Insider Trading: Canucks face big decisons; Mitchell Miller still under contract with Bruins
The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss the big decisions the Canucks organization is facing, why the Bruins haven't terminated Mitchell Miller's contract, why the Habs need Evgenii Dadonov to produce to boost his trade value, how the interest in buying the Sens is expected to attract multiple bids, and more.
James Duthie: Your trio of insiders: Chris Johnston, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger. The Vancouver Canucks entered their game in Ottawa Tuesday with three wins in 12 games. It's still early, but it gets late early as we know in the National Hockey League. Are they already close to big decision time, Dregs?
Darren Dreger: They are clearly approaching that timing of pivotal decision in terms of moving this organization forward. Now, it's so difficult to make a meaningful trade because of (salary) cap implications, etc. So if you fire Bruce Boudreau in the near future, perhaps you're risking the long-term future of the organization. Because all teams are looking at the 2023 draft and the Vancouver Canucks are no different. And maybe there's long-term benefit in a draft pick. So a new coach comes in and changes the direction of the club, is that good for the long-term viability of the Vancouver Canucks? Do you stand pat, hold on to Bruce Boudreau and risk the development, the impact of the young NHL players within the Canucks organization? Maybe make the change in the new year so that a new coach comes in, he ingrains a philosophy, the systems, a structure that Jim Rutherford always talks about so that this team is ready to roll in the new year next season. Big decisions ahead.
JD: Much different problem in Boston where the team is really good, but the organization is still doing serious damage control in the wake of that signing of Mitchell Miller. So they've said they've parted ways with him, but how do you technically do that, CJ, when you've just signed a contract?
Chris Johnston: Well, technically, they haven't parted ways [with him] just yet. Mitchell Miller remains a part of the organization. Functionally, he's still being paid as of this point in time and the Bruins have been quite, you know, I guess deceptive about how they intend to, you know, go about this. And it's important because if they were to just try to terminate his contract, which at this point they haven't done, sources say the NHL Players’ Association would almost certainly file a grievance on Mitchell Miller's behalf. You know, really, their contention would be nothing changed between Friday when he signed the deal and Sunday when he decided to walk away from it. They might also just continue to pay him through the year and buy him out this summer at one-third [of] the cost. But if they do that, there'll be a cap charge the next two seasons beyond this one.
JD: Pierre, part of the Habs’ game plan in this rebuild was to turn some of their veteran players into tradable assets. Where do they stand with Evgenii Dadonov, who really hasn't done much this season?
Pierre LeBrun: Yeah, and James, here's an example of sometimes, where it's easier said than done. I mean, Dadonov finally back in the lineup Tuesday night. He is pointless in eight games this year, but also noteworthy is [he's] played only four minutes and 16 seconds on the power play and certainly when you think of his skill set, you think of the power play. Why hasn't Martin St. Louis used him? Well, there's a lot of reasons. Namely, they've got a lot of offensive firepower up front and he's going with the guys that he trusts. But this is that delicate balance between Marty St. Louis going with the guys that he trusts; [he] wanted to develop the players that he's going to be around for a long time versus as an organization, you need to have Dadonov produce so you can flip him for an asset before March 3. A lot of teams I've talked to said they want to see how he plays here in the coming weeks to see if the Habs can create a trade market for him.
JD: Insider Trading is where we usually break news, not the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. But we saw Ryan Reynolds … he said, he said yes, he's interested in buying the Ottawa Senators. Now what, Dregs?
DD: Yeah, talking about a five-star marketing boon for the Ottawa Senators and for the National Hockey League. Look, we know that Ryan Reynolds is creative; he's an enterprising guy. And undoubtedly, he is working on some financial backing. And we also know now that the official For Sale sign is up for the Ottawa Senators, but the bids haven't started to roll in just yet. They're still weeks away, probably three weeks away in the bidding process actually getting underway which is when the National Hockey League will be involved in this process. But I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Ryan Reynolds be involved right to the end of this one way or another.
JD: One of the surprise teams in the NHL so far this season: the Devils at 9-3, but some issues with injuries in goal, Pierre.
PL: Well, I don't have to remind you, James, that it's goaltending that largely derailed their season last year both through injury and inconsistent play. I can tell you that the Devils’ front office breathed a sigh of relief that Mackenzie Blackwood’s MCL sprain only will [be] about three-to-six weeks. They feared it could be worse in terms [of] that knee injury. So that in a way, [a] bit of a silver lining news-wise for the Devils. In the meantime, they've got Vitek Vanecek and Jonathan Bernier, who had hip surgery last January, has finally started to skate again. He perhaps will join the team in a month or two. So they'll go from injury to perhaps too much depth and goal in New Jersey.
JD: 9-3 heading into their game against Calgary on Tuesday.