As the 2016 NHL draft draws near, trade activity is picking up. On Monday, the Anaheim Ducks shipped goaltender Frederik Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two draft picks, the New York Rangers dealt defenseman Keith Yandle's rights to the Florida Panthers, while the Nashville Predators dealt the rights of college prospect Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Panthers acquisition of Yandle's rights makes sense if Brian Campbell departs via free agency on July 1. The Miami Herald's George Richards reports Panthers GM Tom Rowe expects Campbell, 37, to test the market.
It also douses recent trade speculation involving Panthers blueliner Dmitry Kulikov. The Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov claims the Panthers frequently get inquiries about the 24-year-old blueliner but he's not on the trade block.
With Campbell leaving, Willie Mitchell facing retirement and no guarantee of re-signing Yandle, the Panthers seem less likely to move their longest-tenured defenseman.
The Yandle trade could be only the first move by the Rangers this summer. The New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis reports of the possibility left winger Rick Nash could be dealt to free up cap space for a return via trade or to sign a free agent.
Nash, 32, has two years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $7.8 million. He also has a modified no-trade clause listing 12 acceptable trade destinations. While he's not impossible to move, his salary and trade clause could hamper those efforts by the Rangers.
FLEURY CONTINUING TO DRAW INTEREST
The trade status of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury continues to draw interest. Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reports the Flames reached out to Penguins GM Jim Rutherford regarding the 31-year-old netminder.
Francis claims Rutherford's asking price is the Flames' first-round pick (sixth overall) in the draft, but that's not going to happen. Calgary is currently seen as the only logical destination for Fleury, but Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports Rutherford isn't ruling out keeping Fleury for next season.
Rutherford also told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there's no truth to a recent rumor claiming the Chicago Blackhawks were kicking the tires on Penguins center Evgeni Malkin. “We're not looking to move him. I did not get an inquiry from any team,” he said.
YZERMAN STILL WORKING TO RE-SIGN STAMKOS
The clock is ticking on the efforts of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman's efforts to re-sign center Steven Stamkos, who's eligible on July 1 for unrestricted free agency. TSN's Darren Dreger claims Yzerman told people he can't go above $8.5 million per season for Stamkos. Dreger wonders if Yzerman will boost the term to the full eight years as an enticement.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun speculates Stamkos' rights could be shopped this week. However, Yzerman told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he's hoping for clarity on this situation by this weekend.
Yzerman also said he's spoken to Stamkos and his agent only about re-signing him, not trading his rights. The Bolts captain holds a full no-movement clause, meaning Stamkos must give Yzerman his approval to move him.
SHATTENKIRK TRADE WATCH
St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk remains a hot topic in the rumor mill. Dreger took to Twitter on Monday evening claiming the Shattenkirk trade watch is on, with the Boston Bruins among the interested parties.
Shattenkirk, 27, has a year remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.25 million. He's eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Re-signing him could prove too expensive for the Blues. The emergence of promising Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundsen this season makes it easier to move him this summer.
The lack of a no-trade clause means the Blues can ship Shattenkirk anywhere. While there's talk the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche could be interested in him, Blues management could prefer shipping the puck-moving rearguard to an Eastern Conference club.
WILD MAY BE WILLING TO MOVE A DEFENSEMAN
StarTribune.com's Michael Rand reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said he's received “lots of interest” from teams hoping to acquire one of his young defensemen. He admits “under the right scenario” he'd deal from an area of strength to land a forward.
Of those young defenders, Matt Dumba is likely attracting the most interest. He's completing an entry-level contract. While the 21-year-old struggled in his sophomore campaign, he has considerable upside.
Fletcher also said he's received some trade inquiries regarding goaltender Darcy Kuemper. While Fletcher admits he could move Kuemper, 26, for the right price, he doesn't want to hurt his goaltending depth.
RED WINGS TRYING TO MOVE DATSYUK'S CONTRACT
Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News believes Red Wings GM Ken Holland will try to move the final season (and $7.5-million salary-cap hit) of center Pavel Datsyuk, who's heading to the KHL for 2016-17. However, Holland seems unwilling to add a young player or a high draft pick into the deal.
The Red Wings are rumored as a possible destination for Stamkos via free agency. If Holland can't move Datsyuk's cap hit, the Wings will be out of the Stamkos sweepstakes.
If Holland decides to sweeten the deal by adding a young player, MLive.com's Ansar Khan speculates Teemu Pulkkinen or Tomas Jurco could be in play.
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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