TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli join host James Duthie to discuss the latest with Patrik Laine and the Jets, Keith Yandle’s ironman streak potentially coming to an end and how the Canucks feel about their team heading into the season.
What’s the latest on the Jets?
Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic have been mentioned in trade rumours recently. Might they be on the move out of Winnipeg any time soon?
Dreger: Well, it’s relatively quiet. I mean, all eyes on Patrik Laine. But he’s such a big part of the Winnipeg Jets that if Kevin Cheveldayoff is going to consider trading him in season, then it has to be the perfect fit. There’s been some speculation connecting Winnipeg to Pierre-Luc Dubois and the Columbus Blue Jackets. That makes a lot of sense, but there’s nothing close there. Jack Roslovic doesn’t have a contract. He’s not in camp and there’s no expectation that he’s going to re-join the Winnipeg Jets any time soon, but in the meantime, they’ve got Mason Appleton, they’ve got Trevor Lewis, they’ve got other players who are seizing the opportunity. Cheveldayoff has had conversations with teams about Roslovic, but he is willing to be patient.
What about Yandle’s situation in Florida?
Usually ironman streaks come to an end because of injury. But that’s not the case in Florida with defenceman Keith Yandle?
Seravalli: That’s right. Keith Yandle has fallen out of favour with the Florida Panthers. They’ve let it be known to him that he does not factor into their plans for this season. And I think in a perfect world for the Panthers, they would send Yandle to the taxi squad. But in this case, he holds the hammer with a full no-move clause and cannot be put on waivers without his permission. So, the plan at this point is to make Keith Yandle a healthy scratch at some point. It may be on Opening Night. They’ve got some time. They’ve had some games postponed because of COVID-19. But in this case, whether it’s Opening Night or Day 5, that 866-game ironman streak dating 11 calendar years is in jeopardy and that’s going to sting for a guy like Keith Yandle whose contract is also really difficult to move.
Could we see more waiver movement than usual this year?
We saw some veteran goaltenders plucked off waivers this week. Could this be a trend for the near future because of the circumstances teams are in?
LeBrun: Yeah, I think this is going to be a theme this year. The cat and mouse game of NHL teams trying to sneak their No. 3 goalies to the taxi squad and trying to keep that depth. You know, it starts in Edmonton where the Oilers are probably not overly thrilled to have lost Anton Forsberg on this day to the Carolina Hurricanes. They signed Forsberg literally for this role as a No. 3 guy. Stuart Skinner steps up now as the No. 3 guy on the taxi squad, but the Oilers have time here. The AHL season doesn’t start until Feb. 5. Skinner is supposed to be their AHL guy. Until then, I think Ken Holland will be patient and here’s why. If Carolina wants to put Anton Forsberg on their taxi squad, they have to put him back on waivers. Is there a chance the Oilers could reclaim Forsberg here at some point? Same thing in Winnipeg. Not ideal to have lost Eric Comrie on this day. He was really their No. 3 guy and Mikhail Berdin now is in that role on the taxi squad. But he’s supposed to be their AHL guy with the moves. So, the Jets are going to look at their options around the league to see if there’s another goalie they can stick into their system. The New Jersey Devils kind of started all of this because Corey Crawford retired. They needed a backup to MacKenzie Blackwood. They’re going to give a pretty good look to Eric Comrie to push Scott Wedgewood. But the bottom line is this is why the Leafs didn’t put Aaron Dell on waivers this week, their No. 3 guy, because they feared losing him. So, for now, Dell opens the season on the active roster with the Leafs carrying three goalies. We’re going to hear about this all year. These No. 3 goalies potentially changing teams.
Where do the Canucks stand?
The Canucks were one of the great break-through teams of the playoffs but some feel they took a step back in the off-season. Are they anxious to show they’re not done with the roster they have?
Dreger: There’s an all-in approach with the Vancouver Canucks. They’re certainly adamant that they’re not taking a step back. They love their defence, they love the adds on that blueline, they like their goaltending, they think that it is very solid despite the fact that they lost Jacob Markstrom to the Calgary Flames in free agency. They’re curious about Nils Hoglander as a top-six winger. They like what they’ve seen in camp but can he maintain that role throughout the course of the season? They’ve got Vasily Podkolzin who they want to sign at the end of April so he can be in the mix as early as the beginning of May. But Jim Benning is definitely looking at the market and hunting for a top-six winger.
What’s next for the players who’ve been cut loose?
What happens to roster cuts when both the CHL and the AHL are not playing?
Seravalli: Well, they’re in limbo. Teams can actually have them hang around and continue to skate in that NHL city but only for a period of time at which point they need to direct them somewhere by Jan. 20 so that’s either to the AHL city or to their hometown. It’s the old you don’t have to go home, but you have to get out of here.