Rumor Roundup: Lucic trade talk heating up

GettyImages-469162426-MilanLucic

Considering the increased trade speculation entering the 2015 draft, it’s only fitting Boston Bruins left winger Milan Lucic and defenseman Dougie Hamilton should resurface in the rumor mill. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Bruins are listening to offers for Lucic. The asking price is apparently “big,” though Garrioch didn’t mention specifics.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty notes there was talk of the Bruins shipping the 27-year-old Lucic to the New York Rangers for defenseman (and Boston native) Keith Yandle. Another rumor linked the power forward to the Vancouver Canucks for a defenseman. Haggerty claims Canucks blueliner Alex Edler was mentioned in previous Bruins trade rumors. He also wonders if the Bruins could target Kevin Bieksa or Dan Hamhuis.

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Rumor Roundup: Will Thornton and Marleau bid the Bay Area farewell?

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

During the summer of 2014, there was considerable trade speculation regarding San Jose Sharks’ veteran stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. The Sharks were still reeling from their opening-round playoff elimination by the Los Angeles Kings. General manager Doug Wilson promised significant changes, stoking the rumors Thornton or Marleau would be dealt.

The trade chatter about the duo fizzled out when both made it clear in media interviews they weren’t waiving their respective no-movement clauses. With the Sharks going on to miss the playoffs this season, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz speculates over the possibility Thornton or Marleau will be part of a blockbuster move this summer.

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2015 Draft Preview – Boston Bruins shift focus to cubs

Ken Campbell
David Pastrnak. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

This season, Boston had the youngest player in the AHL and the NHL. They both just happened to be the same player. When the Bruins took David Pastrnak 25th overall in 2014, they didn’t envision him having the season he had for them. He played so well in the AHL and was such a standout at the world juniors that the Bruins had no choice but to call him up when they ran into injury trouble. Pastrnak thrived on a line with fellow prospect Ryan Spooner and veteran Milan Lucic. The Bruins pick in the first half of the first round for the first time since doing so in 2010 and 2011.

PICKS
Round 1, pick 14
Round 2, pick 37
Round 3, pick 75
Round 4, pick 105
Round 5, pick 135
Round 6, pick 165
Round 7, pick 195

SHORT-TERM NEEDS
This team is aging quickly and not all that beautifully. An injection of youth is needed to shake up a group that looked rather lethargic in 2014-15. With the announcement Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell won’t return, the Bruins will need fourth-liners of the quality they’ve had in the past.

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Alexei Yashin is finally not an Islander anymore

Alexei Yashin: not an Islander now (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

There was a time when Alexei Yashin was one of the most dangerous players in hockey. Not recently, mind you, but there was a time. But as any Rangers or Devils fan can probably remind you, the New York Islanders were still paying the Russian center, despite buying out his contract in 2007.

As gloriously detailed by Lighthouse Hockey, Yashin’s albatross contract haunted the Isles until Chicago hoisted the Stanley Cup last night, which put an end to the 2014-15 NHL season.

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As Keith and Hedman are proving, to win a Cup, you need a horse on ‘D’

Duncan Keith (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s the debate that never really ends – which NHL position do you absolutely need a star at in order to win a Stanley Cup championship? – and it likely won’t end by the end of this column. But the impact of Chicago’s Duncan Keith and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman on the 2015 Cup Final adds more evidence to what many see is an overwhelming pile of it that favors one position: you can win a Cup without a traditional No. 1 superstar center, and you can win one without a cream-of-the-cream-of-the-crop goalie, but you cannot hoist the most storied trophy in professional sport without the presence of a workhorse, perennial Norris-Trophy-candidate defenseman.

Keith has averaged more than 31 minutes through 22 games, and Hedman is leading his team with nearly 24 minutes of ice time on average. Both are arguably the respective Conn Smythe Trophy candidates as playoff MVP. They’re out there virtually every other shift, usually taking on the opposition’s top players. And considering how Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane have had scoring issues in this series, Hedman and Keith are doing what they’re being asked to do in all aspects.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Seven of the past eight Cup-winners employed a blueliner who could command control of the play in a manner few of his peers could. Two of the past three years, the L.A. Kings have sent the gazelle-like Drew Doughty over the boards more than 27 minutes per playoff game. In Chicago’s most recent two Cup wins, Duncan Keith has averaged nearly 28 minutes a game. When Boston won it all in 2011, Zdeno Chara was on the ice some 27.5 minutes a night. When the Red Wings won their last championship in 2008, Nicklas Lidstrom gave his team nearly 27 errorless minutes per game. The Pittsburgh Penguins were an anomaly in 2009 – Sergei Gonchar was their most-utilized defenseman at 23:02 per game – but when the Ducks won it in 2007, they had an incredible three defensemen averaging more than or a shade within 30 minutes each game (Scott Niedermayer and 29:50, Chris Pronger at 30:11, and Francois Beauchemin at 30:33). Take away just about any player from their aforementioned championship squad, and there’s no assurance that squad would have its name etched on the Cup. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Dougie Hamilton deal one to watch for Bruins

Dougie Hamilton (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is coming off an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights, but that might not prevent him from getting a significant raise this summer. The Bruins limited cap space for 2015-16 and the lack of depth in this summer’s UFA pool could see the 21-year-old blueliner receiving a lucrative offer sheet from a rival club.

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa speculates the Hamilton camp could use the threat of an offer sheet as leverage in contract discussions with the Bruins. He suggests a team like the Edmonton Oilers, who are deep in young talent but lacking skilled blueline depth, might be willing to sacrifice a compensation package of draft picks to successfully sign Hamilton away from the Bruins. Read more