NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Vincent Lecavalier, Joffrey Lupul and More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2014

Philadelphia Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier (40) celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders with teammates in the first period of an NHL hockey game at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Uniondale, N.Y. Lecavalier scored three goals during the Flyers 5-2 win. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

With the NHL's free-agency period officially open, most fans are focusing on where the biggest stars are signing.

Bubbling below the surface, though, remains a busy trade market. Plenty of teams are either looking to shed salary in order to pursue a certain free agent, or they pursued a certain free agent, failed and now figure trading for somebody else is better than nothing.

Read on to see some of the most recent rumors swirling throughout the NHL.


Vincent Lecavalier

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Needing to trim some money from the budget, the Philadelphia Flyers are reportedly putting Vincent Lecavalier on the trade block, per The Canadian Press (via TSN).

Philly general manager Ron Hextall has denied, though, that the Flyers are looking to offload the veteran, per Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports:

That's likely a ploy to drum up interest rather than a commitment to keeping Lecavalier. You don't want everybody to know how desperate you are, or it kills your leverage.

According to CapGeek, the 34-year-old has four years left on his deal, which carries a cap hit of $4.5 million a year. Getting rid of that contract would help ease the financial burden on the team.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported that Lecavalier also received a $2 million bonus Tuesday. With that out of the way, teams may be more open to trading for him:

His first season in Philadelphia was a disappointment. His 37 points were his lowest total since 2001-02—excluding last year's lockout-shortened season.

Lecavalier still has something left in the tank, though, so he should get some looks from teams hoping to add a veteran center.


Joffrey Lupul

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been considering trading Joffrey Lupul for at least the last few days. Dreger reported, via hockey writer Chris Nichols, that the team would've put him on the trade market in the event it signed Milan Michalek:

That plan will have changed after Michalek re-signed with the Ottawa Senators, per The Associated Press (ESPN.com).

Lupul may remain just as expendable, though. Sportsnet.ca's Josh Rimer reported that the 30-year-old could've been traded as early as July 1:

Tuesday has passed, and Lupul remains a Maple Leaf. What appears clear, though, is that Toronto is looking to go in a different direction, and its view of the future doesn't include the veteran left winger.


Detroit Red Wings

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Detroit Red Wings aren't having any luck when it comes to signing free-agent defensemen.

First came the news that Matt Niskanen signed with the Washington Capitals, per ESPN The Magazine's Craig Custance.

The Red Wings did their best to sign the former Penguins star, but Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reported that they never had a chance:

As if that wasn't bad enough, Detroit lost out on Dan Boyle, too, despite offering more money than the New York Rangers did, as per Ansar Khan of MLive.com:

With their best options exhausted, the Red Wings may have no other choice but to look at the trade market. At least that's what David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported:

Detroit needs to improve its defense, and with the top free-agent names gone, working out a trade is the team's best hope of making that happen.