Insider Trading: Reynolds picks horse in race to buy Sens; Leafs among suitors for Meier
Gino Reda is joined by TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger to discuss why star Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds decided to join the Toronto-based Remington Group in the race to buy the Senators, how the Leafs, Devils and Hurricanes are among the suitors for Timo Meier, why Vladislav Gavrikov would make sense for the Oilers, and much more.
Gino Reda: They are the Insiders, Chris Johnston, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger. Gentlemen, on Monday, Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia broke the story that Ryan Reynolds has joined the Remington Group of Toronto to try and buy the Ottawa Senators. Darren, what more can you tell us about how this came together and where we go from here?
Dreger: Well what we know is Reynolds is invested - no pun intended - he continues to do his due diligence to get to this point. He met with all of the principal parties involved, the most serious contenders to purchase the Senators - why did he choose the Remington Group? Well it's believed that it's because he believes that there's the biggest opportunity for growth here - not just with the organization and the hockey club, but with the city and the area as well. No guarantee the Remington Group is going to be the successful buyer for the Sens - the NHL is certainly hoping that that is going to be the case - but what's interesting about this is it's also believed that if the Remington Group isn't the successful buyer, then Reynolds is out so it's the Remington Group or bust.
Reda: Let's get to some trade talk - [San Jose Sharks forward] Timo Meier, still number one at the top of our Trade Bait Board, but Pierre - there's still a key move to be made by the Sharks before potential buyers know exactly what they're dealing with.
LeBrun: It sounds like it depends on which team ends up in the lead position here on a trade, and we're talking about the fact that agent Claude Lemieux, who represents Meier, has not yet been given permission as of Tuesday afternoon to speak directly to the teams involved in trade talks with the Sharks. The reason I say it depends is, for example, the New Jersey Devils, who absolutely would love to land Meier - there have been more talks in the last 48 hours between the Devils and the Sharks - they would want an extension to be part of this trade, they want to sign Meier as part of this. The Carolina Hurricanes, another team that has had talks with the Sharks in the last couple of days, they're a bit more open-minded I'm told, and they could make this trade without even talking to Lemieux or without even worrying about an extension at this point. So two different approaches there between Carolina and New Jersey and of course you have the Toronto Maple Leafs who, by all accounts, remain interested in Meier as well.
Reda: [Chicago Blackhawks forward] Patrick Kane still stinging with the New York Rangers' decision to go with Vladimir Tarasenko instead of him - CJ, how far away are we from Kane and [Jonathan] Toews as well telling the Blackhawks if they're willing to waive their no-move clause?
Johnston: Well I'd say the clock is ticking, there's a lot of moving parts to this potential move and it probably isn't going to come this week. Chicago is on a road trip through Eastern Canada, a lot of hype around these two guys but it sounds as though it'll be closer to the March 3 trade deadline, somewhere between eight and 10 days before it when they'll make a decision one way or the other, whether they'll waive their no-move clauses. Which obviously then leaves Kyle Davidson, the Blackhawks general manager, with some time to work out a move and it might even involve a third team. So there's some sensitivity to knowing you can't let it go on too long, but they're not quite there yet in terms of making a decision.
Reda: A lot of trade talk linking [San Jose Sharks defenceman] Erik Karlsson with the Edmonton Oilers but Pierre, you think the Oilers have to consider a much more affordable option as well?
LeBrun: Yeah they don't have a choice, they have to look at other options as well. There's no question the Oilers will continue to keep tabs on San Jose with Karlsson, regardless of whether it's a complicated deal to see through March 3, but in the meantime they want to try to make sure they get someone - Vladislav Gavrikov, who was held out of the Columbus Blue Jackets' lineup, and I don't think he'll play again until he'd traded - he is a target for the Oilers as well and he makes $2.8 million and the Oilers are dollar-in, dollar-out with no cap room. If they can move [Jesse] Puljujarvi and his $3 million average annual value contract, Gavrikov at that AAV makes sense, there's no question Edmonton has talked to Columbus a number of times about him.
Johnston: As good as the cap looks on Gavrikov for the Oilers and other teams, I think there's still some 'sticker shock' on the price because the Blue Jackets are sticking, at least to this point, to a three-draft pick kind of return: a first, a third and a fourth at least one team was told this week and I think what makes that even tougher is the fact that this player is a pending unrestricted free agent. It doesn't sound like he's inclined to talk to whatever team ends up acquiring him about an extension at this point in time and so you'd be spending those three assets for a rental player who probably wants to become a free agent this summer.
Reda: Elsewhere the Jakob Chychrun scenario [for the Arizona Coyotes] is just intensifying, and especially since the Coyotes said they won't play him again while they're trying to trade him. Darren, we get the sense that everyone's just a little tired of all this right now.
Dreger: Especially those that believe they've been involved in the trade process, maybe even negotiating if you're a club general manager in acquiring Chychrun because this saga has been dragging on now for well over a year. I think we can all appreciate [Coyotes GM] Bill Armstrong's position - he's trying to utilize every tactic to squeeze everything out of a Chychrun return that he possibly can. But you're right, it has been a frustrating process for many - some describing it as 'deal fatigue' at this point - but given how the Coyotes are dealing with Chyrchun right now, it does feel that this saga is about to end.