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Mid-afternoon pre-draft round-up: on Kesler Watch, Vanek Watch, Board of Governors stuff and Stastny

Updated 3x at 4:24 PM: Amongst this afternoon's news from the Board of Governors' meetings and the Trade-and-wine-and-dine-a-palooza...

1. It's time for Kesler watch to kick into an even higher gear?

2. Thomas Vanek is in demand:

3. Sportsnet's Mark Spector reminded us that quite a bit of this draft-day-draft-pick-trade talk is...talk...

4. This is going to put a dent in things...Theoretically...

5. But the board DID make one change that won't make the Sabres happy...

6. And ESPN's LeBrun weighed in on the Kesler sweepstakes, the Minnesota Wild's desire to add multiple parts, P.K. Subban's agent's talks with Montreal (they're talking), and in my opinion, the curious case of Paul Stastny, all in his latest "Rumblings" blog entry:

The No. 1 center on the UFA market continued to generate a lot of interest on Day 2 of the window to talk to free agents, and as of late Thursday afternoon around 15 NHL teams had communicated in one way or another with Paul Stastny's camp led by agent Matt Keator.

We reported Wednesday that the St. Louis Blues were among the inquisitive teams, add the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks to the long list of teams that have checked in on Stastny camp. The Jets could certainly use a top-six center and their interest in Stastny is said to be quite legitimate. The Blackhawks have spoken to Vancouver about Ryan Kesler in their search for a No. 2 center. Imagine Stastny centering Patrick Kane? Problem is, not really sure how the Hawks could afford Stastny under their cap when you consider that the Stastny camp is telling clubs they don’t intend on taking a paycut from the $6.66 million a year the Team USA Olympian was making on his expiring contract.

For the Blackhawks, the more people you talk to around the league the last few days, the more you hear about Chicago making calls and looking at a number of different scenario. They might very well be an active team here over the next seven-to-10 days.

However this process plays out for Stastny -- likely going right to July 1 -- the Stastny camp will certainly circle back to the Colorado Avalanche to give them a chance to improve their offer and try to retain Stastny.

LeBrun continues at length, and he also notes the following:

Matt Niskanen, one of the top UFA defensemen, informed the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday that he was going to the July 1 market to see what’s out there.

"Matt has decided to see what the free-agent market is," Niskanen’s agent Neil Sheehy told ESPN.com Thursday. "He’ll make a decision after he’s seen all the teams interested and decide what’s the right fit. Pittsburgh isn’t out by any means, but I think where the market is going to be and what they’ll be able to do is going to be a contrast. So we’ll see where this all leads."

Brief update:

7. Trade talk:

8. Spezza talk:

9. Cap talk:

Update #2:

10. Leaf talk:

Update #3:

11. Kesler talk, take 2:

12. Bryan Murray, emo GM:

13. Draft pick trade talk:

14. More cap talk:

15. Board of Governors talk:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, matt+niskanen, minnesota+wild, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, st.+louis+blues

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com