Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Evening/late night Twitter round-up and trade talk, trade talk and more trade talk

Updated with all sorts of text stuff at 2:06 AM: Amongst the evening's Tweets of note:

In the text department:

Bergevin says the possibility of signing Lecavalier depends on a variety of factors and it’s too soon to say what he’ll do.

“It will depend on many different things,” Bergevin told reporters Saturday. “Contracts have been bought out and there will be others. Many things can happen before the opening of the free agent market on July 5.”

Bergevin also wouldn’t say whether he’s working to sign Norris winner P.K. Subban to an extension before heading into the final season of a two-year contract. He said any negotiations would be confidential.

 

“You have to listen (to offers),” Gillis said Saturday. “If you’re in any business, you have to listen to what the proposals may be and act accordingly. That’s what we’re doing.”

From the sounds of it, the phones are ringing off the hook.

Gillis has been extremely patient with this situation so far, but time appears to be running out. The deadline for compliance buyouts is next Thursday and you’d have to think one of Luongo or Schneider will be gone by the time that window closes. There is no way the Canucks can entertain the idea of another season with both.

Schneider certainly looked like a No. 1 goalie last year, where he finished among the league leaders with a .927 save percentage. Gillis was asked if a prospect and first-round draft pick would be enough to get him and replied “it all depends on the team and the pick.” There is plenty to suggest that rivals wouldn’t mind paying a high price to secure his services.
“I think he’s a very good young player and teams are after good young players all the time,”  Gillis said.

In the leadup to Sunday afternoon’s draft, the Canucks were considering various options. Defenceman Alex Edler was believed to be a trade possibility and a decision is still pending on a compliance buyout for Keith Ballard.

...

One area where you can rule the Canucks out is the bidding on Vincent Lecavalier. The veteran centre is currently in New York meeting with interested teams, but he isn’t on Vancouver’s radar at this point in time.

“We need to get past (the draft) tomorrow first before we get focused on that,” Gillis said. “We’ve got a lot of balls in the air right now and we’re trying to sort through different proposals and what’s available. Then we’ll address free agency beyond that.”

 

  • The CBC's Elliotte Friedman discussed the Schneider situation as well as some other topics...

*Friday night, Vincent Lecavalier decided to go to New York for a Saturday full of meetings with interested teams.

Although he cannot sign a contract until July 5, Lecavalier initially indicated he wanted to choose a new destination beforehand. But, there's been so much interest, he might need a little more time to whittle down the list and maybe make a visit or two.

The interviewees included Toronto, Montreal, St. Louis, Anaheim, Philadelphia (the Flyers arrived earlier than initially planned so they could talk with him) and Dallas. Detroit and Calgary get their facetime Sunday morning before Lecavalier departs.

Florida did not meet with him, but GM Dale Tallon told reporters they will make contact post-draft. The Panthers would be a real interesting one. Their budget is tight, but you could make an argument stretching it to make room for Lecavalier is a worthwhile investment.

*Last one: Tyler Seguin. A couple of different sources said Boston is targeting a top 10 pick with him.

Lots more to come on Sunday, no doubt. Enjoy the Rumour Orgasmatron.

 

  • Both TSN and Sportsnet have Tweet round-ups from various teams' beat writers...

 

How vibrant the trade market is depends on who you’re talking to. The consensus is that some prominent players are available, but the salary cap dropping and teams using compliance buyouts complicate the landscape.

“It’s different than we’ve ever seen before, no question about that,” Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said. “Usually you get big names put out there, there’s a bunch of teams that are trying to pounce on it. That’s not the case right now, and it’s not because the players are not quality players or quality people. The cap jumping down, it has a significant impact on what teams can do.”

Even with the cap dropping from US$70.2 million to $64.3 million, plenty of teams have space to work and seem willing to shake things up. Big movement could come as the July 5 start of free agency approaches, or it could get going Sunday at the draft.

That will be the second time in four days that general managers are together. Many were in town for the board of governors meeting Thursday that could be considered the beginning of trading session.

“There’s lots of conversation,” [Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin] Cheveldayoff said. “You make different calls to different teams, depending on their situations, where they are in the draft about potentially moving up and seeing what that price is and what their appetite is and if they’re going to do it. You get a lot of groundwork laid to see if anything does come into place.”

 

 

KRIS LETANG

As our Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday evening, Letang and his representatives turned up their noses at an eight-year contract extension worth $56 million, which suggests the clock is ticking toward Letang's departure from the only NHL team he's known. A Norris Trophy nominee this season, he skates like the wind and is a magician with the puck. But he can be a liability in his zone, and he had a miserable postseason, especially against the Boston Bruins in the East finals. Hard to imagine GM Ray Shero will take Letang to training camp if he doesn't think he can sign him to a long-term deal, and that means this weekend is as good a time as any to work up the marketplace for such a rare asset. He's been linked to Toronto, and the number of other teams salivating at the prospect of such a puck-moving gem would easily be in the double-digits. But Shero, who got terrific value for Jordan Staal in a similar deal with the Carolina Hurricanes at last year's draft, will not give away Letang just to move on. Assuming the Colorado Avalanche don't take Seth Jones at No. 1, does Letang even fit there given the plethora of young offensive talent they possess? What would entice Shero? How about the Edmonton Oilers?

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

After buying out Bryzgalov and Danny Briere, the Flyers would like to do some shopping -- and no GM has more chutzpah than Paul Holmgren. Even though the Bryzgalov signing two years ago was a disaster, and Holmgren's trading of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter hasn't exactly worked out the way he'd hoped (yet, anyway), look for the Flyers to be in or near any and every potential blockbuster. They must find a goaltender to work with and push Steve Mason (Emery would be a natural given his level of play in Chicago and connection to the Flyers, for whom he played), and they need to shore up a blue line that has been decimated by injuries big and small in recent years, even though they recently added Mark Streit. In short, if there's a name on the market, the Flyers will be in on it.

RYAN MILLER/THOMAS VANEK

The Buffalo Sabres are a mess even if owner Terry Pegula won't acknowledge it. But the fact that GM Darcy Regier merely maintained the status quo by not looking for a new head coach, instead retaining interim coach Ron Rolston, surely signifies the end is in sight for the Sabres' two most important players: Miller and Vanek. Both can become unrestricted free agents next summer, and both would have value on the trade market, although the goalie market is a little more fluid given the presence of free agents Bryzgalov, Smith, Luongo and Emery. Still, it would seem Regier must move these players sooner rather than later to try to maximize the team's return. According to Capgeek.com, Miller can list eight teams to which he will not accept a trade, while Vanek has no protection against a move should the Sabres decide to deal him. If Regier hasn't moved the duo by training camp, look for another season to start with more distractions and unflattering questions about the team's direction.

 

Horton may have reached his decision because he did not sense any excessive desire from the Bruins to keep him. Chiarelli is wrestling with salary-cap problems, with just $5.8-million (all currency U.S.) in room under the $64.3-million cap. He still needs to negotiate contract extensions for goaltender Tuukka Rask, who will get something around $7-million per year, and centre Patrice Bergeron, who will likely sign for the maximum term of eight years for at least $6.5-million per year.

That is why there may have been a feeling something would have to give with Horton, who made $5.5-million last season. He was inconsistent during the regular season but caught fire in the playoffs along with linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Horton finished with 19 points in 22 games and will draw interest from other teams, although matching last season’s salary will be difficult with the cap going down nearly $6-million.

Salary and performance appear to be the reasons why Chiarelli is considering a move with Seguin. The youngster has six years left on his contract with a cap hit of $5.75-million. While the Brampton, Ont., native, had a breakthrough season in 2011-12 with 29 goals, he slipped badly this season. By the playoffs, Seguin lost his spot on the top line beside Bergeron and scored just one goal in 22 playoff games skating on the third line.

Another consideration is that Seguin is a natural centre who is playing right wing because he will not move ahead of Bergeron or Krejci on the top two lines. But there are a lot of NHL teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs who have a history with Seguin because he was taken with one of the picks surrendered in the Phil Kessel trade, who are desperate to land a top centre.

However, Seguin will not come cheap. The word around the draft on the weekend is that Chiarelli won’t make a deal unless he can get into the top three picks on Sunday and get another first-round pick as well. That price means the Leafs are out of the running.

 

Finding another goalie remains Holmgren’s primary focus with several side issues.

“He’s made it known he’d like a goalie with no years or one-year left where they can get a read on that player before committing,” a source said.

Several sources say a deal for St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak, as reported by CSNPhilly.com on Friday, would make sense for both clubs, but the Flyers feel Halak’s salary cap hit of $3.75 million is a bit high. A Blues-Kings source said Halak would be "a great goalie for the Flyers right now."

The Flyers could feel differently after the draft, if they return home empty-handed.

One source said today the Flyers had also talked to the Islanders about Evgeni Nabokov and that the Buffalo Sabres had asked Holmgren if there were interest in Ryan Miller, who has a year left on his deal with a very pricey $6.25 million cap hit, even if it’s just one season.

 

Ray Shero is waiting on Kris Letang. He may not wait much longer. A scheduled face-to-face meeting for Saturday afternoon between Shero and Kent Hughes, Letang's agent, was viewed by both parties as the last good chance to bridge a financial gap on a possible long-term contract.

Letang, a defenseman set to enter the final year of his contract, will be prime trade bait at the NHL Entry Draft on Sunday.

“He's worth waiting on in terms of making the right decisions, knowing all the information,” Shero said Saturday before meeting with Hughes. “But there's a time to make a deal, to sign a player, or maybe it's apparent that you can't, or maybe it's better to wait or do something else.”

Shero said before meeting with Hughes that he already had received calls about Letang's availability. Montreal, San Jose and Philadelphia are interested, and the Penguins would prefer to deal with a club that can return a top prospect and at least two roster players who they would control for multiple seasons.

The Penguins also would not mind a draft pick as part of a package. They do not select until the third round because of in-season trades for winger Jarome Iginla and defenseman Douglas Murray.

Shero reiterated that he would like to keep Letang and acknowledged that Letang is due a big raise on his $3.5 million salary. Letang, 26, led the NHL in points-per-game by a defenseman this past season and was a Norris Trophy (top defenseman) nominee for the first time.

...

The Penguins remain uncomfortable with a counterproposal to their willingness to pay Letang about $7 million annually on a maximum-limit eight-year contract. Shero made that offer Wednesday. Hughes countered Thursday with a proposed $7.75 million annual salary on an eight-year deal, but Shero immediately dismissed the deal.

 

THE FIRST ROUND: There is talk the Colorado Avalanche may deal their No. 1 selection for immediate help. While they covet Halifax centre Nathan MacKinnon -- and by all accounts he can play immediately -- the belief is newcomers Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy want to wheel and deal. There is interest in the No. 1 pick, but the Avs want a big return with a player who can help right away, a top prospect and a No. 1 pick. Roy and Sakic have suddenly made the festivities interesting. "If they get the right price I think there is a chance," said league executive Saturday. "They want a lot for that pick." ... Centre Nathan Horton has informed the Boston Bruins he wants to test the market after his strong playoff.

OFF THE GLASS: As mentioned earlier this week, the Flyers are listening to offers for defenceman Braydon Cobourn. There is talk the Anaheim Ducks asked for Cobourn and the No. 1 pick in exchange for forward Bobby Ryan. The Oilers have emerged as a top trade target because they want help on the back end right away could use Cobourn. Don't forget Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren are both trying to shake up their teams ... Minnesota Wild left wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard informed the club he will test the free agent market. He had a cap hit of $4.08 million last season.

THIS N' THAT: Speaking of the Wild, expect the club to move left wing Cal Clutterbuck. He has been offered up to every team because his role has diminished in Minny and the club needs to shed cash. He is an RFA who made $1.4 million last season ... The Florida Panthers haven't given up hope on signing UFA centre Stephen Weiss. GM Dale Tallon hopes to hold more talks with his camp but confirmed Saturday he has interest in bought out Tampa centre Vinny Lecavalier along with Montreal GM Marc Bergevin. As many as 15 teams have touched based with Lecavalier, who made his way to Manhattan to meet with potential teams. Dallas GM Jim Nill has been aggressive in his pursuit of Lecavalier because he would help the club.

...

RUMOURS DU JOUR: Once the dust has settled in Edmonton expect them to deal Ales Hemsky and buyout Shawn Horcoff. The club has given Horcoff permission to make his own deal and there isn't a lot of interest ... The name of Bruins centre Tyler Seguin surfaced on the trade market with talk the Bolts were interested. He hasn't been shopped to every team because not many had heard about it. Seguin's a young player, but Boston will have cap issues to deal with after getting centre Patrice Bergeron and goalie Tuukka Rask signed.

Update: One more from the CBC's Tim Wharnsby:

[Agent Paul] Krepelka also believes another client, Manny Malhotra, will be a person of interest when the free agency period opens its door on Friday. The 33-year-old Malhotra, who suffered a serious eye injury late in the 2010-11 season, was shut down after nine games by the Canucks this year. He did manage to score seven goals in 78 games in a fourth-line role and win 58.5 percent of his faceoffs in 2011-12.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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