From Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The number of players on the trade market is overwhelming"
According to numerous NHL insiders who are in Montreal preparing for this weekend's draft, the number of players on the trade market is overwhelming. The reason? With the economic future of the NHL uncertain, salary-cap strapped teams are trying to unload players before the cap potentially drops significantly after this upcoming season. The players on the market seem to be fitting into two categories: marginal players with exorbitant salaries, such as Philadelphia's Joffrey Lupul (four more years at $4.25 million) and Buffalo's Jochen Hecht (three more years at $3.53 million), and top players who warrant big raises on expiring or soon-to-be-expiring contracts. One player who falls into the latter category -- and one who might intrigue the Wild -- is Bruins sniper Phil Kessel, the former Gopher who scored 36 goals in 70 games last season. The 21-year-old Madison native is a restricted free agent and seeking a deal worth between $4.5 and $5 million a season. While the Bruins plan to meet this week with agent Wade Arnott in hopes of re-signing Kessel, the Bruins are $6 million shy of the anticipated salary cap for next season, and have several other key players to re-sign. According to numerous sources, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is fielding offers, but because he can't take hefty salaries back, he's looking for a first-round pick and at least one top young player.