The Jets are reportedly willing to move anyone, but would shipping their biggest asset to the Oilers make sense? And is Thomas Vanek to the Minnesota Wild no longer a lock? Plus, what will it take for the Montreal Canadiens and Andrei Markov to reach a new deal?
Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane remains a fixture in the NHL trade rumor mill. TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes the Jets are open to moving any player on their roster, including the 22-year-old Kane.
That prompted the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples to suggest Kane would be a good fit with the Oilers, citing his size, offensive skills and physical play. He wonders if the Jets would take a smaller skilled winger, like Nail Yakupov, in return.
Since relocating from Atlanta to Winnipeg three years ago, the Jets have failed to secure a playoff berth. Usually cautious Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff recently acknowledged the possibility of swinging a blockbuster trade, but he also noted the difficulty of finding the right deal. Of the players the Jets could shop, Kane would fetch the best return. He’s still young, has a 30-goal season under his belt and his best seasons remain ahead of him.
The Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones reports Oilers GM Craig MacTavish hopes to add four or five players via trades or free agency to his roster. Kane would be a good fit with the Oilers, but he will also attract considerable interest from other clubs. Despite Yakupov’s promising skills, he hasn’t fully established himself as an up-and-coming NHL star. Should the Jets shop Kane they’ll likely want a player who can help them immediately.
VANEK-TO-WILD A NO-GO?
Throughout this season it was widely assumed the Minnesota Wild would pursue winger Thomas Vanek via free agency. Vanek has ties to the state and lives there in the off-season. With the Wild in need of scoring depth, he seems a natural fit, but that no longer appears a certainty.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports there’s a “price point” the Wild is willing to reach for certain players. Vanek’s poor playoff performance with Montreal combined with the strong play of promising Wild forwards Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula has changed the situation. As Russo points out, the Wild no longer have to chase talent as they did over the past couple of years.
With so many promising players in need of new contracts after 2014-15, the Wild want to ensure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign them. Russo believes the Wild don’t want to invest too much for too long in players 30-and-older, especially if it’ll bite too deeply into their cap space. Unless Vanek is willing to accept a shorter term for less than the $50 million over seven years he earned on his expiring deal, he can forget about a Minnesota homecoming.
MARKOV LOOKING FOR BIG DEAL?
TSN’s McKenzie reports pending UFA defenseman Andrei Markov seeks a three-year, $18-million contract from the Montreal Canadiens. Markov, 35, has spent his entire 13-season NHL career with the Canadiens and his wish is to finish his career in Montreal.
While Markov’s been a blueline stalwart for much of his career with the Habs, he’s now 35 and seemed to wear down during the 2014 playoffs. He also has a recent history of knee injuries. As TSN noted, this season was the first since 2008-09 he’s played more than 50 games in a season.
Markov made $5.75 million per season on his expiring contract, which also ran three years. The Canadiens are believed willing to re-sign him, but probably not at a raise to $6 million annually on a three-year deal. If Markov doesn’t lower his asking price, the Canadiens could cut ties.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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