TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were the Buffalo Sabres GM search, trade talk around the league, and which junior-eligible players in the NHL could be loaned to Team Canada for the World Juniors.
What is the latest news coming out of Buffalo regarding the Sabres General Manager hunt?
Bob McKenzie: The Buffalo Sabres have asked for permission from the Boston Bruins to talk to assistant manager Jim Benning about the vacant Sabres' GM job and the permission has been granted. I'm also hearing that Lafontaine's profile for the job is that he's looking for young assistant GM types throughout the NHL. We've heard Jason Botterill's name in Pittsburgh, Brad Treliving's name in Phoenix, Paul Fenton's name in Nashville.
That might mean a guy like Rick Dudley, who's been a GM in the NHL before doesn't necessarily fit the profile of what Buffalo is currently looking for.
With American Thanksgiving nearing, are you hearing any talk on the trade front?
Darren Dreger: We are hearing some interesting names that are starting to surface. Two of them that come to mind are Brayden Schenn of the Phildadelphia Flyers and Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers. Now the Flyers aren't trying to push out Schenn – they may want to push out his brother Luke – but what they've told teams quietly is that if there is the right deal available, if they can find the right fit, then absolutely they would include Brayden Schenn in a trade scenario. And we know Paul Holmgren likes to make that big blockbuster deal.
As for Del Zotto and the Rangers, he's not having a good year, playing well behind Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal on the left side, so he's a third-pairing defenceman. He could probably embrace a change and we're told that at least five or six teams have inquired about scenarios.
Pierre LeBrun: I think one of those teams is the Ottawa Senators. They've had this mystifying start, they've been so inconsistent and I'm told one of their top priorities on the trade market between now and the trade deadline is to find another puck-moving defenceman and Del Zotto is on that list of players on their radar. But it's money in, money out with the Senators with the situation with ownership.
A quick update on Pekka Rinne.
LeBrun: He's going to have an MRI on his hip again next week and that's a big one for Nashville. If it comes back clear, they hang on and wait for him to come back. If it isn't, it certainly heats up trade talks for Nashville.
There are five junior-eligible players in the NHL. We don't think Nathan MacKinnon will be offered to Team Canada for the World Juniors, what about the other four?
McKenzie: Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames looks like an extreme longshot but the Flames aren't necessarily closing the door on that – they'll make a decision on that closer to the time it needs to be made in mid to late December.
As far as Matt Dumba goes with the Minnesota Wild, I think he's the guy that's most likely to be loaned to Team Canada, but again Minnesota won't make that decision until they check their injury situation.
Right now Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly looks like an extreme longshot and Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals, even though he's playing fourth line minutes there for Adam Oates, the Capitals seem to feel that putting him on a big ice international tournament would probably interrupt his pro apprenticeship and probably not be in his best interest. He's highly unlikely so not a lot of help on the NHL front on the horizon; Dumba seems like the most likely candidate.
LeBrun: And sticking with international hockey, the Russians caused a little bit of a kerfuffle over the past week by saying “What about this Olympic roster deadline on December 31st? We'd like to name a partial roster and name the rest of the roster before the Olympics.” The NHL, NHLPA, and IIHF said, “No, nothing has changed on that front, it's a hard deadline for the full roster.” Except that the IIHF council meets next week and the Russians are expected to press their case once again there.