More top-10 trade candidate lists, plus the latest on Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Patrick Sharp, Ryan O’Reilly, Cam Talbot and more. 

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 More Top-10 Trade Candidates lists. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists Carolina’s Eric Staal, Toronto’s Phil Kessel, St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie and Chicago’s Patrick Sharp among his top-10 trade candidates leading up to the 2015 NHL draft.

SI.COM: Allan Muir includes Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon, Ottawa’s Robin Lehner, Montreal’s Tom Gilbert, Vancouver’s Eddie Lack and New York Rangers Cam Talbot on his list of top-10 trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These lists don’t mean everyone on them will be dealt. Of the two lists, I think Muir’s contains more likely trade candidates, as many of those on Larkin’s list are high-salaries players who could prove difficult to move. 

Latest on the Leafs.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun cites two hockey executives claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs have set an asking price for right wing Phil Kessel that is “way, way too high.” The executives feel the Leafs will have to eat more of Kessel’s $8 million per season salary than they think. Kessel has a partial no-trade clause in which he lists eight teams he’ll accept being dealt to.  Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are reportedly on that list.

Red Wings not interested in Dion Phaneuf.

Red Wings not interested in Dion Phaneuf.

MLIVE.COM’s Ansar Khan yesterday reported the following via Twitter:”  no longer interested in pursuing a trade for defenseman Dion Phaneuf, I was told.”

SPORTSNET 590 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Elliotte Friedman dismissed the possibility of Markham, Ontario native Steven Stamkos not re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Friedman cites the fact the Lightning are a Cup contender while the Leafs are about to engage in a lengthy rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of course the Leafs are setting a high asking price for Kessel. Proper thing for a player who’s tallied 30 goals in five of the past seven seasons. And if the Leafs don’t get what they seek, I doubt they’ll lower their price. I don’t believe they’re so desperate to move him that they’ll take a bag of pucks in return. If they don’t find what they seek, they’ll keep him for next season…Stamkos to Toronto is the dream that never dies for some desperate Leafs fans. To those folks, I say this: Steven Stamkos is not leaving a Cup contender for a rebuilding team, regardless of how much money the latter offers him. Period. Full stop. End of discussion. There is no debate, no “But what if talks fall through?”, nothing. The Lightning want to re-sign him. He wants to stay with the Lightning. It will be expensive, but the Bolts will re-sign him to a long-term deal…Not surprised that the Wings aren’t interested in Phaneuf anymore, as the Leafs probably set a high asking price for him as well. There could be more affordable options via trade or free agency. Speaking of the Red Wings…

Updates on the Red Wings.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland is working the phones exploring the trade market while deciding whether or not he’ll buy out the remainder of Stephen Weiss’ contract. Holland reportedly seeks a “top-six forward with size, and a productive top-four defenseman.”

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan, responding to reader e-mail, doubts the Wings will pursue New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash, citing the high asking price (which could include a player like Gustav Nyquist) and his expensive contract. He also doubts the Wings sign an aging Martin St. Louis, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Wings pursuing Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp. Khan believes Joel Ward’s gritty style could interest the Wings, but his age (34) is a concern.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings GM Ken Holland has a reputation in recent years for spending a lot on free agents, but considering how most of his recent investments failed to pan out, I think he’ll be more cautious this time. I also expect he’ll put more effort in exploring trade options this time around. Given his club’s depth in rising young talent, I don’t expect him to get into any crazy bidding wars. If worse comes to worse, he’ll stick with his young players. 

Latest on Sharp, O’Reilly and Talbot.

NHL.COM’s Brian Hedger reported the following via Twitter: “Heard from a good source who says (Patrick) Sharp will be traded next week. It’s been expected, but that’s still a big name to lose.

SPORTSNET 590 (via Today’s Slapshot): Elliotte Friedman clarifies that Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic didn’t say he wasn’t shopping Ryan O’Reilly, only that he was hoping to re-sign the center. Friedman adds Sakic was clear that, if he can’t re-sign O’Reilly, he’ll trade him.

TSN 1050: (via Today’s Slapshot):  Darren Dreger reports he wouldn’t be surprised if the New York Rangers trade Cam Talbot this weekend or before next week’s draft. At least six teams are reportedly interested in the Rangers backup goalie, with the Edmonton Oilers believed at the top of the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharp could be traded next week, but it still won’t be that easy finding a new home for a fading winger with two years at $5.9 million remaining on his contract. The Blackhawks also can’t afford to take much back in return…As I stated yesterday, unless O’Reilly is willing to accept less than what he could receive next summer as a UFA (over $7 million per season), or the Avs are willing to pay big bucks to keep him, they’ll have to trade O’Reilly or lose him for nothing next summer to free agency…I wouldn’t be surprised if Talbot is traded before the draft. There’s considerable interest in him, though the Rangers could try to run up the asking price by pushing the interested clubs into a bidding war.