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Insider Trading: McDavid nursing minor injury before playoffs

McDavid IT McDavid IT - TSN

Gino Redo is joined by TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston and Darren Dreger to discuss Connor McDavid’s injury status, the beginnings of the next collective bargaining agreement, Matt Murray’s potential return, and more on Insider Trading.

Is there an update on Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s injury status?

Chris Johnston: It’s one that all involved are taking quite seriously. McDavid missed the last five minutes of the game on Saturday against the Calgary Flames and hasn’t skated the last couple of days in practice.

I think if you look at the rest of the calendar with seven games left and six back-to-backs, you’re going to see McDavid in at least one of those games. I don’t think this is a case where he’ll sit out them all, but they’ll have to see how things progress. It’s a bit of a maintenance issue for McDavid.

Again, the larger picture issue will be kept in mind.

Unfortunately, that probably will take him out of the running for his sixth scoring title as he’s been battling with Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov. He’ll still have a chance if he plays to get to 100 assists as he’s one shy of that and that’s a pretty special mark, but the playoffs are what’s most important here.

So, I’d say don’t worry too much, a little bit of rest can be a good thing.

With the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of the 2025-26 season, are we beginning to see the groundwork for the next agreement?

Darren Dreger: Yes, it’s the beginning stages and for some it may be a little bit too late. 

Executive director Marty Walsh and the rest of the NHLPA are currently meeting with player agents around the NHL. They’ve got meetings this week in New York, Los Angeles, and they’ll wrap it up with a meeting next Tuesday in Toronto.

For the expiration of the CBA, what the game plan in the negotiation with the NHL is going to be is a primary thing on the agenda. 

But there are other things. 

What about Arizona short-term and long-term? The NHLPA doesn’t have a lot of leverage in this case, but they have vested interest.

So, there will be a lot of questions around that and other business items like hockey revenue and all that stuff to discuss this week and next.

It looks like Ilya Samsonov locked up the starting role with the Toronto Maple Leafs to begin the playoffs but could an already crowded crease get even busier?

Johnston: I guess that is the case, there’s an expectation this week that Matt Murray’s situation will be updated. We do know that he was due to see another specialist after he had the hip surgery back in the fall.

The next stage for him would be getting cleared to join the Maple Leafs full time at practice. He’s been on the ice and see him at times for a bit, but he would really ramp it up and be a regular member at practice.

Beyond that, who knows what happens? We’ll see where things end up, and he may end up going on a conditioning loan. 

I think that the good news, big picture, is that Murray is taking the steps towards health, and we’ll expect an update within the next day or two about all those things and how the follow-up appointments were received.

Where are the Columbus Blue Jackets in their search for a new general manager?

Dreger: They’re inching towards ramping up the process, which they’ll do towards the end of the regular season. This will be headed by president of hockey operations and interim general manager John Davidson and Mike Priest, who is the head of business operations.

Those two men are effectively handling the process and it’s an extensive one, which we’ve talked about before. 

What’s interesting is Davidson is willing to slide into a different role if a perfect candidate is available at some point, even though he wants to stay in hockey operations. 

When we say “perfect” we’re talking about an uber-experienced general manager, like a Ken Holland who is invested in what’s going on with the Edmonton Oilers, or a Jeff Gorton, likewise with the Montreal Canadiens.

If an individual like that surfaces, then I could see Davidson slide into another capacity.

Are we about to see another Xhekaj in the Montreal Canadiens system?

Dreger: Florian Xhekaj basically just wrapped up his Ontario Hockey League career, finishing up with Brantford in the OHL playoffs. He’s a 19-year-old. 6-foot-4 winger who the Canadiens absolutely love. They see nothing but tremendous upside in this guy.

He was drafted in the fourth-round [last June], so they signed him to an entry-level NHL contract [on Tuesday]. But he also signed a try-out offer with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket. 

He’s joining Laval, but there’s no guarantee he’ll play any of their remaining games. They want to get him in the group and see how he fits.