TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun join host Ryan Rishaug for the latest on some high-profile trade candidates in Vancouver, where contract negotiations stand between Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames, the Maple Leafs’ quiet discussions with pending UFAs Jack Campbell and Ilya Mikheyev, and much more in the latest edition of Insider Trading.
What’s the latest on high-profile trade targets for the Vancouver Canucks?
Dreger: It seems like it’s open season for the Vancouver Canucks; it’s not a fire sale so don’t misunderstand that – we’ll talk about JT Miller and we’ll talk about Brock Boeser. Miller has one year remaining on his contract and then he’s an unrestricted free agent and Boeser is a restricted free agent this off-season and there’s going to be a strong market for both of these players. Boeser is 25 years old and he’s a goal scorer, Miller is coming off a career year and he’s a gritty forward – there isn’t a Stanley Cup playoff team (including the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche) who wouldn’t consider Miller a good add on top of what they already have. The Canucks are interested in listening, [Canucks GM] Patrik Allvin has been very busy but the Canucks aren’t just in the market for draft picks. They need good, young players [and] if they’re giving up NHL players in return it’ll be a very interesting off-season for them.
Also with a career year in Calgary [for] Johnny Gaudreau, what’s the latest there? It sounds like they’re kind of playing a waiting game.
LeBrun: The Flames didn’t waste any time after the season. They made a contract offer already and there’s been an ongoing dialogue ever since. It’s not going to be about money if Johnny Gaudreau decides to go to the market – when you consider the eighth year that only the Flames can offer the total dollar is going to be hard for other teams to match and we know that winning matters to Gaudreau and the Flames are going to be a contender if he decides to stay. What the Flames can control is their area code and if Gaudreau decides to go back home; the Flames want to resign him, and they’ll try to push this before July 13th (the opening of the free agent signing period) because if he’s still unsigned by July 13th then they may have to pivot.
Johnston: We’re not talking about players of Gaudreau’s quality with the Maple Leafs situation but their two players that could hit the market in Jack Campbell and Ilya Mikheyev. What stands out to me is that the Leafs seemingly haven’t reached out to make an offer yet. There’s ongoing dialogue and they’ve had discussions with the camps of those guys but no numbers exchanged, no real negotiation and this starts to feel like some guys we’ve seen walk out the door in the past when you look at Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen in recent years. Keep in mind Mikheyev is looking to get $4-to-5 million on the open market and Campbell could even go north of that depending on where the goalie market goes on the 13th.
To Minnesota, Cam Talbot with another year on his deal but a pretty high-profile acquisition in Marc-Andre Fleury – can they extend this relationship, do you think?
Dreger: They can, but the conversation hasn’t started between [Minnesota Wild general manager] Bill Guerin and Allan Walsh, who represents Fleury, but I can tell you that Guerin would very much love to reunite that tandem of Fleury and Talbot for next year. Fleury enjoyed his time in Minnesota with the Wild; it was short but the Wild can see the value of bringing the 37-year-old experienced netminder back. But Fleury isn’t prepared to think about that just yet, his family are just fresh back from vacation so there’s enough time for the business side of the game in the days ahead.
LeBrun: Let’s bring it back to the Stanley Cup Final – Josh Mansonpending unrestricted free agent, was brought in as a trade deadline acquisition by the Colorado Avalanche – it’s pretty much not realistic to expect the Avalanche to talk to him when they’ve got Nazem Kadri coming up, Valeri Nichushkin coming up, Darcy Kuember coming up and they’re going to try to extend some guy named Nathan MacKinnon, so Manson is expected to go to the open market. The Anaheim Ducks, I’m told, would like to talk to him when he hits the open market, of course he spent most of his career there, tremendously popular in that dressing room – other teams are going to be interested in him as well , but expect Anaheim to be one of them.
Awards are tonight, Chris, a bit of a different look but we expect things to go back to normal next year.
Johnston: Absolutey, shoehorning it into the Stanley Cup Final: not be an ideal scenario, completely driven by the schedule here so when we look at 2023 the NHL really wants to take it again, have it in a standalone city – I’m told It’s not necessarily going to be Vegas as it was pre-pandemic. There’s other teams that have stepped forward and expressed an interest to have it. There’s also some clarity on the 2023 NHL Draft, there’s a rumour that Seattle will be the host city – not going to happen, won’t be the NHL’s newest team, the bid process should be done at some point pending by mid-July.
Pierre, the latest out of Carolina on Necas?
LeBrun: Well, Martin Necas is a restricted free agent, he’s coming off his entry-level deal, had a 40-point season, first-round pick in 2017 and loaded in terms of potential and talent but had a bit of an off-and-on year, kind of got replaced in the lineup by Seth Jarvis. Teams are calling the Hurricanes about this young man and I don’t know if Carolina really wants to move him but I think if the offer gets to a point where you get a young [defenceman] back the Hurricanes might listen.