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Insider Trading: NHL to hear Rielly's appeal Friday

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly - The Canadian Press

James Duthie is joined by TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston, Darren Dreger, and Pierre LeBrun to discuss the latest on Morgan Rielly’s suspension appeal, who could be the next Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, the goalie trade market, and more on Insider Trading.

What’s the latest on Morgan Rielly’s appeal on his five-game suspension and will it affect their pursuit of another defenceman in the trade market?

Chris Johnston: It’s good news for Rielly. His appeal will be on Friday at noon ET in New York City where he’ll get the chance to sit down and have his hearing with [commissioner] Gary Bettman.

The reason that its good news is because historically, it’s taken Bettman three days to rule after having such a hearing. That means if he elects, and it’s still an if, to reduce the length of the suspension, there is a chance Rielly can get back into the lineup a little sooner than expected.

Meanwhile, the pursuit of a defenceman has been a long one for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving. [Calgary Flames defenceman] Chris Tanev likely still remains his No. 1 target, but there are a whole bunch of others that we can link the Leafs into inquiring about their availability. 

They include [Philadelphia Flyers defenceman] Sean Walker and [Nashville Predators defenceman] Alexandre Carrier, who are both pending unrestricted free agents like Tanev.

I think the biggest impediment so far into the Leafs making that deal is they don’t want to move their first-round pick and they don’t have a second-round pick in the next three drafts. So, they have been trying to go with volume, offering multiple lower-round draft picks. So far, the teams involved in those discussions have no interest in doing that.

Major news out from the Columbus Blue Jackets with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen fired on Thursday. Who are the possible candidates for a replacement there?

Darren Dreger: There are some interesting names, but what I can tell you is that there’s going to be no shortage of candidate names that roll out in the days ahead.

[Team president] John Davidson, who is in charge of the search, says that the search will begin outside of the organization. 

Some around the NHL are wondering if [former Blue Jackets forward] Rick Nash will get a promotion. Maybe not general manager, but what about the president’s role if Davidson decides he wants to move into an advisory capacity?

I believe the Blue Jackets will at least ask permission of the Montreal Canadiens to speak with their executive vice president Jeff Gorton.

It’s only to ask for permission.

They would love the experience of Gorton and there’s clear history between Davidson and Gorton back to their days with the New York Rangers.

The New Jersey Devils attempted to acquire Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom and it didn’t work. But they’re not giving up?

Pierre LeBrun: What we understand is that the Devils are still interested in trying to make a trade work with Calgary for Markstrom.

It doesn’t mean they’ll be able to do it, but what we heard today is that they’ll continue their effort with the Flames to find a way. 

Part of the reason talks broke down is because the Devils want the Flames to retain some of Markstrom’s salary on two-and-a-half years left. If Calgary does that, what’s the asset that goes the other way? There was some disagreement on all that.

The Devils are still hoping to find a way.

In the meantime, they’re still kicking the tires on [Predators goalie] Juuse Saros, [Anaheim Ducks netminder] John Gibson, and [Canadiens goaltender] Jake Allen because the Devils want a goalie.

Having said all that, Saros, to me, would be the No. 1 guy on the market and the Predators have put him out there. However, they’re not committed to trading him because they’re asking a lot for him. They want a good young NHL player as part of any package, and I’m told that no one has jumped up and made Nashville blink. 

That is fine because they’re happy to keep him.

You also have a future hall of famer in [Minnesota Wild goalie] Mark-Andre Fleury out there, how does he fit into all this?

Pierre LeBrun: What we’re hearing is Fleury had a four-hour meeting with his agent, Allan Walsh, this week where they went over March 8 and what could happen.

No. 1 [thing] is Fleury doesn’t want to go anywhere right now. He believes in the playoff chances of the Wild, who by the way, are on a bit of run. So, he doesn’t want to bail on the Wild while they’re still in the race.

But as they get closer to March 8, if it’s clear that the Wild are out of the playoff hunt Fleury could potentially look at two or three teams.

Among those options I’m told are the likes of the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, and the Maple Leafs. These may be obvious but, again, Fleury wants to stay loyal to the Wild if they can stay in the race.

Major changes in the NCAA have led to players being able to earn money, has it led to the speculation that CHL players could play in the NCAA once they’re done?

Darren Dreger: It has, it’s fueled that level of speculation.

The truth is there’s nothing new and that speculation has always been out there. 

The concern is that families who have young men playing in the CHL are now calling the NCAA wondering when they file the paperwork. You have kids who are ready to sign with a CHL team wondering if they should sign and the door is wide open to the NCAA?

No rules have changed, and I don’t expect change in the near future.