Insider Trading: NHL questions Lightning about controversial Stanley Cup rally
TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger join host Gino Reda to discuss whether or not the Montreal Canadiens are willing to trade their first-round pick in search of some offence, the latest on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s market and if the NHL has reached out to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the wake of their Stanley Cup celebrations.
Canadiens open to moving first-round pick?
With the Stanley Cup handed out and the NHL off-season in full swing, what are the Montreal Canadiens looking at doing this winter to address their needs? Is their first-rounder on the table?
LeBrun: Interestingly enough, Marc Bergevin, general manager of the Habs, said in an interview with Marc Antoine Godin in The Athletic posted Thursday that he is open to trading his 16th overall pick in the first round which matches what I’m hearing from other teams around the league who suggest that he is open to it, but what he’s looking for is a top-six forward that would augment that offence that obviously needs some help for the Montreal Canadiens. I don’t sense that there’s a match right now, but obviously the Montreal Canadiens have until the draft next Tuesday to see if there’s a match.
What’s Ekman-Larsson’s market looking like?
With rumours swirling that Oliver Ekman-Larsson could be on his way out of Arizona, are the list of potential suitors being narrowed down?
Dreger: No question when it comes to Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes and that’s why you negotiate when you’re in the midst of developing a long-term extension no-trade protection. Ekman-Larsson definitely has that so he’s identified the two cities and the organizations that he’s willing to waive to go to. And that is the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks. Now, Bill Armstrong, the general manager of the Arizona Coyotes is actively working with both Boston and Vancouver. He’s trying to get something done. There is a bit of pressure from the player perspective and it sounds like Arizona, even though they don’t want to have to do this, is either going to have to retain some of the money on Ekman-Larsson, an $8-plus million annual cap hit, or the Arizona Coyotes are going to have to take some contracts back.
Is the goaltender market hot?
In this short off-season, could we potentially see a lot of movement on the goalie front?
LeBrun: Well, there’s no question the story of the off-season will be the goalie carousel and if there weren’t enough goalies already on the market both in free agency and on the trade market, I’ve now heard over the past week that Columbus is listening on their two goalies. Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins. Both who had breakout years, both who see themselves as No. 1 goalies and both had good moments in the playoffs. And the reason for it is, you know eventually there won’t be enough net for both of these guys and that they are No. 1 goalies. So Columbus is listening, it doesn’t mean they’ll move them but if they do move them they’d like to acquire a top-two centre.
Was the NHL not thrilled with the Lightning’s celebrations?
We expected the Tampa Bay Lightning to party hard after winning the Stanley Cup. But did they party too hard given some of the non-COVID-19-friendly celebrations that have emerged on social media?
Dreger: I think we all saw the video evidence of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrating like it’s 2019, not like it’s 2020. And your point is well made. On any other year, any other celebration involving a Stanley Cup Champion, as long as you keep it between the lines, is going to be okay. But from a health and safety perspective, I think we can call agree this doesn’t look very healthy or very safe in the world of a pandemic. So the National Hockey League did reach out to the Tampa Bay Lightning to question some of that behaviour.
Reda: By the way, some news on Steven Stamkos, his general manager Julien BriseBois says his captain had sports hernia surgery before the pause. That was fine, but his rehab triggered another injury. But they fully expect him to be ready for the start of next season.