Mega – Hockey Trade Rumor Update – June 21, 2012


Wild GM: Big trade would be spendy

Could the Oilers pass on Yakupov?

Report: James van Riemsdyk “more than willing” to accept Columbus trade

Rumblings: Trade talk is heating up

Wild GM: Big trade would be spendy

While Chuck Fletcher continues to talk trade with numerous teams, it appears nothing big was on the horizon as of Wednesday night.

“There’s nothing out there I’ve seen where there’s easy ways to get better,” Fletcher, the Wild’s general manager, said earlier this week. “There’s ways of getting players and paying a big price, but I don’t know if they make us better right now.”

As the NHL draft approaches Friday and Saturday, a number of big names reportedly are on the market, including Columbus’ Rick Nash, Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo.

But Fletcher might not have the assets to trade for a top forward, especially since he says he’s not looking to blow a hole through a prospect corps the Wild has suffered through hard times to accumulate.

One situation the Wild is undoubtedly keeping an eye on is Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal. He is a year away from free agency, and the Penguins are looking to extend his contract after July 1.

Could the Oilers pass on Yakupov?

Although Nail Yakupov is the guy nine out of 10 scouts say should go first overall on Friday, we did run across one chief scout who has had an eyeful of both players, and said he liked defenceman Ryan Murray more.

“If it were our team picking first we’d take Murray,” the scout said. “And it would be a short conversation.”

Don’t ever discount the Russian factor with Yakupov. He interviews well — “Real confident, but not cocky,” said one Western Conference scout who sat in on an interview — and has both stated and shown his willingness to assimilate into the North American hockey culture.

But at every single draft table you will find a hockey man whose experience with Russian players has not been stellar, and his voice will be heard. “I’ve coached three Russians,” said a Major Jr. coach we know. “None of them were team-first guys.”

If the Oilers were to draft Murray at No. 1, the belief is that GM Scott Howson would quickly trade his No. 2 pick rather than bring in another highly drafted Russian player, after the Blue Jackets’ experience with Nikita Filatov and Nikolai Zherdev (4th overall in 2003).

Report: James van Riemsdyk “more than willing” to accept Columbus trade

Philadelphia Flyers power forward James van Riemsdyk escaped last season’s trade deadline despite plenty of speculation that he might be moved. Now that draft day has morphed into the “other” trade deadline, his name is coming up again. Columbus beat reporter Aaron Portzline reports that JVR would accept life as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets if a trade happened.

Here’s the exact wording of that intriguing Tweet:

Have it on good authority ‪#Flyers‬ James van Riemsdyk would be more than willing to come to ‪#CBJ‬ if such a trade came to pass.

A draft day trade between the Blue Jackets and Flyers involving a recently-signed player who disappointed Philly in some way? This sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? Portzline’s claim that the American forward “would be more than willing” to play for Columbus breaks from the Jeff Carter script, though, so maybe a groundhog day deal isn’t that far-fetched.

Perhaps JVR might feel a bit like Jack Johnson did when he was traded from the Los Angeles Kings. He’d be able to be “the man” – or at least a far more prominent presence – in Columbus.

Rumblings: Trade talk is heating up

For as much as Brian Burke has long maintained that the trade deadline is overrated in terms of a time of year to improve your team, draft week has been an altogether different beast for the veteran GM.

No need to look further than the way Burke moved heaven and earth to get the 2-3 overall picks in 1999 to draft both Sedin twins. The Toronto Maple Leafs GM is not scared to make bold moves at this time of year. He just so happens to hold the No. 5 overall pick in Friday night’s first round.

As is stands, Burke said Wednesday morning from Las Vegas that it appears likely he’ll keep the pick.

“I fully expect that,” Burke told “We’ve had discussions with other teams that I would characterize mostly as tire kicking, nothing that we’ve had to even huddle on. Now, the way the draft works, the time frame gets very compressed as you get closer. So it’ll crank right up. Teams who haven’t even called me, I expect will call starting tomorrow. But I fully expect to keep that pick.”

All depends, in the end, on the quality of offers, some of which might not come until the New York Islanders use their fourth overall pick Friday night and Burke’s phone blows up immediately afterward with teams realizing the player they desperately want is still available.

Meanwhile, the Leafs had hoped to upgrade in goal, and that could still happen, especially if the Vancouver Canucks come calling with Roberto Luongo.