The 2014 NHL Entry Draft goes on Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia. While this year's NHL draft will certainly not be able to match the talent pool of Thursday's NBA Draft, or even most other NHL Drafts for that matter, there are still some extremely talented players available. The best part about the NHL Draft, however, is usually the trades/rumors (and not the lame NBA trade system but actual trades announced at the podium). Stay tuned all day long for the latest updates.

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The Florida Panthers hold on to their #1 overall pick and select Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts.

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Welcome to the Vancouver Canucks live blog.

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That previous tweet posted below from Pierre LeBrun is in regards to a Ryan Kesler deal between Vancouver and Anaheim. Deal is apparently done, pending league approval.

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Earlier this month, projected top 5 selection, Sam Bennett gained national attention after he failed to do a single pull-up during the NHL draft combine. His performance raised some red flags for NHL GMs about his lack of pure strength. 

TSN recently offered him a shot at redemption.


Ha...well done, Sam.

12:04pm EST | Jun 27
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Expect the unexpected when hunting season officially opens this weekend for scouts and general managers at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center.

The first round of the two-day day event will be held Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS); rounds 2-7 will take place Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHL Network).

The phone lines of numerous general managers on the draft floor figure to be buzzing with activity prior to and during the opening round as teams look to make deals. Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon made public his willingness to trade the No. 1 pick for the right offer. Some other teams with high first-round picks also have said they're willing to deal.

"We consider trades at every draft, looking to move up or even moving back depending on who's there or who might be there when it's our turn to pick," Washington Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. "That's part of our strategizing to see if we should move up, back or stay where we are."

The 2014 draft is considered one of the most unpredictable in recent years, not only because there could be a multitude of trades but because there's no clear-cut No. 1 selection.
10:38am EST | Jun 27
10:32am EST | Jun 27

Brad Treliving’s phone has not stopped ringing and his sleep patterns since he’s been in Philadelphia are, well, non-existent.

But as of Thursday — 24 hours before the National Hockey League Entry Draft gets underway — the Calgary Flames general manager had no news.

Yes, they’re still picking fourth overall on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Yes, their list/order of prospects is almost ready (and, yes, Treliving has a few guys in mind).

Yes, they’ve been active in discussing the cost-benefit analysis of moving up and moving down.

Yes, they are bracing themselves for the moments before the draft when management types really start to wheel and deal and play games.

And, no, they haven’t done anything — yet.

“It has to make sense,” Treliving was saying on Thursday addressing the media in a downtown Philadelphia hotel, Blackberry glued to his side. “I’d love to have great things to tell you guys but we’re not going to do things just to do things. They have to make sense.

“We could do a deal right now if we wanted to, if we wanted to start putting our young players and picks (in). Trust me, when you’re sitting with five picks in the first three rounds, those are valuable assets --- a lot of people are looking for those.”


“Nothing coming back makes sense at this point.”
10:30am EST | Jun 27

Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl both had dinner with representatives the Edmonton Oilers in a relaxed setting before Friday’s NHL draft.

But Ekblad, the six-foot-four, 216-pound defenceman slated to go high in the first round tomorrow night, visited reclusive Oilers owner Daryl Katz’s house 10 days ago to eat with his possible boss, while the six-foot-two, 213-pound centre Draisaitl didn’t get the five-star Edmonton treatment, just a long meal at a restaurant in Philly, because of airplane connection problems.

Does it mean anything who was at the table? Should we be chewing on this?

Probably not. Katz will be up the stage at the Wells Fargo Center, probably with some family members in blue and orange Oilers jerseys, for a photo op, no matter who he is.

But unless there’s a crazy curveball on the draft floor, general manager Craig MacTavish will be choosing either Ekblad or the German-born centre Draisaitl because his team badly needs size. Nothing against the creative Sam Reinhart or the highly competitive Sam Bennett — two other very good, mid-size models rated in the top four — but the Oilers are almost surely taking Ekblad or Draisaitl at No. 3.
10:04am EST | Jun 27
10:03am EST | Jun 27

WINNIPEG SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ken Wiebe and Tim Campbell report there is plenty of interest in Jets winger Evander Kane, while Wiebe notes there’s also some interest in Dustin Byfuglien. Wiebe also noted Kane favorited a tweet suggesting he be dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, though he subsequently removed it. It’s been reported the Flyers also have interest in Byfuglien. Wiebe doesn’t see much of a return coming from the Flyers. He wonders if the Jets made a significant offer to the Florida Panthers for the first-overall pick, noting a report suggesting Kane or Byfuglien plus the ninth overall for first-overall pick.  He considers that price too steep. Wiebe also reports backup Al Montoya is headed to free agency. Campbell, meanwhile, reports Kane isn’t talking while GM Kevin Cheveldayoff didn’t exactly deny the trade speculation. Gary Lawless, however, reports if the Jets are willing to shop Kane it won’t be for the sake of making a trade. Lawless believes they’ll want equal value in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Kane is forcing the issue I believe it would be a mistake for the Jets to move him. Still, if they are to do so they should get a significant return. Given the choice between moving Kane or Byfuglien I’d suggest moving the latter, as his trade value won’t be as high as it is right now. He’s approaching 30 and hanging on to him for too long could hurt his value. Kane, meanwhile, is in his early-twenties with his best seasons still ahead of him. His value can still rise after next season, Byfuglien’s won’t. 
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Blackhawks reportedly in running as Kesler rumors continue 

The Ryan Kesler (potential) sweepstakes have garnered plenty of attention in this offseason. And the Chicago Blackhawks apparently continue to be part of the conversation.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, citing sources, wrote Tuesday that the Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks are among the top contenders for Kesler’s services. Bruce Garrioch out of Ottawa said last week that the Blackhawks were in the running — he said the Pittsburgh Penguins were there, too — in regards to the Vancouver Canucks center.

I wrote in this space last weekend that Kesler, on paper, would be a great fit for the Blackhawks in terms of filling that second-line center role and playing with Patrick Kane as the two having built chemistry in international play. 
09:52am EST | Jun 27
Joe Thornton draws interest but Sharks in no hurry to make major trade 

When general manager Doug Wilson declared last month that the Sharks were in a rebuild phase, the 72 hours leading up to Friday night's NHL draft seemed to be the ideal time for a major trade -- maybe even one involving Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau.

Now, every signal indicates that won't be happening.

For one thing, Thornton and Marleau have shown no intention of waiving clauses in their contracts that prevent Wilson from moving them at any time against their wishes. For another, Wilson says he is not in any hurry for events to play themselves out because he has seven picks in this week's draft and nine more in 2015.

"When you're in the rebuild, there's no panic or rush," the general manager said in his annual pre-draft session with reporters. "You do things at the right time. If we didn't have picks this year I'd be rushing to maybe get some picks. But we have the full complement."

Not that there haven't been plenty of trade possibilities brought up in the past two weeks.

ESPN hockey reporter Pierre LeBrun said the Detroit Red Wings have contacted Wilson to discuss Thornton. The Toronto Maple Leafs, according to a Toronto Sun report, are one of six teams calling the Sharks about their captain. There even has been speculation that Thornton would be a good fit on the New York Rangers, and at one point there was talk -- later shot down -- of a trade back to the Boston Bruins.

But Thornton, through his agent-brother John Thornton, has let it be known he has no interest in leaving San Jose after signing a three-year, $20.25 million contract extension in January. Maybe he would re-think that position if he felt fans wanted him to leave, his brother said two weeks ago, but so far there's been no groundswell for that. 
09:50am EST | Jun 27
Report: Four teams are now in the Spezza sweepstakes

Trade talks surrounding Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza have been heating up lately as four teams – three in the West, one “mystery” club in the East – have thrown their names in the hat, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

About a week ago, Senators GM Bryan Murray said there were only two serious offers, so things may very well heat up as the 2014 NHL Draft approaches.

The St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks continue to be linked to Spezza. The Chicago Sun-Times brings up the possibility that the Chicago Blackhawks might be in the mix. If true, that would obviously make them the third West team involved. (Chicago would need to do some salary cap gymnastics and/or the Senators might be required to retain some salary to make a hypothetical deal work.)

The 31-year-old center can veto a trade to 10 teams. The Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders are the four East teams that Spezza wouldn’t accept a trade to, according to McKenzie.
09:48am EST | Jun 27
Half of the league is interested in Stastny

This offseason features a more open interview window between pending free agents and potential new teams, which introduces a fun new narrative: news about the number of franchises inquiring about players.

Paul Stastny takes the cake, at least so far. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the potentially soon-to-be-ex Colorado Avalanche forward is drawing interest from a whopping 15 teams.

LeBrun mentions that the 28-year-old won’t take less than the $6.6 million cap hit that’s about to expire. It’s unclear how many of those 15 suitors are willing to ante up that much dough, but one could assume that at least a few teams would be willing to meet those demands (if not blow them away).
09:46am EST | Jun 27
Bruins’ cap issues force Iginla to explore options

Don Meehan, the powerful agent who counts Jarome Iginla among his vast clientele, has started setting up meetings with teams other than the Boston Bruins to discuss the veteran winger’s future.

Without getting into specifics, Meehan confirmed to Sportsnet early Thursday that Iginla’s focus is expanding now that the hockey world has gathered in Philadelphia for the entry draft — a turn of events that says more about the current state of the Bruins’ cap situation than the player himself.

This does not appear to be a case where an agent is trying to capitalize on the free agent interview period and create leverage. Meehan is simply protecting his client.

After playing for three different teams over the last 15 months, Iginla is certainly not eager for a change of address. He and the Bruins had a happy and productive union last season and Boston continues to offer him a legitimate opportunity to win that elusive Stanley Cup.

What Boston might not be able to offer is the security of a multi-year deal or even as much money as other teams are willing to give him on a one-year contract. That’s just reality. As it is, the Bruins are likely going to have to trade a player or two off their roster just to maintain the necessary flexibility under the cap.

“We’re going to have to make some harder decisions this year,” general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged to reporters earlier this week. “It’s something that we’re prepared to do.”
09:41am EST | Jun 27