Insider Trading: Price too high for Leafs’ trade targets?
The TSN Hockey Insiders join host James Duthie to discuss the latest trade speculation around the Leafs, Tyson Barrie and Tony DeAngelo on the market with similar skill sets, the Flames and Chris Tanev, interest in Ethan Bear, and an update on Thomas Chabot. They also discuss the 2026 Olympics and challenges for the NHL and players wanting to go.
A week ago, when Nikita Zadorov was traded from Calgary to Vancouver, I think the reaction of some [Toronto Maple Leafs] fans was when do we get a guy? And now that they know John Klingberg is gone for the year, the urgency heats up a little bit. Where are they at?
Darren Dreger: Well, let's use the term that Brad Treliving often uses and that is - he's grinding away. He's working on it. He'd like to add a defenceman - preferably a right-shot guy - but the prices, right now, are too high. If you look at Chris Tanev of the Calgary Flames - the Flames want to keep their powder dry, here. They want to see the momentum build - if you will - in terms of the ask. Would Toronto be willing to give up a second-round draft pick for Chris Tanev? Maybe. But Toronto doesn't have a second-round draft pick. They're limited in their draft supply. You look at Sean Walker [of] the Philadelphia Flyers, again, he's a really strong right-shot defenceman. The Flyers love him, but it's expected they could command as much as a first-round draft pick for him. And another familiar name to Toronto Maple Leafs fans: Ilya Lyubushkin [of] the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim doesn't want to trade him just yet, so everybody has to be patient.
Pierre LeBrun: In the meantime, there are two other defencemen with a similar skill set, both on the market as well. Tony DeAngelo (Carolina Hurricanes) has been on for a while now and the market has been kind of soft for him so far. But Tyson Barrie's trade request puts him on the market. Both power-play guys, puck-moving guys, but both guys whose role has been reduced in their respective teams. So, nothing imminent on either front is my sense. But what’s interesting is that in terms of Tyson Barrie, I don't think the Predators want to retain salary on his $4.5-million cap hit, and that adds a complicated factor to trying to move him. They're already retaining money on Ryan Johansen from the trade (with the Colorado Avalanche) last summer. They have buyout charges from Matt Duchene. So, they'd like to make a hockey trade with Tyson Barrie, if possible. The bottom line here is (Predators general manager) Barry Trotz likes Tyson Barrie as a person, as a player, but his role has been reduced. Now, interestingly ... the [Calgary] Flames - they've gotten calls on both Tyson Barrie and on Tony DeAngelo over the last little while because obviously, 'Hey, they traded Zadorov, they must have room for another defenceman.' But the answer was that for now, Calgary is in no rush to make another move ... and certainly that means on Chris Tanev, even though there's tons of interest in him, I think the Flames are in absolutely no rush to move him, and they want to see this team play for a bit here and let the market continue to develop on the hulking defenceman.
Well, for all teams looking for a defenceman, there is a guy out there that wouldn't cost you any draft picks or any players - just a little bit of money in Ethan Bear. [Is he] ready to play again?
Chris Johnston: He's getting very close. The fact that he is only going to cost you the cap space that it takes to bring him in, I think has helped drive some interest here on the 26- year-old defenceman, to the point that he's going to allow teams on Monday of next week to come to Kelowna. If anyone wants to get a look at him on the ice - see him go through his paces - after having off-season shoulder surgery. Remember that he was injured playing for Team Canada at the World Hockey Championship last year. He's had a long recovery from that shoulder surgery, but he's getting close. The Vancouver Canucks have interest in bringing him back. I think the Leafs have shown interest there. That team to watch could be the Washington Capitals. They seem to be keenly interested. New Jersey and Pittsburgh as well. There's certainly no shortage of interest in Bear, who can be signed just for the money it costs to pay him.
The Senators have a big hole in defence right now - Thomas Chabot has had a hard luck year, had the hand injury, just comes back and now it looks like a knee injury. How long might he be out for?
Dreger: Well, minimum four weeks, unfortunately. So, I expect that Thomas Chabot will go on long-term injury with the Ottawa Senators. We know that he had a second opinion on Thursday and that second opinion confirmed the first opinion. It's unfortunate, of course, given the fact that he's coming off that hand injury. It's bad timing and it is bad luck for Thomas Chabot. But if you want to look at the bright side - the upside of all of this - at least at this point, it doesn't appear like he's going to require surgery.
It has been a while since we've seen NHL players at the Olympics, but I think in the past when they haven't gone - we've always looked forward to 2026 and said, 'that's the time they'll go. It's in Italy. It makes sense, but it certainly doesn't seem like a lock with everything we're hearing right now.
Johnston: Far from a lock. This week, Gary Bettman, at the Board of Governors meeting, mentioned that the building for the main venue in Milan is only just starting to be constructed now. I'm told there's even been discussions, according to sources, about having the hockey tournament potentially played in another city altogether. Now, that's just a backup plan at this point because of the uncertainty around the construction of the arena. But needless to say, for the NHL players that have wanted to go and play best-on- best, that would change what would be their Olympic experience if they were in a satellite site. So, the focus is on getting that arena built, but that's certainly something we'll be watching closely as talks continue.