TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were the possibility of the Flames finally moving Jarome Iginla, the Canucks looking to add a centre, Marian Gaborik's future in New York, and the top college free agents.
We might actually have a Jarome Iginla sweepstakes for the first time this year. Boston and Pittsburgh have definite interest for obvious reasons, but is there another serious player emerging?
LeBrun: I think if he's made available, keep an eye on the Stanley Cup champion LA Kings; Daryl Sutter obviously has that relationship with Iginla from his Calgary days. I think Jonathan Bernier is someone the Kings would be willing to dangle in a trade for Iginla. Now, obviously because Iginla has an expiring contract, the Kings I think would want more than just him, maybe a draft pick as well.
If Iginla is made available, that would be the framework of the discussion. The Kings, who checked on Iginla a few years ago and were told no, have the cap room and I believe would have interest if things heat up.
McKenzie: I think Iginla is going to be made available; I think this is finally an opportunity for the Flames to go down that road. But it's also a very delicate one that requires a great deal of finesse because it's Iginla, an icon, and he ultimately drives the bus on this.
It's not just the Flames in a position where they can go around and talk to every team in the NHL as to what they're going to get. This trade is almost going to have to be done in concert with Iginla if it's to be pursued.
We know the Vancouver Canucks would like to add a centre. Who have they inquired about?
LeBrun: First of all, had Stephen Weiss not had season-ending wrist surgery, I think the Canucks would have been in there fairly heavily for him.
I think another player is Steve Ott; you may remember last year when Ott was still in Dallas that we reported Dallas and Vancouver had talked about him. They never got a deal done; Vancouver opted instead for the Zack Kassian deal. I'm told that they did ask about Ott but at this point, it doesn't look like the Sabres are making him available.
I was told by a lot of teams this week that Canucks GM Mike Gillis has been phoning almost every team. He has been busy, he has been aggressive, and he's trying to get something done. But it is easier said than done right now in this market.
McKenzie: If the Canucks can't get a former Dallas Star, why not a current Dallas Star that was traded for Steve Ott? That would be Derek Roy. Roy's situation is interesting: he makes $4 million a year on the final year of a contract that will see him become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He and the Dallas Stars are not down the road at all on a new contract, and in fact, it would be fair to suggest that they have a much different idea in terms of value. The Stars think more along the lines of what he's making now while Roy is looking for more than $5-6 million dollars a year.
This is a player who is very much in play and could fit exactly what the Canucks are looking for: a third-line centre once Ryan Kesler comes back healthy in the second-line slot.
Marian Gaborik is having a terrible season in New York. Have the Rangers had enough of him?
LeBrun: A couple sources put it to me this way: the Rangers aren't calling every team in the league and shopping Gaborik. However, if they can get what they're looking for and use Gaborik to do it, they will. So he is available in my books.
They're looking for a couple bottom six forwards that can add more grit – maybe they should have kept Brandon Prust last summer – as well as a top-four defenceman who has a right-handed shot. Gaborik has one more year left on his deal at $7.5 million, that's a steep price.
McKenzie: I wouldn't go so far as to say he's an untradeable player, but that's a big ticket for a guy that is not firing on all cylinders. And if he was firing on all cylinders, the Rangers probably wouldn't want to get rid of him.
Trades are not the only way to change up your roster this time of year. The college free agent season is heating up. Who are the big prizes out there?
McKenzie: Big is the operative word. There are a lot of really big, strong, physical college free agents that are going to become available as soon as their college seasons end. The first one is Kellan Lain from Lake Superior State, a 6'6 centre. This is a guy that in the next number of days is going to choose a team, probably in the Western Conference. Teams like Anaheim, Vancouver, and Phoenix are interested, but he's not among the top three guys that I have as a consensus from NHL teams.
That would be this group: Danny Dekeyser, who everybody wanted to come out of Western Michigan last year. Eight NHL general managers have been in to see the 6'3 mobile defenceman in the last couple of weeks. I think that Detroit, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay are among the frontrunners for Dekeyser; he's high profile.
Andrej Sustr, a 6'8 Czech defenceman who plays at Nebraska-Omaha, is on the All-WCHA team this year. Lots of teams are lining up to get him signed as soon as his season ends.
And Montreal-area product Antoine Laganiere from Yale is a big winger – 6'4, 215 lbs – who projects as a third- or fourth-liner.
This year's college free agent crop is not outstanding, but Dekeyser is the best of that group.