and Jeff Skinner as well who could be due for a contract extension.
Kelly McCrimmon could be the Leafs GM
Darren Dreger reported that Kelly McCrimmon remains the lead man in the position for general manager in Toronto. A decision should be made this week. Dreger stated that McCrimmon is leaning on taking the job and that Mark Hunter is the lead for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Dubnyk is still negotiating with the Wild
Bob McKenzie reported negotiations are still on going between Devan Dubnyk and the Wild. Dubnyk will certainly obtain a lucrative deal whether it is in Minnesota or elsewhere. He stated that the contract negotiations are difficult since the Wild is a cap strapped team and buying out veteran goaltender Nicklas Backstrom is next to impossible since he will undergo elbow surgery in the coming days. Teams are not allowed to buy out any players who are still on their injured reserve list. He pointed out a team like the San Jose Sharks may be in play to make an offer to Dubnyk he can’t refuse, if he is available July 1st. With Antti Niemi testing free agency himself, the Sharks will be active in finding a replacement.
Vancouver goalie situation to be resolved this week
Pierre Lebrun reported that the Vancouver Canucks will be resolving once and for all the issue with the three goalies in Vancouver this week at the Pro Meetings. The issue resides with goalies Jacob Markstrom and Eddie Lack. The other position being taken by Ryan Miller signed last summer as a free agent.
Todd Nelson likely not to return
Darren Dreger reports that Todd Nelson is unlikely to return with the Edmonton Oilers organization next season. He was given permission to talk to three teams in the AHL with vacant head coach positions. Teams on his list are the Grand rapids griffins (Detroit Red Wings AHL affiliate), the Wilkes-Barre Scranton (Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate) and the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes affiliate).
Dreger also stated that Adam Oates will not be back with the New jersey Devils, next season. He met with general manager recently and has divulged his intentions to Ray Shero. Oates is mentioned in rumors of possibly joining ex-Devils coach Peter DeBoer in San Jose.
Brandon Saad a targeted RFA
Of players potentially targeted to be presented an offer sheet is forward Brandon Saad currently playing in the Stanley Cup Finals with the Blackhawks. The Hawks will face cap strap issues at season’s end and teams could be presenting an offer sheet to players such as Saad. Rumors are circulating that the Pittsburgh Penguins could be a team that will be interested in his service. Saad is from the Pittsburgh region and could help on a line with Sidney Crosby.
Pittsburgh could deal Brandon Sutter
If Pittsburgh wants to acquire certain quality depth players, they may have to part with some salaried player without touching Malkin and Crosby. One name coming up in trade rumors is Brandon Sutter. A bit of the same situation they had with Jordan Staal is that Sutter is their third line center who could fetch a decent return on the top six while they have young talents that could fill the void on the third line.
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