Latest on Joe Thornton, Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul, Vladimir Sobotka and Roman Polak.
Could Joe Thornton be traded this summer?
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Mark Purdy wonders if the recent skirmish between Sharks star Joe Thornton and GM Doug Wilson could lead to the former being traded this summer. After Wilson told some fans on Thursday he felt the pressure of wearing the captaincy had gotten to Thornton (resulting in the club stripping him of the role last summer), Thornton on Friday told a reporter Wilson “just needs to shut his mouth.”
Purdy floats the possibility Wilson is trying to force Thornton to waive his no-trade clause this summer. Wilson has said he will never ask Thornton or Patrick Marleau to waive their movement clauses, but told the pair he’s rebuilding the club around youth and would leave it up to them if they want to remain.
Purdy doubts Thornton will request a trade as he and his family love the San Jose area. He also notes Wilson subsequently said he feels Thornton only heard part of his remarks and would fully understand if he heard his complete comments. He also said he won’t trade Thornton because the team needs him as part of the veteran base as they restock their roster.
TSN: Bob McKenzie weighed in on the Thornton-Wilson spat. He believes Sharks management wanted to move Thornton and Marleau last summer but the duo wouldn’t waive their movement clauses. Despite everything, McKenzie doubts this could lead to Thornton requesting a trade this summer, suggesting the center intends to outlast Wilson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Wilson could be the one to go before Thornton. This situation has been simmering since last summer and going public the way it has only highlights how fractured the relationship is between the two men. For all the trade speculation about Thornton and Marleau or rumors head coach Todd McLellan could be fired, it’s Wilson who seems to be on thin ice right now. And when one is on thin ice, one should tread lightly.
Senators interested in Kadri?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs explored trade possibilities last offseason regarding center Nazem Kadri. He claims there was “considerable back and forth) between the Leafs and Ottawa Senators, who coveted Kadri at the 2009 NHL Draft. He doubts they’ll revisit those talks, suggesting the Leafs were seeking more than the Senators were willing to part with for Kadri.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As tantalizing as the thought of Kadri joining one of the Leafs’ biggest rivals may be, I doubt we’ll see that come to pass via trade. Sure, the Leafs will likely listen to offers for Kadri, as they will for most of their players this summer, but I think it will take a significant one to give up their best center. It doesn’t appear as though it’ll be coming from the Senators.
Highlights from Elliotte Friedman’s recent “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doubts the Maple Leafs trade Nazem Kadri, but if they were to shop him, his recent three-game suspension hasn’t hurt his trade value. “Past teammates and coaches, and even opponents, respect his ability and his compete level,” writes Friedman.
Don’t expect Vladmir Sobotka to rejoin the St. Louis Blues in the playoffs. The Blues RFA intends to play for the Czech Republic in this year’s World Championship (1-17 May) in Prague and Ostrava.
The Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals were among the clubs with interest in Leafs’ defenseman Roman Polak at the trade deadline. It’s believed the Leafs covet Blues’ prospects Petteri Lindbohm and Joel Edmundson.
The Maple Leafs and LA Kings did not revisit their Joffrey Lupul talks from last year at the trade deadline.