The progression for NHL teams during the offseason is alarming to watch. They go from the frantic pace of the draft, trading picks and players as fast as they possibly can, to the insanity of free agency.
When the latter arrived on July 1, everything else moved to the back burner. Clubs are still making calls about potential trades, but there's so much to be settled with players who will only cost teams money that deals need more time to develop.
The trade markets are still developing with the winds slowly picking up steam, so we are keeping track of all the rumors floating around right now. Here are the notable deals being discussed and what they could mean.
Vincent Lecavalier-to-Nashville Deal Alive?
The Philadelphia Flyers have no desire to keep Vincent Lecavalier anymore, this much has been obvious for a long time. One year after signing the center to a five-year deal, he's become persona non grata.
One team that still has interest in Lecavalier, despite signing a center this offseason, are the Nashville Predators, according to Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News.
According to a source, [Flyers general manager Ron] Hextall and Predators GM David Poile revisited the idea of swapping Lecavalier yesterday afternoon. No deal appeared imminent, according to talks, but the Predators remain interested - especially after watching other division opponents bulk up on Tuesday.
The Predators signed Olli Jokinen on Wednesday, but that apparently hasn't killed their interest in Lecavalier.
Which deal will happen first?
The 34-year-old is still a capable scorer, netting 20 goals in 69 games this past season, but he's got a hefty cap hit ($18 million through 2018) that makes trading him difficult. However, the Predators have approximately $15 million in cap space to use this summer.
Making things easier is the fact that Philadelphia started the summer $3 million over the cap, most in the NHL, so something will have to be done. The fact that Nashville is still interested works well for the Flyers if they are intent on getting rid of Lecavalier.
James Reimer Awaiting His Fate
Goalies are always going to be a hot commodity, whether in free agency or through trades. James Reimer feels ready to become a No. 1 goaltender, or at least get a shot at it, which won't happen in Toronto with Jonathan Bernier in the fold.
Reimer has requested a trade from Toronto, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca, who also noted that something was in the works between the Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets at the draft.
However, the story took an interesting turn on Wednesday when Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reported Reimer was one of the first players to file for arbitration.
James Reimer among the first players to file for salary arbitration. Numbers do not need to be exchanged yet, but deadline is Saturday.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 2, 2014
This is actually a brilliant strategy for Reimer, who is in line for a raise from the $1.6 million he made last year.
The Maple Leafs can afford a slight salary increase with nearly $14 million in cap space when the offseason began, but with Bernier due to make $3.4 million in the upcoming season and possibly set for a raise in 2015-16, their options are limited.
Red Wings Working Trade Market
It hasn't been a banner offseason, by any stretch, for the Detroit Red Wings, and there's a lot of time left. As Ansar Khan of MLive.com noted, the team missed out on their top targets in free agency.
The Red Wings were unable to land any of their top three targets -- right-handed shooting defensemen Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle and left-handed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff –- when NHL free agency opened today.
The few lower-cost options available on defense are that not appealing, which could prompt the Red Wings to address their top need through a trade.
In the past, whenever the Red Wings went after a player, they got him. Now, despite having $9.5 million in cap space, they are struggling to fill their biggest need. That has led them to explore the trade market, according to Dave Pagnotta of the Fourth Period Magazine.
Red Wings appear to be working the trade phones now to bolster their blueline. Lost out on Boyle, and apparently out on Niskanen.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 1, 2014
Khan did note that Red Wings general manager Ken Holland "has been reluctant to deal any of the organization's best young forwards (Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco) or top prospect (Anthony Mantha)."
There's nothing wrong, per se, with Detroit's current crop of defensemen. The Red Wings should be better with or without a deal just by keeping Jonathan Ericsson healthy after missing 34 games last season.
It's not a dynamic group, even at full strength, but is good enough to compete with a lot of teams in the NHL.
All salary and cap information courtesy of CapGeek unless otherwise noted.
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