Well, consider the Flames very, very interested in the unsigned Phoenix Coyotes center. You can take that to the bank.
The Flames, a source told ESPN.com on Tuesday, have kept weekly tabs on the Turris situation, holding numerous discussions with both the Phoenix Coyotes and the Turris camp led by agent Kurt Overhardt.
The Flames also fully understand the message they’re currently getting from Coyotes GM Don Maloney: That Phoenix is adamant it won’t deal him while he remains unsigned.
If and when that stance changes, the Flames are determined to be in the mix. They view Turris as a potential No. 1 center, and that’s an obvious area of concern on their squad.
It should also be mentioned as a point of practicality that the Flames can’t sign Turris to an offer sheet because they currently don’t have their second-round pick for next June’s draft.
Another club that has serious interest in Turris, according to my TSN colleague Bob McKenzie, is the Ottawa Senators. McKenzie reported Tuesday night during our Insider Trading segment on TSN that the Senators have also had several discussions with the Coyotes, but like the Flames, they have been told by Phoenix that Turris won’t be dealt while he remains unsigned.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have also checked in with Phoenix on Turris, although their interest doesn’t appear to be quite as strong as their fellow Canadian clubs.
Leafs Trade Talks
The trade calls are heating up in Toronto, a source told ESPN.com Tuesday, with the New York Rangers among the clubs that have redialed the 416 area code of late.
As we reported last week, blueliner Cody Franson is available in Toronto.
Here’s the quandary, however, for the Leafs according to the same source: Do you make a deal now and risk alienating the equilibrium you’ve got in a dressing room that’s surprised everyone in the opening month? Perhaps you wait until later in the season to deal away a defenseman from that surplus you’ve got in Toronto. That’s the debate inside the Leafs’ front office.
Predators’ Big Three
Neil Sheehy, the agent for Ryan Suter, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he’s slated to be in Nashville in two weeks’ time to resume contract talks with the Predators. Suter, of course, is slated for unrestricted free agency July 1, just like star goalie Pekka Rinne.
Preds GM David Poile told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he chatted, once again, with Rinne’s agent, Jay Grossman, on Monday.
The clock keeps ticking and the Preds have made it a priority to keep the lines of communication open with all three camps.
“I know these guys all want to sign here,’’ Poile said. “But it’s just a matter of getting it done. The better we do on the ice, I think the better chance we have of signing them.’’
Jarrett Bousquet, one of Shea Weber’s agents from Titan Sports Management, told ESPN.com that there have not been any real contract talks with the Preds since last summer’s arbitration decision. As per the CBA, Weber would not be able to sign a new deal until Jan. 1 at the earliest in any case, but that doesn’t preclude teams and agents from keeping the lines open -- and certainly Poile and Bousquet actually chatted the other day. At this point, it would appear Weber’s camp wants to let things marinate a little after last summer’s drama.
From this vantage point, it looks like Weber -- a restricted free agent July 1 -- wants to see what unfolds with Rinne and Suter before he makes his move.
If one of those two blueliners becomes available, there won’t be a shortage of teams willing to move in on him, but keep a close eye on the Detroit Red Wings, especially if Nick Lidstrom retires. The Wings have the most cap room they’ve ever had entering the offseason, more than $23 million if Lidstrom retires and still north of $17 million if he comes back at around the same salary. If Suter or Weber is available, you can bet the Wings will try to be in on it.