Insider Trading: Canadian teams' shopping lists
With the holiday season upon us, the TSN Hockey Insiders look ahead to TradeCentre and discuss what some teams are looking to acquire, including who the Canucks would need in a potential Bo Horvat trade, what the Oilers are hoping to buy to bolster their blueline, and how the Maple Leafs are making adjustments in order to make moves.
So much talk around Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat. Dregs, if one of those deals happens, what exactly is Vancouver looking for?
Darren Dreger: They do have specific needs. Maybe it starts with cap space, especially if you look into next year's roster for the Vancouver Canucks. But they'd like to add a young NHL centreman. They'd also like to add a young NHL right-shot defenceman. So those are the three specific Vancouver Canucks needs. Maybe you get one or two of those things in moving out Brock Boeser, or you get it all when you're applying, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat and throw Tyler Myers into the equation if they're successful in unloading him. What's interesting about Bo Horvat is there's no timeline on this. If the right deal surfaces, that trade could happen in the very near future – after the holiday roster freeze (midnight, local time, on Dec. 19 until midnight, local time, on Dec. 27). Or, James, (it) could drift right to March 3, which would put a smile on your face.
Pierre LeBrun: The Edmonton Oilers, meanwhile, looking to be buyers closer to March 3. The area, of course, that we've been talking about all season on the blue line where they would like to especially add. A couple of names to keep in mind, as the Oilers' front office looks at who potentially is out there between now and March 3. I know they had discussed internally the merits for example of both John Klingberg and Joel Edmundson, as part of their long list of D that they're looking at. Totally different players, of course, now John Klingberg, who has struggled this year with the Anaheim Ducks. He signed a one-year deal with the Ducks, specifically knowing he'd be flipped more than likely before the March 3 deadline. He's got a full no-trade clause right now. But on January 1, that switched to a modified no-trade where there's 10 teams where he can be traded to. And he's obviously an offensive quarterback-type defenceman. Totally different with Joel Edmundson, obviously, a shutdown-type defenceman; leadership guy, Stanley Cup pedigree. The Habs [Montreal Canadiens] aren't looking to move him by the way. But they're obviously, where they are in their retooling, willing to listen to most of their veterans.
The Toronto Maple Leafs don't look like they need much right now. But that likely changes at some point during the season, C.J., and they have a little more roster flexibility now?
Chris Johnston: They do yes, on this day placing a defence prospect, Axel Rindell, on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract. And now some wondered when that move was announced – because the Leafs had been at the maximum 50 contracts – if it would be accompanied soon after by another one. And based on what I can tell, that isn't likely to be the case. The roster freeze is kicking in on next Monday. They're, [the Maple Leafs] obviously are on a good roll. And really, in this case, Rindell just felt that his opportunities were limited in the pipeline. The Leafs disagreed but didn't want to hold him back. And so they will terminate that player's deal, but does give them flexibility to come back in the new year because they do have a position to add now.
(The) World Juniors (are) just around the corner, and Canada got a lot of help: three NHLers loaned back to Team Canada. But Slovakia not likely to get the same help from Montreal, Dregs?
DD: I don't expect that he [Juraj Slafkovsky] will be loaned to Team Slovakia by the Montreal Canadiens. And it makes sense, I'm sure that Kent Hughes and the Canadiens brass will inform Slovakia in the very near future. But you have to look at this kid's playing resume: the Olympics [2022 Beijing Olympics], the Men's World Championship. The fact that he is working on strong NHL habits that has helped him elevate in the lineup. He's a 13-15 minute player. He's has been productive of late, so they do not want to stall his NHL development.
You guys were down in Florida, Gary Bettman didn't like the idea of the playing round, but another novel idea being kicked around, C.J.?
C.J.: Yeah, fair to say he [Bettman] might like this one even less. Although, when we're on that boondoggle, we're not just sitting by the pool, James, we're talking to people. And one idea that I know was discussed a little bit – at least quietly at The Breakers Hotel – is the idea of potentially having the teams at the bottom of the standings play a series of games for the right to draft No. 1 overall. This, of course, would replace the NHL Draft Lottery. I don't think it has a good chance of taking hold, but it certainly was something that a few people were discussing.
The forever problem with that is the players on the team do not care if they get the first-overall pick, so they would have little incentive but fun that they're thinking outside of the box.