OTTAWA – Trade talk intensified on the eve of the NHL’s entry draft with the big buzz surrounding the availability of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, but Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis denied he was shopping his team’s star forwards.
“People have called me about them,” Gillis said Thursday. “We are not actively trying to trade the Sedins in any form. A lot of teams have been calling but we’re hoping to sign them long-term and keep them in Vancouver.”
The twins, who combined for 150 points last season, are slated for unrestricted free agency after next season.
Gillis also indicated captain Markus Naslund would probably not be re-signed before July 1, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“Markus and I have had a lot of discussions,” said Gillis. “He’s going to go to July 1 and see what’s out there for him. And then hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to talk to him about what our situation is.
“As I said from the first day I took this job, if we don’t have the right situation for Markus Naslund, he shouldn’t be here. If we have the right situation, we’re hoping he will be here. I don’t know that yet.”
The Toronto Maple Leafs were also in the news, acquiring veteran forward Jamal Mayers for a third round pick, 70th overall, in the upcoming draft.
Mayers, a Toronto native, has played parts of 10 NHL seasons, all with the Blues. He had 12 goals, 15 assists and 91 penalty minutes in 80 games with the St. Louis last season.
Overall he has 51 goals, 58 assists and 576 penalty minutes in 435 games.
He most recently played on Canada’s silver-medal team at the 2008 IIHF World hockey championship.
“I want to thank Jamal for everything he has done for the Blues and the city of St. Louis,” said Blues president John Davidson in a statement. “We wish Jamal and his family nothing but the best in his hometown of Toronto.”
Also in the Toronto camp, defenceman Bryan McCabe reacted to all the trade rumours involving his name by releasing a statement through his agent.
“We continue to hear that the Leafs want to trade Bryan McCabe,” agent Ian Pulver said in a statement to Rogers Sportsnet. “Bryan has a no-move clause in his contract that was negotiated with and agreed to by the Leafs. Bryan is not inclined to waive the no-move clause. He enjoys living and playing in Toronto and the team is a first-class organization.
“Bryan has logged more minutes than any other Leafs player in the past seven years and given his heart and soul to this franchise. If the Leafs want to move forward without Bryan they should buy out the remaining years on his contract.”
Added Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher: “We are not soliciting any trade offers for Bryan McCabe whatsoever.”
McCabe has three more years left on his contract, paying him $6.15 million next season and $4.15 million the other two.
Another rumour that made the rounds Thursday was the Tampa Bay Lightning were set to announce a long-term contract extension for star centre Vincent Lecavalier, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency after next season. That news was jumping the gun just a little.
“We’ve had some conversations and I’m confident we will get a deal done because both parties want to,” said Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes. “But it’s premature to say it’s already done. We are in the preliminary stages of negotiations.”
Meanwhile, defenceman Brian Campbell could be on the move. Sources indicate the San Jose Sharks could possibly trade his rights Friday or Saturday after failing to sign him to a new contract. Campbell is an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The Carolina Hurricanes were on the lookout for a defenceman ,although likely someone that won’t cost as much money as Campbell.
“Still talking but nothing is intensifying,” Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said of his trade talks. “It’s the day before the draft where everybody has five or six things they’re looking at but they’re probably not going to make those decisions today.”
Rutherford did make a minor move Thursday, acquiring rugged forward Darcy Hordichuk from Nashville in exchange for a conditional 2009 draft pick. The Hurricanes also re-signed restricted free agent defenceman Tim Gleason to an $11-million, four-year contract.
The Los Angeles Kings, who continued to field offers for their No. 2 overall pick, were rumoured to be shopping forward Mike Cammalleri, who has one year left on his contract at $3.6 million before heading to unrestricted free agency.
Will the hometown team make a move? Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray was talking to his fellow GMs but didn’t feel he had to make a trade just because his organization was hosting the draft.
“There’s no splash that’s required by the Ottawa Senators,” said Murray.
“I think there’s a fair amount of conversation about trades but whether or not there’s any real urgency to do it today or tomorrow, I don’t know,” he added. “But there’s definitely discussion.”
Murray rolled his eyes when asked yet again if he was going to trade star centre Jason Spezza.
“I don’t know where all this stuff comes from,” said Murray, who said he didn’t want to trade Spezza. “I heard rumours that Pittsburgh was moving one of its stars. I talked to their manager today to see if I could be included on the discussion and they kind of laughed at me.”
Murray was referring to the rumour that Evegni Malkin was being shopped around, which the Penguins steadfastly deny.
There are moves that the Senators are willing to make, notably trading goalie Ray Emery.
“I’ve talked to a number of teams that have expressed a little bit of interest,” said Murray. “Whether anything will come of that, when you look at the market, there’s probably a couple of teams that need a goaltender and I think Ray is going to be considered a good goaltender.
“But we’ll have to wait and see if there’s any phone calls.”
It is expected Emery will be bought out before the end of the month if Murray is unable to trade him. Emery has two more years on his deal, valued at $3.25 million and $3.5 million, but because he’s under 26 years old can be bought out for only one third.
Defenceman Wade Redden, an unrestricted free agent July 1, is also available with Murray willing to move his rights this weekend.
“I’ve inquired to a couple of teams that I thought might have the finances to do that type of thing but nobody has gotten back to me on that,” said Murray.
Fletcher, meanwhile, indicated that Pavel Kubina’s no-trade clause is no longer as of Friday. He has until mid-August to trade him before the no-trade clause kicks back in. It’s not clear, however, if the Leafs want to move the Czech defenceman after he played well in the second half of the year last season.
In the meantime, Fletcher says the phone calls keep coming.
“It’s that time now before the draft where there’s a lot of talking going on between teams and I don’t think we’re any different than anybody else,” he said. “They used to always ask me how close I am to doing something and I’d say it’s either on the front-burner or the back-burner.
“Well, nothing has reached the front-burner yet as far as the Leafs are concerned.”
Same went for the Canucks.
“We’re listening to a lot of different things,” said Gillis. “We’re not initiating a lot, but we’re listening.”