The latest on Steven Stamkos, Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson, Kevin Shattenkirk & more in your post-NHL draft rumor roundup. 

Post-NHL Draft rumors and speculation.

The Steven Stamkos watch is coming to a head.

The Steven Stamkos free-agent sweepstakes is about to begin.

 OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it seems all but certain Steven Stamkos has played his final game with the Tampa Bay Lightning. While there’s talk the Lightning are offering an eight-year deal worth $8.5 million per season, Stamkos is aware he could get more on the open market. The Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a last-minute deal, Stamkos is likely a goner. That could change if he doesn’t receive any suitable offers, but the Sabres, Wings and Leafs will definitely ante up to get him. As I’ve said in recent days, he’ll have to decide on accepting less money to stick with a Cup contender or chase the big bucks and put his championship dreams on hold for a while. 

It looks like Boston Bruins winger Loui Eriksson will also hit the free-agent market. His camp seeks a six-year deal but the Bruins are only offering four.

The Edmonton Oilers have shown interest in Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin. Garrioch believes Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be a good fit with the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While a Brodin for Nugent-Hopkins seems like a good fit, the former’s struggles this season suggest he’s not ready for top-pairing minutes. If so, the Oilers should look elsewhere to address their blueline needs. 

The Sabres are believed to have made a push to acquire Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, who could be on the move at some point this summer. The Bruins and Montreal Canadien also need blueliners. The asking price for Fowler is a first-round pick and a prospect. The Ducks need to free up salary-cap space to pursue a rugged winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Fowler trade talk died down over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. Things could heat up again later this week. Have to wonder if the Oilers are getting into the bidding there. 

There remains plenty of interest in St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Eligible next summer for UFA status, there’s talk he’ll seek a seven-year deal worth around $7 million per season.

SPORTSNET: Damien Cox believes the biggest moves are yet to come following the NHL draft. He reminds us last year’s Phil Kessel trade didn’t take place until July 1. He thinks there’s too much trade smoke regarding Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban for it not to be at least possible he could move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin keeps saying he’s not shopping Subban but he can’t stop rival GMs from making inquiries. Even if he’s listening to offers, the asking price will be enormous, much more than many GMs are willing to pay.

Talk of Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins going to the Wild seems to have some substance.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports winger Joffrey Lupul hasn’t heard anything from the Leaf regarding his future with the club. Simmons believes the Leafs don’t want him and will try to find a creative way to bury his contract.

With the Leafs and Calgary Flames having addressed their goaltending needs, there’s no obvious destination for San Jose Sharks pending UFA goalie James Reimer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray said he’s going after “the big fish” in free agency, referring to Stamkos. The Leafs and Red Wings could also pursue him.

Los Angeles Kings pending UFA left wing Milan Lucic will also be a big catch. The Oilers and Vancouver Canucks could come calling.


Latest on the Lightning, Bruins,Stars, Wild and Penguins.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports there’s no shortage of teams with interest in signing Lightning star Steven Stamkos. The Sabres plan to make a big push,  the Red Wings could offer up seven years at $10 million annually and his hometown Leafs could offer both contract and lucrative endorsement opportunities.

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney isn’t ruling out making a pitch for Stamkos or welcoming back Milan Lucic via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Bruins can win a bidding war for Stamkos. Could Lucic be open to a return to Boston? Bruins fans would welcome him back with open arms. However, he will be expensive, perhaps over $7 million per season. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports trying to move Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi could be difficult for the Dallas Stars to do this summer, but could get easier later next season. If defensemen like Brian Campbell or Dan Hamhuis become available via free agency, the Stars could jump on one of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Friday night, there was chatter at the NHL draft claiming the Stars were talking with the Lightning about a possible deal for goalie Ben Bishop. However, the sticking point was the Bolts had to take on Lehtonen or Niemi in return. Nothing further was heard on this, as the Bolts probably don’t want to be saddled with either guy.  Campbell and Hamhuis should be available if the Stars want to pursue one or both. On Saturday, the Canucks told Hamhuis to test the market. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM:  Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild had trade talks with the Oilers regarding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “The Oilers appear to want right-shot Matt Dumba and other pieces, including next year’s second-rounder. The problem is the Wild no longer owns that pick,” writes Russo. “It’s also believed the Wild has talked to the Rangers about center Derek Stepan and the Arizona Coyotes about veteran center Martin Hanzal and prospect Christian Dvorak.” GM Chuck Fletcher is also gauging the upcoming UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Wild might revisit those trade talks if they fail to address their roster needs via free agency. 

CBS SPORTS: Adam Gretz report Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford once again insisted he’s not trading Evgeni Malkin. He also claims goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start the season with the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might start the season with the Penguin but he might not finish it with them. As for Malkin, give it a rest, folks! He wasn’t traded in 2008 (the infamous “Malkin to the Kings” headline). He wasn’t traded last summer amid unsubstantiated speculation over his “unhappiness” in Pittsburgh. He’s certainly not be traded now after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.