Latest on Milan Lucic, Dmitry Kulikov, Justin Faulk, Mikkel Boedker, Rasmus Ristolainen and many more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
More on Lucic, plus updates on Kulikov, Faulk and the Avalanche.
TSN 1040 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie wonders if contract term is the sticking point in negotiations between the Los Angeles Kings and pending UFA left wing Milan Lucic. He’s starting to get a sense that Lucic could hit the open market on July 1. If so, it’s speculated the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers could be interested in Lucic’s services.
MAYOR’S MANOR: John Hoven reports Kings GM Dean Lombardi intends to make his club’s best offer to Lucic early next week. Multiple sources earlier this week suggested not much changed, with the Kings still holding for a three-year term at $6 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both sides would love to make a deal, but the Kings’ limited cap space probably means Lucic will hit the open market on July 1.
TSN 1260 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie doubts the Carolina Hurricanes will part with defenseman Justin Faulk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some “wishful thinking” speculation this spring (almost all of it coming out of Edmonton) suggesting the Hurricanes could move Faulk for a scoring forward.. They already acquired forwards Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen (the true prize in the deal) from Chicago earlier this week. If they want to add another forward, they have the salary-cap room to do so via free agency. They can also target cap-strapped teams by dangling a quality draft pick or a prospect.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien cites a reports by CSNNE.COM’s Joe Haggerty claiming the Boston Bruins have looked into acquiring defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the Florida Panthers. However, the Panthers asking price would be expensive (Boston’s 29th pick in the first round of this year’s draft plus a Frank Vatrano-like prospect) for a player who’s a year away from UFA eligibility, plus the Panthers hope to re-sign Kulikov to an extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers already traded away a defenseman in Erik Gudbranson, concussions will force Willie Mitchell into retirement and could lose Brian Campbell to unrestricted free agency. Dealing away Kulikov would leave them thin on experienced blueline skill.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic hopes to improve his club this summer without making a splash in the UFA pool.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t necessarily mean the Avs won’t make any UFA signings, but they won’t be pursuing any of the big-ticket names.
Fleury, Boedker, Eriksson, Lucic and Goligoski.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun is the latest pundit to speculate over goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s future with the Pittsburgh Penguins after he lost his starter’s job in the playoffs to rookie Matt Murray. While Penguins GM Jim Rutherford ideally prefers retaining Fleury and Murray, a possible expansion draft next June and the Penguins limited salary-cap space could force Rutherford to move Fleury this summer. LeBrun suggests the Calgary Flames as a possible destination.
LeBrun also wonders if the Penguins speed game could make Colorado Avalanche winger and pending unrestricted free agent Mikkel Boedker attractive to clubs seeking to get faster next season. While the Avs will be kept in the mix, it appears Boedker will test the UFA market next month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boedker could be a popular UFA target this summer. He’s fast, possessing slick playmaking skills, can skate on either wing and is only 26. He also won’t cost anywhere near as much as some (Stamkos, Lucic, Eriksson) in this summer’s free-agent market.
Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney hasn’t give up hope of re-signing right wing Loui Eriksson before July 1.
The Los Angeles Kings are “formalizing their best offer” to left wing Milan Lucic and intend to present it next week. Other clubs can begin talking to Lucic on June 25.
The Arizona Coyotes are hosting recently-acquired defenseman Alex Goligoski and his wife on Monday and Tuesday in hopes of selling them on signing a new contract. The Coyotes swung a deal earlier this week for his rights with the Dallas Stars.
Oilers first-round pick, Yakupov, Ristolainen, Okposo.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson considers the odds of the Oilers retaining their first-round pick (fourth overall) in this year’s draft to be good. There’s a fair chance they trade from fourth to sixth to get defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. He thinks there’s only a slim chance they’ll trade the pick for a top-two NHL defenseman or trade up to No. 3 to land winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
It’s expected the Oilers will trade winger Nail Yakupov and could search for takers for forward Lauri Korpikoski’s $2.5 million salary.
The Oilers pitched a winger to the Buffalo Sabres in hopes of landing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen but that’s a non-starter for the Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You’re not getting Ristolainen away from the Sabres. You’re just not.
Matheson believes the Oilers should make a push for pending UFA right wing Kyle Okposo. He also thinks Marc-Andre Fleury could be a good fit with the Calgary Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers top priority is to land a top-two defenseman. Signing Okposo to a $6 million per season deal (which is what it could take) would not address that need.