TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading on Tuesday and the topics discussed were the availability of Max Pacioretty and Evander Kane, possible landing spots for Martin Erat, NHL expansion and more.
Is Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty being shopped?
McKenzie: Absolutely not, according to the Canadiens and their general manager Marc Bergevin, but it may be a splitting of hairs because teams in the NHL are calling the Canadiens and asking them about the availability of Pacioretty. The Canadiens are listening to offers, they are not saying he's available but his name is in play.
How about Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets?
McKenzie: Similar situation to Pacioretty as teams in the NHL are seeing an uneasy relationship between Kane and head coach Claude Noel and teams are curious to see if the Jets are interested in moving Kane. He has not asked for a trade, the Jets are not shopping him but teams are certainly monitoring the situation to see if Kane could be pried out of Winnipeg.
The Capitals paid a steep price for Martin Erat on last year's deadline day and it has not worked out well with zero goals in his last 23 games and he was a healthy scratch in the Capitals' last game. Are there any teams interested in Erat? He has asked for a trade.
LeBrun: There are interested parties and part of that is because his contract goes down to $2.25 million next year, so it is a cap-friendly contract in terms of salary. The Vancouver Canucks are among the teams that have some level of interest in Erat. He's an easier player to trade than say Sharks forward Martin Havlat will be in San Jose.
We expect the Calgary Flames to make a move at some time this year, who's generating the most interest there right now?
Dreger: Teams are calling about Mikael Backlund, no surprise there, specifically the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are looking for a third line centre as well as a puck moving defenceman. Carolina has made an offer on Backlund but there's no fit there just yet. The Flames also need an age-comparable player in terms of their return.
LeBrun: Busy times in Carolina. The Hurricanes have a couple of players on their trade block including Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty and Tim Gleason, who it sounds like will be the first player traded out of Carolina. Gleason has a contract with a couple more years left on it at $4 million but if they can move him, I believe then they could turn around and trade for a guy like John-Michael Liles. Liles has been parked in Toronto because of his contract. For the Hurricanes to take Liles, they need the Leafs to take Ruutu and Leafs currently have no interest in picking up that deal.
Michael Del Zotto has been on the block in New York and has been linked to Ottawa. How serious have the talks been there?
Dreger: There has been a back and forth between the Senators and the Rangers. It is quiet now but Senators GM Brian Murray did throw out names like Erik Condra, Colin Greening and Eric Gryba. The deal is currently not a fit for the Rangers but those three players were made available in that discussion.
Commissioner Gary Bettman talked about expansion and said nothing was imminent. What is happening?
McKenzie: Bettman said there was no formal process in place but you have to believe there may be an informal process that is in the works. We know the NHL wants to get to 32 teams, the question is when it could happen. The absolute earliest you could add teams to the NHL would be the 2015-2016 season, just less than two years away. The league needs a one-year lead time on that, therefore if anything is happening, it will escalate over the next ten months.
Is there any chance the Olympic roster deadline gets moved?
LeBrun: Not according to Rene Fasel. The IIHF had a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday and they will meet again on Wednesday but the message from Fasel to Russia, Sweden and Finland, who wanted to extend the deadline, is no. The deal made with the NHL and NHLPA will remain at December 31, 2013.
Any news on the Leafs' Dion Phaneuf contract front?
Dreger: Phaneuf's agent did make a ballpark offer a couple of weeks ago, the contract being in the seven to eight-year range with the finances above $7 million per year. GM Dave Nonis is expected to counter within a week.
How is Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne recovering?
LeBrun: Rinne's MRI has been pushed back to next week and the talks between the Anaheim Ducks and Predators are also on hold because the Ducks have an injured goalie in Viktor Fasth. I don't see Jonas Hiller being traded in the near future.
McKenzie: An extra note, Jonathan Ericsson is on the verge of signing a multi-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.