TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun joined host Gino Reda to discuss the trade that didn’t happen between the Flames and Canadiens, what defencemen could be available at the deadline, the Golden Knights’ cap juggling, and more.
The Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames got together and made the biggest deal so far before the trade deadline, but there’s also news of the one that got away.
Darren Dreger: Forward Tyler Toffoli was always the focus from Calgary’s perspective, but there was a willingness to consider a bigger trade involving a defenceman, namely Ben Chiarot. But when you look at how significant that transaction would be from Montreal’s standpoint, they got a haul for Toffoli including a prospect and a first-round draft pick. So you know Chiarot, as the market unfolds for Montreal, is going to require a first-round draft pick coming back as well.
At that point over the weekend, it got a little bit too rich for the Flames. I do believe that Flames general manager Brad Treliving will try to add a least another depth defenceman and maybe another depth forward.
Pierre LeBrun: The internal debate for the Canadiens now, after they almost dealt Chiarot in the Calgary deal, is how long they drag this out with Chiarot because there’s already sizeable interest with other teams. You name a playoff contender; I believe they’ve phoned. The likes of Florida, Boston, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, among others. The Flames could [also] circle back on Chiarot at some point.
The debate the Habs have is that there was a minor scare for Chiarot over the weekend, what happens if that happens again? Do they decide to take the best offer soon? I believe that could happen within the next seven to 10 days. You mentioned a first-round pick, I think they’d love to get a first plus an asset.
What other teams could be making blue liners available?
Darren Dreger: The Buffalo Sabres are getting calls and when you look at expiring contracts in Buffalo you see Robert Hagg’s name. He’s a big, physical, shot blocker, shutdown defenceman which will appeal to playoff teams.
Then teams are waiting on Colin Miller. We know he’s injured and he’s going to be out until early March, but teams are staying in tune with his health progress. He’s a right-shot defenceman and they’re hard to come by so those are two interesting assets.
Up front for Buffalo, Cody Eakin might be a depth piece teams take a crack at as well.
The Tampa Bay Lightning raised a lot of eyebrows when forward Nikita Kucherov sat out the entire season only to come back and lead the team in scoring for the playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup. Is the Vegas Golden Knights drawing similar ire right now?
Chris Johnston: There was certainly some grumbling from rival teams. I think that’s to be expected in a case like this when executives say that it makes a mockery of the system. But optics aside, I don’t think there’s a whole lot the National Hockey League can do in this case other than require documentation of a back injury to Golden Knights forward Mark Stone. It’s a back injury that put him on the long-term injury reserve and sources insist it is a legitimate injury, so it won’t be difficult for the Golden Knights to produce that kind of documentation.
Remember last year, Toronto, Montreal, and Tampa Bay all had similar inquiries from the NHL, and they were ultimately allowed to have their players on LTIR until the end of the regular season or, in the case of Kucherov, the start of the playoffs.
A no trade and no-move clause can really tie a general manager’s hands when he’s looking to move a body. What have we learned from the past and how might that affect things moving forward?
Pierre LeBrun: I think there’s no question that the Philadelphia Flyers have looked at least year’s trade of Taylor Hall at the deadline from the Sabres, which was essentially a second-round pick, and wants to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself when it comes to forward Claude Giroux. [Giroux], like Hall, has a full no-movement clause.
That’s essentially what happened with Hall, he wanted to go to Boston. Even though there might have been a better trade elsewhere for the Sabres, that’s not where he ended up.
What’s going on right now is that there have not been serious trade discussions on Giroux yet [since] there’s still lot of time. But Pat Brisson, the agent for Giroux, has the clearance to talk to teams directly and start to put together a shortlist. He’ll do that with Giroux, if he’s willing to be dealt, over the next [few] weeks.
That shortlist then goes to Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and then Fletcher has something to work with. Not just [with] one team, but a shortlist of teams so the Flyers can get a decent deal out of this closer to [the] March 21 [trade deadline].
As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Arizona Coyotes are going to move to a 5,000-seat arena next year, word is it might not even be ready?
Chris Johnston: That was a key detail in the plan that the Arizona State University approved last week for the Coyotes to move into their new home. Construction isn’t meant to be done until December for this arena.
Specifically, it’s the annex area [where] the new NHL-calibre dressing rooms, and workout facilities that the Coyotes are funding won’t be done until December. At this point the plan is for the Coyotes to play all 41 home games there and they’ve worked out a temporary solution for those first couple of months and the Coyotes will be there in the month of October.