Insider Trading: Oilers' defence, Leafs/Gardiner speculation

TSN.ca Staff
10/9/2013 9:28:52 AM
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TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were the Edmonton Oilers' search for a defenceman, the Toronto Maple Leafs listening to offers for Jake Gardiner, the league's Europe plans, and Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider in New Jersey.

How aggressively are the Edmonton Oilers looking for a defenceman?

Bob McKenzie: Let me say this - there's no panic button being pushed in Edmonton by general manager Craig MacTavish but I would also suggest that after three games and 15 goals against, MacTavish is more open to business than most GMs would be after the first week of the season.

The defence has been very questionable and they've had some questionable goaltending. They're not going to judge Devan Dubnyk on a couple of games where he wasn't nearly as good as he needs to be but there is concern in Edmonton that their overall play behind the blueline and in net isn't where it needs to be.

Remember, MacTavish said when he took the job that he wanted to be bold. He hasn't had that opportunity to make that bold move, but I think he's still lying out there in the weeds trying to find something that would be considered bold and that would make a dramatic difference to the way this team plays behind the blue line.    

Are the Toronto Maple Leafs open for business on trading Jake Gardiner or are they just taking calls on him?

Darren Dreger: A little of both. They're interested in offers but they're certainly not shopping Gardiner. This discussion stems back to the Cody Franson stalemate. I'm told about a month ago, four or five teams called asking about a defenceman. They were asking about Franson and then the conversation shifted to Gardiner. Dave Nonis told all those teams, “I am not trying to move a defenceman. If you have an interest in Franson or Gardiner, make an offer, but also know that it's going to take an elite forward for me to even consider.”

And so far, there have been no serious offers for Gardiner.

Is the NHL going to back to Europe to start the season next year?

Pierre LeBrun: That is the plan. The NHL and NHLPA will hold a meeting next week to talk about their European plan which includes the return of the Premiere games and also plans for the World Cup of Hockey which should return in the fall of 2015.

The Premiere games haven't been held since October of 2011 and the five years when it was held, it was always at the start of the season. You played a pre-season game and then a couple of regular season games. The leading option right now, I believe, is to play late in October so it's one month into the season. That would avoid teams playing there in the pre-season and right now they're looking at either four teams or two teams going over there.

What becomes of Peter Laviolette and how much heat is there now on Paul Holmgren?

Dreger: For the moment, Laviolette and his family are trying to stay below the radar. Obviously, he's not happy with the way things ended with the Philadelphia Flyers so he may lay low. He wants to coach again in the NHL and given his resume, it's believed that he'll get another opportunity.

If things don't materialize in the NHL, say, before Christmas, I'm told Laviolette would consider going over to Europe and coaching there. It's not too far-fetched that he and his family would consider that.

As for Holmgren, he was looking for Ron Hextall. Since Holmgren took over as GM of the Flyers he has been constantly trying to lure Hextall from the Los Angeles Kings. There's no imminent danger for Holmgren and the belief is he will go out on his own terms and Hextall ultimately would be his successor.

George McPhee has made a lot of good moves for the Washington Capitals but the Martin Erat trade is not looking particularly strong.

McKenzie: This is a simmering story that could boil over in the not-too-distant future. The Capitals gave up a top prospect in Filip Forsberg at the trade deadline last year for Erat and Michael Latta. Latta was sent down at the beginning of the season and brought back up now.

But Erat has been an afterthought for head coach Adam Oates. He can't get into the lineup in any appreciable way. Going into Tuesday, he was playing six to nine minutes in each game on a fourth line and playing behind guys like Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich, and Jason Chimera. If they don't get this guy into the lineup soon, I would imagine it's coming to a head.

Could Brodeur-Schneider become a big and awkward story as the season goes along?

LeBrun: It's a good thing for New Jersey Devils head coach Pete DeBoer. Yes, it's a delicate situation; you have the all-time winningest goalie in Martin Brodeur being pushed by an up-and-coming star goalie in Cory Schneider.

How do you handle it?

First of all, the Devils have 22 sets of back-to-back games - that leads the entire NHL. Split those games and that takes care of that headache for at least a quarter of the year.

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