Morning from South Florida, where things are heating up ... humidity-wise.
There could also be plenty of fireworks around the NHL today, although as you can read here, GM Chuck Fletcher is playing down any potential of a big Wild trade. We will see. Lots of stuff on the Devan Dubnyk saga in there.
Also, here is the notebook on how Fletcher, as of yet, has not traded his second-round pick. Also stuff in there on Mikael Granlund, Niklas Backstrom and Mike Reilly.
I'd think the only way Fletcher trades a second today or Saturday is if he moves down tonight to acquire another second or picks and/or the price for one of the goalies out there ends up being a second and things are going haywire with Dubnyk.
There is definite potential of that.
I'm told they're not far off money-wise. Wild has gotten up to the low $4 million range. Dubnyk is willing to come into the high 4s.
I do think term is the biggest issue. Dubnyk is asking for bigtime security (many years, maybe the max eight, I hear) and the Wild likely doesn't want to go more than four years and probably prefers three.
We'll see if Dubnyk budges.
A lot of that could depend on what he's hearing from teams like San Jose, which has shown interest during the free-agent shopping period along with one other team. A lot could depend today where Cam Talbot is traded to because that could get the ball rolling in terms of other goalie trades like Eddie Lack, Robin Lehner, Martin Jones and Antti Raanta.
Dallas could have interest, too, in Dubnyk, although the Stars still have Kari Lehtonen at three years left with a $5.9 million cap hit. Like I inferred above, I'm not 100 percent sure of the other team I heard showed interest in Dubnyk yesterday.
I hear Buffalo has been offering its 31st pick in deals for one of the goalies, by the way.
Fletcher honestly doesn't seem too concerned on Dubnyk. Maybe he's bluffing, but there's no doubt there's more goalies available than spots. So maybe he's just willing to hold firm, hope Dubnyk realizes this and if not, moves on to another goalie via trade or free agency (Antti Niemi or Karri Ramo).
As I've said before, the more goalie trades this weekend, the fewer jobs available for Dubnyk. So there may come a point where he has to decide if the grass is really greener in a place where he didn't have a career year and wasn't a perfect fit.
Fletcher said last night, “[Dubnyk’s] our priority. We’ll keep talking [Friday] and see if we can find some new angles that will lead us that way. But obviously if teams are trading goalies [this weekend], if they want picks, they want the picks this year. So that may force some things to happen. [Dubnyk’s camp] is aware of that. At this point, we’re negotiating in good faith to try to get a deal done.
“I think I have a pretty good feeling of what they’re trying to accomplish and I hope they clearly know what we’re trying to accomplish. … I’m still hopeful that we’ll find a way.”
Fletcher said, “We’ll continue to throw ideas around and there’s different paths and different ways to go about this. I think they’re open to ideas and we are, too.”
He says that, but it’s not like there’s a 100 different ideas and ways. It’s not like you’re allowed to put performance bonuses and things like that in a contract. They need to agree on a length of contract, and then work out a salary structure both can stomach.
The more Fletcher talks about being quiet this weekend, the more I believe he’s eyeing some potential top players next summer. So he must keep the salary-cap hit in an area where he has flexibility.
-- In other news, the Wild has deciding to qualify defenseman Jon Blum to retain his rights. But it still may trade him to give him a fresh start somewhere else.
I'll be back later.