Entering the 2016 NHL draft, the trade speculation is ramping up on several notable NHL stars.
Topping the list is Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. The trade chatter reached a fever pitch on Thursday when Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning admitted he contacted Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to inquire about Subban. Meanwhile, Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli claimed he looked into acquiring the Habs blueliner but the asking price was too high.
The Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey reports Bergevin insists he's not shopping Subban but he can't prevent rival clubs from calling about the defenseman.
Bergevin hasn't come out and said Subban's untouchable. He's probably just keeping his options open in case a rival GM gets desperate enough to make him an incredible offer. It seems unlikely he'll get one. Moving Subban would blow a huge gap in the Canadiens blueline.
SUITORS LINING UP FOR SHATTENKIRK
St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could be on the move during the NHL draft. The 27-year-old is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility and could prove too expensive for the Blues to re-sign before next summer.
TSN's Darren Dreger reports it's not looking good for the Blues' efforts to re-sign Shattenkirk. It's believed he seeks a deal comparable to teammate Alex Pietrangelo, who's midway through a seven-year, $45.5-million contract.
The Boston Bruins are among the clubs interested in Shattenkirk. Dreger said the Bruins offered up one of their two first-round selections in this year's draft.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News claims the New York Rangers are pursuing Shattenkirk as a replacement for Keith Yandle, who was dealt earlier this week to the Florida Panthers. He notes the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are also believed in the hunt.
The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington reports the Sabres are also believed to be chasing Shattenkirk. CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty cites a source saying the Philadelphia Flyers are among the interested clubs.
Another defenseman potentially on the block is Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks. According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, the Ducks could move out the 24-year-old's contract in order to create cap room to re-sign restricted free agent Hampus Lindholm. Harrington also said Murray spoke with Ducks GM Bob Murray about Fowler and is expected to continue discussions on Friday. The Sabres first-round pick (eighth overall) could be in play here.
If the Blues move Shattenkirk, it could be to an Eastern Conference club. The Edmonton Journal's David Staples doubts he'll land with the Oilers, citing Oilers insider Bob Stauffer's claiming Shattenkirk doesn't want to come to Edmonton.
The Bruins and Sabres have considerable depth in draft picks and young prospects to outbid the Rangers. The Flyers, meanwhile, would have to shed Mark Streit's $5.25-million cap hit for 2016-17 to clear room for Shattenkirk. Even then, they must ensure they have sufficient blueline space to promote promising prospects Ivan Provorov and Sam Morin.
KINGS MAY LOOK TO TRADE LUCIC'S RIGHTS
The Los Angeles Kings are parting ways with pending UFA left winger Milan Lucic. Unable to reach agreement on a new contract, the 27-year-old power forward intends to test the free-agent market on July 1. Kings GM Dean Lombardi is allowing the Lucic camp to speak with other clubs now, rather than waiting for the start of the UFA interview period on June 25.
Ed Willes of the Vancouver Sun believes Lucic could leap to the top of the Canucks free-agent wish list. TSN's Pierre LeBrun cites Canucks GM Jim Benning acknowledging his club will have interest in the big winger.
The Edmonton Sun's Jim Matheson speculates the Oilers could explore the cost of signing the Kings' winger.
In recent days, a couple of clubs traded away the rights of pending UFAs they were unable to re-sign. The Dallas Stars shipped defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Arizona Coyotes and the Rangers dealt Yandle to the Panthers. Both players signed with their new clubs.
Perhaps Lombardi might follow the lead of the Stars and Rangers and shop Lucic's rights to an interested club before July 1.
OILERS STILL LOOKING TO MOVE FORWARDS
The Oilers are expected to be among the busy teams in the trade market. There's considerable trade chatter focused on high-priced forwards Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Of the Oilers forwards who could be moved, the Edmonton Sun's Jim Matheson believes right winger Nail Yakupov is the most likely to go. Matheson wonders if they'll package Yakupov with a pick or another player or perhaps shop him for a draft pick.
The Carolina Hurricanes could be a trade destination for Yakupov. Matheson notes the Hurricanes recently acquired Teuvo Teravainen from the Chicago Blackhawks and signed center Sebastian Aho. He wonders if the Oilers could pry center Elias Lindholm or defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Hurricanes.
Speaking of the Blackhawks, who made a salary-dumping move by shipping Teravainen and winger Bryan Bickell to Carolina, they might not be done dealing.
BLACKHAWKS SHOPPING SHAW, KRUGER
The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc tweeted the Hawks are shopping center Marcus Kruger and put out trade feelers on restricted free agent center Andrew Shaw. Moving Shaw is understandable if his salary demands are too expensive for the cap-strapped Blackhawks. However, they re-signed Kruger to a three-year deal in March.
Perhaps GM Stan Bowman wants to shed more salary to shore up depth elsewhere. Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell is hitting the open market next week and expressed an interest in returning to the Blackhawks.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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