Latest on Phil Kessel and Devan Dubnyk, plus speculation over the Sharks, Maple Leafs and more.
Collection of rumors from the Ottawa Sun.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports of ongoing uncertainty for the San Jose Sharks, especially regarding the relationship between GM Doug Wilson and former captain Joe Thornton. Garrioch speculates Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan could be fired at season’s end…With the value of the ruble plunging, Garrioch says we shouldn’t be surprised if KHL players start flocking back to the NHL…A league executive believes there’s a market for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel and his $8 million per season contract…Pending UFA goalie Devan Dubnyk could put himself in the $3.5 million range if he can carry the Minnesota Wild past the first round of the playoffs. Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond will also be line for a nice pay raise.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Wilson and McLellan are done in San Jose…Wouldn’t be surprised to not only see some current KHL players try to return to the NHL, but we could also see fewer players heading to Russia this summer because of the collapsing ruble…Yes, there’s a market for Kessel, but his salary won’t be easy to move…The Wild will happily pay to keep Dubnyk in the fold. It’ll be interesting to see what the Senators do with Hammond since Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner are under contract for next season.
Rumors from the Toronto Sun.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports to expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to seek permission to speak with Arizona Coyotes goalie coach Sean Burke at season’s end…Simmons also speculates the Leafs’ coaching wish list could look like this: “1. Mike Babcock; 2. Todd McLellan; 3. Bruce Boudreau; 4. Dave Tippett; 5. Ken Hitchcock; 6. Peter DeBoer; 7. Paul MacLean.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of teams will have interest in Burke, who’s one of the best goalie coaches in the league. The deep-pocketed Leafs might be able to win a bidding war for his services…Babcock’s at the top of everyone’s list, but I still doubt he’ll depart Detroit after this season. If he does, the Leafs will have one helluva sell job on their hands.
NHL Draft rumors.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson envisions possible trade scenarios if the Edmonton Oilers should secure the second-overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft. He wonders if GM Craig MacTavish might consider flipping that pick “to another team for two or three pieces of ready-made help especially a veteran defenceman.” He notes the Oilers already have young centers in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and promising Leon Draisaitl so why would they need another one in Jack Eichel? He wonders if the Nashville Predators would call up offering defenseman Seth Jones in a package deal, or if the Maple Leafs would include Morgan Rielly in a package offer, or if the Columbus Blue Jackets are willing to part with Ryan Murray or instead three position players? Matheson also suggests the possibility the Oilers keep the pick, select Eichel and put Draisaitl in play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators aren’t parting with Jones, who is the eventual heir apparent to Shea Weber. The Leafs definitely aren’t giving up Rielly, as he’s the eventual replacement for Dion Phaneuf. The Blue Jackets might be willing to move the banged-up Murray but not “three position players.”