With one day remaining before Sunday’s 3 p.m. NHL draft at the PrudentialCenter in Newark, N.J. [NBC Sports Network], only three teams have announced their compliance buyout plans.
That could mean the league’s other 27 general managers are looking to trade some of their high-priced players before, during or after Sunday’s draft.
The Lightning [Vinny Lecavalier], Flyers [Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere] and Blackhawks [Steve Montador and Rostisalv Olesz] have made it clear which players they’ll be removing from their rosters, but there are several other high-profile players who could be changing addresses on Sunday.
Here are a handful of them:
Kris Letang. The Penguins’ top defenseman has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $3.5 million but talks for an extension broke down this week, which means the Norris Trophy candidate could be on the move in search of a $7 million a year pay day.
Dion Phaneuf. Like Letang, Phaneuf is at the prime of his career at 28 years old and is a game-changer on the blue line. He also has one year and $5.5 million remaining on his contract with Toronto and will be seeking Shea Weber money, which may not be available in the post-lockout world.
Roberto Luongo. Not sure how you can trade a 34-year-old goaltender with nine years remaining on his contract, but the Canucks will try. If that fails, look for Luongo to be bought off the books.
Dave Bolland. One day you’re being paraded through Chicago with the Stanley Cup; the next you’re on the trading block. Caps right wing Troy Brouwer knows the feeling and many believe the Hawks’ 27-year-old center will head down a similar path. He has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $3.375 and after a strong playoff performance, someone definitely would take him.
Shawn Horcoff. The 34-year-old center has two years and $7 million left on his deal with he Oilers, but carries a $5.5 million cap hit. If the Oilers can’t trade him at that price they might opt to give him a compliance buyout.
Mike Cammalleri. The 31-year-old veteran can play center or left wing, but his $7 million salary and $6 million cap hit make him expendable. If the Flames are willing to eat a good portion of that salary, someone, maybe even the Caps, might show some interest.
Thomas Vanek. The Sabres’ left wing has one year and $6.4 million remaining on his seven-year, $50 million deal in Buffalo. Someone would want Vanek’s 50-goal potential, but probably not at full salary.