With the pre-expansion trade freeze now just a week away, trade talk will be picking up around the league. Kevin Kurz of The Athletic notes (subscription link) that the Sharks are a team that is active in those discussions with winger Kevin Labanc, defenseman Radim Simek, and center Dylan Gambrell at the forefront of those discussions. Labanc underwhelmed in the first season of a four-year, $18.9MM deal with 12 goals in 55 games, Simek is on the expensive side for a third-pairing defenseman with a $2.25MM price tag, while Gambrell, a pending RFA, didn’t produce much this season – just 12 points in 49 games despite averaging over 16 minutes a game. Kurz adds that San Jose’s preference is to make a player for player swap; speculatively speaking, any deal involving the first two players would be seeking to bring in a cheaper replacement to give them some more financial flexibility.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Lightning winger Alex Killorn should be fully recovered for training camp, relays Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. The veteran fractured his fibula blocking a point shot in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final and has already undergone surgery. While he was hoping to get back into the lineup later in the series had it gone that far, the recovery time for this injury is closer to three to four weeks.
- After Edmonton was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Oilers GM Ken Holland strongly suggested a buyout or two was in the cards for his roster. However, his agent Kent Morris told Postmedia’s Jim Matheson that he hasn’t received a notification from the team yet about veteran winger James Neal heading down that path. A buyout of the final two years remaining on the contract for the 33-year-old is likely with Neal notching just five goals and five assists in 29 games this season but such a move may not come until after expansion.
- Morris also spoke about another Oilers client, telling Matheson in that same column that pending UFA winger Alex Chiasson would like to stay and that the team hasn’t yet shut a door on his return. Having said that, it seems likely that they’ll look at their options in free agency before potentially circling back to the 30-year-old who has managed just 20 goals over the last two seasons combined after scoring 22 times in his first season with the team.