Skip to main content


Insider Trading: Canucks expect trade chatter to intensify early in 2023

Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser - The Canadian Press

The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss how the Canucks expect trade chatter to intensify in early 2023, how the Senators are talking extension with defenceman Artyom Zub, how Morgan Rielly and Nikolaj Ehlers are expected to return early in the New Year, and more.

With the trade freeze on, Dregs, can we now pretty much conclude that all the Vancouver trade rumours are going to drift into 2023?

Darren Dreger: Well, I don't know that management of the Vancouver Canucks is too concerned with trade rumour, but they're hoping that the interest in their players picks up in January. And that's the expectation based on the conversation that Patrick Alvin, the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, was having leading up to the holiday roster freeze. Now, nothing substantive, but just conversations at least delivered some hope. When you're talking about the primary pieces like Bo Horvat, and Brock Boeser, but there's a secondary player that maybe is being overlooked here and that's veteran defenceman, Tyler Myers. We all know what the contract looks like he's got this year plus one more year at $6 million. He also has a modified no-trade clause. He wants to stay in Vancouver, but the belief is that there will be outside interest and thinking that a more structured NHL team – a playoff team – could actually help refresh Tyler Myers. So, not the first time we've speculated on Meyers, but action is supposed to heat up there.

The Ottawa Senators would like Artyom Zub to go nowhere. Is there a chance he gets an early extension Christmas present, C.J.?

Chris Johnston: Well, that would be if things go exceedingly well, but I think what's notable in this case is that the sides are talking. When the season started Artyom Zub and the Senators' management hadn't had any discussions about an extension. That has started to change here recently with talks picking up this month. There was a meeting last week face-to-face in Detroit with Sens' management and his [Zub's] agent Dan Milstein to exchange some thoughts. And I do think that there's some optimism here, but no deal is done until it's done in any case. And of course, it's a little bit more complicated because that team's in the middle of a sale process.

Dregs, give us reports on a few key players coming back to Canadian teams soon.

DD: We just talked about signings and potential trade fits, well, I'm looking at Toronto and I'm looking at Winnipeg. And they're looking at veteran star players on the cusp of returning, which will feel like a big trade. If you start with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as the Leafs acknowledge, Morgan Rielly has been skating. He continues to rehab that knee injury. (He) didn't need a procedure to fix it, he just needs time to strengthen the leg. So he's expected to be out at least another two weeks, maybe as long as three. And Nikolaj Ehlers of the Winnipeg Jets has been light skating of late as well – what a rash of injuries the Winnipeg Jets have had to deal with. They continue to do well, they're certainly treading water and staying afloat in that Central Division. But Ehlers will be a welcome-back addition in the next two-to-three weeks.

Is there a chance Phil Kessel on that record Ironman streak is going to end sometime soon or into the new year?

C.J.: Well, eyebrows are certainly raised when he only got a handful of shifts in Monday's loss against the Buffalo Sabres. And, really, this is a trend that's followed Kessel. That was among the lowest, fewest minutes he'd seen in the game in his entire career. And normally we wouldn't chart this, but normally players don't play over 1,000 straight games, which is where Phil Kessel is at. Where the Vegas Golden Knights are at this moment, is that they don't have a lot of extra bodies around, Jack Eichel is currently out with an injury. But when he gets healthy and Kessel is still not getting more time under Bruce Cassidy it certainly becomes more of a possibility.