Latest on Ryan O’Reilly, Phil Kessel, Eric Staal, Milan Lucic, Patrick Sharp, Patrik Elias, Brandon Saad and more.
Avs willing to listen to offers for O’Reilly.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Colorado Avalanche are willing to listen to offers for center Ryan O’Reilly leading up to the NHL Draft (June 26-27) in Florida. Friedman says there’s no guarantee O’Reilly is dealt by the draft, if at all, but Avs management wants to consider its options. It’s assumed the Avalanche will want defensive help in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Avs could shop O’Reilly this summer, but that could depend upon what’s being offered and what other players are on the trade block.
O’Reilly’s contract status next summer is apparently the issue. He has a year remaining at an annual cap hit of $6 million, after which next summer he’s eligible for UFA status. Some pundits doubt the Avs will pay O’Reilly more that Matt Duchene (who’s earning $6 million annually on a long-term deal). They must also ensure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign forward Nathan MacKinnon, who’s an RFA next summer. O’Reilly will easily get over $7 million per season next summer, perhaps more.
While some of you might doubt that O’Reilly can get that much via free agency, never underestimate the power of NHL GMs to overspend for what little talent is available in the UFA market. We see it every year and next year won’t be any different, especially if O’Reilly is the best player on the market.
Updates on Phil Kessel, Eric Staal and Mikhail Grigorenko.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reminds us that “Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh” are believed to be acceptable trade destinations for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel, who has a partial no-trade clause. McKenzie suggests, however, the Leafs could ask Kessel to expand that list if there’s a deal to be had with another club. Kessel can also submit a new list at the end of each year on his contract.
Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis met last week with agent Rick Curran, who represents Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, but it was only a preliminary discussion and no decisions have been made. Staal is entering the final season of his contract and is eligible next July for UFA status.
The Buffalo Sabres are waiting to find out if there’s any truth to recent speculation claiming young forward Mikhail Grigorenko intends to sign a contract with a KHL team. Grigorenko is coming off an entry-level deal. The Sabres want to re-sign him but not to a one-way contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting to note the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers or Calgary Flames aren’t on Kessel’s current list of acceptable trade destinations. Earlier this week there was some talk suggesting those clubs as possible suitors for Kessel. Of course, one of them might end up on his revised list…Contract discussions could pick up regarding Staal over the next couple of weeks. What he seeks to remain with the ‘Canes could determine his future in Carolina…Wouldn’t surprise me if Grigorenko bolted for the KHL, as he’s struggled to land a full-time spot with the Sabres.
Comparing Lucic and Sharp.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports if the Boston Bruins decide to put left wing Milan Lucic on the market, they could face competition in the trade market from the Chicago Blackhawks, who could shop winger Patrick Sharp in a cost-cutting deal. If both hit this summer’s trade block, Shinzawa suggests they could be the left wings with the highest value. Both earn roughly the same cap hit ($6 million), though Sharp has two years left on his contract compared to Lucic’s one. Lucic is younger and plays a more physical style while Sharp is an experienced skill player. Shinzawa suggests they could “command good young players” or a “bundle of futures.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic might have the edge in trade value, especially from potential Cup contenders seeking a more physical presence.
Updates on the Rangers, Devils and Blackhawks.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if Rangers GM Glen Sather might target Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan, noting Sather has tried to acquire him in the past…Brooks cites “well-placed sources” claiming there’s “significant” interest in Rangers backup Cam Talbot, suggesting Talbot could be dealt at the upcoming NHL Draft…Defenseman Dan Boyle won’t retire or seek a trade. He has a year remaining on his contract with a full no-movement clause…If Martin St. Louis decides to continue his career, it won’t be with the Rangers. Brooks wonders if Montreal could be a destination.
Long-time New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias hasn’t been asked by new Devils GM Ray Shero to waive his no-move clause and has no intention of seeking a trade. Elias has a year remaining on his contract.
16 teams – including “Pittsburgh, Boston, Colorado, L.A., Dallas, Detroit, San Jose, St. Louis and Vancouver” – have disqualified themselves from pitching an offer sheet to Chicago’s Brandon Saad as they traded away 2016 draft picks required as compensation for a player of Saad’s caliber.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, Doan has given no indication he wants out of Arizona. Perhaps that will change before the season starts, or (depending on the Coyotes performance next season) by the trade deadline…There’s a report claiming the Oilers could be prepared to part with the 16th overall pick in this year’s draft for Talbot. It’s also believed the Oilers are willing to move Nail Yakupov as part of a bigger deal…Looks like Boyle returns with the Rangers next season…
Montreal currently has just over $5 million in available cap space and must re-sign Alex Galchenyuk and perhaps Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. I doubt they’ll have sufficient space to sign St. Louis to a bonus-laden deal with a low base salary. If the Habs add offense it’ll be via trade and I expect they’ll want younger talent…Some of those teams are also disqualified from sending an offer sheet to Boston’s Dougie Hamilton. I expect Saad and Hamilton to be re-signed by their respective teams.