In a year in which there have been an unusually high number of elite players made available on the trade market, teams around the league certainly didn't waste any time in completing blockbusters during Day 1 of the 2014 NHL draft.
Some, such as Ryan Kesler's trade to the Ducks, were expected, as the former Selke Trophy recipient was clearly unhappy in Vancouver and essentially forced his way onto a contending team.
But in the other major swap of the day, we saw Penguins sniper and All-Star James Neal head to Nashville in return for Nick Spaling and former Swedish Olympian Patric Hornqvist, and few can say they saw that move coming.
Now, with Day 2 of the draft on tap and just a handful of days remaining, here's a look at some of the latest reports concerning the biggest names that should be in play on the floor in Philadelphia.
Spezza sweepstakes update
There was a feeling around the league that teams inquiring about Jason Spezza would also be in the mix for Kesler, as both had submitted requests to be dealt.
So now, after Kesler brought the Canucks a first-rounder, a third-rounder, a solid young forward in Nick Bonino and rearguard Lucas Sbisa, Ottawa's Bryan Murray may have a difficult time getting the return he wants on Spezza.
And, as The Hockey News' Ken Campbell discussed, the offers may not get any better for Murray from here.
Since disclosing that Spezza asked for a trade – a version of the events that is certainly open to debate – Murray has worked hard to try to get a deal, but watched the market go dry on draft day. The fact that Murray was looking to get a first-round pick, a player and a prospect might have turned teams off. Canucks counterpart Jim Benning had to lower his demands for Ryan Kesler and Murray may have to do the same.
With this separation getting uglier all the time, the Senators can’t possibly bring Spezza back, can they? Problem is, the best deal they might have received for him may have already passed.
In theory, the asking price for Spezza isn't outrageous for an elite point-producing center who instantly makes those around him more dangerous.
But with just one year remaining on his deal, the former No. 2 overall pick's ability to dictate his own future after 2014-15 obviously lessens his trade value, and given that Anaheim is now done shopping for a center, it'll be tougher for Murray to get a bidding war started.
As the team's captain and clear-cut best forward, replacing Spezza won't be easy, but at a certain point, Murray's got to pull the trigger and move on before this becomes a distraction in the same way the Dany Heatley saga was in Ottawa.
Jumbo Joe seeing Stars?
Though Spezza and Kesler have been viewed as the most enticing centers available—partially due to their explicit preference to be moved—Sharks captain Joe Thornton has to be an intriguing option for clubs looking to make a run in the next couple of seasons.
And, per Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, Dallas has reportedly inquired about the asking price for the former league MVP.
Add the Dallas Stars to the list of teams that would be interested in Sharks captain Joe Thornton, should be become available.
According to an NHL source, Dallas has approached San Jose about acquiring the 34-year-old center. The Stars could use help at the position behind budding superstar Tyler Seguin, while Wilson has clearly indicated he will be turning his team over to the younger core players on the ice and in the dressing room.
If Dallas is serious about acquiring the 34-year-old, one has to think the asking price will include a young player that can contribute right away, because San Jose's Doug Wilson has not been shy about voicing his desire to move on from the core consisting of Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle and Thornton.
Boyle's already gone, and unless Wilson's been dropping a series of red herrings, it appears to be almost a foregone conclusion that one of Marleau or Thornton will be headed out the door as well.
It'll be tough to replace Thornton's offensive contributions, as the six-time All-Star has finished with at least 70 points every year since 2001-02 (save for the lockout-shortened campaign).
But for Dallas, getting Thornton makes a lot of sense. He's a veteran presence with the playmaking abilities to continue putting up points through the remaining three years on his current contract, and he would give the Stars one of the league's best tandems in the middle, which is crucial in the stacked Western Conference.
Dealing with the Devils
Following New Jersey's move to bring in Cory Schneider, it was pretty clear that Martin Brodeur would either become accustomed to the No. 2 role or choose to leave the only NHL team he's ever known.
As of now, Brodeur and his representation are fielding offers from a number of teams, and given the competitive nature of the future Hall of Fame stopper, it's tough to see him staying put if he gets an offer that would allow him to start.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, Brodeur's agent Pat Brisson has spoken to six teams so far regarding the veteran goaltender.
It was an awkward situation between Schneider and Brodeur at times in 2013-14, and with at least half a dozen offers in play, Brodeur's days in New Jersey will come to an end soon after free agency opens on July 1st.
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