Jason Brough

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26:  (l-r) John Davidson and Jarmo Kekäläinen of the Columbus Blue Jackets attend the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jackets have received ‘some serious and real offers’ for third overall pick

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With his comments yesterday, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen did little to dissuade the speculation that he might actually — no, really, he might — trade the third overall pick in Friday’s draft.

“We’re getting some serious and real offers right now,” Kekalainen said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We’re making sure we have them all lined up so that we can compare them and see what the best one is and whether it’s worth consideration.”

According to most rankings, the third-best player in the 2016 draft is Finnish winger Jesse Puljujarvi. 

But the Blue Jackets have compiled their own list, and for them, that’s the only list that counts.

“Whether it’s close to the consensus of the experts or not, that’s what we’re going to rely on and how we’re going to do our business,” said Kekalainen. “We feel it’s the only right way to do business.”

If the Blue Jackets do end up trading the third overall pick, they could move down a few spots and select a center like Logan Brown or Clayton Keller.

Related: After trading Ryan Johansen, do the Jackets have a number-one center?

UFA of the Day: Kyle Okposo

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 30:    Kyle Okposo #21 of the New York Islanders fires the puck in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Kyle Okposo

He’s only 28 and he scored 22 goals with 42 assists last season. That’s going to mean a big payday, but it won’t be with the Islanders.

league source told Newsday that Okposo is “100 percent gone” from the club that drafted him a decade ago. The Isles will miss him. Only John Tavares had more points (70) for them last season.

Okposo is from St. Paul and he played college hockey for the Gophers, so obviously Minnesota has been named as a possible destination.

Contributing to that speculation, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has said that adding more goal-scoring is a priority this offseason.

“There’s so much talent in this league. There’s not a lot separating most of us, and I think if we could find a way to score goals a little more easily that would certainly help our cause,” Fletcher said, per the Star Tribune.

To clear cap space, the Wild could buy out Thomas Vanek’s contract.

If not Minnesota for Okposo, the Bruins could be interested, especially if they don’t re-sign Loui Eriksson, which is looking doubtful.

The Canucks could also be suitors. They’re going to do their best to add a top-six winger, be it Milan Lucic, Eriksson, or whoever can help them put the puck in the net.

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.

The Coyotes have picked a site for their new arena, but no deal yet


Back in early May, Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said he’d be “shocked if we get to the draft on June 24 without a significant announcement in regards to the new arena.”

Well, today is June 24, and yesterday the Coyotes made an announcement about their new arena.

Sort of.

Per Arizona Sports, the Coyotes have apparently picked a site to build the rink, but they were still “working through the legal documentation of the real estate agreement.”

More from the report:

LeBlanc declined to provide any other details, or name the site, but the previously reported potential sites include one at the intersection of the 101 and 202 freeways just north of Tempe Marketplace, one on the campus of Arizona State University on its newly-created athletic district where Karsten Golf Course currently sits, one along the 101 corridor in Scottsdale — across from Talking Stick Resort — and downtown, although Suns owner Robert Sarver is a major stumbling block to a Phoenix site.

The Coyotes’ lease in Glendale only runs through next season, and they’ve been adamant they won’t be staying at their current home any longer than they have to.

More details could be coming today, so stay tuned.


Trade: Panthers send Grimaldi to Colorado for Berra

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 01: Reto Berra #20 of the Colorado Avalanche make sthe kick save against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 1, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  The Avalanche defeated the Devils 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers have acquired goalie Reto Berra from Colorado. He’ll slot in as the replacement for backup Al Montoya, who’s not expected to re-sign.

The cost to get Berra was 23-year-old Rocco Grimaldi, a talented-but-undersized forward who’s yet to prove he can produce at the NHL level. Grimaldi had three goals and two assists in 20 games for the Panthers in 2015-16. He spent most of the year in the AHL.

Berra also split 2015-16 between the AHL and NHL. The 29-year-old went 5-8-0 with a .922 save percentage for the Avs. He has one year left on his contract at a cap hit of $1.45 million.

The Avs will likely go with Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard, a 24-year-old restricted free agent, as their netminding tandem next season.

UFA of the Day: Brian Campbell

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 27:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Florida Panthers scores a goal during a game against the Colorado Avalanche at BB&T Center on October 27, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Brian Campbell

He just turned 37 years old, but he can still contribute. The veteran of over 1,000 NHL games had six goals and 25 assists in 82 games last season, and his puck-moving ability is in high demand.

It’s unlikely he’ll be back in Florida — not after the Panthers gave the younger Keith Yandle a five-year deal worth almost $45 million.

It’s since been reported he has “serious interest” in returning to Chicago, his last stop before being traded to Florida. But even if that’s true, the Blackhawks are going to have enough trouble re-signing Andrew Shaw. Fitting Campbell under the $73 million salary cap would take some real creativity from GM Stan Bowman.

If not Chicago, what about a return to Buffalo? The Sabres are in the market for a left-shot d-man, although they’d prefer a young one, and Campbell isn’t that.

Then what about the Boston Bruins? They’re desperate to add a “transitional” defenseman, and now Yandle and Alex Goligoski are off the board. Perhaps the B’s would prefer a younger, right-shooting option like Kevin Shattenkirk, but that would cost them significantly more than money.

Whichever teams end up pursuing Campbell — and there will probably be a few — his age will be a factor in negotiations. Of the 174 defensemen that played at least 50 NHL games in 2015-16, only seven of them were older than he was. And that short list will get even shorter next year.

To be fair, Campbell has been remarkably durable; the last game he missed was all the way back in 2011. He’s not the most physical defender, so that helps him stay healthy. But he’s human, and with age comes decline. A two-year deal might work out okay. Anything more could be pushing it.

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.