Rumors a flying

Straight from Palm Beach Post :

Rick Dudley’s record is perfect, and chances are it will stay that way.

Twice the Panthers’ general manager has had the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, and twice he has traded it. And by the time Commissioner Gary Bettman steps to the podium at Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville on Saturday, it’s a good bet Dudley will have gone 3-for-3.

“People are calling us,” Dudley said late lastt week. “Nobody has made me inclined to trade it yet, but I have to admit a couple are close. They wouldn’t have to tweak very much to make me very interested.”

While Dudley and most other draft experts insist there are at least a handful of elite prospects at the top of this draft, one of them happens to be a goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury — and a Quebec goaltender at that. And that is what has had Dudley’s phone ringing.

The retirement of Patrick Roy and Philadelphia’s trade of Roman Cechmanek to Los Angeles are just two of the scenarios that could lead to as many as a dozen teams offering packages in hopes of getting in position to land the best netminding prospect available since the Panthers’ own Roberto Luongo went fourth overall in 1997.

Boston is rumored to be offering left wing Sergei Samsonov and a prospect. Pittsburgh, which has the third pick, is dangling ex-Panther Martin Straka and a swap of choices. Even Carolina, at No. 2, is rumored to have dangled sniper Jeff O’Neill for the right to swap picks.

While the Panthers’ payroll rivaled that of Minnesota as the lowest in the league by the end of last season, Dudley said majority owner Alan Cohen has never balked at adding the salary of any specific player, and Dudley continues to plan on signing a veteran or two this summer to bring experience.

But when it comes right down to it, Dudley said he isn’t sure any other GMs will want to do business with him.

“Everybody’s pretty leery of me,” he said. “They know I know players, and they know it’s going to cost them. They have to have something we like, and it’s not going to be an easy deal. It’s going to cost a lot.”

Dudley’s first experience with the top pick overall was four years ago with Tampa Bay, when he wound up trading right out of the first round. The deal was a complicated one, with Atlanta winding up getting center Patrik Stefan at No. 1, Vancouver getting twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin at Nos. 2 and 3 and the Rangers getting Pavel Brendl at No. 4. Tampa Bay got winger Nicklas Sundstrom and goaltender Dan Cloutier, both of whom have since been traded.

Four years later, none of the four draftees have become stars.

“The reason we did the deal is we weren’t sure of any of them,” Dudley said.

Last year, he swapped No. 1 to Columbus for No. 3 and the right to swap first-rounders with the Blue Jackets in this year’s draft. That became unnecessary when Florida won the lottery, but in essence it allowed the Panthers to double their chances for No. 1.

If Florida keeps the pick, it will be one of 14 the Panthers own in the nine-round, two-day affair, and Dudley is confident it will land a top-notch prospect.

“This is the best draft since I’ve been a general manager,” he said. “There’s a few potential stars and a couple of can’t-miss pros. But the quality at the top is just so good.

“If it wasn’t this draft, people would be talking about a couple of these guys the way they did (Vincent) Lecavalier and (Ilya) Kovalchuk.”

If Dudley has made up his mind who he would take — and he insists he hasn’t — he isn’t saying.

“We’re going to decide in our meetings when we get up to Nashville (Tuesday),” he said. “I’ve purposely held off on making a final decision because I didn’t want any of our (scouts) to let it slip.”

It’s unlikely to be Fleury, but could be one of a pair of Canadian forwards: Eric Staal, a smooth-skating center from Peterborough, or Nathan Horton, a power forward from Oshawa.

“We have some people very close, so we’re going to look at the team and what we need,” Dudley said.

Very interesting indeed. The Pitsburgh trade makes not too much sense to me. Straka is 32, which is old for this team, and very injury prone. This guy doesn’t have much trade value, espically since EVERYONE know the Pens are dying to get rid of his salary. The Bruins one makes a little more sense, but still not very good. First of all the don’t have a top 5 pick (which I think is a must for the trade). Plus Samsonov is small/weak and not very good at defense. That is exactly opposite of what the Panthers want. The Carolina trade though, is … WOW. To me, this seems like the Hurricanes would be overpaying for the pick, but you never know when Dudley says he wants a good offer. O’Neill would be perfect on this team. Big tough powerforward who has some leadership skills. Plus the Panthers would only move down 1 spot in the drafting ranks. I would really like that trade to come true. I guess we shall have to wait and see until Saturday!

24 Responses to Rumors a flying

  1. cwthrash says:

    The news about O’Neill doesn’t feel right to me. Not doubting the validity, but that just doesn’t seem to make sense from Carolina’s perspective.

    That they feel this kid is worth O’Neill may be a bit off, but who am I to say what a player’s value is worth. The part that gets me is that Carolina would be willing to trade a sniper to a division rival. Ideally, you’d want such a trade between teams in different conferences or at the very least out of your division. Strange to me that this could be true. But like you said, we’ll found out Saturday.

  2. mikster says:

    It’s interesting. The Carolina one makes no sense at all though.

    They have 2nd overall, why would they want to get the 1st overall when they can pick Fleury 2nd overall? Unless they are fearing that the Panthers will deal that 1st overall to the Penguins….then i can understand so.

    But, the Blue Jackets don’t need Fleury. The Sabres don’t need him, neither do the Sharks. Nashville wants immediate starters (and they may their 1st rounder) to make the playoffs next season.

    The Thrashers don’t need Fleury.

    The Flames may want to but they don’t have all that much to trade, i guess Chris Drury and…….

    And, the Habs would probably think about it, but they’ll stick with their tandem.

    As for the rest, it doesn’t make sense. And, i agree that the Bruins won’t get it done. Samsonov’s trade value market has dramatically dropped since we won’t know how he will perform with the kind of injury he suffered.

    The Penguins will eventually have to offer up more. Straka may actually interest the Panthers, and not because of his age though. Dudley just says he wants to add experienced veterans and Straka fits that bill since he is also skilled and an energetic player. Health issues are main concerns though. Still, trading Straka, the 3rd overall and throw in a guy like Lintner or something.

    I’d think about that one. It is kind of risky since the Canes may then pick the player that the Panthers would have wanted…like Horton or Staals. Either player is really good anyway and i think the Canes would go for Horton actually.

    Great info you got though, i’m loving this entry draft.

  3. mikster says:

    O’Neill was an ineffective player last season and does not get along with Paul Maurice (miraculously not fired).

    Trading that guy for a goalie of the future that your franchise lacks big time? I’d do it. Who cares, CBA is up…..

  4. cwthrash says:

    The entire Carolina team was ineffective last year. I still believe O’Neill can make a big difference.

    Maybe the Canes aren’t satsified with the goalies in their system now. I really don’t know. But it still seems odd they would offer him to a division rival.

  5. mikster says:

    It would have been awkward for the Flyers to offer up Lindros to the Rangers in a division that is rock solid, the best in the east. Rangers had a great start in that season and had they kept going….Clarke would have done them a favor.

    You take risks, and i think the Canes would rather get the goalie of their future for a player that they will eventually lose in 3 years via free agency.

  6. r_milley says:

    If you can get Samsonov and a later 1st for the #1 then I say do it. Samsonov will provide instant production and the 16th pick might be just as good as a top 5 in this draft. Guys like Samsonov can get along with Keenan if the work ethic is there.

    I personally hope Dudley trades the pick. I’ve always dreamed of seeing one of my local junior team stars go #1 and if Dudley trades it then I think that’ll happen, and Marc-Andre Fleury will be the #1 pick.

  7. Oilspill says:

    The Oilers will be knock knock knockin on Dudley’s door as well…how bout this panther fans?

    Moreau (grit, energy, great on pk and defense)

    Swanson (no room for this great two way forward here in edmonton)

    and our number 17 pick

    the oil use the number one pick to pick one of the three d men ( suter coburn or phaneuf )

    or (heheh)

    they trade the number one pick to pittsburgh for straka and their pick (with pittsburgh taking on some salary) and we still get our d-man ala rick dudley

    the oilers need to pick a defensman this year and i think they’ll trade up to ensure they get one of the three.

    this is going to be a great draft!!

    Come on Lowe, trade some forwards to get a vet with skill and draft a good dman to bring into the fold. I’d like to see suter in an Oiler jersey.


  8. guinsfan4life says:

    When I heard that Straka’s name was being brought up in trade rumors, I thought it was to try to move up in the draft. I can’t see the Panthers wanting to take on Straka’s salary. His history just doesn’t make it seem like he fits on the panthers. Dudley would take a big gamble taking on Straka. What if Patrick offered Morozov AND Straka??

    The thing about it is, Dudley is creating a competition among teams through the media so he can get the best deal for his team. Whatever he tells the media could be the exact opposite of what is actually happening.

    Furthermore, I don’t really see the necessity of any team moving up in the draft, if even for a few spaces. This draft is so deep in talent–I have heard as many as 15 players could go number one–that even if you don’t draft a position of need, you still are going to get a quality player if you do your homework. So trading up to get a goalie, for example, which the penguins are thought to be doing, is pointless. You can grab a goalie in the later rounds that may turn out to be better than Fleury.

  9. nskerr says:

    I’ll just throw this into the mix. One rumor I heard was that the Isles are looking to do two things. The first is scale down payroll. The other is get a legit player next to Yashin. A story has been floating around by Mike Russo of the Sun Sentinel that the Isles have offered Florida Mark Parrish and either another player/prospect or the Isles 1st pick for the number one selection. What scares me is that since there is a top goalie on the board, if Dudley ever accepted this (I don’t think he would unless that prospect was very good) Milbury might go for another damn goalie while players like Staal or Horton are available.

    Not that this means a lot, but Staal has been mentioned promimently on the Isles website. At the current drafting position (15th), the Isles will get a good player, but not that impact player they need that can step in either this year or next. Trading a guy like Parrish who puts in more than 20 a year will help save on payroll while bringing more balnce to the team.

  10. Partsdonny says:

    neill was the top scorer and total point leader on the team last year and was # 3 the year before. I can’t see them sending that kind of production to a division rival for a pick. There are too many good prospects to choose from. Fleury may be good, but they are pretty solid in goal with Weekes, Des Roches and Cam Ward from the draft last year. I can see them maybe shopping Vasicek, Svoboda, Wallin, Ward, or some prospects but not O’neill.

    I think it’s more likely that Carolina trades down in the first round to get some help on D.

  11. Kashin says:

    Samsanov can’t be traded. He is a UFA as far as I know. Even if they trade his rights away Pitt wouldnt do that. THey can’t sign him. I think that Philly has an outside shot for trading for #1. They need a goalie and this guy could be the guy taht can step in right away. They dont need anymore prospects at this point.

    Why would Carolina trade Oneil. He is their only hope. I think their need for a winger is greater then a need for Fluery.

  12. habs_for_the_cup says:

    i would like to see montreal go and get this #1 pick because they would have one BIG, STRONG, talented guy in Eric Staal that would help them right now, but i guess the habs have nothnig much to give to the panthers to have their #1 pick….. unless they give komisarek or hainsey, what is not a good thing to do….

  13. mikster says:

    Oh come on! Bunch of 3rd line guys? No way dude 🙂

    And, with the 1st overall the Oilers should get Staals, not Phaneuf or any of those d-men.

  14. mikster says:

    Parrish did squat in Florida and i doubt they’d want him back. Also because his is labeled as an inconsistent winger who can’t even skate all that well.

    Isle’s would have to give up more than that to get that 1st overall. Throw in Hrmlik as part of a package, along with the 15th overal, and Dudley will consider it.

  15. Kashin says:

    He had a 50+ point season with them so he wasnt that bad. Maybe even 60. The Isles won’t go far in trading up. They have enough prospects.

  16. r_milley says:

    Samsonov is not going to be allowed to walk as a UFA. Anyone under 31 thats contract has just ran out this season only becomes a UFA if their team does not make them a qalifying offer of their salary from last year+a 10% raise.

  17. bruinfan37 says:

    Samsonov is a RFA

  18. Oilspill says:

    third line guys on the oilers roster yes….

    but florida needs a defensive specialist and Ethan Moreau fits the bill perfectly…Swanson will be more than a third line guy, unfortunatly with the numbers game in edmonton, it looks as if he may get left out of the loop.

    Even Pisani (who got the oilers thier only hat trick of the year, and was dynamite in the playoffs) may be an odd man out.

    Too many forwards…

    Not enough Defenseman…

  19. mikster says:

    Yeah but they need top line guys! Not defensive forwards. I mean, yeah i agree that they need that too but they won’t acquire that with the 1st overall.

    Pisani and Horcoff were my favorite this year. The role players that will be valuable for the Oilers.

  20. mikster says:

    Still, they won’t have much interest in him. And the Isle’s don’t have that many valuable prospects, and definitely not enough….at all.

    Once DiPietro leaves the minor league team, the Isle’s have little use in the minors. They need to rebuild again!

  21. orangestreak73 says:

    I’d like to know what the Flyers are offering for the #1 pick (if anything). Rumor has it they are interested in it as well…

  22. bender says:

    If I was Dudley and someone offered me O’Neill and a pick, I’d take that deal right now.

    Forget playing the field, your getting a bona fide NHL’er with a lot of years left.

    So it leads me to believe that it’s just a rumor.

    Which there already have been plenty of rumors for that coveted first overall pick.

    (Phi) Justin Williams

    (Dallas) Arnott and Matvichuk

    now the Carolina, Boston and Pittsburgh speculations……..

    Things are heating up….I can’t wait.

    I wasn’t so set on Marc Andre Fleury’s ability, I wasn’t to impressed with his WJC play even though he did lead Canada to a silver medal, but the more I hear about this kid, the more I think he could fit well into the Flyers future. I woudn’t wanna give up too much for him. Personally I think Gagne or Williams for him would be took much of a gamble. But if he turns out to be the next Roy or Brodeur?!?

    Most Oilers fans are in agreement they need a defenseman, and I think local kid Phanoef would be the guy they should look at. Suter is great, but he’ll go pretty high, Dan may just drop down to them. Then again with a lot of young prospects ready to make a stab at the NHL next year, this could be the perfect time to unload some older depth players. Plus Salo is still a big question mark, could Lowe swing a big draft day deal, I guess we’ll see.

    Since O’Neills name has been added to the list for trade rumors, Perhaps TC’s dream of having him on the Oilers roster could come true. Could the Oilers make a package that would tempt Dudley enough??

  23. JohnFlan22 says:

    I dunno man, Parrish is way to inconsistent to be worth it for the panthers, maybe KJ and Hunter or weinhandl, plus #15 pick could get it. that would allow us to grab Staal or Zherdev. Personally I’m not too high on Horton since he was a puss after gettin his ass beat, plus he looks like a fat kid. I say screw the top pick and just hope that Robert Nilsson is still around at 15 or look into swapping with montreal if you think he will get grabbed by the blueshirts. Overall most of the isles prospects that are worth a damn are ready to graduate to the big club(Dipietro, Mapletoft, Weinhandl, Pappineau) or else be traded to make it on another team (Hunter). The isles have ZERO prospects on defense and will probably use at least 2 of 3 second round picks on Defense to restock. I’m not sure who is getting voted off the island if the payroll slashing rumors are true. I would say Weimer was overall a bust this year and could easily be replaced. Timander, Bates and Parrish all had sub-par seasons so in theory they are possible bait. Personally I think for the most part Milbury really “LIKES” this team and wants to let them work out the shit. But you never know, tey don’t call him mad-mike for nothing.

  24. OilersSuk says:

    I hope the panthers consider doing that deal with my stars but I think that the panthers would be getting the better of that deal b/c arnott is a big center that will probably break out for 35 goals in the next 2 years ( dont forget he is still only 27) and Matvichuk will provide some stability and leadership for their young inexpierenced defence. That gives Fla. what they need but I wouldnt mind also taking Huselius off of Keenan’s hands, that would then even out the deal to me.

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