The latest on Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Loui Eriksson, Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, Cam Ward and more in your NHL rumor mill.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Bob McKenzie claims there’s speculation Boston Bruins winger Loui Eriksson could be on the move and the Vancouver Canucks could have interest in him. He also speculates the Montreal Canadiens could have interest in New Jersey Devils winger Jaromir Jagr as a playoff rental if the asking price isn’t expensive…Pierre LeBrun claims a number of GMs he’s spoken with believe there’s a market for high-priced Toronto Maple Leafs Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf…Darren Dreger believes the Winnipeg Jets could use their depth on defense (once their injured blueliners return to action) to add a scoring forward…Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’s not trading his first-round pick in this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Eriksson would be an odd move for the Canucks, taking on another aging player with tenure on his contract…A number of teams will have interest in Jagr as a playoff rental if the Devils decide to put him on the trade block…Of course there’s a market for Kessel and Phaneuf, but it won’t open up until the off-season when the salary cap figures for next season are established.
SI.COM: Allan Muir believes the Maple Leafs next move is to shop Phil Kessel. He also believes Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul could be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs decide to move Kessel and/or Phaneuf, the earliest that will happen is the off-season when teams have more cap space and willingness to spend. Lupul’s injury history and $5.25 million per season contract could prove difficult to move.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports bad goaltending has Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher exploring the trade market. Russo lists “Carolina’s Cam Ward, the 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champ, San Jose’s Antti Niemi, Buffalo’s Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth, Edmonton’s Viktor Fasth and St. Louis’ Martin Brodeur” as trade possibilities, and notes the Hurricanes could be willing to dump Ward for a limited return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have some options, but the difficulty is finding the right fit between the pipes and on their payroll. They don’t have much cap space. Ward is the most expensive of their options, as his cap hit is $6.3 million per season through 2015-16.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports long-time New Jersey Devils star Patrik Elias hopes he won’t be asked to waive his no-trade clause. “I would not want to be traded. For me it’s different. I’ve been here my whole life,” Elias explained. “I kind of thought about it when Mats Sundin was in that situation. But he was in the last year of his contract. If that was the case with me and it was my last chance to go for a Cup it would be tempting. On the other hand, it’s tempting just to finish my whole career with one team.”
USA TODAY: Johnny Boychuk, Marc Staal, Christian Ehrhoff, Carl Soderberg and Mike Green tops Kevin Allen’s list of this season’s top-25 unrestricted free agents.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports pending UFA winger Mats Zuccarello would like a long-term contract extension with the New York Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll depend on how much he’s seeking for salary and how much cap space the Rangers have left after re-signing Marc Staal, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers should try one more time to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Jeff Petry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that ship has sailed. Petry has a great chance this summer to sign with a much better team where he’ll have a chance to win.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman currently isn’t looking at replacing sidelined defenseman Radko Gudas via trade. “(C)urrently that type of opportunity isn’t out there at this time,” said Yzerman.