SAN JOSE, Calif. -- We interrupt the Stanley Cup finals for a little gossip from in and around the NHL.
For starters, I am asked so often by fans about the future of P.K. Subban with his no-movement clause kicking in July 1.
As far as I can tell, I don’t believe the Montreal Canadiens are phoning teams about him. However, I know of at least one team that has contacted the Habs about Subban, and it didn’t go anywhere.
Which is to say: I would put the odds of Subban getting traded before July 1 at about 5 percent. But I’m not ready to say it’s 100 percent it won’t happen because you just never know what kind of offer might come from general manager Marc Bergevin.
"I don’t think they’re moving Subban, but I also think Bergevin has to listen because why not?" said one Western Conference NHL team executive. "But it would take a huge offer. I don’t see it happening."
Added another rival team executive: "The prudent thing for Bergy to do is to listen. You have to with the no-move coming. But I don’t think he moves him."
Crazy to think that some people looked at the success the Tampa Bay Lightning had without Steven Stamkos in the playoffs and figured the team would not even try to re-sign him. Seriously? Nothing has changed. The Lightning absolutely, positively want to re-sign their captain, and that has been communicated to him again since their season ended in a chat between GM Steve Yzerman and the star center. Now it’s a question of how that plays out the next few weeks with the clock ticking toward his unrestricted free-agent status on July 1. The Lighting want him back but obviously at a term and price that fits into everything else they’re trying to do with so many key players up for new deals over the next two years. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Stamkos and what he truly wants: If he wants to stay, a deal will be there for him. If he wants to maximize on his UFA status, which is his right, no question a bigger offer awaits elsewhere July 1.
Pending unrestricted free-agent winger Milan Lucic remains unsigned by the Los Angeles Kings, which is interesting given the momentum that existed in talks before the end of the regular season. But there hasn’t been much since the season ended. I'm told Lucic would still prefer to re-sign and remain with the Kings but has also begun to accept and be comfortable with the possibility of heading to the market July 1. He’s ready for either scenario.
Now that the Vancouver Canucks have traded for a top-four blue-liner in Erik Gudbranson, I think their No. 1 priority is to add a winger through the draft, trade or free agency. When it comes to July 1, I believe two of Vancouver's targets will be hometown boy Lucic and Loui Eriksson. They’d love to get one of those guys. Eriksson would be a perfect fit with the Sedin twins. But Lucic would be a popular move, too.
I also think Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli would have significant interest in Lucic if he hits the market. Hey, there are worse things than riding shotgun for Connor McDavid, right? Lucic would be a great fit there. The Oilers would definitely make him an offer on July 1, and I think Lucic would be open to the destination. But at this point, I think his preference is to re-sign in L.A. if the Kings come back to his camp with a good offer.
Now that Kirk Muller has left the St. Louis Blues coaching staff to return to Montreal, there’s an opening on Ken Hitchcock’s staff. Former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo would be a good fit there, and I think there’s mutual interest there; the two sides have talked. The question is whether Yeo still wants to hold out for a head-coaching job. It’s believed he has spoken to the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks about their vacancies, too. But I like the Blues' fit for him because Yeo is a young coach still eager to learn, and what better place than to work with Professor Hitchcock for a season? Plus, a year from now, the Blues will need a head coach since Hitchcock announced next season would be his last. Good opportunity for Yeo if the Blues and him work something out.
Restricted free-agent blue-liner Tyson Barrie needs a new contract, and if the Colorado Avalanche think they can’t re-sign him, they’ll no doubt look to see what the trade route can bring. The Oilers, in desperate need of top-four help, would be among the bidders on Barrie.