TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were if the Oilers would trade Nail Yakupov, if the Panthers are ready to blow things up in Florida and PK Subban's contract talks in Montreal.
Is there any chance Nail Yakupov ends up being traded out of Edmonton?
Dreger: Not this year. The Oilers have no intentions of trading him. What they need from him, given the fact that he's played 65 NHL games, is to figure it out. He needs to start being a better defensive player, he needs to mature a little bit, work on the issues in his game and be ready for the time when Ales Hemsky is traded by the Oilers so he can take a more predominant role. As for the Igor Larionov story, Craig MacTavish spoke to him and there are no issues there.
Yakupov hasn't demanded a trade yet but someone in Dallas has.
McKenzie: If you've been hearing a lot of Vernon Fiddler trade rumours it's because two weeks ago he went to the Dallas Stars and said he wants more ice time and wants a bigger role, and if he can't get it with Dallas than let it be somewhere else. He's on an expiring contract at $1.8 million and an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. There is interest in him from other teams but the Stars are wining and things are going well, so they're not going to give him away. Keep an eye on this one.
Dreger: The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of those teams that have had discussions with Dallas about Fiddler. Toronto's a little bit concerned about his age and the money, but the Leafs are looking for something. They've also had discussions on potentially trading John-Michael Liles to the Carolina Hurricanes but nothing imminent there.
Is Panthers general manager Dale Tallon ready to blow things up in Florida?
McKenzie: Let's play hockey jeopardy. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Erik Gudbranson, Marcel Goc. Who are the five players on the Florida Panthers who cannot be had in a trade right now? Anybody else on the Panthers are available in trade. The younger guys there that are available - Shawn Matthias or Dmitry Kulikov - they're the guys now that most teams are kicking tires on. The veterans that are making the bigger money; not so much.
How about the goaltending situation in Nashville?
LeBrun: The Predators have given up a ton of goals since Pekka Rinne went down; not really a big surprise. Carter Hutton, kind of an unknown commodity, has not answered the bell so the Predators and the Anaheim Ducks, I'm told, have had discussions regarding Jonas Hiller. But what the Predators have told the Ducks is that we need to know about Rinne's health before we decide whether or not we have to make a goalie trade. If they get good news, maybe they could hold off and survive but if it looks like it's going to be longer than they thought, than maybe they'll have to make a trade, and Hiller - as we've been saying for a month - is very much available from Anaheim.
Some quick one-timers... Tuesday's general managers meeting in Toronto?
Dreger: The National Hockey League general managers talked about a lot of things at Tuesday's annual general managers meeting. One of the things that was interesting is the shot blockers. We know that the Calgary Flames have made them mandatory, but it was clarified to the GMs that you cannot make additional equipment mandatory, you can only strongly encourage.
PK Subban talks in Montreal?
LeBrun: Agent Don Meehan was in Montreal for very preliminary discussions where the parameters were set. It's going to be a big negotiation, obviously, for Subban who is a restricted free agent at the end of the year and is going to make a lot of money. That conversation has begun.
Stamkos and Sochi?
McKenzie: Hockey Canada is not ruling him out at this point. The surgery went well. Tampa media is reporting that a metal rod was inserted the length of the tibia and a metal rod is no worse than plates or screws, so right now the unofficial timeline seems to be in and around three months. It could be more than that and it could be less, but with Team Canada not expected to name the roster until December 28, they will wait and see how much more information they've got a month to six weeks from now to make a determination. Team Canada will meet in Toronto over the next day and will be whittling down the hardcore of what the nucleus is.
LeBrun: And whittling it down to about half, I'd say. Team Canada had a long list heading into this season and I think they want to work it down to a manageable number that they can focus on over the next month before D-Day is ready for Team Canada.
A young hot prospect not named Connor McDavid?
McKenzie: Everybody knows that the 2015 NHL draft is the so-called Connor McDavid draft and rightfully so. But keep an eye on Jack Eichel; a young American - a late 1996 birth date - who just tore up the Four Nations Cup in Finland. He had four goals and seven points in only three games for the Americans. He's slated to go to Boston University at some point. His CHL rights were initially owned by the Halifax Mooseheads but they dropped him when he committed to BU, and now the Saint John Sea Dogs hold his CHL rights. He's a big centre who could put points on the board.