Rumor Roundup: Blues’ Shattenkirk among surprising names in rumor mill

Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Among the interesting rumors to emerge prior to the start of the 2015 NHL Draft weekend was the suggestion St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could be available. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson noted the high payroll being taken up by Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester was behind the Shattenkirk speculation.

At the time, Matheson was wondering if the Blues could trade the 26-year-old Shattenkirk to the Edmonton Oilers for the 16th overall pick. That deal, of course, didn’t materialize, as the Oilers shipped that pick to the New York Islanders as part of a deal for young blueliner Griffin Reinhart. Still, Matheson’s conjecture could raise questions over Shattenkirk’s future with the Blues. Read more

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: Lucic trade talk heating up


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.’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.

Read more

2015 Draft Preview – It’s blue sky for the Toronto Maple Leafs

William Nylander (Getty Images)

It was a great indictment of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ drafting and developing when Brendan Shanahan fired the man who ran the hockey department, GM Dave Nonis, plus several key scouts two months before a pivotal draft. The scouting dismissals were on the advice of director of player personnel Mark Hunter, who has essentially been given the keys to the kingdom when it comes to picking and cultivating prospects. Hunter comes with an excellent track record of talent identification from his days with the London Knights, and the Leafs hired him to help find NHL-caliber players.

Round 1, picks 4, 24
Round 3, pick 65
Round 4, picks 95, 107
Round 5, pick 125
Round 6, pick 155
Round 7, pick 185

The Leafs have lacked a true No. 1 center since Mats Sundin. Tyler Bozak has good chemistry with Phil Kessel, but their defensive acumen is so lacking that Toronto’s top line, which also included James van Riemsdyk, made up three of the NHL’s bottom five in plus-minus. Read more

‘Anything is possible’ when it comes to Kessel, says Shanahan

Phil Kessel

FORT LAUDERDALE – We know a few things when it comes to the prospects of Phil Kessel being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs. First, the Leafs have already told their core players there are going to be changes. Second, the Leafs are actively speaking with teams about the possibility. Third, there appears to be a lot of interest in acquiring him. Fourth, the chances of him reporting to training camp as a member of the Maple Leafs are growing slimmer by the day.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan did not come out and say Kessel would be dealt, but spoke volumes when he said, “Anything is possible.” To these eyes anyway, it just does not look as though Kessel has any long-term future in Toronto. So does Shanahan see any scenario where Kessel actually remains a Maple Leaf?

Read more

2015 Draft: Europeans ready to make an impact

Mikko Rantanen (right) of Finland (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The 2015 draft has largely focused on North America, what with twin terrors Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel dominating headlines, with Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifin and Mitch Marner not far behind.

But there were some excellent prospects plying their trades on the other side of the Atlantic this season and they’re ready to let their skills do the talking.

Read more

Stats say Maple Leafs & Coyotes should look at trading down in draft

(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just like every year, the idea of trading down inside the top 10 has become a hot topic before the NHL draft. Arizona GM Don Maloney has stated he’s open to trading the third overall pick, while Toronto has been rumored to be interested in doing the same with fourth overall. Is it worth it, though?

That’s likely the question both teams are asking themselves leading up to Friday and with each one taking the scorched-earth approach to rebuilding, whether or not to trade down is an important question to ask. Generally, the answer is yes, but it’s harder to answer the higher the pick is. It really depends on the context. For these two clubs, the context is the luxury of drafting a franchise-cornerstone prospect in the top five. That’s difficult to pass up, because those types of players are usually only found in that top five.

At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the assets they can get in return for moving down a couple of spots. Historically, that’s usually been a second round pick plus, but the price is likely higher for picks within the top five, especially considering this year’s crop of talent.

What it boils down to is knowing how much a pick is worth and how much the prospects available are worth. That value really depends on what a team wants from a draft: high-success rate or high-impact players. Read more

Why the Maple Leafs should give Phil Kessel away for next to nothing

Ken Campbell
Phil Kessel (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs seem intent on getting a good cachet in return for their top scorer, whether it’s at the NHL draft or afterward. And good on them for doing that. Of course they should try to get all they can for Phil Kessel, who could very well go on to another destination where there’s less scrutiny and be a consistent 40-goal scorer and solid contributor.

Yes, the Leafs should try to extract as much as they can, but they should also be prepared, if they’ve decided Kessel no longer has a future in the organization, to let him go for very little. Even next to nothing. The point is, the Leafs will get something for him, but if they’ve decided they’re going to deal him, they should take the best deal available to them, even if they’re not crazy about the return. With a limited list of teams to which Kessel will accept a trade, some of those without the cap space needed to acquire him, the Leafs don’t have near as much leverage as it appears.

Read more