Rumor Roundup: Kessel, Skinner, Sharp & Bieksa trade buzz

Phil Kessel (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The 2015 NHL draft saw its share of trade activity involving established NHL players. Among the notables to change teams were Dougie Hamilton (Boston to Calgary), Milan Lucic (Boston to Los Angeles), Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado to Buffalo) and Carl Hagelin (Rangers to Anaheim). Even the rights of all-but-retired defensemen Flyers Chris Pronger was moved as part of a swap that also saw Nicklas Grossman shipped from Philadelphia to Arizona for Sam Gagner.

Despite this unusually high volume of players traded, several others who’ve been frequent fixtures in the rumor mill remain on the market.

On Friday, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported multiple source claiming the Pens were interested in Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari reports Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner was on the Pens’ list of trade targets. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Hawks still trying to peddle Sharp and Bickell

GettyImages-Sharp-Bickell

The increase in the NHL salary cap ceiling from $69 million to $71.4 million does little to help the Chicago Blackhawks escape from salary cap hell for 2015-16. They have over $64 million invested in cap payroll, leaving only $7.3 million to invest in new contracts. With restricted free agents Brandon Saad and Markus Kruger to re-sign plus several UFAs to re-sign or replace, the Blackhawks must shed salary.

It’s widely assumed left wingers Patrick Sharp ($5.9-million annually for two more seasons) and Bryan Bickell ($4-million annually, two years) are the likely trade candidates. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports that, as of Monday evening, the Hawks weren’t far along in trade talks about any player.

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2015 Draft Preview – Trade winds blow for Chicago Blackhawks

Teuvo Teravainen (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks need the draft more than they have in recent years, not because they’re rebuilding, but because they’re repairing. Patrick Kane’s and Jonathan Toews’ cap hits explode to $10.5 million each next season, and veterans Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp are well into their 30s. GM Stan Bowman must strengthen the franchise’s young foundation knowing he’ll have to shave some salary. So far, so good with the development of Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen.

PICKS:
Round 2, pick 54
Round 3, pick 91
Round 4, pick 121
Round 5, pick 151
Round 6, picks 164, 181
Round 7, picks 211

SHORT-TERM NEEDS:
Bowman can’t afford to keep his entire forward corps as is, especially with RFAs Saad and Marcus Kruger due for new contracts. Veterans must be jettisoned, whether it’s through letting UFAs Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette walk or trading Sharp. Doing so will create a need for new offensive forwards, especially wingers, in the system. No position in hockey develops easier. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Would the Capitals, Penguins or Islanders trade for Patrick Sharp?

Patrick Sharp. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

While the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their latest Stanley Cup championship, GM Stan Bowman will begin the difficult task of determining which of his players become salary-cap casualties. The Blackhawks have more than $64 million invested in cap payroll for 2015-16. They must re-sign restricted free agents Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger, as well as find space to re-sign or replace their unrestricted free agents.

This isn’t the first time Bowman’s faced this problem. Following the Blackhawks 2010 championship, he shipped out several salaried players to become cap compliant for the following season. While he doesn’t have to trade as many this time, he’ll still have to make the difficult choice of determining who must move.

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Blackhawks are one of hockey’s top dynasties – the stats prove it

Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stood there at center ice on Monday night, assuming his usual pose beside the Stanley Cup and made a very bold statement.

“Well Chicago, that’s three Cups in six seasons, I’d say you have a dynasty,” he said to more than 20,000 rabid Blackhawks fans, so happy with another title they almost forgot to shower Bettman with the boos he’s accustomed to during the ceremony.

That remark immediately leads to a lot of debate amongst hockey fans, but there’s very little argument that he’s wrong. The Hawks are a modern-day dynasty.

The word “dynasty” in a sports context will always be subjective. What it implies is a continued dominance over a long stretch of time, and really, dominance is sort of relative to the competition. It’s relatively easy to be dominant when there’s only five other teams, but kind of hard when there’s 29 others in a hard-cap league.

Looking at the current competitive balance of the league and what Chicago has done against it in the Kane-Toews era, it’s difficult to call it anything but dominance. Read more

Hall Monitor: Hossa still has work left to make the grade

Brian Costello
Marian Hossa Cup fans Bill Smith

You heard it as much as I did the past few weeks. Future Hall of Famer Marian Hossa this…. Future Hall of Famer Marian Hossa that… Did the Chicago Blackhawks’ right winger officially add that moniker to his passport?

Hossa has had a terrific 16-year NHL career, but he’s hardly a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Hearing so many hockey analysts calling him one is both premature and dangerous. He’s a very good player entering the final few seasons of a very good career. But a lot of very good players have retired in the past decade and not made it to the Hall of Fame. Here are some names: Mark Recchi, Owen Nolan, Adam Foote, Paul Kariya, Rod Brind’Amour, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Gary Roberts, Curtis Joseph, Trevor Linden, Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Dave Andreychuk, Alex Mogilny, Keith Primeau.

And that’s just the past decade.

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What can you find in this 26-billion-pixel photo from Game 6 of the final?

Matt Larkin
CupMegaPhoto

Oh, the power of technology. From the files of “how cool is this?” comes a 26-billion-pixel photo taken at Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night.

So what do 26 billion pixels get you? The ability to zoom in on virtually every person and thing in the United Center. If you went to the game, you can find yourself. You can explore the whole thing for hours thanks to a cool tool set up by NHL.com and Blakeway Panoramas. Check it out right here.

The site lets you tag friends (or yourself) and sets up a “Stanley Cup hunt,” burying the Holy Grail somewhere in the photo. The closer you get to finding it, the more the crowd cheers.

It feels a lot like a Where’s Waldo? photo, doesn’t it? In honor of that, I dare you to find the following in the photo:

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Incredible Blackhawks victory parade a sight to behold

The Hockey News
Patrick Kane (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks celebrated their third Stanley Cup in six years in front of an estimated two million fans over a parade route that culminated at Solider Field. The images captured yesterday show the Windy City knows how to party like few others.

Fans gather early at Soldier Field to get a good spot at the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Fans gather early at Soldier Field to get a good spot at the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Members of the Chicago Blackhawks parade through downtown on a double-decker bus.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Members of the Chicago Blackhawks parade through downtown on a double-decker bus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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