- Gare Joyce of SportsNet: The Panthers No. 1 pick might be available, but they won’t move it for anything along the lines of the rumored Maple Leafs No. 8, Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri. The Leafs would then draft Aaron Ekblad. One senior executive:
“I get the sense that [the No. 1 pick] is out there. [Pathers GM] Dale Tallon has all kinds of young players in the organization and wants to make the playoffs sooner rather than later. Still, Kadri in the package won’t get it done. JVR [LW James van Riemsdyk] might if he’s with the pick and Gardiner… or he might not. Tallon will wait it out to see what the best offer is. It’s a big one to sit tight and close on the floor but I wouldn’t rule it out.”
- Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press: The Red Wings are looking for a top-four defenseman, and could look Rangers Anton Stralman. Stralman is coming off a two-year, $3.4 million deal and could be looking for at least $3 million a season.
- Scott Powers of ESPN: The Blackhawks and Ben Smith have had initial contract extension talks.
“We’ve had a couple of preliminary conversations with the Hawks but that’s it at this point,” Smith’s agent Jerry Buckley of Buckley Sports Management wrote in an email on Wednesday. “I expect to continue conversations with them in the near future.”
- Hope Smoke: Nick Kypreos: “The name I hear is if Stl & Van were going to put anything together for Kesler is TJ Oshie” … “Berglund’s available. I think if you saw an Ott-Stl deal with Spezza you’d see Berglund involved in it for sure” … “Same thing with the Leafs and Kadri. The Leafs have been asking about Berglund as well”
- Jimmy Murphy: Sense from sources is that Shawn Thornton and the Panthers make sense.