Pre-Draft Rumour Roundup

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    With only one day remaining before the draft, the NHL rumour mill is of course running rampant.

    Here is an update on the latest “non-source” chatter I’ve been hearing regarding draft moves, trade possibilities, and free agent speculation as it may or may not pertain to our boys in blue.

    Leddy is going to be the big sleeper of this draft.  Morin will be another.   McKenzie has them at 29 and 31 respectively in his final rankings … if either of these guys makes it to the second round, someone will be getting a steal.

    Even though this year’s draft is not considered to have a strong crop of goaltenders, many feel that Roy and Hackett could develop into decent NHL starters.  Keep an eye on Koskinen also, he is 6’7″ and should go in the 2nd or 3rd.

    Interesting text this morning: “Burke loves O’Reilly.   Big question as to how far he lasts.   Debate over whether it is worth it to package a couple picks to move into the late 1st to secure him.”

    The usually-reliable Strickland has suggested Phoenix turned down a proposed deal of Kaberle for Jovonovski and the 6th overall.   My own contacts don’t know how true this is, but that said, Strickland’s track record is pretty solid.   If it is indeed true, then credit to Burke for coming to his senses and lowering his demands from a Pronger-esque return to a more realistic package of a 1st rd pick and a roster player.

    Minnesota is still after Kaberle, but doesn’t want to move their 1st rd pick due to uncertainty surrounding Gaborik’s status.   Burke will not deal Kaberle unless a 1st rd pick is coming back the other way, so consider this one dead for the time being.

    Philadelphia is desperately looking to shed salary.   Briere is unmovable due to contract size and injuries, but Lupul is up for grabs and there is a rumour the Flyers may be trying to get Hartnell to waive his NTC.   Hartnell is a 4.2m cap hit, and Lupul’s will be roughly the same when his extension kicks in next season.    If Hartnell is indeed on the move, Burke will be eyeing the price closely.

    Text #2:  “Flyers may be looking to move up.  Rangers interested in moving up also.   Stars are the one top ten team that could consider moving down.”

    Boston is actively shopping Kessel, and is looking for a 1st rd pick in return.   Kessel for Heatley rumours are not true (at least, not as a straight up deal), as that deal would only compound Boston’s cap issues.

    With Colorado in need of a rebuilding effort, Hejduk and Smyth are rumoured to be on the block.  Stastny may be the only guy on that team whose job is safe.

    Text #3: “Heatley to StL talk not serious.   Calgary and NY have cap issues and Ottawa does not want to take a large contract back.  Leafs not interested at all.  No one wants to be in Murray’s shoes right now, not even him.”

    Has anyone else noticed the rather conspicuous absence of Kubina rumours?   His name has yet to be involved in anything of substance.

    Now that Oren Kroules is firmly in charge of player decisions in Tampa Bay, there is a growing consensus that the Lightning may hold onto the 2nd overall pick, and look instead to moving the 10 million dollar man. Lecavalier to LA is looking less likely by the day … LA has been building with youth and has too many young players who will be due extensions in the next couple years to dedicate 20% of their cap to one guy.   The only deal that does make sense is Montreal, where the farm system is loaded, cap space is in abundance, and Koivu and Kovalev look unlikely to return.    Few would be shocked to see TB move Vinny to Mtl for picks and prospects, and then draft either of Hedman or Tavares at #2.

    One intriguing scenario I’ve heard has the Islanders drafting Hedman and submitting an offer sheet for Grabovski (ed. note: I still think they draft Tavares).   The Thrashers are said to be considering an offer sheet, also.  Grabovski’s rights are thought to be part of the reported talks between Waddel and Burke for the 4th overall. If that falls through, Atlanta may still pursue him via the RFA route.

    Beauchemin to Mtl is picking up steam, namely because Mtl is willing to offer a 5-6 year deal.  Toronto’s status remains the same … the Leafs would love to sign the 29 year old, but are wary of that lengthy a term.

    As much as the Leafs would love to land a player like Bouwmeester on the FA market, odds are his rights will be traded prior to July 1st as the Panthers do not want to lose him for nothing.

    Cammalleri to Toronto is losing steam, namely due to the Heatley situation in Ottawa.  Most expect that once Heatley is dealt, Cammalleri will become the Sens’ prime FA target, and they may be more willing to overpay than others due to the loss of Heatley’s offence.

    Burke would like to re-sign May, but will give him all the time he needs to make a decision on his future.  If May doesn’t retire, he will either sign with the Leafs, or look to return to the West Coast where his family still resides (word is LA may be interested).   Hollweg isn’t likely to return, but there is some interest in keeping Deveaux in the fold.

    That wraps up the latest chatter I’ve been hearing.  Be sure to visit MLHS during the draft for live coverage and updates!

    Cheers,
    GB