Draft Day – Tons of Rumors
1. Trade rumors find Carter once again
2. Wild GM keeping his options open for trades, draft
3. Source: Savard, Thomas on trade block
4. Oilers fishing for another Round 1 pick
5. Who will Hawks move next?
Trade rumors find Carter once again
If it seems as though Jeff Carter has been a part of as many trade rumors as he has goals in his five years as a Flyer, it’s because he has.
For the record, Carter has scored 145 goals since joining the Flyers five years ago. Only Simon Gagne (146) has scored more in that time.
Yet when trade talks get hot and heavy before, during and after tonight’s NHL Draft in Los Angeles, Carter’s name will be the one most mentioned to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.
Carter will not have a say in the matter, but if he did . . . “I don’t want to go anywhere,” Carter told the Courier-Post days after the Flyers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. “I’ve spent the past five years making this my home. I love the area, I love the organization and I want to stay.”
But can the Flyers afford to keep Carter, who has led the club in goals in each of the past two seasons but has struggled in each of the last two playoffs?
Carter, 25, has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $5 million and is certain to ask for more money a year from now. He is also a front-line center on a team that simply has enough of them with Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Blair Betts.
With the NHL salary cap raised to $59.4 million for the 2010-11 season, the Flyers now have about $10.6 million in cap space. But they still need to sign defensemen Dan Hamhuis ($4 million?) and Braydon Coburn ($3 million?), along with restricted free agent forwards Darroll Powe ($700,000?) and possibly Dan Carcillo ($1 million?), along with a goaltender (Michael Leighton?) who likely will cost at least $2 million.
Wild GM keeping his options open for trades, draft
Holed up inside the Board of Governors Meeting all day, Chuck Fletcher walked out of a ballroom Thursday night, planned to return to his hotel room, take off his tie and return phone calls.
“I’ll have a better feeling by the time I go to bed,” the Wild general manager said.
Fletcher was referring to knowing whether he had a shot at executing some type of trade or trades in advance or during the first round of Friday’s NHL entry draft.
As teams look to reshape rosters or salary cap space prior to free agency July 1, draft weekend is the second-most active trading season in the NHL after the March trade deadline. The Wild has a history of draft trades, from acquiring Cliff Ronning, Pavol Demitra, Todd White and Pavol Demitra and setting up Manny Fernandez’s departure and Marek Zidlicky’s arrival.
“It’s too early to say,” Fletcher said, as far as anything being imminent. “There’s a lot of different conversations on a lot of different topics. We’ll just see. There will be more conversations. There’s still a lot of time before [6 p.m. Friday].”
Fletcher said most his talks have centered on player-for-player trades, and he’s not looking to trade players off his roster for draft picks. Defenseman Brent Burns likely is his lone bargaining chip in something of the blockbuster variety, but nobody is untouchable. It’s well-known Fletcher has been dangling defenseman Nick Schultz and goalie Josh Harding.
The Wild doesn’t appear to have interest in Boston center Marc Savard, who has a no-trade clause, Dallas center Mike Ribeiro or Ottawa center Jason Spezza.
Source: Savard, Thomas on trade block
The Bruins [team stats] may be making headlines during or soon after NHL entry draft weekend that dramatically overshadow their selection of either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin in tomorrow night’s draft. The Bruins’ No. 2 overall pick of one of those talented 18-year-olds will be a very big deal, but according to a well-placed league source, B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli is attempting to engineer blockbuster deals for No. 1 center Marc Savard and erstwhile top goalie Tim Thomas [stats].
Chiarelli has steadfastly refused comment on possible B’s trades, but he talked in general terms today about what he expects to be a busy trade market, in which centers are a very much coveted commodity.
“Guys (GMs) are being more pro-active,” said Chiarelli. “A lot of that is because of all the parity we’re seeing. Once we get into the playoffs, anything can happen.
“Forwards in general (are coveted). The free agent market is thin, and centers are very thin. So who knows? I know there are a lot of teams that are looking for centers. And that’s not just because of rumors you hear; you just look at their lineups and there’s a lot of teams looking for centers.”
If the B’s do deal Savard, it clears icetime for Seguin, assuming he’s the player available at No. 2. Savard’s cap hit of just over $4 million (for six more years) would be erased. As for Thomas, who is owed $5 million a year for three more seasons, he has lost his No. 1 job to Tuukka Rask and presumably would welcome a move to a club for which he’d have a chance to start.
In other news, the B’s signed D Johnny Boychuk to a two-year deal, heading off his UFA status. Boychuk went from the AHL two seasons ago, to being the B’s No. 7 D-man in the early months of last season, to playing with Zdeno Chara on the top pair late in the season.
Oilers fishing for another Round 1 pick
Souray likely to be used as trade bait
Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini is definitely trying to get another first round draft pick — either by trading No. 31 and No. 48 in Round 2, or by packaging some live bodies off his team, but nothing is imminent.
The Florida Panthers (No. 3 and No. 15), Chicago Blackhawks (No. 24 and No. 30) and Phoenix Coyotes (No. 13 and No. 22) all have two picks in the first 30.
“Anything in the first round is very expensive … either multiple picks or very good young players,” said Tambellini, who watched Florida give up Nathan Horton to get the Boston Bruins’ No. 15, and the Atlanta Thrashers give up No. 24 in a package for Dustin Byfuglien.
Are any Oilers players off-limits in a trade for a first-rounder?
“Depends on what pick you’re talking about … all I’ve told general managers is I’m wide open to proposals. I’ll listen to them all, especially where we’re at,” said Tambellini, who doesn’t think he’s got any shot at getting the first and second picks, with Boston at No. 2.
“Peter (Bruins GM Chiarelli) has made it pretty adamant he’s making a selection of one of the top two kids (Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin),” said Tambellini, who is probably looking to get a defenceman with another pick in the top six, although he does like Swiss winger Nino Niederreiter and his Portland Winterhawks centre, Ryan Johansen, very much.
Tambellini continues to try to move Sheldon Souray, too. San Jose might be a possibility because Rob Blake retired, and Sharks GM Doug Wilson admitted he’s looking at adding a blue-liner.
“There’s a little bit of bias here, but as
we all know, defencemen are the most important players on a team,” said a joking Wilson, who won a Norris Trophy as the hardest-shooting rearguard in the NHL when he played for the Blackhawks.
Wilson refused to talk about Souray when asked on a conference call Thursday — you can’t talk about another team’s player for tampering issues — but willingly said “everybody is looking for offensive defencemen who can move the puck or shoot the puck. We’re fortunate to have Danny Boyle on one point on the power play, but like a lot of teams, we use a forward, Joe Pavelski, on the other point.”
Tambellini doesn’t feel Souray helped his cause by showing his discontent publicly after the season ended, but doesn’t think it makes trading him any more difficult.
Who will Hawks move next?
The salary-cap squeeze has claimed another victim.
A fourth member of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup champions was traded Thursday as general manager Stan Bowman continues to shed players and contracts to clear room under the NHL’s salary cap.
Center Colin Fraser was sent to the Oilers for a sixth-round pick (151st overall) in this weekend’s NHL entry draft. The deal came on the heels of the Hawks trading wingers Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager and defenseman Brent Sopel to the Thrashers in a move that was finalized late Wednesday night.
owman may not be done dealing in his efforts to pare the Hawks’ payroll with rumors swirling of further trades. Winger Kris Vertseeg, who has a cap hit of just above $3 million per season, reportedly is drawing interest around the league.
“I’m not really surprised,” said Fraser, who is a restricted free agent who made $700,000 last season. “It’s not that I wanted to leave and I don’t think it’s that they wanted to get rid of me. It’s just one of those things that had to happen to get under the salary cap and to fit enough guys on the roster. That’s the business part of the game. It’s nobody’s fault.”
Fraser, 25, had seven goals, 12 assists and 44 penalty minutes in 70 games during the regular season and also appeared in three postseason games during the Hawks’ title run.
“(The Hawks) were very good to me and gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL,” said Fraser, who lives in Western Canada. “I’m a little bit closer to home, which is exciting, and I’m going to a team where I’m hoping I’ll be able to play a bigger role, maybe prove myself as a player more.”
The retooling of the Hawks after their first Stanley Cup in 49 years has kicked into gear with the moving of Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel and Fraser.
“It’s a business,” Sopel told WMVP-AM 1000’s “Waddle and Silvy” show. “I’m going to move on to Atlanta and do my best there and bring what I normally bring every single night. The Blackhawks have somewhat of a plan and needed to shed salary to get where they can play next year.”