The National Hockey League's Trade Deadline is on Monday at 3 p.m. and teams will be making decisions on whether to buy or sell and decide which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out the latest trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, the Toronto Maple Leafs have received calls on pending unrestricted free agent defenceman Tyson Barrie this week and are open to considering a move.
McKenzie notes the Vancouver Canucks are among the interest parties in the 28-year-old Victoria, B.C., product, but the Maple Leafs will only move Barrie if they can fill his spot on the blueline before Monday's 3pm ET deadline.
"Over the course of this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs suffered two disastrous losses - one to Buffalo, one to Pittsburgh - that put if not a dent in their playoff hopes, certainly a big dent in the perception of their playoff hopes around the league," McKenzie said on Insider Trading Thursday, prior to the Leafs 4-0 win over the Penguins. "And also, simultaneously, we had a week where a whole bunch of defencemen got traded and all those defencemen that were available? No longer available. So, suddenly the Toronto Maple Leafs started getting a lot of calls on pending UFA defenceman Tyson Barrie.
"When those teams called, the Leafs basically told those teams that were interested 'Yeah, you know what? We would consider under the right set of circumstances trading Tyson Barrie.' But the first thing you need to know, it's not a sell-off for future considerations, it's not like a lot of the rental deals. The Toronto Maple Leafs don't want some magic beans that might pay off down the road. Listen, one of two things has to happen in order for Barrie to be traded. Either they have to get a defenceman coming back that makes them a better team right now because they still want to make the playoffs, or they have to get picks and prospects that they could immediately parlay into that mythical unicorn right-shot defenceman that they're looking to play with Morgan Rielly. And so that's the circumstance under which Barrie could move.
"Lots of teams interested, Vancouver is one of the teams that has spoken to the Toronto Maple Leafs and speaking of Vancouver, there's been a lot of trade talk emanating out of Vancouver about defenceman Troy Stecher. Whether or not Stecher could be or would be part of anything with Toronto remains to be seen, but there's a lot of moving parts there on the defenceman market even though a lot moved this week."
Barrie has five goals and 33 points while averaging 21:44 of ice time in 62 games with the Maple Leafs this season, his first with the team. He was acquired in July along with Alexander Kerfoot from the Colorado Avalanche in the deal which saw Nazem Kadri and Calle Rosen head the other way.
A third-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Barrie posted 14 goals and topped 55 points in each of his previous two seasons with the Avalanche before the off-season trade. Because the Avalanche retained 50 per cent of Barrie's cap hit in the deal, he carries just a $2.75 million cap hit this season.
The Maple Leafs, who are currently without Rielly and Cody Ceci on their blueline due to injuries, are believed to have a contract extension in place with fellow pending UFA defenceman Jake Muzzin. TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported earlier this week the deal is believed to be for four years at just over $5.5 million, which will leave the Leafs with roughly $78 million committed in cap space to 16 players for next season.
Stecher has three goals and 11 points in 60 games with the Canucks this season while averaging 15:05 of ice time. Undrafted to begin his NHL career, the 25-year-old has spent the past four seasons with the Canucks, posting nine goals and 69 points in 277 career games. He's scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and carries a $2.325 million cap hit this year.
The Canucks have already made one big move ahead of the deadline, acquiring Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings for Tim Schaller, Tyler Madden and a second-round pick, and our without their first-round pick in this year's draft after adding J.T. Miller in the off-season.
Vancouver had previously been tied to New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds on the trade market, but TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that it appears those talks have fallen through. LeBrun reports the Canucks were unable to make the deal work under the salary cap with the possibility of Brock Boeser returning to the lineup before the playoffs.
Help on the Way?
Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving reiterated Thursday that defencemen Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic will return to the team's lineup before the end of the season. Their exact dates for playing, though, remain unknown.
Giordano has resumed has skating as he works his way back from a hamstring injury, while Hamonic, sidelined by an upper-body injury, has yet to get back on the ice.
Despite missing two of their top three leaders in average ice time, the Flames have won four of their past six games and sit in the final wild-card spot, and just four points back of the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.
Treliving said Thursday he's been talking to other general managers, but noted he does not expect to make a franchise-altering move before the deadline.
“You keep making calls. You keep fielding calls. You keep seeing if there’s a fit to help you,” Treliving said. “Emptying the clip for something that may or may not have an impact on your team? Certainly, I don’t think that’s the plan we want to undertake. I don’t see a lot outside that’s going to come in and dramatically change everything, right? You’re not going to blow up your team and rebuild it at the trade deadline. Are there support pieces (to consider)? Sure.
“If our group plays to the level that they’re capable of - and we’ve seen stretches - then we’re going to have as good a chance as anybody. Can you assist that? Can you help that? If it makes sense at the time.
“But you can’t look for outside saviours. If you’re waiting for the cavalry to arrive, that’s probably not going to be the case.”
TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli wrote Thursday that Treliving is believed to be looking for both offensive and defensive help ahead of Monday, but also remains focused on internal contract issues as well.
"Calgary is Canada’s most fascinating team heading into Monday," Seravalli wrote. "GM Brad Treliving is out to fill two holes: a right-shooting, top-six forward and depth on the blueline. The complicating factor is both T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic are pending UFAs. In an ideal world, Treliving would love to have one of those defencemen signed to an extension by Monday. That would enable him to make a bigger hockey trade (a player with term, like Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri?) and focus a little less on defence.
"The Flames (and Blues) were two teams that went deep on Brenden Dillon before San Jose shipped him to Washington. The truth is that, at the moment, the Flames are all over the place. Treliving is making calls on forwards and defencemen. They could go in either direction – or fill both needs – by Monday. One thing is certain: the Flames don’t have the option to fall short of the playoffs. This team is built to win now, particularly with this defence corps and their ages and contract situations, and the heat is on. No pun intended."
Calgary will host the Bruins on Friday night and play their final game ahead of the deadline on Sunday on the road against the Detroit Red Wings.
Low Cost Options
The Edmonton Oilers are looking for offensive help ahead of the deadline, but with the team pushed up against the salary cap, the team is surveying low-cost options around the league.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday the Oilers could have their eyes on Ottawa Senators veteran Tyler Ennis, who has 14 goals this season.
"One player not making a lot of money is Tyler Ennis in Ottawa, one-year, $800,000 and that is music to the ears of a team like Edmonton that is scouring the market before Monday looking for cheap forward options," LeBrun said on Insider Trading. "Now, they've got other fishing hooks in the ocean, but he is one name that's on their radar."
The 30-year-old winger's 14 goals this season are his highest since scoring 20 with the Buffalo Sabres in 2014-15. He also has 19 assists for a total of 33 points with the Senators.
A first-round draft pick in 2008, Ennis made the playoffs for just the fourth time in his career last season, posting two assists in five games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Oilers, who sit second in the Pacific Division, are expected to get Connor McDavid back in their lineup in the near future after the star centre was a full participant in practice on Thursday. Edmonton will host the Minnesota Wild on Friday.