With the start of the 2012 NHL Draft less than 24 hours away, TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun gathered in Pittsburgh on Thursday for the latest installment of Insider Trading. Among the topics discussed were the futures of Jordan Staal, Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, James van Riemsdyk as well as where soon-to-be free agent Justin Schultz will sign.
Jordan Staal on the move?
McKenzie: I don't think there's any question that Staal is on the market. The Pittsburgh Penguins came into the week hoping to lock up Sidney Crosby and Staal to 10-year deals. They made the offer to Staal, which had a significant increase to his current salary believed to be around $6 million per season. Staal informed the club that at this particular time, he is not interested in signing an extension. If you read between the lines, you could say that it looks like Staal might want to play somewhere else. He has a year left before becoming an unrestricted free agent, and if he's not prepared to commit to the club right now, the Penguins have no choice but to see what they could get for him on the trade market.
LeBrun: Let's face it, the Carolina Hurricanes have the hammer in this situation, as there is a wide held belief that the Jordan wants to play with his brother Eric. The Hurricanes could wait until next off-season, but in the meantime, they've contacted the Penguins to make a trade offer. Other teams will also call Pittsburgh, like Toronto, Buffalo and Anaheim.
On Nash, Ryan and van Riemsdyk
Dreger: A lot of people are watching what's going on with Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets. Nash's agent Joe Resnick met with Jackets' GM Scott Howson on Thursday afternoon and got an update. There's not a lot going on. The sense from teams interested in the Nash sweepstakes is that the asking price is still too high. Nash is linked with Ducks forward Bobby Ryan. There are a number of people who believe that if the Philadelphia Flyers can't get Nash at the price they're willing to pay, that they could quickly switch over to their pursuit of Ryan. That same situation applies to the New York Rangers. Resnick took his time to encourage Howson to get a deal done for his client sooner rather than later, given the fact that the talks have been ongoing since January.
Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk could also be on the move. There are a lot of teams interested in acquiring him - including the Toronto Maple Leafs - but what remains to be known right now is the exact asking price. The Flyers are believed to be seeking a defenceman, which the Leafs have in abundance, but there doesn't seem to be anything close right now.
LeBrun: The Flyers love making moves at this time of year. They're keeping tabs on Nash, and have loved Ryan for a long time. From what I'm hearing, the one player that the Ducks would want back in any deal with the Flyers would be Brayden Schenn. As far as I'm concerned, I think that's a "no go" for the Flyers.
Stars on the Market?
LeBrun: Teams have circled back to the Dallas Stars to ask about Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro. Ott garnered a lot of interest and the Stars hemmed and hawed at the deadline, but didn't move him because at the time they were sitting in eighth in the West. I think they're going to think hard about moving him this off-season.
On Patrick Kane
LeBrun: One player who has had his name out in rumours a great deal lately is Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. He's not going anywhere. The Hawks are saying they've never once even thought about trying to deal him and haven't talked to any teams about him.
Where will Justin Schultz land?
McKenzie: The Anaheim Ducks know the jig is up there. They know that Schultz, who they selected in the second round of the 2008 Draft, will become a free agent this Sunday. Once Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are gone as free agents, Schultz, the blue chip prospect from the University of Wisconsin, who should be a top-four defenceman for a long time in the NHL, is going to be one of the most sought after free agents. There's a strong belief that he wants to play on a Canadian team, and one that will give him the opportunity to be a major contributor right off the hop. The Edmonton Oilers fit that bill perfectly and there's a lot of speculation that Schultz might be receptive to that, but nobody knows for sure until Schultz starts talking.