Oilers, Flyers hot after Gomez

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- The Oilers and Flyers could be trying to land a big one before tonight's NHL draft.

League sources say both teams may have made calls to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello about acquiring the negotiating rights to centre Scott Gomez, who will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

It's believed the Oilers, who have three first-round picks, can offer the most attractive package to the Devils.

The Flyers made a similar deal with Nashville earlier this week to get the negotiating rights to defenceman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell, then signed them to lucrative, long-term contracts.

Gomez, 27, who made $5 million (all terms US) last season, has already told the Devils he wants to test the market.

Gomez, who had 13 goals and 47 assists in 72 games last season, will be highly sought after which is why the Oilers and Flyers are trying to get a jump on everybody else.

There are whispers that Flyers, who are trying to shed money to make room for Gomez, are willing to offer him a salary of $7.8 million per season.

The Oilers want to add scoring help up front and he would fit the bill.

The word is the Devils are talking to the Oilers about a possible deal, but won't even return Holmgren's phone calls.

OFF THE GLASS: There's a lot of talk the Flyers are going to move the No. 2 pick in the draft. The Canucks are thought to be interested in moving up to select C Kyle Turris of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, but Vancouver GM Dave Nonis said he hasn't held any discussions. "I've got nothing going," said Nonis. The Flyers would like to get a top player in return for the pick ... The Sabres were quietly trying to sign Cs Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, but it appears they're only going to be able to keep one. The word is Buffalo GM Darcy Regier is going to pass on signing Drury and make sure the club keeps Briere. If that's the case, it's expected Drury will land with one of San Jose, Los Angeles or Philly. However, Regier had better move quick because he hasn't shown the Briere camp his cards ... Four teams have shown an interest in free-agent C Alexei Yashin, who was bought out by the Islanders two weeks ago. It's believed the Wild has shown interest in Yashin. "I'm not sure anybody knew that they could negotiate and that he's a free agent right now," said Yashin's agent, Todd Diamond. Yashin, a former Senators captain, will likely receive in excess of $2 million per season on a new deal. "He didn't do anything wrong in Long Island. All he did was stand up for himself," said Diamond.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Talk won't go away that the Sharks are trying to move C Patrick Marleau. It's believed Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has held talks with San Jose counterpart Doug Wilson. Marleau is attracting a lot of attention because the Senators are interested and if he's going anywhere it will likely be the East. The Bruins are looking to move F Glen Murray. If Murray winds with the Sharks, he could be reunited with former C Joe Thornton ... The Blackhawks are shopping D Adrian Aucoin again. He's scheduled to make $8 million over the next two seasons, so Chicago isn't expecting much more than a draft pick in return. It's believed the Flames and Habs are interested. Aucoin flourished under Calgary coach Mike Keenan while they were together with the Canucks ... The Lightning insists it's not shopping C Brad Richards, but nearly every GM has heard talk he's going to be moved. His no-trade clause kicks in on July 1, so GM Jay Feaster had better hurry up if he's going to deal him ... Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon said he's had "a few" calls about the No. 1 pick in the draft, but expected to get more calls last night. "I would think we'll likely keep it," said Tallon ... The Flyers are going to move D Joni Pitkanen and there's interest from 15 clubs. The Kings and Oilers are both looking for defensive help ... Do the Flames really want to move C Craig Conroy? Doesn't sound right ... Wild late-day rumour: Atlanta W Marian Hossa could be on the move to the Kings. If the Thrashers can trade Hossa to L.A., they'll take a run at Briere ... Sources say the Bruins are the front-runners to land G Manny Fernandez from the Wild after G J.S. Giguere re-signed with the Ducks yesterday.


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