LOS ANGELES -- Whether the Edmonton Oilers choose Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin with the first overall selection at the 2010 NHL entry draft will be the focus on Friday.
But the two junior studs took a back seat in the hours leading up to their big day to veteran NHLers Marc Savard, Tim Thomas, Tomas Kaberle, Jason Spezza and Mike Ribeiro. These were some of the names being bandied around hotel lobbies where different NHL teams were headquartered in Los Angeles and the outlying areas.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has been upfront about his efforts to deal Kaberle. On Thursday, he claimed that more than 10 teams have interest in Kaberle and he received four concrete offers this week and expects two more before day's end.
Burke, however, emphasized that "nothing is imminent, but that could change with one phone call."
He also remarked that a Kaberle trade doesn't not necessarily have to happen before the draft. Burke wants a top-six forward and he could just as easily acquire a player in exchange for Kaberle that would help his roster later in the summer.
One of the teams interested in Kaberle is the Anaheim Ducks, especially after they lost Scott Niedermayer to retirement on Tuesday. Burke also stated that a few players on his roster are untouchables.
"When you finish 29th like we did you have a very short list," he said.
Could Toronto be a landing place for Boston Bruins shifty centre Marc Savard? Not likely, according to league sources. But it may surprise some that the Bruins are shopping around their veteran playmaker. That's not the case with veteran goalie Tim Thomas. With the emergence of Tuukka Rask in 2009-10, there isn't much playing time left for Thomas, a former Vezina Trophy winner.
Savard, on the other hand, signed a seven-year extension with a cap friendly salary of $4.2-million last December. But the speculation is the Bruins feel that the Oilers are going to take Hall first and that would leave Boston with another centre in Seguin. The Bruins already have Savard, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci up the middle.
Oilers GM Steve Tambellini declared that he will sit down with chief scout Stu MacGregor and the rest of the scouting staff in the morning to make a final decision on Hall or Seguin. The decision will be left to MacGregor.
The Oilers scouting staff met a few weeks ago and each scout had their say. The speculation has been that after Hall's strong performance in the Windsor Spitfires successful run to their second straight Memorial Cup championship that Edmonton will become his new address.
"We're close," Tambellini said of the final decision. "But we have to formally sit down as a group in the morning."
Is there any chance the Oilers will deal their first overall selection? Tambellini did state that there is no harm in listening to pitches. But instead the Oilers GM would rather acquire another pick later in the first round.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is on record as saying that he would like to move the 15th overall selection that his team acquired from the Bruins when they traded Nathan Horton to Boston earlier in the week. But Tambellini would not confirm that the two teams have talked.
"I've had a lot of discussions with a lot of teams about acquiring another first-round pick," he said.
There has been plenty of speculation about Spezza's future with the Ottawa Senators after the skilled centre remarked earlier this month that he wouldn't object to a trade. Senators GM Bryan Murray stated on Thursday that there "there's nothing going on with Jason.
"There has been very little in terms of conversations with any teams at any rate and this has got bigger than it should have. I'm not trying to trade him. I thought maybe a team or two would call to inquire. I've had a couple teams call me. That's it."
Murray chatted with Spezza on the phone earlier this week and came away with the notion that his player's comments were misconstrued.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars are trying to move centre Mike Ribeiro and his $5-million salary. But it will be difficult to trade Ribeiro because he has three more years remaining on his deal.
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