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Insider Trading: Could the Blues also move a defenceman?

St. Louis Blues Colton Parayko - Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

There has been speculation the Blues are looking to trade another forward, but could a defenceman also be shipped out of St. Louis? What kind of deals could the Habs expect before the trade deadline? TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Chris Johnston discuss these topics and more on Thursday’s edition of Insider Trading with host Gino Reda.

As first reported a couple of weeks ago, it's now official, Marty Walsh is the new executive director of the NHLPA. What do you think this means for the league moving forward?

Johnston: This is a big change and there is a mammoth task ahead for Marty Walsh as he looks to take over for Donald Fehr, but also to engage the NHL Players' Association. One of the things that stood out to the members of the selection committee that backed this hiring was his ability to communicate. And that's something that I think is going to be really important here when he formally takes over for [Donald] Fehr in the middle of next month. There's still not a lot known about Marty Walsh. He was in Florida for All-Star Weekend, obviously got to know the 10 players on that selection committee but he doesn't know a lot of the membership. The expectation is soon after he takes the post, he'll be out travelling around the league, getting to know his players, getting to know the union as he puts his stamp on things.

To the trade front now, it's pretty clear the Blues are sellers, but are we now getting the indication that they may be listening to offers from more than merely the guys up front?

Dreger: No doubt about that and you're right. The St. Louis Blues already have been active in making that deal with the New York Rangers, sending [Vladimir] Tarasenko to the Rangers. We know that there's action around Ryan O'Reilly and Ivan Barbashev, but there is some consideration to moving a defenceman. It is possible when you look at the list here, you're looking at a list of guys that all have long-term contracts. We highlight Colton Parayko, not just because he's a right shot [defenceman], but primarily because of [his contract] (7 X $6.5M) and also because he's drawing the most interest among those defencemen. It's a good group: Justin Faulk, Torey Krug, Leddy. All of those [players] have no trade clauses, so it is a little bit complicated, but it's also very possible St. Louis moves a defenceman.

Are the Habs facing a vastly different set of circumstances at this year's deadline compared to this time last season?

LeBrun: Yeah, it's setting up to be really different. You think about a year ago when the quality of returns that they got on [Tyler] Toffoli, on Ben Chiarot, and on Brett Kulak. It was a really good trade deadline, period, for the Habs and [general manager] Kent Hughes. But it's just shaping up differently so far. I mean, you think about there are two most marketable trade pieces, if you will – Joel Edmundson and Sean Monahan – they've both been out and Monahan in particular, who was playing so well before he got injured, he's had a delayed return, they hope will finally be back sometime next week. But teams are nervous about how long he's been out. Same with Joel Edmundson - his recurring back issues. There was some interest in him, but now teams are wary about that. He's got another year on his deal. It's not the end of the world if the Habs can't move him. Then there's Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Drouin. The reality is there still isn't a lot of interest, if at all, in Jonathan Drouin. Dadonov is a little different – starting to hear some teams maybe say, 'Hey, if we don't get the top players on our list, maybe we'll come back and call you closer to [the trade deadline].’ Dadonov has played a lot better of late.

We have spoken about the trade fatigue surrounding the Jakob Chychrun deal. Are we now starting to get a hint as to what might be holding things up?

Dreger: Yeah. The fact that even though it's believed the Arizona Coyotes want to be creative, they're not willing to take on contracts beyond entry-level contracts. So, the perfect scenario for the Coyotes is to get draft picks, to get prospects and, at worst, a player on his entry-level contract. Now, teams have expressed the interest required to make that deal, but they also need some money to move along to make all of the mechanics work. So far that hasn't been the case as far as Arizona is concerned.

Johnston: And in the process of this, the Coyotes have started something new, right? The scratch for trade-related reasons without a trade coming soon after. I can tell you that there is some disgruntlement out there, some agents, some in the industry don't like this idea. Jakob Chychrun has already sat three games for the Coyotes. Vladislav Gavrikov on Thursday will miss his second game for Columbus. At this point in time, sources say there's nothing close on either of these players. So, from a practical standpoint, I don't know what can be done to legislate it. Obviously teams can make their roster decisions as they see fit, but if one or both of these guys sit until March 3rd, I think we're going to see more conversation on this practice.

Some teams are obviously buyers, other obviously sellers. Still others are on the bubble –does that list include the Nashville Predators?

LeBrun: Yeah, they have not decided yet what they are, but the clock is ticking. And here's what I would say from making a few calls today is that the next set of games, you know, Thursday night against Boston, this weekend against Florida, and especially Sunday against Minnesota, those are huge games which could impact the trade deadline decisions for the Nashville Predators and GM David Poile. If they don't get on a heater, like right now, to salvage their playoff chase, I'm told that David Poile will be ready to listen and almost anyone on his roster if he feels that his team has no chance to make the postseason. Whether that's [Matt] Duchene or [Ryan] Johansen or [Mattias Ekholm or [Mikael] Granlund – I think [Poile] will be in a position to listen on a lot of his players. That's if they don't get on a heater here. We'll see how they respond.