Could Taylor Hall's days in Buffalo be numbered, or is an extension on the horizon? What does the future hold for Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim? What are the plans for NHL player participation at the Olympics? TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Frank Seravalli discuss this and more.
James Duthie: We're less than two months away from TradeCentre and any speculation you have is better than talking about COVID protocols and game postponements so, Pierre, is there a possibility we could see a Hart Trophy winner dealt out of Buffalo before the deadline?
Pierre LeBrun: Well that's not the plan right now, so I hate to burst your bubble there, James. Because right now there is mutual interest between Taylor Hall, his camp, and the Buffalo Sabres to discuss an extension when the time is right. So that could be a big name off the market, if you will, given that he's an unrestricted free agent on July 28th. That really has been the intention from the Buffalo Sabres since the get-go and that has not changed despite the team's slow start. Again, Darren Ferris, the agent for Taylor Hall, is notorious for normally bringing his clients to UFA but in this case, he also has an interest in listening to the Sabres. Now, the old Jan. 1 is now March 12 in the new critical dates for this year in terms of players on one-year deals who can sign extensions. So March 12, one month before the trade deadline, the Sabres and Taylor Hall can start talking.
Frank Seravalli: Yeah, and James I hate to add to some of the concern here but if we were to do our first Trade Bait board of the season I'm not sure that Ryan Getzlaf would be on it. Another big name from the Anaheim Ducks, who teams would have a lot of interest in now. Here's where things stand with the Ducks and Getzlaf. He means so much to their franchise and they believe he's done a really good job meshing with their younger players. Given all that, their plan at this point is not to approach him about any potential trade. He would have to raise his hand, with that full no-movement clause he has, and say I'd like to go somewhere and chase another Cup at this deadline. So until he does that and raises his hand, well, I don't think he's ready for the Trade Bait board just yet.
Duthie: Both of you are extremely disappointing. Let's see if Dregs can do better. The Summer Olympics have already been postponed one year, certainly very iffy to happen this summer. But what about the 2022 Winter Games, and more specifically, Dregs, the NHL's participation in them.
Darren Dreger: Well as we talked about on Tuesday there has been at least preliminary discussion with the NHL, the Players’ Association, and the IIHF. We know that there's a CBA commitment to go back to the Winter Olympics. But no one is expecting COVID 19 is simply going to fade into the sunset. Look, there's a Summer Olympics before the Winter Olympics. What happens if things derail with the planning in Tokyo and how might that influence the NHL and the NHLPA's decision-making? Testing facilities in Beijing will have to be extraordinary but what does that officially look like? There are so many scenarios that are in play here, not being discussed at the NHL or the NHLPA level, but kind of "pie in the sky, way out there", type of ideas. What about a satellite venue in North America? So not in China. Like a bubble for hockey. It's worth a discussion. Worth asking the question. I don't know how far it's going to go but the IIHF will have a call next week and maybe discussions move forward.
Seravalli: Speaking of the Olympics, I think everyone's curious. What will Team USA do with their management group? USA Hockey to this point has held firm in not making an announcement until there's a formal Olympics agreement in place. But I'm told that the front-runner for the job is Stan Bowman, the three-time Stanley Cup-winning general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. It certainly looks like it's his job to lose at this point and he would, of course, likely be assisted by some of the long-standing members of the USA Hockey management advisory group. Including David Poile and Don Waddell but Bowman is the guy to keep an eye on when an announcement is made.
Duthie: Seven years it's been since we've seen NHL players in the Olympics. We haven't seen Connor McDavid in the Olympics or Auston Matthews or Nathan McKinnon or Elias Pettersson, the list goes on and on. We would love to see it, somehow.