The Leafs sit comfortably atop the North Division, so is there anything that they would like to add before the trade deadline? What is Alex Goligoski's status in Arizona? Is John Tortorella's future stable in Columbus? Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Frank Seravalli discuss this and more.
James Duthie: The Toronto Maple Leafs are 17-4-2, six points clear of anyone in the National Hockey League entering play on Tuesday night. They just shut out the Edmonton Oilers twice in a row, without Auston Matthews. So we ask, with under six weeks until the trade deadline, is there anything they need or want?
Darren Dreger: Management would like to bolster their forward group. Look, if you go back two weeks ago they weren’t certain that’s what they would do, but they would like to give this group a little bit more depth and firepower. Particularly in the middle of the lineup, there has been some speculation about Mikael Granlund of the Nashville Predators. Could there be a fit moving forward between David Poile and Kyle Dubas, well perhaps, if the Nashville Predators are willing to retain some salary. Look, Toronto has the prospects, and if necessary have the draft picks to make something like that happen. As long as the Leafs continue to win, then I know Dubas is going to try and bolster the group up front.
Frank Seravalli: Mikael Granlund was No. 6 on the TSN Trade Bait Board that debuted on Monday, but I have a new name to add to the mix. That would be Alex Goligoski, the defenceman from the Arizona Coyotes who has been playing top-pair minutes, the pending unrestricted free agent, there has been no negotiations on a contract extension. He is an interesting guy because of the minutes he logs, but also because he is a left-shooting defenceman, but likes –and is comfortable with – playing on the right side. So he could be another name added to the mix when we do the Trade Bait Board.
Duthie: Vote of confidence doesn’t always mean much in sports, we’ve heard a vote of confidence a lot of times, and a guy gets fired a week later. But for now, John Tortorella is safe in Columbus?
Pierre LeBrun: Yeah, that’s what Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen announced to the media on Tuesday, also had a chat with Tortorella about it himself on Monday that he believes Tortorella has taken this team out of the woods before, and he’ll do it again. But the reason this has become a story is because Tortorella’s deal is up at the end of the season. I hear, and I think it’s interesting, not only Kekalainen confirm on this day that the finances of the pandemic are part of the reason he wasn’t really in a position to extend Tortorella before the year. I personally am not convinced that Tortorella himself was in a position where he wanted to extend before the season either, that maybe he wanted to see how this year played out. It’s an interesting story developing in Columbus.
Duthie: It’s been one month since the New York Rangers cut ties with Tony DeAngelo and so far no takers for a player whose career has been full of controversy, what’s next for him?
Seravalli: Tony DeAngelo has expressed interest in a loan to the American Hockey League. That’s what he let the Rangers know, that he’d like to get playing again, he’s been skating for the last month to this point on his own. He’s willing to accept a loan to any AHL franchise and I believe the Rangers are interested in facilitating that, but it would take someone else stepping up to do so. Because the Rangers have let him know he’s not welcome in Hartford, the ties have been cut with the entire Rangers organization to this point.
Duthie: Once we get through TradeCentre in April, we’ll turn our attention to Free Agent Frenzy and could Dougie Hamilton be available?
LeBrun: Well if he is, he’ll be the No. 1 UFA on our board like Alex Pietrangelo was last off-season. Now, he wants to stay in Carolina, his agent had dialogue last month to start the talks of an extension with the Hurricanes. Each side essentially established their positions and frankly it’s gone quiet ever since, I think there is a gap between the two positions. I would surmise that the player is more on the Pietrangelo side of things, and Carolina is more on the Torey Krug side of things in terms of salary. It’s not like they’re going to trade this guy before the deadline, they’re all-in to win and they’ll try to get this done before July 28.
Duthie: Right around free agency there is supposed to be a draft, what is the latest there?
Dreger: A decision has to be made on whether or not to move it in the very near future. Sources say the National Hockey League and Players’ Association will virtually meet to discuss the issue perhaps as early as Thursday.