MONTREAL - Some news, notes and nonsense from the halls of the hotel headquarters and the many minds roaming it at the NHL Draft.
• You can't walk three feet in this joint without hearing someone mention Jay Bouwmeester's name. Barring something completely unforeseen, the Florida Panthers defenseman's UFA negotiating rights will be traded and various sources have teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres reportedly in the mix.
Tim Panaccio of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia breaks some news today that the Flyers don't believe they're going to land his negotiating rights:
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Thursday he doesn't think the club will return to Philadelphia with the rights to any top free agent defenseman, which also includes Montreal's Mike Komisarek and Anaheim's Francois Beauchemin.
"Not really," Holmgren said of getting a rights deal done. "Right now you might be better off with scenarios of a players we've looked into, it's a lot for an unknown [on whether you can sign them]. We've done this in the past with Nashville.
"We had a clear picture going in [then] and probably more cap space, too," he added, laughing. "Right now, it's Thursday and I'd just as soon wait on those guys until July 1."
Two NHL executives here say Bouwmeester has told Florida Panther officials he would prefer playing out west. Although he has not eliminated the Flyers, the Canucks now seem to have the inside track.
• Interesting. But as Panaccio writes, there's a bit of difference for the mild-mannered Jay-Bouw between Western Canada and the city that will torch him on sports talk radio if he doesn't perform. More from Clockwork Orange and Black.
• As an offshoot of the Bouwmeester stuff, Darren Dreger of TSN reports that someone has blown away the Toronto Maple Leafs with a trade offer for Tomas Kaberle, whom TSN says the Leafs were looking to move later in the summer. Any guesses?
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Dreger also writes that "the San Jose Sharks are in discussions with a couple of teams, with Sharks forward Ryane Clowe the centre of trade talks." He's an RFA, but still: Of all the people to begin remaking the team with, it's Clowe that goes?
• Draft stars John Tavares and Victor Hedman have their endorsement deals. Reebok-CCM told us today that Tavares will endorse CCM, while Hedman will join Sidney Crosby at Reebok.
Neither player knows where the New York Islanders are leaning; at least that's what they claim. I asked Tavares if he knew, and he said he didn't; I then asked if he could reveal who won't be drafting him on Friday, and he said "the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins." So there you go.
• The Dany Heatley talk is all over the map, with the Ottawa Citizen reporting on his fit with the Minnesota Wild (possible), the New York Rangers (sure) and the St. Louis Blues (citing their need for a gate attraction ... and Dany Heatley is one?).
But the real news from today's Heatley Watch was made on Twitter of all places. Daryl Evans, a Los Angeles Kings broadcaster, tweeted "just spoke with Hexy about what OTT is asking for in exchange for Heatley. He said '1 or 2 players and our fifth pick.'"
Here's the thing: While Kings assistant GM Ron "Hexy" Hextall hasn't ruled out a trade for Heater, he was quite critical of the player at a Kings fan forum earlier in June (video) in which he said:
"I don't like saying anything bad about players, but I'm going to spell it out to you as nicely as I can. He was in Atlanta, he had an unfortunate accident there and he asked to be traded. Alright, given the circumstances, there was a young man killed ... I can live with that.
"He goes to Ottawa, he's on a pretty good team, they go to the finals. Signs a big contract and bang, now all of a sudden he need to be traded again. Not only do I want to be traded, I have a no-trade clause, I wanna pick where I'm gonna go. Well, there's some issues there. He had problems with his coach in Atlanta. My understanding is that he problems with Craig Hartsburg at the start of last year in Ottawa. And he had problems with a guy who got hired halfway through the year, Cory Clouston. So all of a sudden now three coaches he's had a problem with. That raises huge red flags for us."
In fairness, Hextall never said Heatley was a bad fit for the Kings, but cautioned that the asking price would be "huge." And Michael Russo of the Star Tribune writes tonight that the Kings' offer for Heatley is, in fact, pretty huge if that's what it is. OK, not so much writes as "Tweets."
• Finally, it was always going to be the Washington Capitals or the KHL for Sergei Fedorov next season, and today it became official that he's going to play with his slightly less talented brother Fedor with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
His agent told TSN it's fulfilling a lifelong dream of his father's to see his boys play on the same team. It's also the team that would pay him $3.8 million in each of the next two seasons, which the Washington Capitals would have been insane to match. So long to a true professional; D.C. was a better sports town with you in it.