Trade rumors heat up as GM’s prepare for draft

The days preceding the 2010 NHL Entry Draft have been some of the busiest in recent years in terms of trades and trade rumors. Now that the draft is only a few short hours away from beginning, trade rumors are heating up as general managers around the league look to get the most bang for their buck and do whatever it takes to make their team a contender. And it appears as if nobody is safe from the trading block. Here is a quick rundown of some of the last-minute rumors going around the net that could come into fruition before or during the draft tonight:

– It appears as if several teams are offering their first-round draft picks. The Florida Panthers (#3), Columbus Blue Jackets (#4), New York Islanders (#5), Atlanta Thrashers (#8), Florida Panthers (#15) and the Phoenix Coyotes (#22) are all said to be fielding offers for their first-round draft picks. If any of these teams do give up their selections, don’t expect them to come cheap. Several of these teams are looking to rebuild and they will want promising prospects or a package of later draft picks. Florida, Columbus or New York may even want a roster player plus prospects in exchange for their selection.

– Tomas Kaberle talks continue and will continue through the draft until he is dealt. The number of interested teams appears to be in the double digits, but the number of serious offers may only be around 5. While I would be very surprised of Kaberle wasn’t moved tonight, it’s being said that Toronto GM Brian Burke is asking for a lot in return and some teams may not be willing to give up what Burke is asking for. When push comes to shove, I expect Kaberle to be moved tonight.

– Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro has recently come into play. Rumors state that inquiries have been made about Ribeiro’s availability, but Dallas isn’t actively pushing to unload Ribeiro, who carries with him a cap hit of $5 million per season.

– Stars center Brad Richards has also been linked to the New York Rangers as a possible center for Marion Gaborik. Richards carries a hefty price tag of $7.8 million, but the Rangers may be willing to pay.

– Senators forward Jason Spezza has been the center of trade talks for a few weeks now, but it appears as if talks have died down for Ottawa’s top center. With a hefty cap hit of $7 million per season, many teams may not be able to absorb that kind of salary. Spezza could be moved tonight, but my guess is that he is still a Senator by the end of the draft and that talks will heat up next week before free agency begins. Spezza’s no trade clause kicks in next Thursday at the beginning of the free agency period.

– Boston Bruins center Marc Savard has recently appeared in trade rumors. The general feeling is that Edmonton will take taylor Hall with the number one overall pick, leaving Boston to take Tyler Seguin at number two. This will leave the Bruins overloaded at center. They will most likely try to move a center in the near future. I highly doubt that Savard will be that center, however.Teams rumored to be interested in Savard are the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames.

– Reports state that the Florida Panthers have decided to take defenseman Erik Gudbranson with their number three overall pick (if that pick is not traded).

– Flyers center Jeff Carter continues to appear in trade rumors. Philadelphia needs a strong goaltender next season and Carter may be the sacrifice to get what they covet. Carter would certainly be a welcome addition to any team needing a young, goal-scoring center. Carter is set to earn $5 million this season and will be a restricted free agent at season’s end.

In short, it appears as if the rumor mill has either gone crazy with wishful thinking orĀ  simply no player, no matter how gifted or well-liked, is safe from being traded. While I don’t think tonight’s draft will be as crazy as some rumor mongers are making it out to be, I certainly believe that some moves will be made and that at least one big player will get traded before the night is out. Draft starts in roughly two hours. Grab a pizza and a beer and enjoy.

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