TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun join host Gino Reda to discuss if the Penguins will fill the void Sidney Crosby leaves behind internally or look elsewhere and how might the Senators handle the future of the red-hot Jean-Gabriel Pageau?
It took a little while for Sidney Crosby and his camp to decide to have the surgery. But, it was done Thursday morning in Philadelphia. (He’s) now gone for six weeks. So the question now is Dregs is, do they go out and try to fill the gap because he’s gone for a long period of time. Or do they take care of it internally?
Dreger: They plan to take care of it internally. Now, Jim Rutherford is adament that he is not shopping for a replacement. I mean, you’re talking about Sidney Crosby. But, there are other injuries specific to the Pittsburgh Penguins as well that are somewhat concerning, too. Sidney Crosby has been dealing with this since training camp and it was aggrevated on Saturday versus the Chicago Blackhawks. And ultimately, a decision was made to have the surgical procedure on Wednesday. Now, it’s not necessarily related, but because of the rash of injuries over the past five years in Pittsburgh, the Penguins, I believe, are going to take a hard look at how their players train, how they maintain , are they overtraining, all of those things. This isn’t a sinister act. They’re not pointing fingers at their training staff or their medical people. They just want to make sure that there is no correlation.
Alright, let’s talk J-G Pageau. This guy is on fire. Six goals over his last five games. And nice timing, Bob, because he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Any news on that front?
McKenzie: Well it’s a really good question, Gino. And I can tell you this. Not privately, not publicly, will the Ottawa Senators even think about engaging in that. And given the history that they’ve had, with past unrestricted free agents in their last year, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Erik Karlsson, you can understand why. So they’re not going to talk about it. And there’s no plan on anyone talking about anything J-G Pageau-related publicly until he’s either signed to a new contract, or he’s traded away as a rental between now and the deadline. It’s been a remarkable year for him. 11 goals and 19 points, a plus-19 in only 18 games. But what he is, is a career 10-20 goal, 30-40 point guy. How do you figure out what his contract is worth? He’s making $3.1 million in terms of his AAV, he making, actually, $3.4 million this year. The market value would suggest that it’s between $3.65 and $4 million. And if a 27-year-old unrestricted free agent wants to stay as part of a rebuilding team in Ottawa, maybe he wants more than $4 million a year. Ottawa Senators can’t talk about it. We can and everybody else will until he’s either signed or traded.
The Vancouver Canucks want to talk about what’s going on with Roberto Luongo right now. He is now a special adviser to the general manager, Dale Tallon, in Florida, making some cash there. But, the Canucks are still on the hook for just over $3 million a year for this year and two more years after that. How is this all unfolding?
LeBrun: Well, it’s a delicate matter. Let’s put it that way. And it was dealt with over the summer. The Canucks, the Panthers and the National Hockey League all had discussions about how this would all go down if Roberto Luongo would retire. We know about the cap recapture penalty. That stinks for the Vancouver Canucks. But, of course, the second Roberto Luongo was announced as a special adviser to the GM, there were Canucks fans, conspiracy theories, who said ‘well wait a minute, he better not be earning his NHL salary in that role’. Well, of course not. The NHL has made sure and here’s a statement from Bill Daly to me, that Roberto Luongo is on a much smaller salary in his new job in the front office with his new role with the Florida Panthers. And, in fact, they were not only advised of that in the summer, but he was going to circle back to make sure that it is, in fact, still the case. I’m told Luongo’s new salary is a fraction of what he made to stop pucks for the Florida Panthers.
Speaking of big salaries, Ilya Kovalchuk. He’s not currently in the (Los Angeles) Kings lineup. It’s quite the saga. What’s the latest there?
LeBrun: Yes. Saga is a good word for it. A third straight day where Ilya Kovalchuk’s camp, led by J.P. Barry, had more discussions with Kings management trying to figure out where this will all lead. Here’s the thing to retain. It’s a 35-and-over contract, which is the worst thing of all when you’re trying to have a player exit and not have ramifications. The ramifications are this: Even if he were to retire or abducted by aliens, the L.A. Kings are stuck with a $6.25 million cap hit this year and next. The best option for L.A. is to trade him. Where is that market right now? There isn’t one. I think his representatives would like to see him back in the lineup to create that market. Right now, that’s not the plan.