NHL trade rumors: Ryan Kesler information emerges; Penguins, Kings looking at Thomas Vanek

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The front-runners for Thomas Vanek have emerged, the price has been set for Matt Moulson and new information comes out on Ryan Kesler.

It's almost the trade deadline, so rumors are popping up every five minutes.

The big players still remain on the board and speculation has increased about the futures of Ryan Kesler, Matt Moulson and Thomas Vanek.

We even had a landslide of mid-day trades!

Here's where the landscape is currently at:

Montreal Canadiens acquire a defenseman

The Canadiens added some blueline depth after acquiring Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers for a 2015 fifth-round draft pick. Weaver, 35, is in the final year of his contract and accounts for $1.1 million against the salary cap. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Mid-day activity

The Capitals acquired Dustin Penner from the Ducks, who then traded goaltender Viktor Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers for a pair of draft picks. Edmonton then moved goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wildwhile the Ducks acquired Stephane Robidas from the Dallas Stars.

Halak to Minnesota no more

Rumors were flying that Jaroslav Halak was going to be traded to the Wild. Obviously, the acquisition of Bryzgalov makes that unlikely.

Reports indicate that the Buffalo Sabres' asking price for Halak was high and that Minnesota would require the Sabres to retain 50 percent of Halak's remaining salary. Apparently, the gap was too large to bridge and Minnesota viewed Bryzgalov as a better option.

Wheels turning on Ryan Kesler

This thing went from pipe dream to front-burner in no time. Multiple reports are really pushing that Kesler will be moved before Wednesday's deadline, as Elliotte Friedman of CBC adds some anonymity into the mix, via his 30 Thoughts column:

"What the Canucks are asking for Kesler is reasonable enough that you can tell they will move him," one exec said. "What they wanted for [Alex] Edler is unreasonable enough that you can tell they don't want to move him." Unless, of course, the return is massive.

Friedman adds that the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers have the pieces to acquire Kesler, while Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman provided comment saying he is not looking to make any trades:

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman denied any interest via email, writing "I have tried my best to convey that we will not be active but no one seems to want to listen."

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are considered the two most interested teams and have reportedly tabled significant offers.

Pittsburgh and Los Angeles front-runners for Thomas Vanek

Chris Botta tweeted that the Penguins are also interested in Thomas Vanek. Botta thinks Garth Snow will be pushing for three assets but will ultimately accept two "very good assets" for the pending unrestricted free agent. A first-round pick is a given requirement in any deal.

The Los Angeles Kings are also in play for Vanek, as the club has been looking to add scoring for some time. The Kings are also believed to be heavily interested in Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson.

Moulson price established

Brian Lawton tweeted that the Buffalo Sabres are looking to acquire a first-round pick and a mid-level prospect for Moulson. It seems as though the year of the draft selection is a negotiable term of discussions.

Ryan Callahan and Rangers working towards an extension

Bob McKenzie added that the Rangers and captain Ryan Callahan have made progress on a contract extension. Callahan walked back his contract demands and the two sides have mutually agreed to the length of the extension (six years). The remaining hurdle is the compensation.

It's believed the Rangers are willing to pay $36 million over six seasons, while Callahan is looking for around $39 million over six seasons.

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