Gino Reda is joined by TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Chris Johnston to discuss when Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks will have trade talks, the latest on David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins, whether the Maple Leafs signing Michael Bunting to an eight-year deal makes sense, and more on Insider Trading.


How long until we refer to Patrick Kane as a former Chicago Blackhawk?

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Pierre LeBrun:  I think there’s a decent chance that he gets dealt before the March 3 trade deadline. The reality is that people were putting the cart before the horse this past summer when they thought he might force a trade after all the Blackhawks roster defections. The reality is that he wasn’t ready to have that conversation. My sense of it is that his agent, Pat Brisson, and Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson have talked and said, “let’s circle back to each other around December and January and see where things stand.”

Kane has the hammer here with a full no-movement [clause] but the idea is that at some point all the losing this year, with Chicago projecting to be a losing team, will probably grow tiring for him and he’ll be ready to talk trade. Again, [he has a] full no-movement [clause] but a couple of teams to think about off the top are the New York Rangers and New York Islanders as decent possibilities.

Will the Boston Bruins be able to keep 2021-22 leading goal scorer David Pastrnak?

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Darren Dreger: That’s the multi-million dollar question. There’s no guarantee though there’s a strong appetite from both sides to get something done. Right now, the focus for Pastrnak is simply to play hockey, get off to a good start in the regular season, and that’s it. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney acknowledged this week that Boston is very keen on extending Pastrnak but they’re not willing to throw out numbers yet.

I think both sides are trying to keep it respectful from a public standpoint, so I’ll throw out a recent comparison. I look at Jonathan Huberdeau’s extension with the Calgary Flames at eight years, $84 million, which is a $10.5 million average annual value. Now, Pastrnak is younger than Huberdeau so that could be the starting point. It depends on how aggressive or serious the Bruins are about getting extension talks heated up.

NHL teams have been crushed by the pandemic and some teams have had to make some brutal decisions going into the season.

Chris Johnston: Nearly 30 per cent of the league is entering this season with a limited roster because of the salary cap. At this point that’s nine teams carrying 20 or 21 skaters to enter the season. We’ve got 13 teams already into long-term injury reserve before they’ve even played a game. That’s why there was such a race on the final days before rosters needed to be set to maximize this LTIR pool. If you didn’t do it this week, it’s wasted money.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could barely fit a coffee run based on the room they had left, and the Vancouver Canucks came over the top and became the first team ever to hit the number on the head. Needless to say, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on managers managing the cap in a season with so little flexibility.

Could we see the Maple Leafs consider giving an eight-year max contract to a player who under normal circumstances wouldn’t see that type of offer?

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Pierre LeBrun: We’re talking about Michael Bunting, who is a pending unrestricted free agent already. They took a flyer on him a year ago and his deal is up after this season while making only $950,000. He’s in for a raise after a 63-point season last year playing on the Leafs’ top line. I think the Leafs are open to that idea whenever the conversation begins with [Bunting’s] camp. I should note there have been no contract talks between the Leafs and his camp.

I think they’re open to talk about what an eight-year deal would look like to bring down the AAV and bring down the cap hit. What’s interesting is that I think that [Bunting’s] camp might be interested at looking at eight years because at age 27, this will be Bunting’s one big opportunity at free agency, and I think he wants to remain a Maple Leaf. I think that’s an interesting conversation once it happens.

After Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Ian Cole was suspended pending a league investigation surrounding allegations that came to light last weekend, what’s the next steps in the process?

Chris Johnston: It’s a significant note that this process is being expedited and being dealt with quite quickly with Cole due to be in the New York office for an interview on Wednesday afternoon. He retained council over the weekend after allegations surfaced that he had groomed and sexually assaulted a minor and at this point it doesn’t seem that too many people have all the information. Obviously, this came from a newly created Twitter account and that’s what the league is going to get to the bottom of. He remains suspended with pay while this process goes on, but I think that there’s pressure to get some information quickly to figure out where it goes next.