SUNRISE, Fla. - Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather had spoken to at least six teams very interested in goaltender Cam Talbot and had hoped to acquire a first-round pick in the NHL entry draft on Friday.
Instead, one by one, the suitors either used their top picks in other trades or kept the picks and chose prospects, leaving the Rangers to hunt for a different package of picks, prospects and possibly current players as the second through seventh rounds continue on Saturday.
Talbot, 27, who was 16-4-3 while Henrik Lundqvist recovered from a vascular injury to his neck after being struck by a shot, appealed to teams such as the Sabres, Oilers, Sharks, Stars, Panthers and Flames, who discussed trade packages that included second-round picks and prospects.
But Buffalo bowed out of the first-round auction Friday morning, when the Senators traded goaltender Robin Lehner, 23, and forward David Legwand, 34, to the Sabres for the 21st pick. The Senators cleared $5.2 million in cap space with the swap.
Calgary traded its No. 1 pick and two No. 2s to Boston for defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
When no deal was announced midway through the draft at BB&T Center, the distinct possibility arose that the process would stretch into Saturday and that the Rangers might be working on acquiring a first-rounder in the 2016 draft. They currently do not have one.
The Sharks (No. 9), Panthers (No. 11) and Stars (No. 12) took forwards: right wing Timo Meier, left wing Lawson Crouse and right wing Denis Gurianov, respectively. The Oilers dealt the No. 16 and No. 33 selections to the Islanders for defenseman Griffin Reinhart.
The Rangers began fielding offers on Thursday for Talbot, who is under contract for $1.45 million next season and then can become an unrestricted free agent. The cap-strapped Rangers clearly did not want to take on extra salary as part of any transaction. The Sharks, who have the No. 39 pick, and the Rangers were discussing a deal late last night.
Meanwhile, Newsday confirmed that unrestricted free agent Martin St. Louis will not return to the Rangers. St. Louis, 40, who arrived from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline in 2014 in a swap for Ryan Callahan and two first-round draft selections, scored 21 goals this past season but had only seven in the last 35 games and one in the postseason. St. Louis does not appear ready to retire, however, and could attract a one-year deal at a far lower number than the $5.6 million he was paid in the last two seasons, when he played 93 regular-season games and 44 playoff games for the Rangers.
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