With free agency coming up, TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading. Among the topics discussed were a potential deal for Carey Price and the frontrunner for Roberto Luongo.
Jonathan Quick gets a lucrative 10-year contract so is it now Carey Price's turn?
Bob McKenzie: I don't think there's any question that Carey Price is next up on the tee. The Montreal Canadiens have been talking to Price for some time about a new deal and it looks like it's getting closer. It's interesting that Quick's deal was 10 years with a cap hit between $5.5 and $6 million per year. When Price's deal gets done with the Canadiens, I would expect that the term will be a lot less, in the neighbourhood of 6-7 years, but the cap hit will likely be more than Quick's, maybe $6 to $6.5 million per year. I'm sure this is something that Price and the Canadiens both want to get taken care of as soon as possible. Some say it's hours away, some say a day, it might be a week but I don't anticipate a problem and it will get done.
Are the Florida Panthers the clear frontrunner for Roberto Luongo?
Darren Dreger: Yes, there are ongoing negotiations between Vancouver and Florida. Canucks general manager Mike Gillis is driving the bus and the bus is in low gear. Nothing has changed since the NHL Draft but there is an ongoing negotiation. The Panthers didn't like the first approach from Gillis and countered with another offer but I wouldn't say that it's close. The Toronto Maple Leafs did express interest but I'm also told the Leafs are not engaged in discussions with Vancouver at this stage.
Once you get beyond Ryan Suter and Justin Schultz, who are the most sought-after unrestricted free agent defencemen?
Pierre LeBrun: Matt Carle and Jason Garrison, in that order. Carle has flown under the radar because people in Philadelphia keep expecting he's going to re-sign. The dialogue continues with the Flyers but I think he's going to market. I think he's trying to command $5 million a year and he might get it on the open market. I think it's the same thing for Garrison, with $5 million being a key figure for him. He's not close to re-signing with the Florida Panthers, who could also trade his rights before July 1 if they can't get a deal done.
Bob McKenzie: Speaking of Justin Schultz, there's been a steady stream of teams going through the offices of the agent for the former University of Wisconsin defenceman, who declared himself a free agent by leaving school early. We're starting to get some insight into maybe why he didn't want to sign with the Anaheim Ducks because there's a very strong Canadian emphasis on his short list of teams. The Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators were four of the five teams that we knew to be on that list. In free agency, it's unusual for four Canadian teams to be featured so prominently. Most people feel that Vancouver and Edmonton are the frontrunners but the New York Rangers are the fifth team in that mix and a lot of people think Ryan McDonagh's connection there means they'll have a good chance to get Schultz. There is reason to believe the Minnesota Wild are also in the running. I would expect a decision no earlier than Friday night or Saturday.
After everything Shane Doan has been through with the Phoenix Coyotes franchise, now he might leave?
Darren Dreger: There's a big meeting that's going to take place before July 1 with Doan meeting face-to-face with potential Coyotes' buyer Greg Jamison. If Jamison can convince Doan that he is going to be successful in his attempt to buy the Coyotes and keep them in Glendale, then Doan will not test free agency. He's got to listen to what the market is going to offer him but he's a reluctant free agent going in. His heart's in Phoenix but if there's no deal and no sense that a deal is imminent, then he's going to listen.