Insider Trading: Sens sale could exceed $800M; Kane's decision on NMC coming soon
The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss why the sale price for the Senators could exceed $800 million, how Patrick Kane's decision on waiving his no-movement clause ahead of the trade deadline is coming "relatively soon", how the Oilers and Kings are overlapping on their trade targets for defencemen, how the Bruins are among teams who have inquired about Jakob Chychrun, and much more.
Reda: They are the Insiders, Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun. Gentlemen, when commissioner Gary Bettman held his state of the union at the All-Star game over the weekend some very interesting facts came to light about the sale of the Ottawa Senators and Chris: you’ve found out some interesting information since then?
Johnston: Yes, Bettman made it clear more than 15 groups have stepped forward with interest in the Senators. They’ve been looking through the data centre at the team’s books and that number will soon be pared down. What the commissioner didn’t tell us was what all that interest would do to the price of the team. I’ve been told by a well-placed source that the valuation of this sale is going to be placed at or above $800 million for the Senators. It’s pretty incredible when you consider the return on investment here – Eugene Melnyk originally bought the team for $92 million back in 2003.
Reda: That’s a pretty great investment. All right, let’s talk trades. Just over three weeks to the trade deadline and we know the [Chicago] Blackhawks want to move Patrick Kane to get some assets before he [becomes an unrestricted free agent] this summer, but he’s got a full no-move [clause]. However, there is some significant news on that front, Pierre?
LeBrun: Yeah, and the news is this: the clock is ticking, and I spoke with agent Pat Brisson on this on Tuesday and he said a decision is coming, quote, “relatively soon”, end quote. Which makes sense given we are just over three weeks from the trade deadline. That decision could be whether he’s comfortable in being traded from Chicago, or that he wants to stay put for the rest of the year and figure out his future in the summer. The other thing that Brisson added was that teams that are interested in Kane and make the short list will have seven-to-10 days ahead of the deadline to prepare themselves for a possible transaction so we’re getting there when it comes to Kane and he holds all the cards.
Reda: The bidding for the top available talent has already begun and when you’re trying to out-bid a rival, it can shoot the price up.
LeBrun: It’s an interesting sub-plot when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings, Pacific Division rivals who played each other in the first round last year: they’re calling for a lot of left-handed shot defencemen. Jakob Chychrun is at the top, both teams have expressed interest, but you can go down the list when it comes to Joel Edmundson, both teams have talked to [the Montreal Canadiens] about, [Vladislav] Gavrikov [of the Columbus Blue Jackets], so that’s the fascinating part here if you’re Columbus or Montreal or Arizona if you’re trying to pit these teams against each other. But believe me, the Kings and Oilers are waiting for these prices to come down, they don’t want to let emotions take control. Another thing I should mention on Chychrun, who a lot of people in the league believe Los Angeles still makes the most sense [as a landing spot] given their need on the left side, the Boston Bruins are another contender of late that have also inquired with the Coyotes on the young defenceman.
Reda: Elsewhere, right after [New York Islanders general manager] Lou Lamoriello signed Bo Horvat, he said eight years at $8.5 million per season was too much for too long, it’s now also going to spell good news for [Detroit Red Wings forward] Dylan Larkin, is it not, Chris?
Johnston: Absolutely, it’s not too much or too long if you’re in Larkin’s cap year because Horvat establishes a really good comparable for him. Larkin is about 18 months younger than Horvat and has been more productive across his NHL career. This could arrive at a good time because it’s been a real slog, these negotiations with the Red Wings, Larkin has made it very clear that he’d like to stay in Detroit, his only home in a state where he grew up, he’s the team captain and the Red Wings would like to keep him at the right price. Perhaps, as these conversations continue (I think they’re set to resume here shortly), this could at least point them in the right direction because there is a pretty strong comparable to be made.
Reda: We know the NHLPA search committee made its recommendation for a new executive director to replace Donald Fehr over the All-Star weekend – where are we now though, Chris?
Johnston: Well, that hiring process has actually moved forward since that executive board meeting in Florida at the end of last week. It does appear very imminently we’re going to see Marty Walsh named as the next executive director of the NHL Players’ Association – he first has to formally resign his position with the U.S. Government as the Secretary of Labor and we expect that here very shortly. This has developed very quickly over the last few weeks with the NHLPA but there’s still an executive board vote but that’s viewed basically as a formality at this stage and we expect Walsh to take over the players’ union.