Morning Hits: Talks heating up, Bernier, Backstrom, Lightning, Clarkson, MacKinnon, Stastny and Ballard


  • Dan Rosen: Trade talks are heating up. Leafs GM Dave Nonis has said it and Capitals GM George McPhee said he’s expecting a flurry of activity soon.
  • Pierre LeBrun of ESPN: Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier yesterday:

    “I’m still part of the L.A. Kings and it’s been a great ride, but I feel really confident and I want to get to the next level to get a real chance to hopefully be a No. 1 somewhere,” Bernier told ESPN.com over the phone Wednesday. “I’m sure the Kings will make the right decision. If I’m staying there, I’m staying there. If not, I’m ready for the challenge.”

    “It’s actually exciting,” Bernier said. “But I really can’t control anything. It’s up to Dean. If there’s the right trade for him, I’m sure he’ll make the right call.

    “I spoke with Dean at the end of the season, and he told me he can keep me there but also feels he kind of owed me the chance to be somewhere else (as a starter). So I guess we’ll know in the next few weeks.”

    The Panthers, Wild, Flyers, Maple Leafs and Islanders are interested in varying degrees. The Wild would depend on if they can re-sign Niklas Backstrom. The Flyers would only be in if they plan on moving out Ilya Bryzgalov.

    Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has spoken with Backstrom’s agent. Money is one concern for the Wild, another is durability.

    Lightning GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t believe in drafting by need only. The Lightning need a No. 1 defenseman.

    “We believe in taking the best player available,” Yzerman said after the GMs meeting. “That’s been our philosophy. Your needs change from year to year. When these kids are available to play, your needs may be entirely different for various reasons. So that’s a rule of thumb we’ve had.”

    Yzerman on trading the third overall pick.

    “We’re quite comfortable with the third pick, but we’re open to any scenario which we think makes us a better organization,” Yzerman said.

    Yzerman on using his compliance buyout options.

    “It’s something to consider. … Given that we finished in 28th place, we should be looking at every possibility of improving our team and what are options are. Other than that, I can’t say much.”

    Devils GM Lou Lamoriello on UFA David Clarkson.

    “We’ll do everything we can to sign him,” Lamoriello said Wednesday. “We’re not looking to do anything else.”

  • Twitter conversation between Michael Traikos and Ryan Kennedy:
    Kennedy: “Speaking with a Denver insider, it really sounds like Colorado is going to take Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick now.”  Traikos: “makes sense. Roy would have seen him a ton in the Q.” Kennedy: “Guess the question now is what, if anything, happens with Paul Stastny” Traikos: “Toronto-bound?” Kennedy: “Intriguing. The Buds do have a lot of defensemen as assets to move” Traikos: “would Avs take Liles back?” Kennedy: “They’re not exactly flush with puckmovers back there…”
  • Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun: Keith Ballard agent, Ben Hankinson, said that it may be good if the Canucks buyout Ballard, giving him a fresh start somewhere.

    “My guess is they are going to push the trade front as hard as they can, probably up to the (June 30) draft, and see where that takes them,”

    It would cost the Canucks $5.6 million to buyout Ballard. There was speculation that they might buyout David Booth, but he is injured.
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