The NHL’s unrestricted free agent market opens today. Check out all the latest speculation over which teams are interested in which players and more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Today’s rumor links are presented largely without comment. I’ll keep a running tally of the notable free-agent signings and trades in my News section,with a roundup of the top moves and analysis later this evening in my Soapbox. As always, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on today’s speculation in the comments section below.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox provides an updated list of this summer’s top-16 NHL UFAs. He notes right wing Kyle Okposo could seek as much as $7 million annually on a long-term deal. The LA Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers are believed to have contacted right wing Loui Eriksson. The Toronto Maple Leafs could have interest in defenseman Kris Russell. Blueliner Brian Campbell could be heading back to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canucks contacted forwards Mikkel Boedker and Darren Helm. Center Eric Staal has interest from three or four teams. The New York Rangers and Canucks could have interest in left wing Thomas Vanek. There’s ongoing discussions between the St. Louis Blues and right wing Troy Brouwer,
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports left wing Milan Lucic has narrowed his choices down to two teams. Bob McKenzie reports there’s talk the Edmonton Oilers offered Lucic a seven-year, $42-million contract. He also notes the Maple Leafs haven’t expressed interest in defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Darren Dreger believes there will be plenty of interest in Kyle Okposo, Loui Eriksson, Andrew Ladd, Mikkel Boedker and Frans Nielsen. He said the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues and perhaps the Canucks could pursue Eriksson, while Ladd spend yesterday with the New York Islanders. LeBrun suggests the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets as options for Okposo.
McKenzie believes the Detroit Red Wings could have interest in Nielsen and Ladd. He also doesn’t believe the Colorado Avalanche want to trade defenseman Tyson Barrie, but teams like the Oilers are targeting the blueliner. Dreger said the Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks discussed Gabriel Landeskog and Hampus Lindholm but Ducks GM Bob Murray doesn’t want to move Lindholm. Landeskog and Matt Duchene could be a fit elsewhere as the Avalanche seek a change.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche GM Joe Sakic insists Barrie isn’t being dealt, but the speculation just won’t go away. In the wake of the PK Subban and Taylor Hall trades, it’s understandable. We must also remember that, around this time last year, Sakic said he wasn’t shopping Ryan O’Reilly before he dealt the center to the Buffalo Sabres. We’ll find out soon enough if history repeats itself. Landeskog’s name popped up yesterday as one to watch in the trade market.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Lucic is linked to the Oilers, Canucks, Ducks and Dallas Stars…He also notes Barrie and Landeskog are still in the trade rumor mill…It’s possible Nielsen could re-sign with the Islanders…The Avalanche, Canucks and Sabres could show interest in defenseman Patrick Wiercioch…The Panthers and Oilers could also take runs at signing Okposo.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran lists defenseman Justin Schultz, forward Joe Colborne, center Linden Vey, right wing Brett Connolly and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch as five “under the radar” free agents who could be worth a shot for clubs seeking affordable depth.
STLTODAY.COM: Kyle Okposo, Andrew Ladd, Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson or Mikkel Boedker could be Plan B targets for the St. Louis Blues if they fail to re-sign David Backes and Troy Brouwer.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/NEW YORK POST: Multiple sources insists the New York Rangers are trying to move defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. The Rangers’ trade plans may have to wait until after the dust settles in free agency. As for their own needs, given their limited cap space, affordable free-agent targets could include Jimmy Vesey (eligible for UFA status on Aug. 15) and MIchael Grabner, along with Darren Helm, Brandon Pirri and Eric Gryba.
EDMONTON SUN: Okposo, Eriksson and Ladd could be forward options for the Oilers if they don’t sign Lucic. Defense options could include Russell and James Wisniewski, third-line center choices include Darren Helm and Frans Nielsen, while Al Montoya, Carter Hutton and Joni Ortio could be among the candidates for backup goalie.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars have interest in Milan Lucic and Darren Helm for the right price.
TWINCITIES.COM: Kyle Okposo, David Backes and Eric Staal could interest the Minnesota Wild.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have the salary-cap space to make a splash in this summer’s UFA pool. They’re also linked to St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba in the trade market.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks seek a backup goalie and a left wing via free agency. Lucic, Eriksson, Staal and Vanek could be of interest. Finding the right fit within their cap payroll will be a determining factor.
NEW YORK POST: The New Jersey Devils could target Eric Staal, Jiri Hudler and Lee Stempniak.
CALGARY SUN: Brouwer, Hutton, winger Matt Martin, goalie Darcy Kuemper and re-signing forward Joe Colborne could be options for the Flames.
WINNIPEG SUN: Okposo, Colborne, Brandon Pirri, Josh Jooris and Quinton Howden could be targets for the Jets.
OTTAWA SUN: If the Senators make any free-agent signings, it’ll be for depth players. Forwards such as Darren Helm, Dale Weise and perhaps Chris Kelly, along with defensemen like Tom Gilbert, Ben Lovejoy and Yannick Weber could be on their radar.