• Wild willing to part with goaltender Darcy Kuemper for ‘fair return’

    Jared Clinton
    (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    There was a time when Darcy Kuemper, the Wild’s 26-year-old netminder, was the potential future in Minnesota’s crease. But a difficult season paired with a trade for Devan Dubnyk in 2014-15, who went on an incredible run post-acquisition, has seen Kuemper relegated to backup duty with no end in sight. He may have a chance at playing his way into a bigger role elsewhere, though.

    Speaking about the Wild’s plans for the upcoming draft, Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher said that teams have been calling and inquiring about the availability of Kuemper, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Rand. With Kuemper currently a restricted free agent and with the chance to become unrestricted at the end of his next contract — which would likely be a one-year deal in Minnesota — Fletcher is listening.

    “The net right now is Devan (Dubnyk’s),” Fletcher said, via Rand. “If we have an opportunity to move (Kuemper) and get a fair return, we’ll look at it. But I don’t want to be too aggressive and leave us short in that position.” Read more

  • Panthers get Yandle’s rights from Rangers for sixth-round, conditional fourth-round pick

    Jared Clinton
    Keith Yandle (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    In what has already been a busy day on the trade market, the Florida Panthers are getting in on the fun.

    Looking to build their blueline, the Panthers have sent a sixth-round draft pick and conditional fourth-round selection to the New York Rangers for the negotiating rights to veteran blueliner Keith Yandle, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The conditional selection will only be included in the deal if Yandle, 29, signs with the Panthers, and Florida will have little less than two weeks to make that happen before free agency opens on July 1.

    Locking up Yandle would be a big get for the Panthers, who would end up the winners of the sweepstakes for arguably the top free agent rearguard. Yandle scored five goals and 47 points in his first and only full season as a member of the Rangers. Though he played a second-pairing role with the Blueshirts, Yandle would almost certainly become a top-pairing defenseman in Florida, especially if free agent-to-be Brian Campbell doesn’t end up returning to the Cats. Read more

  • Sabres acquire rights to NCAA standout Vesey from Predators for third-round pick

    Jared Clinton
    Jimmy Vesey (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

    Jimmy Vesey is the most sought after free agent coming out of the NCAA, but he won’t hit the open market until Aug. 15. And with the Nashville Predators, the team which drafted Vesey, knowing full well the 23-year-old won’t be signing with them, they’ve flipped the NCAA standout’s exclusive negotiating rights for a third-round pick.

    In a deal that came out of left field, the Buffalo Sabres shipped a 2016 third-round pick, 76th overall, to the Predators in exchange the rights to talk contract with Vesey. While Buffalo could have waited until Vesey became an unrestricted free agent, getting his rights now gives Sabres GM Tim Murray time to try to convince Vesey that Buffalo is the right fit, and Murray sees reasons why Vesey would want to suit up for the Sabres.

    “Why not us? Why not give it a shot? We have a spot in our top six for him,” Murray told TSN’s Bob McKenzie. “We had four 3rd-round picks. If I could’ve traded Jamie McGinn for Vesey’s rights at deadline, I’d have done it. We’ll give (signing Vesey) our best shot.” Read more

  • Updated: Maple Leafs land Andersen from Ducks, sign him to five-year, $25-million deal

    Jared Clinton
    Frederik Andersen (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier entered training camp on a brand new two-year, $8.3-million contract in 2015-16. This year it appears he’ll be heading into camp with some serious competition for his starting job.

    The Maple Leafs announced Monday afternoon they have acquired restricted free agent goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks — the first-round, 30th-overall selection in 2016 and a second-round pick in 2017.

    Anaheim had long been trying to get Andersen under contract, with GM Bob Murray saying as recently as this past weekend that he was working on getting a deal done. Murray did, however, acknowledge that eventually one of Andersen or John Gibson would have to be moved. With Gibson being the presumptive goaltender of the future, though, it seemed Andersen would be the one sent packing. Monday’s deal makes that official.

    The acquisition addresses a definite need for the Maple Leafs, who were hoping to rely on, but were mostly let down by, the play of Bernier this past season. Read more

  • Penguins raise Stanley Cup banner against Capitals, teams announce home-openers

    Jared Clinton
    Sidney Crosby (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins will celebrate their 2016 Stanley Cup victory with a banner-raising ceremony in front of one of the Penguins, and Crosby’s, greatest rivals: Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

    It will be the second Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony for the Penguins during the Crosby era, but the first time one will be hoisted to the rafters of the CONSOL Energy Center ahead of the season. The Penguins three past championships came while the team was playing in Civic Arena, also known as the Mellon Arena. Two of the banners were raised during Mario Lemieux’s heyday, with the third coming in October 2010, early in Crosby’s career, in front of the New York Rangers.

    The Penguins weren’t the only team to announce their home-opener Monday, though they’ll be the only team raising a Stanley Cup banner. All 30 teams announced their first home date of the 2016-17 season, and there are several other matchups that should make for excellent season debuts for the home sides. Read more

  • Report: Stars free agent defenseman Demers seeking $5.5 million per season

    Jared Clinton
    Jason Demers (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Stars have already had to part ways with one of their top defenseman, Alex Goligoski, because the free agent-to-be couldn’t come to terms on a contract with Dallas. Goligoski may be joined as a Stars cast off, though, as it appears Jason Demers could be on his way out of Texas, as well.

    The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle reported that Demers’ free agency ask is somewhere in the $5.5 million per season range, which would be hard for the Stars to carry going forward. Coming off of a seven-goal, 23-point season in which he averaged nearly 21 minutes of ice time per night, that seems like a steep asking price for Demers, but it’s one that he could potentially have met on the open market. It could also be a simple negotiating strategy for Demers — start high, and hope you can find some middle-ground.

    This past season, Demers carried a $3.4-million cap hit, but his actual salary was $3.65 million. An increase of two million seems unlikely, but even more unlikely considering the Stars aren’t in a position to be handing that type of raise out. Read more

  • Ducks GM Murray says one of his goaltenders has ‘got to move’

    Jared Clinton
    Frederik Andersen and John Gibson (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    As much as the stagnant salary cap has the possibility to effect rosters this off-season, the impending expansion draft is weighing just as heavily on roster decisions that will be made over the course of the off-season.

    Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has already spoken about the potential expansion draft and the effect it could have on Pittsburgh goaltending situation with Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray both having claims to the starting job, and one of Rutherford’s fellow GMs, Anaheim Ducks architect Bob Murray, is in a similar spot.

    With John Gibson, 22, the presumptive future in goal for Anaheim, it appears to have made restricted free agent Frederik Andersen, 26, a potentially expendable piece of the Ducks roster. And even though Murray said he has been talking contract with Andersen, the Ducks GM realizes that, eventually, something is going to have to give.

    “If I can get Freddie signed one way or the other, I’ve got to move one (goaltender) because I’ll lose one for sure in expansion,” Murray told the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens. “It just will happen. It’s just something that’s in front of us. It’s there. We have a lot of defensemen. So we have to turn some of these things into assets.” Read more

  • Report: Several teams interested in bringing Ilya Bryzgalov aboard

    Jared Clinton
    Anaheim Ducks Ilya Bryzgalov

    When it was announced, Ilya Bryzgalov’s NHL comeback attempt may have seemed a bit far-fetched, especially given the veteran netminder had sat out the entire 2015-16 season. But as it turns out, there’s still a lot of interest in what the 35-year-old netminder might be able to bring to the table.

    Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, told Russian news outlet TASS that he started speaking with teams as soon as Bryzgalov had made clear his wish to return to the NHL, and while teams were likely shocked to get the call, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some interest. In fact, there are currently a number of teams lining up to speak with Bryzgalov about his return.

    “It is a return to the NHL, and (there are) currently six teams interested in him last week,” Winter said, via TASS. Read more