With the NHL Draft and free agency approaching, the rumour mill is in full swing, with TSN hockey insiders Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger weighing in with the latest on the Maple Leafs' interest in Aaron Ekblad and why Dave Bolland looks primed to hit the open market.
“Dave Bolland's initial ask of the Toronto Maple Leafs was seven to eight years in length and a little under $5 million,” McKenzie said Wednesday on TSN 1050. ”That was probably too long and too rich for Leaf blood, so it looks like he'll go to market at this point.”
Despite not being on the same page in negotiations at the moment, McKenzie thinks a deal between the 28-year-old and his hometown team could still be a possibility if he adjusts both his term and salary expectation.
“If the Leafs counter, I think they would probably counter more in the five year range, at a number closer to Tyler Bozak-type money, $4.25 or $4.5 million,” McKenzie said. “The Leafs have some interest, but I don't think they're prepared to give the seven or eight-year deal at that kind of money to Dave Bolland.”
Besides their soon-to-be free agent centre, Toronto is also engaged in talks with the Panthers regarding the no. 1 overall selection in Friday night's draft. If they were to move up, it would be with the purpose of taking the consensus top-rated prospect Ekblad.
“Toronto feels like not only is he the best player in the draft, but when you look at the best player in the draft being a defenceman, then you can't waste that opportunity, you've gotta take that player,” Dreger told Mike Richards in the Morning on Wednesday.
Dreger noted that Panthers GM Dale Tallon is open to a deal, but would likely wait until draft day to pull the trigger on any sort of trade.
TSN Radio 1050 reporter Jonas Siegel is reporting that the agent for Jay McClement says there have been no talks with the Leafs and none are planned for the future regarding a new contract.
McKenzie: Bolland likely to hit open market
Dreger: Ekblad appealing for Leafs
Button: NHL Draft preview, Leafs/Ritchie
Dellow and Simmons get heated about Bolland