NHL Rumors: Post-Draft Buzz Around All 30 Teams
Now that the 2013 NHL draft is over, it's time for teams to focus their attention on compliance buyouts and what promises to be a busy week of roster activity that will culminate with the beginning of free agency on Friday.
This year's class of unrestricted free agents was not very deep a few weeks ago but it has been strengthened with star players being bought out of their contracts, including Vincent Lecavalier and Danny Briere.
Let's look at the latest post-draft buzz surrounding each team as general managers get ready for the free-agent market to officially open.
All salary information via Capgeek.
The Anaheim Ducks met with former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, but according to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, the team isn't expected to sign the veteran center because the "Lecavalier camp [is] looking at five years, $5 million per. [Ducks GM Bob] Murray said too much for him on both."
Lecavalier would have been a good fit for the Ducks because of his size, strength, championship experience and power-play skill. Anaheim needs to add a bit more depth down the middle this offseason because second-line center Saku Koivu is nearing the end of his career and an upcoming UFA.
Stephens also reported on the Ducks' interest in Vancouver Canucks star Alexander Edler, who is a puck-moving defenseman with impressive offensive talent. He tweeted: "Murray acknowledged Alex Edler rumors and said you have to make phone call but intimated Canucks solved some of their cap issues today."
The Ducks have $7,490,833 of cap space and 20 players already signed for next season, so there is some financial flexibility for Murray to work with in hopes of finding a center and a defenseman.
The Internet went crazy over the weekend with rumors of Tyler Seguin reportedly being available via trade. The Boston Bruins ultimately decided not to use the 21-year-old to acquire a high first-round pick, a top prospect or an established NHL player.
According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, Bruins general manager said on Twitter Sunday that Seguin "has to become a professional. Hopes trade chatter motivates him."
We may never know if Boston was seriously shopping Seguin or if it was just a way to light a fire under the young star, but it's clear that the team expects more from him after a disappointing 2013 season in which he finished with just one goal in 22 playoff games.
After a successful draft, the focus of the Buffalo Sabres will be on the future of star goaltender Ryan Miller, who has one more year remaining on his contract before he can become a UFA.
As an elite goalie who could be the final piece to a contending team, the Sabres should get good value in return for Miller if they trade him, which according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, seems like something the team wants to accomplish.
The Sabres remain intent on moving Ryan Miller but whether it happens this summer or at trade deadline next season remains to be seen...
Buffalo has $13,700,476 in cap space with 19 players signed for next season. As a team in a transition going through a mini rebuild, expect the Sabres to be front and center during free agency and in the trade market.
When the Tyler Seguin rumors began, the Calgary Flames were one team linked to the Bruins forward. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported that the two teams "had spoken," but there was no deal made.
Calgary had three first-round picks in Sunday's draft and emerged as one of the day's winners. The Flames' best pick was Sean Monahan at No. 6, who looks to be a first-line center and an elite offensive player.
The highest priorities for the Flames in the summer should be strengthening their blue line and finding a goaltender capable of taking over the starting job following Miikka Kiprusoff's retirement.
The Carolina Hurricanes decided to keep their No. 5 pick in the draft and select Swedish forward Elias Lindholm.
Instead of trading that selection, the Hurricanes made a different deal by sending defenseman Jamie McBain and the 35th overall pick (second round) to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Andrej Sekera.
McBain had a disappointing year in Carolina with only eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 40 regular season games.
The Chicago Blackhawks made a few roster moves involving important players from their 2013 Stanley Cup team on Sunday.
The first transaction was trading veteran center Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for three draft picks. Bolland played an important role on two championship teams in Chicago and scored the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of this year's Cup final, but his offensive production had declined since a breakout 2008-09 season.
Chicago also traded Michael Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for two draft picks. Frolik was a valuable depth player who provided the Blackhawks with some scoring and excellent penalty killing.
These two trades did free up some cap space for the Blackhawks and has also opened up some spots on the NHL roster for young players. With its additional cap space, Chicago also re-signed gritty forward Bryan Bickell to a four-year, $16 million deal according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.
The Colorado Avalanche took Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon with the top pick in the draft, choosing to pass on top defenseman Seth Jones despite the team's need for a franchise player on the blue line.
MacKinnon's arrival gives the Avalanche incredible depth down the middle, maybe even a little too much. He joins a group of centermen that already included Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly.
With four quality centers who all need substantial ice time to be productive and further develop, it wouldn't be surprising if one of them is traded.
Stastny, who has a $6.6 million cap hit in his contract that lasts for one more season seems to be the most likely candidate to be moved, but according to the Denver Post's Adrian Dater, the 27-year-old "will not be traded."
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to sign reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, and according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the two sides are "very close on a new deal."
The Russian netminder finished the season with a 21-11-6 record and ranked second in save percentage (.932) and fifth in GAA (2.00). Without his consistently strong performances, the Blue Jackets would not have ended the year tied for the final playoff spot in a very competitive Western Conference.
Re-signing Bobrovsky is the top priority for Columbus in what will likely be a busy summer for the club as it moves to the Eastern Conference as part of the league's realignment plan for the 2013-14 season.
The Dallas Stars got one of the biggest steals of the draft when they selected ultra-talented winger Valeri Nichushkin of Russia with the 10th overall pick.
The team is also reportedly interested in signing former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier to fulfill a need for a top-six center with experience. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported that the Stars sat down with Lecavalier on Saturday, adding "Don't sleep on Dallas in this one. They're keen on him."
Not only would Lecavalier bring some more size and scoring to the Stars offense, he would also be able to mentor the team's talented young forwards, including emerging superstar Jamie Benn.
Detroit Red Wings
In typical Detroit Red Wings fashion, the team found great value in the final third of the first round by selecting Anthony Mantha, a 6'4" forward from the QMJHL who was the only player in this class to score 50 goals last season.
The Red Wings are also one of several teams that have talked with upcoming UFA Vincent Lecavalier, according to Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period. According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the "Wings made an offer" for Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler.
With $8,207,121 in cap space and 21 players already signed for the 2013-14 season, Detroit's next goal should be re-signing UFA forward Damien Brunner, who impressed as a 26-year-old rookie in 2013 with nine points in 14 playoff games.
The Edmonton Oilers added to their already impressive group of young defensemen by selecting Darnell Nurse with the seventh overall pick in the draft.
Finding a veteran defenseman who's capable of improving the team's penalty kill and bringing more experience to a young blue line is the next priority for Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish.
And to that end, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia, the "Flyers and [Oilers have] been talking all weekend about a Braydon Coburn trade."
Coburn could play a top-four role in Edmonton and has three years remaining on his contract that includes a $4.5 million salary cap hit. If the price is right, this is a deal that the Oilers should make.
The Florida Panthers chose to take the best two-way center in the draft, Aleksander Barkov, over top prospect and highly-rated defenseman Seth Jones with the second overall pick.
It was an interesting move for a team that had the worst GAA last season and doesn't have a shut-down defenseman capable of defending the opponents' top forwards. This will be an even larger problem next season when the Panthers join a division that includes the Bruins, Red Wings, Leafs and Senators as part of the league's realignment plan for 2013-14.
As for any upcoming roster moves from Florida, Renaud Lavoie of RDS is reporting that the "Panthers are shopping Scott Clemmensen."
With talented young goalie Jacob Markstrom ready to take over the starting job full-time, Clemmensen's role on the team will greatly diminish. He's coming off a disappointing 2013 season that included a 3-7 record, a .874 save percentage and a 3.67 GAA.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings did not have a first-round pick in Sunday's draft because they traded it to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2011-12 season as part of the Jeff Carter deal.
With the draft over, the Kings now must focus on re-signing veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi, who plays a vitally important role in the team's defensive success because of his shot blocking, physical play, experience and leadership.
According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, "there's been progress in talks between Rob Scuderi and LA Kings this weekend. But still work to be done. Still not a slam dunk."
As a two-time champion capable of logging 20-plus minutes against the opposing team's most talented forwards each game, Scuderi would receive plenty of interest on the free-agent market if he is unsigned by July 5.
The Montreal Canadiens did well at the draft by selecting American forward Michael McCarron in Round 1 and getting a steal in the second round with top-ranked goaltender Zachary Facale still on the board. It was general manager Marc Bergevin's second impressive draft in as many seasons.
Montreal was also one of the teams that "inquired" about the availability of Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun. He also noted that the "Habs may circle back. But nothing close at this point."
Acquiring Edler wouldn't make much sense for the Canadiens, especially since they already get enough offensive production from their blue line. A shut-down defenseman is the greater need in Montreal.
With reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban having just one more year left on his contract, taking on Edler's deal (which has five years left and a $5 million cap hit) would hurt the team's cap flexibility.
The Minnesota Wild made a trade on draft day by sending gritty forward Cal Clutterbuck to the New York Islanders for young forward Nino Niederreiter and pick No. 70.
Niederreiter was the 5th overall pick in the 2010 draft but he never developed as expected with the Islanders. He's played in just 64 NHL games with two goals scored and one assist.
A change of scenery will likely benefit the 20-year-old winger, who has the goal scoring, playmaking skill and speed required to be a quality top-six forward.
Sunday was a monumental day for the Nashville Predators because they were able to select top-ranked North American defenseman Seth Jones at pick No. 4.
The Predators couldn't have imagined he would still be available at that time, but now they are able to adequately replace Ryan Suter and give captain Shea Weber another ultra-talented defense partner.
The other bit of news surrounding Nashville from Sunday involves UFAs Brandon Yip and Chris Mueller, who according to Josh Cooper of the Tennessean, will not be re-signed.
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey shocked their fans on Sunday by trading the ninth overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks for star goaltender Cory Schneider, who is only 27 years old.
The former Boston College netminder will succeed future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur as the starting goalie in the near future, and to acquire a player of his caliber for just a draft pick is a great deal for New Jersey.
As for UFA signings, Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger reports that the "Devils are close to re-signing veteran forward Patrik Elias. It appears he will not test the market."
New York Islanders
Trading former fifth overall draft pick Nino Niederreiter to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck adds some size and bottom-six depth to the Islanders offense. It should also be noted that superstar center John Tavares and Clutterbuck played on the OHL's Oshawa Generals together.
Unfortunately for the Isles, Niederreiter was unable to reach his potential with the team, which is too bad because he has incredible talent. The two sides needed to part ways and it wouldn't be surprising if both clubs benefit from this trade.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers did not have a first-round pick in Sunday's draft and will now focus on a busy free agent period. According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, "The Rangers, with no cap room, have told teams they're willing to trade Ryane Clowe's rights. He's UFA July 5."
In addition to limited cap space, Clowe's inability to stay healthy and produce offensively on a consistent basis are two concerns. He only played in two of New York's 12 playoff games because of an injury.
The Rangers and Wild also swapped RFAs in a trade on Sunday. New York acquired the rights to Justin Falk and a 2014 sixth-round pick in exchange for the rights to Benn Ferriero.
The Ottawa Senators' top priority before free agency is to re-sign long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson.
TSN's Darren Dreger has tweeted that "Alfredsson contracts talks described as productive. Expected to resume today. Both 1 year and 2 year options [discussed] by Murray and [agent] JP Barry."
Even at age 40, Alfredsson finished second in goals scored and points last season for the Senators, proving he can still be productive in a top-six role.
The Philadelphia Flyers did not make any major trades on draft day and filled a glaring need for more defensive depth by selecting Samuel Morin with the 11th overall pick.
The Flyers took care of a lot of roster business during the week leading up to the draft by announcing that the team would buy out the contracts of veteran forward Daniel Briere and starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia tweeted some notable information on Sunday involving the Flyers' pursuit of UFA center Vincent Lecavalier and a possible trade: "[GM Paul] Holmgren has no idea on how Lecavalier feels about the Flyers. Says never got close to a deal w/EDM last 2 days."
News broke on Sunday (via Renaud Lavoie of RDS) that the Pittsburgh Penguins and star defenseman Kris Letang had reached an agreement on an eight-year, $58 million contract. However, the deal is not yet complete.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero commented on the process of signing Letang via the team's Twitter account: "Still working on it with his agent. We'll get together later [tomorrow] and try to work [through a] couple things"
After the Letang news on Sunday morning and early afternoon, the Penguins had a relatively quiet day and did not have a first-round pick in the draft.
Smith has found a home in Phoenix after spending four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2007-08 through 2010-11. Before coming to the Coyotes, he had never won more than 14 games in a season, which he has now done twice with Phoenix (38 wins in 2011-12, 15 in 2013).
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks added some depth and bottom-six scoring to their roster on Sunday by acquiring forward Tyler Kennedy from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for the 50th pick in the draft. Kennedy is a restricted free agent.
San Jose currently has four UFAs and two RFAs to re-sign before July 5.
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues' top priority is to re-sign its important RFAs and UFAs, including star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (RFA), top-six forward Chris Stewart (RFA) and veteran blueliner Jordan Leopold (UFA).
The most interesting situation is Pietrangelo's because he's one of the best players at his position and would likely earn Drew Doughty-type of money (eight years, $56 million) if he was available on the open market.
The Blues are a low-budget club that has been close to the cap floor over the last few years, and now it's time to pay some of the team's best players the salaries they deserve. It would be wise of St. Louis to take care of Pietrangelo as soon as possible because on July 5 opposing teams can submit offer sheets to him.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning took the best winger in the 2013 draft class on Sunday by selecting Halifax Mooseheads star Jonathan Drouin, even though top-rated defenseman Seth Jones was still on the board.
The Lightning have just four free agents to re-sign before July 5, and the most notable name is Benoit Pouliot. The former fourth overall pick tallied 20 points in 34 games in his first season with the Lightning.
After buying out captain and top-six forward Vincent Lecavalier, expect general manager Steve Yzerman to pursue a veteran center in free agency.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs bolstered their depth down the middle on Sunday by acquiring Chicago Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland in exchange for three draft picks.
Bolland is capable of playing a second or third line center role for the Leafs, while also adding some championship experience and grit to the lineup.
The next step for general manager Dave Nonis is finalizing contracts with a lot of players on his roster. Here's a list of notable Leafs players who will become free agents on July 5 without a new deal.
|Player||Position||2013 Cap Hit||UFA/RFA|
|Tyler Bozak||Center||$1.5 million||UFA|
|Nazem Kadri||Center||$1.2 million||RFA|
|Joe Colborne||Center||$1.1 million||RFA|
|Clarke MacArthur||Left Wing||$3.25 million||UFA|
|Carl Gunnarson||Defense||$1.325 million||RFA|
|Cody Franson||Defense||$1.2 million||RFA|
|Jonathan Bernier||Goalie||$1.25 million||RFA|
The Vancouver Canucks surprised nearly everyone on Sunday by choosing to trade Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the ninth overall pick.
It was expected that the Canucks would trade veteran goalie Roberto Luongo instead of Schneider to get rid of his lengthy contract (nine years left) and make the 27-year-old the team's netminder of the present and future.
Schneider is seven years younger and has a lower cap hit, but after trying to trade Luongo and his monstrous contract since the end of last season, the team may have come to the conclusion that there wasn't a deal to be made.
It is not yet known if Luongo even wants to stay in Vancouver after the goaltending disaster that has taken place over the last year. Speaking to TSN's James Duthie about the Schneider trade, Luongo said "I'm shocked! I have to let this sink in and figure out what I'm going to do."
In other Canucks news, the team has placed veteran defenseman Keith Ballard on waivers, per John Shannon of Sportsnet. It's likely he will be bought out.
The Washington Capitals' top free agent will reportedly not return to the team next season. Renaud Lavoie of RDS tweeted that veteran forward "Mike Ribeiro will hit the market on July 5th. Won't get an extension from Capitals."
Ribeiro was a great player for the Capitals this year with a total of 49 points (13 goals, 39 assists) in 48 regular season games. His departure creates a huge need for a second-line center, which has been a weakness for the Capitals for much of the Alexander Ovechkin era (2006 to the present).
His power-play skills will also be missed, given the fact that he tied Ovechkin for the league lead in power-play scoring this year season. In a weak UFA class, Ribeiro will be one of the top forwards on the market.
The Winnipeg Jets added some quality depth on Sunday by acquiring Chicago Blackhawks winger Michael Frolik in exchange for two draft picks.
The Jets finished 24th in penalty killing last season, which is an area that Frolik specializes in. He was a major reason why the Blackhawks finished third in penalty-killing success last season. Frolik will also add some necessary bottom-six scoring and some defense/grit to the third and fourth lines.
Winnipeg also has a very busy week ahead with more than half of its players (15 of 28) eligible to become a UFA or RFA on July 5. The most notable free agents are top-six winger Blake Wheeler (RFA) and former No. 3 overall draft pick and defenseman Zach Bogosian (RFA).
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