The goalie trade market is heating up, the latest on the Avalanche and more

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Collection of rumors from TSN and ESPN.

KUKLA’S KORNER: TSN’s Darren Dreger (appearing on NHL Live) reported Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp could become a salary-cap casualty. He’s been connected to the Washington Capitals. Bryan Bickell is another who could be moved. Dreger notes Brent Seabrook’s name was thrown out there leading up to the NHL trade deadline, but he doesn’t envision the Blackhawks moving him. While a UFA next summer, Dreger believes they’ll try to find a way to keep him.

Regarding Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel, Dreger claims his expensive contract makes moving him difficult. He’s been told the Leafs are willing to move Kessel or Dion Phaneuf but they’ll want a good return. They won’t panic and move them for a lesser deal. They’ll keep them for next season if the right deal can’t be found.

Interest in Cam Talbot heating up in the trade market.

Interest in Cam Talbot heating up in the trade market.

Dreger believes the New York Rangers will trade backup Cam Talbot, claiming six teams have interest in him. Dreger considers Talbot a hot property right now. The Edmonton Oilers are “eager” to land Talbot. The Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks are also keen on Talbot. The Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames have made inquiries but aren’t as eager as other teams.

Regarding Martin St. Louis, Dreger doubts he’ll re-sign with the New York Rangers, though the door isn’t entirely closed to the 40-year-old winger.

Dreger reports the Oilers have some interest in Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner. The rate of return for Lehner might not be as good as the Senators hoped. Dreger suggests they’ll also consider moving Craig Anderson. The Sens expect a high return for either goalie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing really earth shattering here. Just bringing us all up to date on some of the latest speculations heading toward the NHL Draft next week. Let’s see what Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun has for us…

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the St. Louis Blues are open to moving veterans David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund, but it has to be a logical deal that can help the club.

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic hopes to have center Ryan O’Reilly re-signed before the start of next season. O’Reilly is eligible next summer for UFA status and is currently earning an annual cap hit of $6 million.

The Vancouver Canucks are entering offers for goalies Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom. They’ll deal one or the other depending upon the offer. The Canucks lack a second- and third-round pick in this year’s draft and could try to recoup one of those, preferably a second.

The Nashville Predators and center Mike Fisher are working toward a new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apart from the O’Reilly news, nothing in this segment we didn’t already know. Still, it’s good to be brought up to speed. 

Latest on the Avalanche.

SPORTSNET:  Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said it’s still his intent to re-sign center Ryan O’Reilly.

ESPN.COM’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Avalanche will still get trade calls on O’Reilly while they attempt to work out a new deal.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports the Avalanche are eyeing a left-shooting defenseman in this summer’s UFA market. He considers LA Kings blueliner Andrej Sekera the top lefty available this summer, with San Jose’s Matt Irwin his dark horse candidate.

LE SOLEIL:  Kathleen Lavoie reports Sakic declined to comment on recent speculation claiming former NHL winger Alexander Radulov hopes to join the Avalanche upon completion of his KHL contract at the end of next season. Radulov played his junior hockey under Avs head coach Patrick Roy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Avs are prepared to pay O’Reilly over $7 million annually on a long-term deal or the center is willing to accept less than market value to stay in Colorado, Sakic will either have to trade him or lose him for nothing to next summer’s UFA market. It’s really as simple as that. As for Radulov, I don’t see where he’s a fit with the Avalanche unless Roy is really keen to have him in the lineup. 

Latest on the NHL goalie trade market.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres GM Tim Murray’s priority this summer is landing a goaltender, be it a young netminder for the long term or an older “really good” short-term goalie. Those could include New York Rangers backup Cam Talbot, LA Kings backup Martin Jones (though the Kings say they intend to re-sign the RFA) and either Robin Lehner or Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators. Option in this summer’s thin free-agent market include San Jose’s Antti Niemi, Calgary’s Karri Ramo or former Sabre Michal Neuvirth of the New York Islanders. Murray also said a buyout of center Cody Hodgson is one option under consideration, and he still hopes to re-sign Mikhail Grigorenko to a two-way deal, though the young center could bolt to the KHL.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz believes it could take “the 39th pick and one of the Sharks’ better prospects” for the San Jose Sharks to possibly land Cam Talbot and perhaps defenseman Kevin Klein from the New York Rangers.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are prepared to talk goalie trade right up to the opening day of the upcoming NHL Draft (June 26-27) in Florida. GM Bryan Murray scoffs at the notion that the Rangers Cam Talbot and the Kings Martin Jones are crowding the trade market. The Edmonton Oilers are believed the leading contenders for Robin Lehner while the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames have both held talks. Garrioch doubts the Senators can land a top-six forward for Lehner but they might try to package Colin Greening or David Legwand in the deal to get some salary off their books. The Senators are leaning toward moving Lehner because they feel he’ll attract the best return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing really new here either, but the goalie market will obviously heat up next week as the draft draws near. I doubt very much the Kings move Martin Jones this summer. He will be dealt next year, perhaps by the trade deadline if the Kings are out of playoff contention, but next summer for certain. It just won’t happen now, as the Kings want Jones for one more season backing up Jonathan Quick. I also don’t see the Senators trading away Anderson, as a Lehner- Andrew Hammond tandem doesn’t inspire much confidence. Lehner has yet to establish himself as a starter, while Hammond could be a one-year wonder. Whichever clubs loses out in the bidding for Talbot, Lehner and Vancouver’s Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom will likely sign Antti Niemi this summer.