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Insider Trading: Jets and Flames popular in trade buzz


TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger join host Gino Reda to discuss the biggest names available on TSN’s Trade Bait Board heading into next week’s draft, why the door might not be closed for Ryan O’Reilly to return to the Leafs and where Matvei Michkov might go next week in Nashville.

What is the latest on some of the big names out there?

Pierre-Luc Dubois and Connor Hellebuyck occupy the top two spots on TSN’s Trade Bait Board. What is their status with just over one week to go until the NHL Draft?

Trade Bait - June 20

Player Age Pos GP PTS 2023-24
1. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Wpg 24 C 73 63 RFA
2. Connor Hellebuyck, Wpg 30 G 64 .920 $6.2M
3. Alex DeBrincat, Ott 25 LW 82 66 RFA
4. Erik Karlsson, SJ 33 RD 82 101 $11.5M
5. Noah Hanifin, Cgy 26 LD 81 31 $5M

LeBrun: The New Jersey Devils are one of the teams that we understand that Connor Hellebuyck would be interested in signing an extension with in a sign-and trade. Now, they’re not the only team of course. And listen, New Jersey has investigated it. They’ve had a conversation with Winnipeg. But I think what probably gives New Jersey pause and some other teams is the kind of money that Hellebuyck would want in an extension. We believe that to be in the Andrei Vasilevskiy range, around $9.5 million per year. And, you know, we get why he’s asking for it perhaps, he’s a Vezina Trophy finalist, but, I think for the Devils, does that work in their cap? I think that price would have to come down for New Jersey to get more involved in this.

Dreger: Activity around the Winnipeg Jets is definitely picking up this week. But I think the extension numbers that Pierre just talked about are somewhat hampering, if not limiting the market around Connor Hellebuyck. As for Pierre-Luc Dubois, it’s not just a two-horse race, it’s not just the Montreal Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings, there are other teams who are involved. We know the LA Kings have cap issues, the Canadiens hade made it clear that this isn’t going to be extortion via trade, they can wait if necessary for when Pierre-Luc Dubois becomes an unrestricted free agent in a year. Meanwhile, looking at another Western Canadian hotspot, and that’s the Calgary Flames. CAA Hockey has their fingerprints all over that and navigating potential trades of Noah Hanifin, Mikael Backlund and Tyler Toffoli. Busy time.


Who is most likely to make a deal?

If we had a board of who is most likely to make a deal leading up to the draft, are the Arizona Coyotes at the top of that list?

Johnston: Well, they certainly hope so. They have a lot of room on their roster sheet to add players and they’re uniquely positioned to make trades. That’s because they’ve got a ton of draft capital. As they go to Nashville next week, they’re likely to pick at No. 6 and No. 12. But beyond that, they have second-round picks – nine of them – in the next three drafts. Third-round picks, also nine of them in the next three drafts, and they’d like to deal from that capital in order to add some players. And what they’re targeting right now are players they consider to be good players that might be expendable in their current homes because those teams have some cap issues and are looking to dump salary. This is a change in thinking for the Coyotes, who are looking to move into a more competitive window and try to bridge a gap here until their top prospects are ready to be NHL players.


What’s O’Reilly’s future in Toronto looking like?

With a new general manager in town, might Ryan O’Reilly have a pathway toward returning to the Maple Leafs this summer?

Ryan O'Reilly Toronto Maple Leafs

LeBrun: Well, to be fair, Ryan O’Reilly himself made it sound like it was a rental experience when he met the media at the end of the season probably looking at the Leafs’ salary cap situation and not thinking he could be an option. But, in fact, what’s happening is new Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving has communicated to O’Reilly’s camp that they have interest in bringing him back. O’Reilly has not closed the door on Toronto, but I would say in general is O’Reilly has really left all the options on the table as he approaches the unrestricted free agency market. So yes, the Leafs are an option, but he would also be arguably the No. 1 centre on an otherwise weak UFA centre market.


Bowman, Quenneville seeking NHL reinstatement

Both Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville have been out of the NHL since an independent investigation determined the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010. Are they each a step closer toward returning?

Chicago Blackhawks

Dreger: Well, potentially, yes. We know that both are seeking reinstatement and perhaps a big step is the face-to-face meeting that has been scheduled with commissioner Gary Bettman in early July. Both Bowman and Quenneville requested these meetings, and that’s an important distinction there. Depending on how the conversation goes with Quenneville and Bowman independently, the commissioner is expected to take some time and determine what is the next step in their professional lives.


Where might Michkov end up next week?

Are teams trying to collect information on one of this year’s draft’s biggest unknowns?


Johnston: Yes, we’re talking about multiple teams and we’re talking about Matvei Michkov, who is probably the biggest mystery in this draft. The talent is apparent to scouts that have seen him but he wasn’t present at the scouting combine in Buffalo earlier this month. He did have limited conversations with NHL teams. And that makes the one-on-one meetings he’s going to have next week with a handful of teams in Nashville important to his future. Talking to sources around the league, a lot of people seem to think he’s going to fall somewhere in the five-to-eight range. That starts with the Montreal Canadiens with the fifth pick, Arizona at six, Philadelphia at seven and Washington at eight. So, it will be up to those teams, starting with the Canadiens of course, to decide what they’re going to do with Michkov, whether they take maybe a safer prospect or go for the talent.