Earlier this week, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that sources claim there's considerable interest from several clubs in Rangers backup Cam Talbot. It's expected Talbot, who turns 28 in July, could be traded by the upcoming NHL draft in Florida.
Brooks didn't specify which teams are pursuing Talbot, but TSN's Darren Dreger lists the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres among the suitors. Dreger claims the Oilers, Sabres and Sharks are “pretty eager”, while the Flames, Panthers and Stars have “some interest."
It shouldn't be surprising that Talbot's attracted so much attention. His solid performance filling in for sidelined Henrik Lundqvist in February and March suggests he has the capability to become a full-time NHL starter. He won't get that opportunity with the Rangers.
The Oilers, Sabres and Sharks all lack goaltending depth and likely see Talbot as a projected starter. There's less urgency for the Flames, who have Jonas Hiller under contract for next season and promising Joni Ortio waiting in the wings. They could also re-sign pending UFA Karri Ramo. The Stars already waived Jussi Rynnas farewell and could lose Jhonas Enroth to free agency, but still have Kari Lehtonen as their starter.
Talbot, however, isn't the only trade option available for those teams. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators hope to trade a goalie before the draft next week and reportedly have “six or seven teams” interested in backup Robin Lehner. Among them are the Oilers, Sabres and Flames, while the Sharks apparently kicked the tires on Sens starter Craig Anderson.
It's believed the Senators seek a top-six forward and a draft pick for Anderson or Lehner, but that's unreasonably high. Garrioch speculates they could lower their asking price if they don't get what they seek as the draft approaches.
The Vancouver Sun's Brad Ziemer, meanwhile, reports that Canucks GM Jim Benning confirms he could move either Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom leading up to the draft. Lack, 27, could hold the most interest. He played well in relief of starter Ryan Miller when he missed several weeks to a late-season groin injury.
Talbot, Lehner and Lack could all be joining new clubs before draft weekend concludes. The only question is where they could end up.
The Oilers have the 16th overall pick in this year's draft to dangle for one of those goaltenders, though they're unlikely to trade that for an unproven starter. They do, however, have two second-round picks. One of them is the 33rd overall selection, which could be used as a bargaining chip. The Sabres also hold two second-round picks, including the 31st overall, which could be used to land one of those available netminders. Both clubs plus the Calgary Flames have considerable depth in promising young prospects to draw upon for trade bait.
SEMIN & LECAVALIER: TRADE BAIT OR BUYOUTS?
The NHL's contract buyout period is in effect until June 30, providing clubs with the opportunity to shed the salaries of unproductive, overpaid players. Carolina Hurricanes winger Alexander Semin and Philadelphia Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier are seen as buyout candidates, but it appears their respective clubs won't be going that route.
Chip Alexander of The News & Observer reports Hurricanes GM Ron Francis hasn't made a decision yet on buying out the 31-year-old Semin, who has three years at $7-million annually left on his contract. Francis isn't ruling out that option, but Alexander believes he could try trading the winger, even by picking up a portion of his remaining salary.
CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall hasn't sent a buyout to the 35-year-old Lecavalier, who has three years on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. He claims Hextall will try again to trade the fading star, noting he nearly had deals in place last summer with Nashville and Florida before they fell through.
Even offering to absorb part of his remaining salary might not be enough enticement. Lecavalier is also due a $2-million signing bonus on July 1, which further complicates Hextall's attempt to trade him before that date.
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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