Here are the facts:
The Boston Bruins want Taylor Hall. He’s idolized the Bruins and Bobby Orr (he wears #4 for a reason) and the Bruins want him. They think he’d fit better on the team and while they’ll certainly love to have Seguin, they don’t have room for another center.
Except the Oilers are going to take Hall with the top pick. That is almost a certainty at this point.
The Bruins just don’t have the pieces or the willingness to pay the price to move up to the top spot, and that’s hurting them right now. They’d love to have Hall, will take Seguin if they must.
The Oilers, on the other hand, seem willing to give up the world for that #2 spot. Not a swap, they want both picks. They want both Hall and Seguin, and they are going to make one last hard attempt at selling Peter Chiarelli on that trade.
It doesn’t seem that Boston is willing to make that trade, although you wonder what the Oilers can give up in order to sway the Bruins.
The Florida Panthers appear to be close to trading defenseman Keith Ballard, and it seems that the St. Louis Blues are the other team involved.
There have been several reports that trade sending Ballard to a Western team in very close, while Jeremy Rutherford seems certain that team is the Blues.
We have no word on what the return for Ballard might be.
In other trade news, it doesn’t seem that Toronto is ready to trade away Tomas Kaberle just yet. That’s not to say he won’t be traded before July 1, but for now it seems that a draft day trade just isn’t in the works.
A trade involving their #5 draft pick, that is.
Unless some odd act of mother nature occurs and Cam Fowler drops to the fifth spot, it seems to be an increasing likelihood that the New York Islanders trade out of their spot. They aren’t in dire need for one of the remaining top defensemen, and seem more interested in trading down to get one of the many players they’re willing to take and who should be available at a later pick.
Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johanson will certainly be available at a later pick, and there an interesting scenario developing around the #5 to #9 picks.
Tampa Bay seems very interested in grabbing defenseman Brandon Gormley at #6, while the Minnesota Wild have the same thought at #9.
If the Islanders’ pick comes up at #5 and Fowler isn’t there, then it’s very, very likely that the Wild make a play for the fifth pick in order to step ahead of Tampba Bay and take Gormley. That would mean that after Hall and Seguin, three straight defensemen are nabbed from #3 to #5.
The Islanders would move back to #9, and still have their choice of a number of forwards they like while acquiring more draft picks in the process.
There’s been this undercurrent of a rumor the past few days (not all that crazy actually) that the Edmonton Oilers were hoping to make a play for the #2 overall pick in the draft, giving them the ability to draft both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin at the same time. That would have been a coup of epic proportions, but it doesn’t appear that there was ever a possibility of that happening.
Now comes word from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli that the Oilers have been insistent on trying for the #2 pick, and made another play about it today.
Chiarelli stated that he’s been steadfast in his refusal to trade down from that #2 spot, although he would have liked to have been in a position of having his choice of which player to pick
As it stands now, the Bruins will snag the player the Oilers don’t, so all signs are pointing to the Bruins picking Tyler Seguin at #2.
Update: Here’s the direct quote from Chiarelli, courtesy of ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
“I spoke with Steve this morning and I told him what I told him before:
that we’re not in a position to make a significant offer to allow us to
pick the player we want in the first two picks,” Chiarelli told ESPN.com
early Friday afternoon. “But he inquired about trading for the second
pick and I have to give him credit. He’s been really persistent in
trying to get that pick. But I told him, as I’ve been telling everyone
else, that I’m not moving the second pick.”
Over the past 12 hours or so one new named has cropped up in trade speculation, and this time these ‘rumors’ have some legs.
The Florida Panthers have been active in Los Angeles (or at least trying to be) as they look to make some moves on draft day. It appears that defenseman Keith Ballard is being actively shopped via trade, and he’s been linked to a number of teams so far this afternoon.
Right now, it appears that the St. Louis Blues have the most interest, as Jeremy Rutherford is saying that sources with the team state the team is interested in Ballard.
Ballard is under contract for five more seasons at $4.2 million per year, a reasonable contract for one of the better defensemen in the NHL. It’s also important to note that he has a no-trade clause.
Of course, any team that starts talking with Florida about Ballard instantly sees their goaltender run and hide as quickly as possible. That could be a problem.