June 19, 2008
Malkin for Kings' ransom?Pens shopping for No. 2 draft pick
By BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media
The Penguins are trying to make a blockbuster move before tomorrow night's NHL draft at Scotiabank Place.
League sources say Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero offered all-star centre Evgeni Malkin to the Kings for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and a player, possibly centre Mike Cammalleri.
While many NHL executives refused to believe the Penguins would trade the 21-year-old Malkin because he has one year left on his entry-level contract at a bargain $984,000 (all terms US), the indications are that Shero wants to sign winger Marian Hossa before he becomes an unrestricted free agent -- a deal that could cost Pittsburgh upward of $8 million a year.
If the Penguins retained Hossa, signing Malkin next year could be dicey because of salary cap considerations.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi told Sun Media yesterday that he's had two solid offers for the No. 2 pick, but after meeting with his ownership group decided to stay the course by building with young players.
"I've had two legitimate offers," said Lombardi. "I've spoken with ownership and we've agreed that we're going to build here for the long term. To trade away that draft pick, we're going to have to get a lot of value. I'm not seeing things change a whole lot (before tomorrow)."
Lombardi said talks will heat up today and if there is a deal to be made, it will be done in the wee hours before the draft.
TEAMS LOOK TO MOVE UP
Several other teams are looking to move into a top 10 draft position and the indications are the Thrashers, Islanders and Jackets are all willing to deal their picks.
"I hear there's a lot of talk going on, but we're not involved in much of it," said Chicago GM Dale Tallon, who is sitting at No. 11. "Sure, we'd like to move up and we'd be ready to make a move, but we're not going to do it by giving up one of our young players. That's what everybody wants.
"I'm sort of sitting here and I'm ready to move up or even back. If we thought that we could get the player we want at No. 11 by going back to No. 14 or No. 15 and get something for it, then I might be willing to do that. I'm keeping an open mind here and I'm listening to offers. Right now, we're getting offered expensive, older players that aren't going to help us."
There is no mystery about the No. 1 selection.
Even though the sale of the Lightning was approved yesterday to Hollywood producer Oren Koules and former NHLer Len Barrie, GM Jay Feaster said he doesn't expect that will change the club's direction and Sarnia Sting centre Steven Stamkos will be the top pick.
"It's the worst-kept secret in the world," said Feaster, who added he has no intention to deal the pick.
"We've had no substantive offers. We've had lots of tire kicking and lots of guys saying, 'Hey, there's an ownership change, why don't you trade us your pick and you'll get fired and I'll hire you as a scout," said Feaster. "It would have to be something that would make us materially better right now and, at the same time, for the next 10 years.
"It would have to be a combination of players where you'd say, 'Holy cow, how can you pass that up?'"