Draft Day – Afternoon Rumor Update
1. NHL trades could trump draft-day news
2. Tim Thomas following Craig Ramsay to the Atlanta?
3. Devils want Souray?
4. All’s Quiet (Almost) on Eve of NHL Draft
5. Dan Hamhuis’ neg rights to Canucks?
6. Could the Kings make a deal for Kovalchuk’s rights?
NHL trades could trump draft-day news
he lead-in to the first round of the NHL Entry Draft that will be conducted here tonight has been dominated by trades and trade talks, with clubs seeking to shed contracts in order to gain maneuverability under the salary cap.
Taylor Hall, the two-time Memorial Cup MVP, is all but certainly headed to Edmonton to play for head coach Tom Renney as the overall first pick. This isn’t a draft likely to be remembered for its top-end talent, but rather for its depth through the first round.
The Rangers, who hold the 10th overall selection, have been contacted by the Bruins regarding Marc Savard, who would be the ideal set-up man for right-wing sniper Marian Gaborik. But Ranger GM Glen Sather is unlikely to deal for the one-time Blueshirt pivot because of the contract under which Savard carries an annual cap charge of just over $4M through the 2016-17 season.
Even though the contract is front-loaded and buyout-friendly, with the 31-year-old pivot due to receive $25.5 million over the first four years of the deal and $2.55 million over the final three years, NHL club executives and agents are unsure if the buyout formula will be changed in the next CBA.
The Blueshirts, who are in desperate need of a first-line center, were in on the Jason Arnott talks before Nashville shipped the pivot to New Jersey.
The Rangers will monitor the situation with budget-conscious Dallas regarding 30-year-old playmaking pivot and power play quarterback Brad Richards, who has one year at $7.8 million remaining on his contract.
With the 2010-11 cap set at $59.4 million, the summer cap is $65.34 million. The Rangers thus have approximately $15 million of space with which to operate the next three months. They are likely to spend between $7-7.5 million on impending restricted free agent defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.
Was presented with an interesting scenario today: Tim Thomas following Craig Ramsay to the Atlanta Thrashers. Makes a lot of sense
Devils want Souray?
Defencemen, by contrast, appear to be in short supply, which is why Burke is hopeful of driving up the price on Kaberle by getting an auction going. The Oilers are also trying to swap disgruntled defenceman Sheldon Souray; the New Jersey Devils are said to be the favoured destination but only if it turns out that they cannot re-sign defenceman Paul Martin, a pending unrestricted free agent.
All’s Quiet (Almost) on Eve of NHL Draft
One day before the NHL draft, and there’s little to report on the Flyers, not to mention other NHL clubs.
“It’s been a weird year,” said one NHL executive. “There’s no juicy rumors out here.”
Here’s the reason: unlike previous drafts, this year’s is in Southern California. You have teams staying downtown, teams staying in Marina Del Rey and teams scattered along the beach from Santa Monica northward.
Unlike previous drafts, there is no central meeting place for general managers to congregate and talk shop. That’s how rumors start. It’s also how GMs get the ball rolling on potential deals.
The Flyers need a goaltender. Yet the only real chance for GM Paul Holmgren to actually “meet” face-to-face with another GM is either on the draft floor on Friday or by showing up at the Board of Governors’ meeting and hoping some fellow GMs, who might be a governor, as well, attend.
The social interaction between GMs doesn’t exist here because 30 teams are scattered throughout greater Los Angeles.
Several GMs say there is nothing imminent going on with the Flyers and a goalie. At the same time, there is persistent talk that the Flyers have inquired about Boston goalie Tim Thomas (Flyers deny it), who has three years left on his contract at a $5 million cap hit.
As of this posting, Holmgren was in the process of meeting with Michael Leighton’s agent, Mike Liut, in downtown L.A.
Another rumor has them talking to the L.A. Kings about Jeff Carter for either of two goalies: Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier and another player. The Flyers deny that too.
In the past, you would see team personnel gather at the lobby of one major hotel and talk. Not this time. Hence, no rumors. Any talk here is being done via cell phones.
One more thing. Toronto reportedly has five offers for Tomas Kaberle.
That’s your rumor du jour right now.
Starting to hear whispers the Flyers may trade Dan Hamhuis’ neg rights to Canucks. Checking.
Could the Kings make a deal for Kovalchuk’s rights?
Barring a trade, 18 teams will pick before the Kings make their first selection in the NHL Entry Draft today at Staples Center. For general manager Dean Lombardi, that’s a good thing.
“It’s nice to not be in the front row,” he said. “Our scouts might not be able to find the table because we were always in the front row. I feel good that we’ve moved back a little. It’s a sign of progress.”
A greater sign of progress, though, will be if Lombardi trades the pick. For years the assumption was the Kings needed to rebuild their organization through the draft. Having accomplished that, it might be worth more to swing the pick for an established NHL player – such as New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk – rather than use it on someone who will not play in Los Angeles for another three or four years.
An impact player is more likely to arrive via trade than free agency.
Coveted forwards Patrick Marleau and Tomas Plekanec re-signed with the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens, respectively, this week. Beyond that, there are few high-impact forwards – the team’s greatest position of need – due to become free agents July 1.
Except for Kovalchuk. Rumors linked him to the Kings throughout last season before the Atlanta Thrashers traded him to the New Jersey Devils. The Kings could try to acquire his rights from New Jersey before he hits free agency.
According to capgeek.com, the Kings will have $17.5 million of cap space with 16 players under contract next season. After having the 26th-ranked payroll in the NHL last season, “chances are we’re going to push the cap,” Lombardi said.