Friday, June 22, 2012
Draft Rumblings: And they're off!
By Pierre LeBrun
PITTSBURGH -- We finally got our first trade of draft week with the Philadelphia Flyers sending goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets for three draft picks, including the 45th overall pick in Saturday’s second round.
The Jackets, of course, were screaming for goalie help. Not exactly sure this is the answer, but it’s worth a shot at this point. I still believe Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings would have been a much better option for Columbus.
Yandle on the market?
Keith Yandle’s name was hot on the trade rumor mill Friday.
"He’s definitely in play," a rival GM told ESPN.com on Friday.
A Phoenix Coyotes source downplayed the rumors, saying only that teams were calling on the star defenseman, not the other way around.
Yandle has four years left on his deal, which carries a $5.25 million cap hit.
The Coyotes would be looking for a center in any deal they made involving Yandle, another source indicated.
A lot of teams would have interest in Yandle, and the New York Rangers are one of them. He’d be the power-play quarterback they’ve been looking for, no question.
The St. Louis Blues are in the market for a top-four, left-handed defenseman, so Yandle would certainly fill the bill as well.
Suddenly, this is a market with defensemen available. The Chicago Blackhawks are shopping Niklas Hjalmarsson, and there was chatter Friday that the Flames were listening on Jay Bouwmeester.
Add the fact that Matt Carle of the Flyers and Jason Garrison of the Florida Panthers are unsigned and will be unrestricted free agents July 1, and you’ve got five notable top-tier blueliners on the market.
"We continue to talk to the Flyers," Carle’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, told ESPN.com on Friday. "We’ll see what happens.’’
Garrison’s agent, Matt Oates, was slated to meet with Panthers GM Dale Tallon on Friday. If the sides can’t close the gap in contract talks, don’t be surprised if the Panthers trade Garrison’s rights this weekend.
Oilers have decided
The Edmonton Oilers met Friday morning and decided whom they would pick first overall between Nail Yakupov and Ryan Murray, although they aren't tipping their hand either way publicly.
Unless, of course, they trade the pick. The Oilers expected those phone calls to intensify as the afternoon went on.
The Blue Jackets are willing to drop down from No. 2 overall as well.
The New York Islanders hold the fourth overall pick in Friday night’s first round and were getting calls, too.
You just get a sense that there might be some movement with those top five picks before all is said and done Friday night. And some of that movement might not be until the first pick or two is taken.
Bettman does lunch with Roy
With some media onlookers nearby, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had lunch with Patrick Roy on Friday. A source told ESPN.com the meeting was at the request of the Hall of Fame goalie. All of which, of course, just fans the flames of the NHL talk involving Quebec City, Roy's hometown.
Greg Jamison's bid to buy the Coyotes still isn't resolved.