KESLER TO ANAHEIM OR CHICAGO?
Two teams have emerged as the front runners to land Ryan Kesler. Pierre LeBrun reports “the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks seemingly have broken from the pack and are the front-runners for Ryan Kesler, multiple sources told ESPN.com.”
LeBrun says Kesler’s preference to land in either of those two cities stems in part from his desire to win a Stanley Cup; he also holds a no-trade clause, giving him the power to dictate to some degree his destination.
Anaheim is in great position to acquire Kesler or Jason Spezza.
Despite some reports saying Pittsburgh remains a top choice for Kesler, that is no longer believed to be the case.
GABORIK, KINGS GETTING CLOSE
The Los Angeles Kings and Marian Gaborik are said to be closing in on a new deal in the $5.5 million range. However, as one league executive said to me this afternoon, Los Angeles better get this wrapped up before midnight as teams will start throwing some numbers Ron Salcer’s way and there will be a team willing to give Gaborik $7-$7.5 million per.
CALLAHAN, LIGHTNING PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES ON NEW DEAL
Another notable name who won’t hit the market is Ryan Callahan. The Lightning and Callahan’s agent Steve Barlett are putting the finishing touches on a new six year deal, a source says. The deal is expected to become official Wednesday.
SHARKS APPROACHED PENGUINS, OTHERS ABOUT MARLEAU
At one point in the last 10 days, the San Jose Sharks approached a group of Eastern Conference contenders, including the Pittsburgh Penguins to gauge their interest in Patrick Marleau, NHL sources say.
The Sharks are seeking a young impact forward in return with the hopes that a win-now team would bite on acquiring Marleau. No takers at this point.
Marleau remains an excellent player but is 34 and has three years left on his new contract with a $6,666,667 cap hit.
Marleau had 33 goals and 70 points last season. He has a no trade clause.