NHL Draft Eve: Rumors of trades afoot from coast to coast

"I can't believe they didn't draft that guy. Fire everyone, hire me." - Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Nathan Horton wants to walk, the Canucks have waited till the 11th hour to consider Plan B, and the Flyers as usual are trying to trade and acquire everybody.

With all of the picks coming on one day (Sunday), this year's NHL Draft will be more condensed than the usual Friday-Saturday pomp. Apparently it won't lack for rumor and drama, though.

Saturday has seen a foray of reports from actual hockey reporters (not just Twitter parrots and hucksters) about the trade and free agent conversations going on behind the scenes.

However, one development is official and fully public: Nathan Horton's agent has told multiple reporters that the Bruin winger wants to hit the free agency market. Horton hitting the market isn't too much of a surprise given the Bruins' constrained cap situation, but the player striking first and essentially drumming up demand for himself in advance is certainly news.

Like most UFAs, Horton's apt to get overpaid; he had a somewhat fortunate playoff (goals went in for his line at a higher rate than normal) and there is some question about how the major concussion from two years ago has affected him.

In less overt scuttlebutt:

Draft Sunday

We'll have more around here, particularly if major news breaks, leading up to the draft. Also look for the usual draft day coverage.

To prepare, here's a sampling of players who might be around at 15 if the Islanders luck out. And here are two sort of industry consensus quasi-mock drafts, from TSN's Bob McKenzie and Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman.

(I should note that neither is a straight-up "mock," with McKenzie's always doing a ranking based on how teams would pick if they selected strictly on consensus "best player available."

The draft begins at 3 p.m. EDT, with U.S. coverage on NBC Sports Network. The Isles draft table is set.

Here is the order for the Isles picks (they don't have a 2nd-round pick):

Round 1: 15th overall
Round 3: 75th overall
Round 4: 105th overall
Round 5: 135th overall
Round 6: 165th overall
Round 7: 195th overall

See you tonight, tomorrow, or on Monday when you catch up with the latest crop of teens.

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