Via the best column in hockey, Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts:
4. Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion had a lengthy conversation with Los Angeles compatriot Rob Blake during the later rounds of the draft. There is one move that could make sense for both sides: Dustin Brown for Dion Phaneuf. Both have the same cash remaining — $25.5 million. Brown’s AAV is lower ($5.875 million to Phaneuf’s $7 million), but he has five years left on his contract to Phaneuf’s four. The Senator defenceman can go to Los Angeles, but I’m not sure if Brown’s list allows him to go to the Canadian capital.
5. He’s staying low profile — and there is serious doubt he actually wants to leave San Jose — but there is a list of teams who want to peer inside Joe Thornton’s head. At the draft, there was a lot of talk it would take a three-year deal to lure him. Potential suitors include Columbus, Los Angeles, Montreal and the Rangers. I could see Toronto having interest, but I’m not certain. There was a time Detroit appealed to him, but it doesn’t seem right now for either side. It looks like San Jose is closing in on extensions for Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (both can be announced on Saturday), so we’re all waiting to see what is left for Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau. I’m really fascinated by the Blue Jackets, who are going all-in over the next two years and will try something big. Toronto is quieter about its intentions, but don’t forget that Mike Babcock has plenty of Team Canada history with both Marleau and Thornton.
6. Do not be surprised, either, if Thornton brings up the possibility of Switzerland. His wife’s from there and he’s said he will play in that country before his career is over.
11. Goalie market: there is a lot of expectation of Ryan Miller to Anaheim for approximately $1 million, although I’m not sure if bonuses will be added to that. It makes a lot of sense. Winnipeg has Eric Comrie in the AHL, but the Jets are looking for a veteran to pair with Connor Hellebuyck — which indicates Brian Elliott or Steve Mason. Los Angeles appears ready to have Jack Campbell as Jonathan Quick’s backup. And I think Mike Condon’s received a few calls, as teams weren’t sure he’d be available.
Quite a few things to go over here. First, Brown-Phaneuf. At times, I’ve heard Phaneuf’s name linked to the Kings, though no prior discussions to my knowledge had been particularly advanced. Though Phaneuf’s name has come up from time to time, the most concrete reference towards Los Angeles’ interest came during the 2014-15 season, when a potential Mike Richards-Phaneuf exchange was floated. It’s interesting to hear of their concrete talks, but I don’t have a ton to add to this beyond the equivalent of manually retweeting it with a wide-eyes emoji. I’d be very surprised to see it come to fruition. Ottawa-based reporter Bruce Garrioch of the Postmedia Group also said that the Kings “have shown more than a passing interest” in Phaneuf.
Secondly, Joe. As noted this morning, the Kings are very interested, with one source calling it a July 1 “priority.” While I expect him to re-sign in San Jose, I do believe, based on several conversations, that there is mutual interest due in part to geography and a number of relationships with figures within the Kings organization. This will be very tricky for Los Angeles based on their salary cap situation, which isn’t dire but will certainly factor into what they’re able to offer once actual contract figures are permitted to be exchanged Saturday morning.
Third, the idea of Jack Campbell making the team took a step forward with Friedman’s note that “Los Angeles appears ready to have Jack Campbell as Jonathan Quick’s backup,” but I still believe there will be competition for that spot, even if Campbell has emerged as the penciled-in understudy. In Campbell’s favor is that he’s inexpensive and carries a $612,500 cap hit (in addition to his strong year with AHL-Ontario and his character, which is raved about by those who work with him). Not that this is anything shocking, but I’m also expecting the Kings to bring in a goalie to camp on a PTO, as they’ve done in the past. The Kings have stated that they’re looking to rebuild their goaltending pipeline, an initiative that took a step forward with the selection of Matthew Villalta of OHL-Sault Ste. Marie in the third round this past weekend. The team will still be looking to plug holes in the goaltending chain.