TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were Daniel Alfredsson's trade status if Ottawa begins to slide, which teams could kick off deadline season and what the future holds for Brian Burke.
If the Ottawa Senators slide in the absence of both Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson, what should they do in regards to the future of captain Daniel Alfredsson?
LeBrun: It's going to be really sensitive for sure. There has been no player as popular in the history of the Senators. Senators GM Bryan Murray can't control other teams calling him and that's going to happen if the Senators fall off because of those injuries.
I believe one of the teams that will pursue Alfredsson very seriously are the Boston Bruins, who have some cap room after trading Tim Thomas. There are some obvious connections in Boston with Zdeno Chara – Alfredsson's former teammate from Ottawa – and general manager Peter Chiarelli who worked in Ottawa.
They won't be the only contenders – there will be more – but the question is: Can Alfredsson be convinced to leave the only team he's ever played for? That is a question that remains unanswered. Ottawa is not going to pressure him at all to get traded. This is all up to Alfredsson if and when that occurs this season.
Which teams might be early candidates to get the deadline dealing underway?
Dreger: Trade speculation is beginning to heat up around the National Hockey League, particularly with those teams that are floundering a little bit. The San Jose Sharks got a big win over the St. Louis Blues Tuesday, but speculation continues to swirl around the Sharks.
Depending on who you talk to, there are teams that say some big names are potentially in play. Certainly the Sharks are willing to consider just about anything. San Jose is willing to part with a defenceman – Dan Boyle's name, believe it or not, has been thrown out there – but they would need to get a forward in return and preferably someone who could fit in their top nine.
Joe Thornton's name was also thrown out there by an Eastern Conference team but that's not likely to happen. There's no way San Jose is going to put themselves in that position.
LeBrun: We're waiting, of course, for some of these teams to essentially pull the plug for a lot of these trades to start happening. There are too many teams close in the standings.
One team to keep an eye on is the Florida Panthers. They have not been playing good hockey and I think the next two weeks will be huge for the Panthers. If they start to fall out of it for good I believe Dale Tallon will start to blow that up and Steven Weiss is the big unrestricted free agent on that team and they may or may not keep him.
There's a big-name free agent out there by the name of Brian Burke. Have any teams expressed interest in hiring Burke in some capacity?
Dreger: At least one team has reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs to ask permission to speak with Brian Burke. Now, what would his role be? It would either be in a consulting or a scouting capacity, perhaps in the front office.
Brian Burke is looking for a bridge opportunity, an opportunity that may lead to a job with an organization as their next general manager. So teams are kicking tires on Burke.