The latest on Phil Kessel and Martin Brodeur, another listing of the top-15 UFAs plus updates on the Kings,  Coyotes and Blackhawks. 

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos doesn’t consider Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel an accessory rather than a cornerstone player. He advocates trading Kessel for a top-five pick that’s a guaranteed centerpiece player. “Could you trade Phil and bring back a Max Domi? That’s the type of thing that I would be looking at. There’s no guarantee that Max Domi will be a superstar in this league but I’ll take my chances…”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So trade away a proven offensive star, who’s led the Leafs in scoring every season since 2009-10 and ranked among the NHL’s top-10 scorers every season since 2011-12, for a return which includes promising but unproven top-five pick and cross your fingers he’ll become a cornerstone player.  *Facepalm*

Johnny Boychuk could be among this summer's top UFAs.

Johnny Boychuk could be among this summer’s top UFAs.

Luke Fox lists Johnny Boychuk, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mike Ribeiro and Carl Soderberg as his top players on his ranking of the top-15 NHL UFAs. Others on the list include Antoine Vermette, Christian Ehrhoff, Cody Franson, Paul Martin and Mike Green.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible up to half the players on Fox’s list could be re-signed before the UFA market opens on July 1. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if Boychuk, Staal, St. Louis, Ribeiro, Soderberg and either Ehrhoff or Martin stay with their current teams.

TSN: Bob McKenzie believes trade talk could start picking up in the NHL around the All-Star weekend in Columbus. He also speculates the LA Kings could be the first team to make a significant move, perhaps on defense. He notes Carolina Hurricanes stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward have given no indication they want to waive their no-trade clauses.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi points out the uncertainty over Slava Voynov’s status is affecting any potential moves he could make leading up to the trade deadline. If Voynov, currently suspended pending the outcome of his trial for domestic assault, returns to the lineup before the trade deadline it will affect the Kings salary cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could explain why there’s so much talk about the Kings trying to move Mike Richards. 

STLTODAY.COM: Tom Timmerman reports Blues goalie Martin Brodeur has taken a one-week leave of absence, presumably to contemplate his future. It was speculated the Blues could try to trade Brodeur after Brian Elliott returned from a knee injury but he recently suggested that going through one big change this season could be all he can handle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another factor could be there simply isn’t any serious interest in Brodeur from other NHL teams. The Blues only signed him because of Elliott’s knee injury in late-November. GMs around the league know Brodeur is no longer a reliable netminder. It’s time for Marty to bring his Hall-of-Fame career to an end. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan reports Coyotes GM Don Maloney acknowledged his trading goalie Devan Dubnyk to the Wild yesterday indicates his club isn’t waiting for the trade deadline to make moves, and more could be coming soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dubnyk trade was the Coyotes waving the white flag on this season. 

CSNCHICAGO.COM: Keith Jones speculates the Blackhawks could acquire an affordable veteran depth defenseman before the trade deadline.