Insider Trading: Dubois and DeBrincat among players likely to move this summer
Gino Reda is joined by TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston, Pierre LeBrun, and Darren Dreger to discuss restricted free agents Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alex DeBrincat and their status with their respective teams, how Patrick Kane will handle his unrestricted free agency, the Calgary Flames coaching search and more on Insider Trading.
The league hates news taking away from the Stanley Cup Final, but we’ve had a three-team deal on Tuesday, an extension on Wednesday, and now there’s some very significant and somewhat expected news out of Winnipeg.
Pierre LeBrun: A year ago, Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, through his agent Pat Brisson, informed the Jets that he didn’t intend to sign long term. He’s not eligible to become an unrestricted free agent until next summer in 2024, but our understanding is that Brisson informed the Jets that his client isn’t inclined to sign an extension this summer, not even a one-year bridge.
Brisson would like to work with the Jets on a trade for Dubois to another team. That’s where that’s at right now and the Jets can still decide to keep him for another year, try to bring him to arbitration, or trade him at the trade deadline.
Bottom line is, this looks like it’s headed to a trade, potentially this summer.
Darren Dreger: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and the team prefer not to have to trade any of their top players and they’re not committed to doing that or extending them. But you do have to look at the potential.
What you’re hearing on the trade market for Dubois, Mark Scheifele, or Connor Hellebuyck is that they have to imagine the return for any of those three players or all three of those players in this off-season. It would help stabilize the Jets.
When you look after next season, you cannot allow Hellebuyck to walk into unrestricted free agency free.
Off-season deals are normally the best deals in terms of return, but this is going to be a big summer for the Jets.
Speaking of Canadian teams that are looking for a trade partner, are we at a point where it’s almost a certainty that Alex DeBrincat will be traded by the Ottawa Senators?
Pierre LeBrun: I don’t think you can say it’s a certainty, but it looks like it’s more likely than not.
What’s happened here is DeBrincat’s camp, led by agent Jeff Jackson, has submitted a list of preferred destinations that his client would be interested in joining. The reason that’s significant is that if general manager Pierre Dorion does trade DeBrincat, he would want him to be signed through this trade so he could get maximum value back in return.
Think of the Matthew Tkachuk deal from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers last off-season.
Don’t know who exactly is on that list but that list has been submitted.
As soon as we found out that Patrick Kane had hip surgery last Friday, his agent immediately came out and said despite the four-to-six-month rehab schedule, Kane still wants to play for a long time. How do you expect him to handle this moving forward?
Chris Johnston: Well, he wants to play, but I don’t think he’ll have the same urgency as other players will have when they hit free agency on July 1. That’s because Kane is entering a process like this for the very first time.
His rehab is first and foremost in his mind and I think he’s willing to let this go into the summer a little bit more before he decides where he’s going to play next. That will allow the market to settle a little bit and allow Kane to make the most informed decision possible.
As for what the future holds, I think Kane is keeping an open mind. Maybe it’s a one-year deal or something a little longer, but he’s excited about being pain-free for the first time in 18 months after that surgery.
The Flames have been looking for a coach since they fired Darryl Sutter five weeks ago. They hired Craig Conroy as their general manager two weeks ago. Is he getting closer to naming the new coach?
Darren Dreger: They’re hoping to wrap up the coaching search as early as this weekend or next week. They’re fully into the second round of the interview process.
Keep in mind, Sutter is on the books for more than $4 million per year for the next two years. So, the Flames have to be a little frugal here.
They’ve interviewed [former Vancouver Canucks coach] Travis Green. There’s also [former Washington Capitals coach] Todd Reirden who’s an experienced man who is definitely in the mix. There are internal guys like Ryan Huska and Mitch Love and a couple of lesser experienced individuals in Alex Tanguay and Marc Savard.
The Los Angeles Kings extended defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year, $11.75 million deal. Do you think the way Gavrikov handled this could affect how other players handle their UFA status?
Chris Johnston: It’s an important question because in this case there was a disagreement or a hurdle on term to be negotiated and it was the player’s side that wanted a shorter-term deal.
Gavrikov wanted a two-year contract and that’s because they were looking at a salary cap that’s expected to take a jump in in 2024. He wanted to set himself up to be in a position to have a bigger pay day then.
I think as we get into July 1, some players will still want to opt for the security of a long-term deal, but we may see more and more players choose to go short term for this reason.