<span class="vcard">Mike Halford</span>

Milan Lucic

Lucic would accept trade to Vancouver

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Milan Lucic has a controversial history with Vancouver, but is willing to return to the city he calls home.

On Friday, Lucic told PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban he’d be willing to accept a trade to Vancouver, should such a deal arise. The Bruins forward, who has a 15-team no-trade clause, grew up in East Vancouver and played junior hockey for the WHL Giants before getting drafted in 2006 by the Bruins — back when current Canucks GM Jim Benning was an assistant in Boston.

It’s important to note there’s no trade pending for Lucic, nor have the Bruins asked him to waive. That said, the Canucks have reportedly inquired about the 27-year-old power forward, despite the fact they’re facing a salary cap crunch and would have to clear significant space to afford Lucic’s $6 million hit.

Slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Lucic has been at the center of trade talks for some time. In April, the Boston Globe reported he was under consideration to be moved; Lucic’s name then resurfaced two days ago, shortly after new GM Don Sweeney said he’d spoken with numerous other NHL GMs and was “feeling the heat” to improve the B’s roster.

As mentioned above, Lucic has history with Vancouver, and not all of it good. After video of a physical altercation outside of a downtown restaurant surfaced in 2013, Lucic delivered a stinging criticism.

“I have no reason left to defend my city and the people in my city,” he said, per the Vancouver Sun. “I’m disgusted and outraged that it had to come to something like that.”

Shortly thereafter, Lucic re-embraced Vancouver and expressed remorse about his comments, saying “I am still, and always will be, proud to be from there. It is home.”

Get to know a draft pick — Connor McDavid

Erie Otters v Windsor Spitfires
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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Connor McDavid (C)

Height: 6’1 Weight: 195 Shoots: Left

Team: Erie Otters (OHL)

Country: Canada

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

The clear-cut top prospect in this year’s draft, viewed by many as the kind of talent that comes around once every 10-15 years. For all of McDavid’s exploits this season — OHL Player of the Year, CHL Player of the Year — the feather in his cap might’ve been an outrageous run through the Ontario League playoffs; he scored an eye-bulging 21 goals and 49 points in 20 games and put together a highlight reel of goals, further cementing him as the type of dynamic player that will make an immediate impact in Edmonton next season.

Seidel says:

“McDavid is a generational talent that’s been in the spotlight since he was 13 years old, and has excelled on all of the big stages. An offensive force, he’s a natural set-up man with deft passing ability — but he’ll still score his fair share of goals with his innate ability to capitalize on opportunities. McDavid also has incredible quickness, a hockey IQ that’s off the charts and will instantly create offense in the NHL.”

NHL comparable: Sidney Crosby/Tyler Seguin

Nothing new between Preds and Ribeiro, who’ll talk with other teams

Mike Ribeiro
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Another pending free agent is going to field interest from other teams.

Mike Ribeiro, who’s been stuck in negotiations with the Nashville Predators, will begin to listen to interest from other teams as the window for UFAs to speak with various NHL clubs is now open.

Per the Tennessean, agent Don Meehan said there’s nothing new to report between his client and Nashville. Ribeiro is looking for a deal with term, and previously told the Predators that he won’t accept another one-year contract.

The 35-year-old is in a precarious situation. While he enjoyed a good bounce-back season with Nashville after getting bought out by the Coyotes — 62 points in 82 games, finishing 12th in the NHL in assists — Ribeiro has some character and commitment concerns, and is currently embroiled in a civil sexual assault lawsuit.

Ribeiro played last season on a one-year, $1.05M deal.

Get to know a draft pick — Dylan Strome

Erie Otters v Oshawa Generals - Game Two
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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Dylan Strome (C)

Height: 6’3 Weight: 185 Shoots: Left

Team: Erie Otters (OHL)

Country: Canada

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 4 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

The younger brother of Islanders’ forward — and No. 5 overall pick — Ryan Strome, Dylan had a tremendous campaign as Connor McDavid’s running mate in Erie this year, capturing the OHL scoring title with 129 points in 68 games.

As those numbers suggest, Strome is one of the elite offensive talents available at the draft. It’s worth noting that much of his production came solo; while he and McDavid spent time on the Otters’ power play together, Strome centered his own line this year and carried the load when McDavid was sidelined for 20 games with a broken hand (Strome racked up 29 points over that stretch).

“He was ready to rise to the occasion,” Erie head coach Kris Knoblauch said, per NHL.com. “He knew it would be more difficult. I didn’t want him to get too discouraged because there was the possibility of him drawing more attention, the top defensemen, the shutdown line, and his scoring going down.

“But his 5-on-5 play, his scoring went up. His power-play production went down a little bit because without Connor being there that affected him a little bit. For his overall game we saw him step up.”

Seidel says:

“Strome’s a big, smart center that possesses tremendous offensive instincts and a very high hockey IQ. His skating will need to improve upon entering the NHL, though, as he currently lacks the extra gear that will allow him to separate from defenders. He will use his offensive mind to be particularly effective on the PP, because he usually makes the right offensive decisions that lead to scoring chances.”

NHL comparable: Joe Thornton

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

Report: Canucks approach Bieksa about potential trade (Update)

Kevin Bieksa
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One of Vancouver’s longest-serving players could be on his way out of town.

Kevin Bieksa, who’s appeared in nearly 600 games for the Canucks over the last 10 years, has reportedly been asked to waive his no-trade clause, per TSN.

While there is no trade pending, the Canucks have apparently asked Bieksa to waive should the right deal come along.

UPDATE: TSN has since amended its original report, saying that the Canucks have only spoken to Bieksa about moving on. More, from Sportsnet and TSN 1040 radio…

The 34-year-old rearguard is heading into the last of a five-year, $23 million deal with a $4.6M annual cap hit. In his prime, Bieksa was a key piece of Vancouver defense, cracking the 40-point plateau three times while developing a reputation as someone that played with an edge. He’s also known for his leadership qualities, having served as an alternate in Vancouver, and as a Canada’s captain at the 2015 Worlds.

That said, Bieksa has seen better days.

Last season was a struggle; a broken hand limited him to just 14 points in 60 games and his lack of foot speed and mobility were exposed in Vancouver’s opening-round playoff loss to Calgary.

Teams looking for an experienced, veteran presence on the back end will likely inquire about Bieksa’s services: Columbus, Boston and the New York Islanders could all be options, assuming Bieksa would waive his NTC to go.