Insider Trading: Extension talks continue between Leafs, Nylander
TSN’s Hockey Insiders have the latest on Toronto’s soon-to-be UFA, Canucks news on Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, potential trade fits for Elias Lindholm, the Canadiens and Jake Allen, and a ''progressive'' Olympic meeting this week in New York.
Leafs, Nylander any closer on a deal?
Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander
Gino Reda: When we were at the Board of Governors meetings, team president Brendan Shanahan laughed when we asked if he was worried about how much he was going to have to pay William Nylander. There’s still nothing official between the two sides. Are they any closer?
Chris Johnston: Well, they’re certainly working away at it and I think that’s maybe why there is no worry. Because at this point in time, it does seem that the Leafs and William Nylander’s camp are on the same page on a number of fronts. For one, neither of them want to talk about this publicly, obviously they’re keeping a lid on negotiations as much as they can. But secondly, I think one thing that remains unchanged is what Nylander absolutely wants to be a Maple Leaf long-term. It’s still his goal and his camp’s goal to get a deal done. The Leafs want to sign a player who has had a tremendous season for them so far this year. And so the fact that the talks remain, that there does seem to be some optimism there, I think it’s a positive sign as we look toward a new year when they’ll try to get a deal done.
What about Pettersson?
Reda: The situation in Vancouver isn’t as desperate with Elias Pettersson because he’s only a pending restricted free agent. What the timeline on those talks?
Darren Dreger: No official timeline, but I think we’re looking at something similar where we’re looking at January, perhaps into February, but the no-rush approach for Pettersson very much remains valid. He wanted to take his time to get a feel for the Vancouver Canucks and where they’re at. Well, the team is doing well, and Pettersson himself is doing great, so I could expect CAA Hockey, who represents Pettersson, to walk him through the multiple scenarios and the financial options that he is going to have relatively early in the new year. If he feels good at that point, then you launch into the negotiations with the Vancouver Canucks. No timeline, but the Canucks are eager, and they’re ready.
Johnston: One of Pettersson’s teammates, things are not going as well for, as Andrei Kuzmenko finds himself scratched for a second straight game and the fourth time already this season. But what I can tell you about his situation is that teams have called the Canucks to see if the winger might be available in a trade. He is remaining patient, he is not freaking out about the situation, I think he’s trusting in the process put in place by the coaching staff and he’s been encouraged. Even though he’s played on the fourth line of late when he has been in the lineup. He continues to get power play time and I think Kuzmenko very much remains a happy Canuck even though he’s faced some adversity this season.
Possible landing spots for Lindholm
Elias Lindholm Calgary Flames
Reda: It’s not a lock by any stretch, but it certainly looks like pending unrestricted free agent Elias Lindholm could be on his way out of Calgary. If they decide a trade is definitely the way to go, where do you see the best fit?
Pierre LeBrun: Well, first thing is, it’s been really quiet on that front too. And part of it is that there have not been a lot of conversations between the Lindholm camp and the Calgary Flames. Not that you should read into that, because the Flames haven’t told him they’re definitely moving him and Lindholm hasn’t told the Flames he definitely wants out. So there’s that. But I do think he’s going to get dealt closer to March 8, and the two teams that come to mind for me are the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche. Both could use that fit. We know no one can replace Patrice Bergeron, but a right-handed centre like Lindholm who has defensive acumen certainly would be a nice fit. The problem for Boston? They traded their first-round pick this year last year for Tyler Bertuzzi as a rental. Colorado is looking for an upgrade in their top six. But again, acquisition cost. They don’t want to spend too high a price, they’ve done that a lot the last few years. But it’s a name that will be near the top of our Trade Bait Board closer to March 8.
Interest in Allen?
Jake Allen Montreal Canadiens
Reda: We’re in the Christmas break trade freeze right now. No one can move anywhere until Dec. 28. Could we see the talk surrounding Jake Allen heat up when that reopens?
LeBrun: Yeah, that’s the expectation around the league. Montreal did hear from a couple teams over the past week or so that those teams expect to circle back to the Canadiens about Jake Allen. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that a trade is imminent, but those conversations will start in a more earnest fashion. Carolina is among the teams that I believe has had a conversation with Montreal recently. New Jersey is a team that has internally debated the Jake Allen idea. We know Martin Brodeur, when he was in St. Louis, spent time with Jake Allen, so he knows him well. I just don’t know if the Hurricanes, for example, have decided for sure if they want to trade for a goalie. I think they’re trying to wait until Frederik Andersen gets healthy, but not sure if they’ll be able to do that.
The latest on potential NHL Olympic participation
Reda: Darren, you told us about a big Olympic meeting involving the NHL, NHLPA, IOC and IIHF that happened Wednesday in New York City. What are you hearing about what came out of those meetings?
Dreger: Well, the meeting lasted a couple of hours on Wednesday in New York, and it was good. It was described as progressive and better than expected, according to one source who was in the meeting. Now, there’s still some work that needs to get done on the insurance costs. That seems to be a moving target. And that will continue I would think early into 2024. But the IOC did show some movement in other areas. So, all the parties involved look forward to their next connection, which will again be in January and there’s no reason to be pessimistic of a deal getting done.