Updates on Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop, Steven Stamkos Rick Nash and more in the latest NHL Rumor Mill update.

Could Flames pass over Fleury for Bishop?

Penguins set a high asking price for Marc-Andre Fleury.

Penguins set a high asking price for Marc-Andre Fleury.

CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports the Pittsburgh Penguins’ asking price for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is the Flames’ first-round pick (sixth overall) in the upcoming NHL draft. “It’s not going to happen, nor should it,” says Francis, who believes Fleury’s value dropped in the wake of the Toronto Maple Leafs acquiring Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks yesterday. It will keep dropping as the Flames consider other options, such as St. Louis’ Brian Elliott or pursuing San Jose’s James Reimer via free agency.

Still, Francis claims the Flames remain interested in Fleury. He also considers Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop a “pipe dream” for the Flames, as he’ll command over $7 million next season as a UFA.

YAHOO SPORTS:  Greg Wyshynski cites a report from Kevin O’Donnell of WTVT Fox 13 in Tampa claiming “reports out of Canada” saying the Flames have a deal in the works to acquire Ben Bishop from the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Wyshynski, I haven’t seen or read reports that the Flames are closing in on Bishop. TSN’s Bob McKenzie last night speculated the Flames will or already have spoken with the Lightning about Bishop, but nothing indicating a deal is close.

As for Fleury, Francis is correct when he said the Penguins don’t have many options here. The Flames are the only club in dire need of a starting goalie and with the cap space to absorb Fleury’s $5.75 million annual cap hit. Of course, that depends upon Fleury’s willingness to accept a trade to Calgary.

Perhaps another team (Dallas? Buffalo?) jumps into the bidding for Fleury. Otherwise, if Penguins GM Jim Rutherford wants to move Fleury and Calgary is the only destination, that asking price must come down.

Update on Stamkos

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Joe Smith reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hopes to get clarity on Steven Stamkos’ contract situation by this weekend. If the Lightning decide to trade Stamkos’ rights, he’ll have to waive his no-movement clause. Yzerman said at this point he’s only spoken with the Stamkos camp about re-signing him, not trading his rights.


TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger claims there’s talk the Buffalo Sabres will go all in Stamkos, with some rumors suggesting they’re prepared to offer up as much as $12 million per season to get him. If the Sabres land Stamkos, Dreger suggests that could help sway college prospect Jimmy Vesey, whose rights the Sabres recently acquired from the Nashville Predators, to sign with Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s really a simple choice for Stamkos. Accept less money ($8.5 million annually) on an eight-year deal to stick with a Stanley Cup contender, or chase the big bucks elsewhere and put off those championship aspirations for a few years, perhaps forever, by signing with a rebuilding club with plenty of cap room. 

Latest on Nash, Hamhuis and Campbell

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis suggests the possibility of the New York Rangers trading left wing Rick Nash “in order to free up cap space for either a return or a free-agent signing.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Nash speculation recently cooled but that doesn’t mean Rangers GM Jeff Gorton isn’t calling around. Worth keeping an eye on this as the draft nears. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks GM Jim Benning would welcome a scenario similar to the Dallas Stars trading the rights of Alex Goligoski to the Arizona Coyotes if pending UFA blueliner Dan Hamhuis isn’t part of their future plans. Benning, however, said he hasn’t received any calls from rival clubs about Hamhuis, adding the situation remains fluid. “We’re going to see at the draft when we’re talking to other teams if there are players who make us better and then we can circle back with Dan and try to get something figured out. There’s nothing that has changed on that, we’re still trying to figure it out.”

MIAMI HERALD’s George Richards recently tweeted the following on Florida Panthers pending UFA defenseman Brian Campbell: “Tom Rowe (Panthers GM) expects Brian Campbell to test free agency.”