We are a little over a month from the NHL trading deadline and it is fair to say that the market has not really settled yet.
There are some teams like Ottawa and Los Angeles that are at or near the bottom of the table and we expect them to be active. But others, such as the Rangers, Devils or Predators, are still considering what they want to do in 2020-21 and what they want to do.
In the middle of the first goodbye week (the other comes after All-Star), the teams begin to meet with their scouting departments and find a way forward schedule over the next few weeks. A series of victories can force teams to buy or at least sell, while a cold phase can force others to sell.
Here are the latest news from across the league.
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HOW WILL THE PACIFIC DIVISION TEAMS RESPOND IN SUCH A NARROW RACE?
This is such an interesting division. This is not only because one point separates the five best teams from one another, but these five teams are all in different stages. The Vegas Golden Knights are ready just like everyone else, but Vancouver and Edmonton are still in transition to this point and may not be as ready to move future assets for immediate help. Still, the Oilers and Canucks will be looking for help to get into the playoffs.
Arizona has already taken a big step, despite being a 500-strong team since the acquisition of Taylor Hall. Calgary won the division last year, but followed with a disappointing exit in the first round with an ups and downs in 2019-20. GM Brad Treliving is no stranger to the blockbuster. So we're wondering if he'll be open for something similar until February 24th.
So while they're all in the overall ranking, the approach can be very different for each Pacific team.
“I think some teams are making or making a long-term move, but I don't see any of them making a big rent because, although I think you want to get in, I'm not sure you think you're good are enough to win, "said Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet 960 the Fan." I think the only possible exception could be Vegas. I think they really believe that they are better than they have shown. I think the step they took with coaching is that they really think they are better than they showed. If anyone (in the Pacific) wants to do something more interesting, I think they are. "
The Calgary Flames transferred Michael Frolik to Buffalo on January 2 to do a draft pick, and deleted his $ 4.3 million cap hit from the books. Treliving later mentioned that he intended to use the money released in the deal for this year's team. However, a recent headline segment of the Hockey Night in Canada reported that the Flames would rather not use the room to win a loaner.
That too may have changed.
"It was interesting to hear that (Tyler) Toffoli spoke to Calgary last week because I heard you preferred someone who was well known," said Friedman.
Toffoli, 27, is due to become a UFA this summer and urgently needs a change of scene. He has four years less than in a season with 30 goals and two years less than in his last year with 20 goals – but this year he has 12 goals and 27 points in 49 games. Calgary's main need is a top six winger, and Toffoli fits that description.
"I heard more than" D, "Friedman said of Calgary's commercial interests. "You could do a lot of your blue line with Brodie or Hamonic, but I really don't think you're trying to get weaker this year. I think these steps only happen when someone comes in."
Elliotte Friedman strains the teams in the Pacific Division
January 21, 2020
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The Oilers will be a fascinating team that can be observed in the retail market as their overall success depends on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. GM Ken Holland previously discussed his reluctance to negotiate a first choice, especially for a rental. For this reason, the team, although interested, was always far from landing in the UFA hall.
Holland sat down last week for a conversation with Sportsnet's Mark Spector to discuss the timing and the need for deepening.
Unlike some of their colleagues, the Canucks don't have much salary limits – and since the players are healthy, even less will be available. They have already swapped their first choice (to Tampa Bay for J. T. Miller), although they have the option to broadcast either this year's or the next election. A playoff point will determine which one you keep.
"You are trying to release the room instead of adding it," Friedman said of the Canucks.
Vancouver will very soon have important contracts for its own players. A decision about Jacob Markstrom must be made this summer. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are to be extended in 2021. Chris Tanev, 30, is also a pending UFA.
Benning spoke to Iain MacIntyre from Sportsnet and pointed out that the strength of Vancouver at this point is the organizational depth in the AHL.
“In other years we tried to find players. Now we have people waiting for their chance. This is exciting for us ”, said the GM .
CAN THE MONTREAL CANADES: EVERYTHING IN, EVERYTHING OUT OR SOME IN BETWEEN?
The first two weeks of Canadians taking nine points from the playoffs on the All-Star break, but winning four of their last five games, will affect which direction GM Marc Bergevin goes – and even how far he goes it. The first name everyone is wondering about is Ilya Kovalchuk, who has been doing very well with eight points in eight games since signing a $ 700,000 deal for the rest of the season.
Chris Johnston recently reported that the team may be home to Kovalchuk after a third round choice, but five of Montreal's first seven games after the break are at home, and a strong run could put the team back in the playoffs and bring seller market out of the playoffs.
"It will depend on whether Montreal still feels like it is there," said Friedman. "As long as they're still in there, I wouldn't expect them to treat him."
Pinder & Steinberg
Elliotte Friedman: trade targets, the goalkeeper situation of the Jets and Rangers
January 20, 2020
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But Kovalchuk is far from the only name mentioned outside of Montreal. Carey Price has surfaced in rumors, although this seems more hypothetical than based on anything factual. The same applies to Brendan Gallagher, who is not only one of the team's critical attack weapons, but also has a level of grit that the lineup needs.
"I would be shocked if they wanted to move (Gallagher)," said Friedman. "You don't have a lot of people running through a wall. I think that's one of the problems. You don't have to be massive, but you have to be able to grind and Gallagher really grinds for them."
Probably the biggest decision falls on Jeff Petry. Petry has been a great find since he rose from Edmonton to a solid 40-point performer and has been on his contract for another season. At 32, the Habs will need to weigh up his team value – and what it could cost to keep him – next season and beyond against what they might get back in a deal for him at the moment.
As a right-wing defender with another year of control, Bergevin could regain a solid collection of futures if he moved Petry now, but that would also set Team 2020-21 back a bit.
"I think you have to call him because he will be 33 years old, if you extend it and on paper you will see him as a whole and you are very happy with him as a player, but I think she will tell me about it the extension is astonishing, ”said Friedman. "You look at what LA has for (Jake) Muzzin. They had a good OHL perspective (Sean Durzi), an AHL player (Carl Grundstrom) and a premiere. I think that's something. You have to make a decision there, but I think it will depend on whether they are in the playoffs or not. "
Are the papers concerned about a lack of character or leadership skills?
If you go to a pub in Toronto, you will surely stumble across the toughness or lack of the Leafs team. When head coach Sheldon Keefe said that his team hadn't yet matured in a loss to Florida and yet another loss to Chicago before the break, he highlighted this concern from fans.
However, the Leafs generally took an analytical approach to roster building and up to that point, at least in the traditional sense, did not place as much emphasis on leadership or grit. Will Dubas, who is currently outside a playoff, feel the pressure to equip his team with this element for the stretch run?
"We know that they gave Justin Williams a pretty aggressive push and he's a unique player in terms of his specific experience and that sort of thing in the playoffs," said Chris Johnston to Sportsnet 590's Good Show. "That tells me that there is at least one idea that can help someone.
"I think that's a little bit of confirmation that having a little bit more experience won't hurt. I don't know how many of these guys are out there, so part of the comment may be immature for me. It will only take some time for everyone to mature. "
WHAT IS THE DIRECTION OF NEW JERSEY?
Switching coaches after a bad start may not have been surprising, but firing GM Ray Shero shortly afterwards surprised everyone. Where do the devils go from here?
"I learned last week that after everything that happened they were reset and started asking how much it would be worth if we did," said Friedman.
The tricky thing about the Devils is that they have transformed themselves in the last three drafts and made two initial decisions. They have added some veterans around the kids and now have their future goalkeeper in MacKenzie Blackwood, starting on the net. It would not be the best course of action if he went to the scorched earth next season and put more demand on him.
Not to mention what that would mean for the fan base.
All eyes are on Wayne Simmonds, who may be moving ahead of the deadline because he has an expiring contract despite declaring he wants to stay. The most effective and valuable player they could move is Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri is currently injured and has been a constant Devils scorer for five years. He regularly scores almost 30 goals. He is only 29 in February and has one year left for his contract, so an acquiring team would do two runs with him.
"I heard Shero wasn't trading Palmieri," Friedman said. "I don't think they want to trade him. I think you have to give your fans a reason to go to the games. You also have to create … what is the identity of the players you want?"
Senior writer Ryan Dixon and NHL editor Rory Boylen always give 110%, but never rely on clichés when podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun, and a varied set of hockey voices to report on Canada's most popular game.
WINNIPEG WANTS TO ARRIVE ON THE TRADE MARKET, BUT MAY BE DETERMINED
Connor Hellebuyck slows down some of the jet's defensive deficiencies after a vezina-worthy first half. In the past two trading dates, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has made a first choice for a center, although this is less likely due to bubble status in 2020.
Nevertheless, ideally they would like to do something and supplement this blue line in a targeted manner. However, there is a problem the size of Dustin Byfuglien: if the big defender returns to the team this season, he will bring his $ 7.6 million cap hit, and Winnipeg has to be ready if it happens.
"I don't know if the jets can do anything," said Friedman. "They're stuck because they don't know what's going to happen to Byfuglien. I think they did some things. I think they were near Joel Edmundson. I think they went for (Justin) Faulk interested. I think they looked at some other things and are just stuck. "
If Cheveldayoff wants to do something, he may have to get some money out first. It would be a shock if any of the big strikers (Wheeler, Connor, Laine, Ehlers, Scheifele) were transferred, so he would have to come from the bottom half of the lineup and there is a pretty good candidate from there: Mathieu Perreault, who is in this and the next season earned $ 4.125 million against the ceiling.
He is a good player, but is there a customer for a third-line winger who makes so much money?
"Perreault is a guy I think they've been trying to move around for a while, not because they don't like him, but just to tap some money and they just didn't make it" Friedman said.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world and then tell the audience everything about what they heard and what they think about it.
WILL THE RANGERS ACTUALLY ACT A TARGET OR EXTEND IT?
Since the Rangers called up 24-year-old Netminder Igor Shesterkin, a highly respected goalkeeper, there have been rumors of trade around Alexandar Georgiev. The latter is a little younger (23) and has proven himself in the NHL as a replacement for Henrik Lundqvist this and last season. Therefore, there is interest in expanding its potential in the league.
But there is reason to believe that New York could keep Georgiev in the end.
"You told people they would listen to Georgiev and I think they did," said Friedman. "There are some teams that tell me that they are not sure if New York is really serious, but they are willing to listen. They think New York is just checking the value, but stop."
Shesterkin is very excited, but has only played three NHL games so far, and goalkeepers may be the jokers when trying to project long-term. And although Lundqvist still has one season on his contract, there is always the possibility that he will put on his skates this summer and the Rangers will need Georgiev's services.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were the closest to Georgiev, but the rumored price was high. The Leafs are believed to be ready to part with Jeremy Bracco, but the Rangers want more influence. Think Kasperi Kapanen, a player that Dubas doesn't want to give up.
If not Georgiev, many expected New York to act as Chris Kreider before UFA. But here, too, the Rangers have needed the last few years to rebuild in no time, and so the conversation begins to turn on the Kreider front. Will you trade it in for futures now, or is it in your interest to extend it and return as a team in 2020/21 with higher expectations?
Do the Rangers even believe that they can get into the playoff hunt again this season?
"You couldn't trade anyone," said Friedman. "I could see them holding on and going. In the playoffs, you can't underestimate how important it is to the business, and I could see them sitting there and say, "You know what, when we're in the race, we'll keep it off."