In today’s Leafs Links, Nashville GM David Poile discusses the level of trade talk surrounding his team and whether Filip Forsberg is available, Sabres TV analyst Rob Ray breaks down Taylor Hall’s play in Buffalo this season, and Darren Dreger provides his sense of the Leafs’ deadline needs.
Poile: “You don’t want to set up barriers to any conversation, but I don’t think Forsberg is going to be a guy we have interest in trading” (ESPN 102.5)
Predators GM David Poile joined 102.5 The Game to discuss the state of the Predators and the amount of trade talk surrounding his players a month and change away from the trade deadline.
On Filip Forsberg’s availability and whether or not he is on the untouchables list:
I try to be open with everybody. You are exchanging information. You want to hear what people have to say. You don’t want to set up barriers to any conversation. Having said that, I really don’t think Filip Forsberg is going to be a guy we have any interest in trading at this time.
On the amount of trade talk happening around the league:
There has been a fair bit. I can only speak for myself, but we are below the line in terms of making the playoffs. We are a team that a lot of teams probably want to call and inquire about our players.
You have so many factors this year — the Canadian border, how you deal with the 14-day quarantine, the flat cap, and dealing with teams that want you to take money back in a trade. There are lots of different things that make it a little bit different. We will keep moving along here and see how this road trip goes and see where we are in a couple of weeks.
Dreger: The Leafs want a gritty 6/7 forward (TSN 1050)
On First Up with Landsberg and Colaiacovo, TSN’s Darren Dreger discussed the Leafs‘ deadline needs.
Toronto wants that gritty 6-7 forward. We joke about this every single week, but they want someone similar to Zach Hyman. If he is playing on your third line, then your top six is damn good. Toronto wants another complement of that type of player.
Bourne: We are entering the Leafs’ trade window right now (SN 590)
I think we are sneakily inside the Leafs’ trade deadline window right now — as in [soon] we might hear something because they are heading into a slower part of the schedule. They have a couple of weeks where there is not a ton of hockey. There are 15 Leafs games after the trade deadline, seven of which come in the two-week quarantine period. You would be left with eight games of someone. That’s not great. We are kind of there right now.
The big question for me as far as the lineup: What are you going to do with Zach Hyman, who is clearly best on every line? How do you make him three people so you can put him on all of the lines? Matthews-Marner are better when they get Hyman. To me, Mikheyev-Engvall are not even a thing without Hyman. That is not a line without Hyman there.
Are they better off with Thornton up top and Hyman on the third line, or the top-loaded top line? What I think is great is that you have the options depending on your opponent. What is tough about it: The game where Thornton barely played, Keefe said he kind of lost him on the bench. I feel like it’s more that they can’t admit when Thornton doesn’t have legs because of the age thing — they didn’t want to start a media storm by saying he didn’t have any pop in his step or that we thought he looked slow.
I personally feel like we are going to reach a point in the playoffs where they have to move him off of that line and he is not going to be able to play 15.5 minutes a night on the top line in a playoff run. You need to find some sort of solution even if it just sometimes. I don’t think you can say Thornton is going to be the guy there all the time even in playoffs.
What I don’t like is going into playoffs with two guys in your top six — Thornton and Kerfoot — where you feel like you have to protect or hide them or dance around the idea that they are not great fits there.
Rob Ray: “Taylor Hall has been snakebitten… He creates chances every night… He would be a fantastic rental and I don’t think it would cost that much to get him” (SN 590)
In his appearance on The Lead Off, Sabres TV analyst Rob Ray provided his perspective on the play of Taylor Hall in Buffalo this season and the likely price to acquire him.
Has he played bad this year? Absolutely not. He has been snakebitten. He creates chances every night. He is in the right spots. A lot of the times, Taylor gets the puck and he is so far ahead of everybody else and he is waiting for guys to catch up. He is stalling a lot. His opportunities are not from the areas you would normally see Taylor Hall get them from.
I wouldn’t hesitate to take a shot on this guy for a stretch. My hesitation on him would be on signing him to a multi-year deal. That is where I would have to be really convinced that it is the right thing.
I think he would be a fantastic rental. For the Sabres, you don’t have much tied up in him so I think the return would be minimal. They have had talks about re-signing him, but if this continues, you would think they would have to start thinking about moving everything they possibly could.
He would probably be a guy available and I don’t think it would cost that much to get him.
Pagnotta: Eric Staal completely open to a move to a Cup contender (TFP)
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period provided an update on Eric Staal’s situation in Buffalo ahead of the trade deadline.
Eric has a 10-team no-trade list, but my understanding is that he is completely open to a move and to a playoff or Stanley Cup contender. He would certainly generate interest from a number of contenders looking to shore up the center position. He is totally open to it, I was told earlier today. Now it is up to Kevyn Adams to find the right move before the deadline.
McGuire: Taylor Hall didn’t do anything in the playoffs last year (TSN 1050)
Asked about whether the Leafs should be interested in Taylor Hall on First Up, Pierre McGuire didn’t mince words about Taylor Hall’s performance this season and last playoffs.
Did anybody watch him play in the playoffs last year for Arizona? I did. I was there. He didn’t do anything. I don’t know whether it was an injury situation or if it was a fatigue or conditioning situation, but the truth is he said, “I am going to bet on myself.” Those were his words — not mine. He said he was going to take the one-year deal in Buffalo and bet on himself. He has two goals.