TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger join James Duthie to discuss the Flames' trade deadline plans after losing their captain Mark Giordano to injury, the Maple Leafs' search for an upgrade on the blueline, how Michael Ferland's status affects Vancouver's deadline plans, the latest on Chris Kreider, and more.
How does the injury to 2019 Norris Trophy winner and captain Mark Giordano affect what the Calgary Flames do at the Trade Deadline?
Pierre LeBrun: Yeah, it does right now because there are teams that I've talked to around the league that felt there was a decent chance that TJ Brodie could be had in a deal with the Calgary Flames, could upgrade with a top six forward, specifically a right shot forward. Now the sense is the Flames probably have to go all hands on deck as far as their remaining D to get through this Giordano injury. In fact, one source suggested to me today that the Flames might go out and try to add another depth defenceman to get them through this. Now again, I'm not saying Brodie cannot be moved. He's a pending UFA, but it's certainly I think makes it more difficult for the Flames right now and make that a top priority.
Darren Dreger: An area of concern on the Calgary blueline no question about that and some are wondering what they might do up front as well. Sam Bennett's name has been out there for a long, long time. Now the Calgary Flames don't really want to trade Sam Bennett. They're not actively shopping Bennett. He's a versatile forward. However, some also wonder whether or not Sam Bennett is ready for a change. On many nights, many games for the Flames, he's a fourth line player. He would like to prove that he can be a top six forward in the NHL.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas picked up backup goalie Jack Campbell and gritty forward Kyle Clifford Wednesday night, but is the need for a top-four defenceman with some term still a top priority? How does the injury to Cody Ceci effect what the Leafs do?
Dreger: It definitely does. I mean they are in the market for another defenceman. Now there's some things that might factor in. You mentioned Cody Ceci. He's out with what I believe is a high ankle sprain. He'll be re-evaluated probably in a month, so it could linger beyond that. What about Morgan Rielly? He's expected to be re-evaluated in the near future, that could cause some impact and influence on a decision by Kyle Dubas as well. One of the key factors in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night was the fact that the Kings retained salary, so the Toronto Maple Leafs are in good position with [Kasperi] Kapanen, with [Andreas] Johnsson, maybe Alex Kerfoot, to make a deal if there's the right deal.
What about the Los Angeles Kings?
LeBrun: Speaking of the Kings...they are not done trading. Alec Martinez, a defenceman that has a year and a half left on his contract, he remains available. He's not a guy that the Leafs were interested in, by the way, but a couple of teams that we believe have shown interest, include the Florida Panthers, who are absolutely looking to upgrade their blueline, as well to some degree the Winnipeg Jets. The price to get Martinez is believed to be a second-round pick and either another pick or a prospect. Nothing imminent it appears at this point, but a player that should be on the move.
Micheal Ferland has been out since early December. Does that impact what the Vancouver Canucks do?
LeBrun: It might. Certainly the expectation is that he'll go to Utica soon and get that next step in his progress, but believe me when I say that the Vancouver Canucks about a week away from the trade deadline are going [to] want to ask themselves this question. Where's Micheal Ferland? Do we trust that this player will be with us for a stretch run and the playoffs because if there is some hesitancy I'm told the Canucks have brought about another name in their internal discussions...Wayne Simmonds of the New Jersey Devils. And I can tell you, Vancouver had a lot of interest in Wayne Simmonds last summer when Simmonds opted to stay in the metro and sign with the New Jersey Devils. He'd be a player they'd go for if they have concerns about Ferland long term. Right now the play is, let's just hope Ferland is OK.
What are the Buffalo Sabres plans for the trade deadline?
Dreger: We know if Buffalo that Jason Botterill is continuing his search for a forward. I mean, man it's a tire fire in Buffalo right now and it is white hot in Buffalo as well so Botterill may have to get really creative. Rasmus Ristolainen's name has been out there for a while. Again, not being shopped per say, but I'm going to throw another defenceman in the mix and that's Brandon Montour. This will be a real tough move for the Buffalo Sabres if they have to make it. He's been playing well. It's a difficult one to make before the trade deadline. And the only way they'd consider moving Montour or Ristolainen, is if Botterill secures a top-six forward back. So, stay tuned.
What does the future look like for New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider, the No. 1 player on TSN's Trade Bait board?
LeBrun: I'm scared to give you this update because you're staring at me right now. I think's it's going to be difficult to sign this guy, but here's what we do know: Finally after months of not having any communication regarding a contract between Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers, we're [hearing] that within the next couple days, finally Jeff Gorton, the GM of the Rangers and Matt Keator, the agent for Chris Kreider, will have that dialogue. Where it goes from there...Who knows? It might be a tough contract to get done, but there will be an effort, I think.