Latest on Eric Staal, Brandon Saad, Devan Dubnyk, Patrick Sharp, Leon Draisaitl and, yes, more Evgeni Malkin trade speculation. 

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The latest from TSN’s Insiders.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Eric Staal’s agent is expected to meet with Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis to discuss the center’s future. Staal has a year left on his contract and is eligible next summer for UFA status. “Either the Hurricanes get him signed to an extension – and by the way, at a cheaper rate than they have him now – or it’s time to put him on the trade block. He has a full no-trade,” reports LeBrun.

Could Brandon Saad receive an offer sheet?

Could Brandon Saad receive an offer sheet?

LeBrun also claims the Pittsburgh Penguins could have interest in Chicago Blackhawks winger (and Pittsburgh native) Brandon Saad and could send him an offer sheet this summer. Despite the Blackhawks’ cap issues, LeBrun doubts Saad is going anywhere.  Bob McKenzie notes the Penguins seek a top-six winger and suggests third-line center Brandon Sutter, who’s a year away from UFA status, could be a trade chip.

McKenzie also weighed in on the Minnesota Wild’s current contract talks with goalie Devan Dubnyk, expecting it could be difficult getting a deal done. He points out they might not be able to free up cap space by buying out goalie Niklas Backstrom, who faces elbow surgery. If Dubnyk seeks more than the Wild are willing to pay, he could test the market, where a team like the San Jose Sharks might be interested.

Appearing on TSN 1050 (stick tap to Chris Nichols at Today’s Slapshot), McKenzie notes Blackhawks veteran winger Patrick Sharp hasn’t played well in this year’s playoffs, which could affect his trade value if the Blackhawks try to trade him to free up cap space this summer.

LeBrun (via his blog) cites a source saying Vancouver Canucks management will soon decide if they’ll put backup Eddie Lack or third-string goalie Jacob Markstrom on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal could be worth keeping an eye on in this summer’s rumor mill. If he’s unwilling to accept a pay cut on a short-term extension, the Hurricanes could try to trade him. His situation could be similar to that of Jason Spezza with the Ottawa Senators last summer.

Sure, the Penguins (or another club) could try to pry Saad away from Chicago with an offer sheet, but if he feels his future is in Chicago, the Blackhawks won’t have to worry about him signing it. And I believe he wants to stay with the ‘Hawks.

I still expect the Wild will re-sign Dubnyk but I also agree it won’t be easy, especially if they’re unable to buy out Backstrom this summer.

Sharp’s performance really declined this season, not just in the playoffs. While he’s only got two more years left on his contract, it’s a $5.9 million cap hit. The decline in his play could reduce the number of potential suitors.

Markstrom has played very well for the Canucks AHL farm team in the Calder Cup playoffs. That could either increase his chances of becoming the Canucks backup next season or improve his trade value. 

Could the Sharks make Malkin a trade target?

CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz notes recent trade speculation regarding Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. He also recalls San Jose Sharks owner Hasso Plattner saying in May his club couldn’t buy the Stanley Cup, followed by casually mentioning Malkin as a player his club couldn’t just go out and acquire. Kurz feels if Malkin and the Penguins are ready for a change, the Sharks are a team that could afford his big contract. As for the return, he believes defenseman Brent Burns would have to be part of the deal, but it will take more than him to land Malkin. Kurz also notes the Sharks have been linked to Ottawa’s Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson, as well as Cam Talbot of the New York Rangers. He believes GM Doug Wilson is casting a wider net in hopes of finding a replacement for UFA goalie Antti Niemi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin’s agent already denied the recent speculation about his client’s rumored “unhappiness” in Pittsburgh. If Malkin did want a trade and if the Sharks were interested, I don’t see how he’d be a good fit with them. Cap space aside, they’ll have to give up a top-six winger as part of the return. And no, the Penguins won’t want a fading Patrick Marleau, who won’t leave San Jose anyway because of his full no-movement clause. You’re talking Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture at the very least as the centerpiece of the return, which will also include a first-round pick, a top prospect and one of the Sharks good young roster players. 

Latest on the Senators.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators seek a strong young player and a high draft pick in return for either Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. Of the pair, Lehner is said to garner the most interest, with the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames linked to him. It’s believed the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues have kicked the tires on Anderson. The Sens could also try adding forward Colin Greening or center David Legwand in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have to decide what they’ll do with UFA Karri Ramo and promising Joni Ortio, especially with Jonas Hiller still under contract for next season, so I don’t see why they would pursue Lehner. Unless Brian Elliott wants out of St. Louis or the Blues are keen to move him, I don’t see why they would pursue Anderson. They’ll have limited cap space after re-sign winger Vladimir Tarasenko and goalie Jake Allen. 

Draisaitl for Larsson?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples dismissed a suggestion from Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek that the Oilers should trade young center Leon Drasaitl to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson. Among the reasons Staples rejects the notion is he doesn’t consider Larsson to be better than any of the Oilers current young blueliners.