Mike Halford

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin waits for play to resume in the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Yzerman wants to trade Drouin by deadline


Steve Yzerman wants to end the drawn-out Jonathan Drouin saga, and he wants to do it soon.

On Wednesday, the Bolts GM said he’d “definitely prefer” to trade Drouin “sooner than later,” to end a contentious situation that’s seen the former No. 3 overall pick out of action since late January, due to a team-imposed suspension.

“A lot of things factor into it when making the trade, a lot of things to consider here,” Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. “But number one is, ‘Can I do something involving Jonathan that benefits the team that makes us better right now that helps us for the playoffs?

“I’d certainly like to do that.”

It’s not entirely surprising to hear that Yzerman wants to be active at the deadline. For one, he’s already identified an area where the Lightning need improvement — on the power play.

Despite a wealth of offensive talent, the Bolts have struggled with the man advantage this year, and currently sit 26th in the league at 17.5 percent.

The Lightning have also been rumored to be in the market for a young, right-shot defenseman that’s got a preferable (read: club-controlled) contract. Yzerman is going to be walking a financial tight rope over the next few summers, and the Bolts could use another right-hander, given Anton Stralman and Andrej Sustr are the only two on defense.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning Yzerman’s history of making moves at the deadline. He pulled off the Martin St. Louis-for-Ryan Callahan deal two years ago, and brought aboard Braydon Coburn last spring.


After acquiring Phaneuf, are Sens now gunning for Drouin?

Report: Wild in on Drouin, Lightning want Dumba


Canucks stay busy, acquire Larsen’s rights from Edmonton

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 02:  Philip Larsen #36 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on prior to the start of the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on April 2, 2014 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Vancouver GM Jim Benning made his second curious trade of the week on Wednesday evening, obtaining the rights to KHL defenseman Philip Larsen from Edmonton, in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2017.

The trade, first reported by TSN, is an odd one. Larsen, 26, has been off the NHL radar for a bit, having spent the last two seasons in the KHL. His last action in North America came with the Oilers in ’13-14, when he had three goals and 12 points in 30 games.

There is some intrigue, however.

He’s enjoyed a terrific offensive campaign with Jokerit this season, scoring 12 goals and 38 points in 54 games. He’s a right-handed shot, and also a Danish national team member — along with new Canuck teammate Jannik Hansen.

As mentioned above, this is Benning’s second move of the week. On Monday, he flipped former first-round pick Hunter Shinkaruk to Calgary in exchange for forward Markus Granlund, a move that was largely panned by Canucks fans and media.


WATCH LIVE: Penguins at Bruins

Zdeno Chara, Beau Bennett
Getty Images
1 Comment

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be in for a tough test as they take on Eastern Conference rival Boston at TD Garden. You can catch the game on NBCSN starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, or watch live online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.


Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Malkin, Bonino could return Saturday for Penguins

Lovejoy injury ‘long term,’ Pens confirm

The Bruins got smoked at home again

Video: Marchand sets career-high for goals in style


‘Canes still haven’t asked Eric Staal to waive no-trade

Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers

The trade deadline is just five days away and, over in Carolina, one of the biggest chips in play still hasn’t been asked if he’s willing to move.

On Wednesday, ‘Canes captain Eric Staal told the News & Observer GM Ron Francis hasn’t asked him to waive his no-trade clause yet, but added he may be willing to — depending on the situation.

“Ultimately, we’ll see what management wants to do and what they see is best for this organization and this team, and we’ll go from there,” Staal said. “Obviously it depends on the situation and where it would be. But I think we’ve got a pretty good relationship where we can talk it out and figure it out.

“I’m not going to be trying to hold anything back, but it’s got to be the right situation for myself, as well.”

Though this isn’t an especially huge development — Francis could orchestrate a trade tomorrow, ask Staal to waive, and boom, trade’s done — it could shed light on the current state of the trade market. Things have been fairly slow thus far, with only depth rentals like Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling and, from the non-Leafs division, Mike Weber changing addresses so far.

As such, Francis could be playing the waiting game, hopeful that prices will drive up as Feb. 29 draws closer.

The News & Observer mentions Nashville, Florida and the New York Rangers as teams rumored to be interested in the 31-year-old’s services. Staal is a desirable asset, but it won’t be simple to orchestrate a deal — his $8.25M cap hit means Carolina would likely need to retain some salary.

At first glance, that might appear a non-issue because 1) the ‘Canes aren’t near the ceiling, and 2) Staal’s contract is up at the end of the year. But Francis is already retaining salary from two other trades — Jay Harrison to Winnipeg, Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey — and teams are only allowed to keep money from three contracts.

If Staal is No. 3, it would prevent Francis using the mechanism for other deals.

Mike Yeo discussed his firing, and Adam Oates came up a couple times…

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

It’s been roughly two weeks since the Wild fired head coach Mike Yeo and now, for the first time since being dismissed, Yeo has spoken about his time with the club.

It’s an interesting discussion, to say the least.

Arguably the most intriguing topic was the looming presence of former Washington head coach Adam Oates, who was working with Zach Parise as an individual skills coach (Oates also gave Parise and Ryan Suter power play tips during training camp.)

In his “meaty” blog, the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo noted that Oates showed up at a Wild morning skate in January.

So he asked Yeo about it:

When you say things never felt right, did this start with the Adam Oates stuff? “Yeah. I thought we dealt with it. We talked with Zach, and we had no issues with it after that. And talked with some players, and … Whether it’s something like that, whether it’s the trade rumors, whatever it is, when there’s things that might cause a little unrest, they kind of sit there and they hang out. When things are going well, they’re forgotten and pushed to the side. But when things don’t go well, quite often they come back.”

Did it bother you that Oates came to the Buffalo morning skate? That was at the start of the tailspin? “I’m not going to even comment on it. But I would say, that I would not do the same thing.”

For clarity’s sake, it’s tough to gauge the context of that last quote — whether Yeo was referring to Parise (for having Oates at the skate), or Oates (for going to the skate). But either way, it’s obvious Yeo took issue with it.

And here’s where things get tricky.

Oates has developed a positive reputation across the league for his one-on-one coaching acumen — Scott Gomez said “that guy brought me back from the dead,” and credited Oates for him landing a contract in St. Louis.

Gomez also revealed that a number of high-profile players are utilizing Oates’ expertise as a personal consultant, including Alex Ovechkin and Steve Stamkos.

So in that regard, working with the likes of Parise and Suter isn’t abnormal.

Thing is, Minnesota wasn’t a normal situation.

Yeo had been on and off the hot seat since last season, and Oates is on record saying he wants to be an NHL head coach again. There was also that very awkward time back in late November when Suter — an Oates guy, don’t forget — ripped into Yeo and the coaching staff, saying “I don’t know what they’re thinking.”

And if you want to read deeper into the Oates/Parise/Suter dynamic, consider what Yeo said about the Wild locker room.

“It just felt like there were almost two groups,” he explained. “There were younger guys and there were the older guys. It wasn’t just a group.”

The oldest guy in Minnesota is Jason Pominville, who’s 33.

Parise and Suter are 31.