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PRINCE OF PUCKS: Potential draft-day deals

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With the draft weekend looming, rumors are flying fast and furious. The main reason is the uncertainty over labor negotiations set for September, 2004. Facing the possibility of salary or payroll caps in the future, teams carrying big payrolls are planning to slash them in the coming weeks. This sets up the possibility of big-market teams trading veterans for draft picks or prospects during the draft weekend. Here's a breakdown by team and what each club may be seeking this weekend. ANAHEIM MIGHTY DUCKS: GM Bryan Murray apparently wants to bolster his offense, and he could have interest in obtaining another offensive blueliner. Another possibility could be Montreal's . Yes, his defensive skills aren't the best, but if head coach Mike Babcock could turn into a responsible two-way defenseman, why couldn't he do the same for "Breezy"? One wonders if he might re-acquire from New Jersey. ATLANTA THRASHERS: They've sought a rugged, stay-at-home defenseman for months, but could also be in the market for a scoring forward if they fail to re-sign impending free agent . Might go the free agent route if unable to swing a deal during the draft weekend. BOSTON BRUINS: With set to test the free agent market, they need a quality starting goaltender. Ignore the speculation they're shopping winger plus their first-rounder to Florida for the first-rounder. It was believed the B's would then use that pick to draft goalie prospect Marc-Andre Fluery, but they need help now, not in four years time. They're rumored to have serious interest in Phoenix netminder , offering the 'Yotes, who don't have a first round pick in this year's draft, the 16th overall pick as the centerpiece of a package offer. With Samsonov a Group II free agent, might the B's include him in the deal? BUFFALO SABRES: Various reports claim the are willing to move their first round pick, fifth overall, to bring in help to their roster now. GM Darcy Regier is believed to be seeking a young, inexpensive "second-tier" player. It's also believed they have no plans afoot to trade either forward or defenseman . CALGARY FLAMES: No word out of the camp as to potential moves, although the N.Y. Post recently speculated they might shop . It's believed, however, that management wants to keep this club intact to give them one more shot at making the postseason. CAROLINA HURRICANES: The 'Canes own the second overall pick and have made it known it could be moved for the right price. It's believed the 'Canes could trade up with the Florida and use the pick to draft Marc-Andre Fleury. GM Jim Rutherford is also believed to be willing to move defensemen or , but apparently wishes to retain struggling center , who was the subject of trade speculations last season. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: The Chicago Daily Herald reported on GM 's willingness to trade his first round pick (14th overall) and a player to bring in immediate help for his blueline corps. He could have interest in New Jersey's or Dallas's . Could go the free agent route in July if a trade cannot bring in the help he's seeking. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: Not much word out of the camp as to their draft plans. They presently hold the fourth overall pick, but haven't indicated if they'll keep the pick, attempt to move up in the draft as they did last year, or shop it for veteran help. COLORADO AVALANCHE: 's retirement has the rumor mill buzzing that the Avs are seeking a veteran replacement, although GM Pierre Lacroix indicated he'll start next season with as his starting goalie. Speculation has the trading for Phoenix's or Tampa Bay's . There's also talk they may attempt to land via free agency. DALLAS STARS: The are believed to be very interested in landing the first overall pick from the Florida . The Palm Beach Post reported they're offering a package of center and defenseman for the pick plus one of the young forwards. They're still trying to dump 's salary, and one wild rumor has them shopping expensive winger , but that seems highly unlikely, given his expensive salary and no-trade clause. DETROIT RED WINGS:The Wings are still trying to re-sign impending free agents , and . They're not expected to be very busy as far as trades go in the upcoming draft, but if GM Ken Holland feels he cannot reach a deal with Fedorov, it could make him open to offers. EDMONTON OILERS: Another team that's been quiet in terms of trade rumors as the draft weekend approaches. GM Kevin Lowe recently denied a rumor he was shopping goaltender . It appears likely they'll lose veteran forward to free agency, and that might prompt Lowe to seek an experienced, inexpensive replacement. FLORIDA PANTHERS: All eyes will be on GM Rick Dudley come June 21. He's not expected to keep the first overall pick, and has confirmed he's received offers from several clubs. The asking price is believed to be a first round pick plus either one or two players who can help the roster next season. A tall order, but for clubs looking to slash payroll, one that could be doable. LOS ANGELES KINGS: GM Dave Taylor has three picks in the first round, and scuttlebutt has it he's looking to trade those picks for a higher pick in the first round plus a roster player, which would be used to fill the void left by the departed . MINNESOTA WILD: Don't expect much action from the . GM Doug Risebrough is very pleased with the progress of his club and has no plans to tinker very much with his roster. Still, the Pioneer Post reported he hasn't ruled out the possibility of trading one of his goaltenders for the right offer. MONTREAL CANADIENS: The Habs are seeking someone to take defenseman off their hands. They're willing to pick up part of his $4 million per season salary, but his no-trade clause limits potential destinations. Teams interested in defensemen include Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Chicago. They were rumored last month to have shopped a package offer of Brisebois, and a prospect to clubs with the top five picks. NASHVILLE PREDATORS: GM David Poile reportedly doesn't expect to do much wheeling and dealing of his draft picks this weekend, but he doesn't rule out the possibility if he gets the right offer. The hold the seventh overall pick, plus the 35th and 37th overall picks, which could generate some interest if Poile decides to shop any of them. NEW JERSEY DEVILS: It's believed GM Lou Lamoriello has no intention of re-signing defenseman and is likely to shop him during the draft weekend. Look for Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, and possibly his former club, the Anaheim , to have some interest. It's possible he'll also lose center to free agency so he could be seeking a replacement. NEW YORK ISLANDERS: This is the time of year when GM Mike Milbury makes his biggest deals, and this year's draft weekend shouldn't be any different. Milbury confirmed he's sniffing around for a possible deal that could move him up in the draft, where presently he owns the 15th overall pick. Newsday reports he could shop defenseman and winger , but supposedly he's keen to retain blueliner , who's been the topic of trade speculation for months. Disregard those rumors of team captain being shopped. Milbury knows what a healthy Peca brings to his hockey club and doesn't want to part with his leadership and experience. NEW YORK RANGERS: If rumors are to be believed, they've received offers of from Philadelphia and from Washington. spokesmen, however, have denied these reports. Unlike previous years, the deep-pocketed are concerned over the uncertain future the next Collective Bargaining Agreement could bring about and apparently aren't in the market for high-priced help. OTTAWA SENATORS: The Sens may now be owned by a billionaire, but they aren't expected to start throwing money around for high-priced help. They're keen on keeping most of their roster intact, and aren't expected to make any serious moves during the draft weekend. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: The are said to be aggressively shopping winger , but thus far haven't found many takers. Although the team is willing to pick up part of his salary, concerns about LeClair's age (34), recent injury history and the rest of his big contract are making the big guy a tough sell for the . They're also believed very interested in the first overall pick, leading to speculation GM Bob Clarke might offer up either or , prospect defenseman Jeff Woywitka and the 11th overall pick to the . They're also believed making the same offer to the Phoenix for . Clarke denies he's looking to trade up in the draft, but given his history of saying one thing and doing another, it's done little to squelch speculation. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: They hold the third overall pick and, like Carolina, are believed interested in either swapping picks with the , or shopping it for inexpensive help for their roster. It's also rumored winger is available, although his salary ($4 million) and injury history could turn off any interested parties. PHOENIX COYOTES: The are said to be once again listening to offers for goalie . As noted earlier, the and are believed very interested and supposedly could offer up their first round picks as part of a package to land him. This could be an enticement for the , who have no picks in the first round of this year's draft. The Colorado are also believed interested in Burke. ST. LOUIS BLUES: They were thought to still have interest in , but recently re-signed goalie , leading to the growing belief they're in the market to cut payroll. They've yet to come to terms with Group II free agent winger , and are said to be in the market for more blueline depth. SAN JOSE SHARKS: New GM Doug Wilson is in the market for more scoring and toughness, and has made it known he could move one of the 15 picks he has in the draft to bring in the help they need. If Wilson were to offer up one of his two first-rounders, it could certainly attract more interest from other clubs. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: For the third time in as many months, GM Jay Feaster denied shopping goaltender . He's also denied backup may be available. Feaster may be unable to re-sign impending UFA forwards and , leading the St. Petersburg Times to conclude keeping that goalie tandem together will be of even more importance. Feaster added he has no plans to trade up in the draft, and if he does go shopping during the weekend, it'll be for blueline help. Could he have interest in or ? TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: With no picks in the first round, the Leafs may be open to offers from those willing to move their picks for a veteran player. It's believed winger could be available, and don't rule out the possibility of being shopped. Remember, he's 's brother-in-law, and apparently wasn't happy over the circumstances that led to Corson quitting the team last April. VANCOUVER CANUCKS: GM Brian Burke confirmed he's willing to shop his first and second round picks if they'll bring him immediate help for his roster. Holding the 23rd and 60th picks overall, however, he may not find as much interest as he would if his club were sitting higher in the draft order. Still, teams without picks in the first round, such as Phoenix or Toronto, might have some interest. WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Apparently the Caps are trying to rid themselves of the remainder of 's $66 million salary, but aren't finding any takers. Even if they picked up half of Jagr's salary, $33 million would still be expensive for other clubs to take on. On a more realistic note, the Caps are in the market for blueline help, either via trades or free agency. At home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he's known as Lyle Richardson. But around these parts, he's known as Spector, FOXSports.com's Prince of Pucks. Check in with Spector for the latest NHL rumors from around the league and buy his book.
Tagged: Bruins, Sabres, Flames, Red Wings, Oilers, Hurricanes, Stars, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Senators, Flyers, Penguins, Avalanche, Blues, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Capitals, Coyotes, Ducks, Panthers, Predators, Jets, Blue Jackets, Sergei Samsonov, Bill Guerin, Miroslav Satan, Slava Kozlov, Craig Conroy, Darren McCarty, Steve Yzerman, Todd Marchant, Aaron Ward, Sandis Ozolinsh, Josef Vasicek, Bryan Smolinski, Richard Matvichuk, Joe Nieuwendyk, Pierre Turgeon, Patrice Brisebois, Jason Arnott, Roman Hamrlik, Mark Parrish, John LeClair, Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Martin Straka, Nikolai Khabibulin, Vinny Prospal, Dave Andreychuk, Darcy Tucker, Jaromir Jagr, Sean Burke, Michael Peca

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