In the latest trade deadline edition of Leafs Links, the insiders discuss the fallout from the Bo Horvat trade and the scuttlebutt on the next moves to come.
Seravalli: STL GM Doug Armstrong antsy to make moves; Leafs were not seriously involved in Bo Horvat sweepstakes (SN590)
On The Fan Drive Time, Daily Faceoff insider Frank Seravalli discussed the ramifications of the Bo Horvat trade as it pertains to the rest of the trade market.
Seravalli on whether the Leafs were seriously involved in the Bo Horvat sweepstakes:
I did not get any sense they were involved. Would they have had the assets? I think they would have. If the Canucks are wanting roster players, the Leafs could’ve found someone to send them that would’ve made them excited.
Seravalli on the impact of the Horvat return on the rest of the trade market:
The only player it maybe has an impact on is Ryan O’Reilly. You can maybe take this deal as a center and say, “Okay, O’Reilly is four years older. He hasn’t been nearly as productive and has a third of the goals that Horvat racked up. He has been dealing with an injury.” You sort of discount it off of the return, but it maybe helps set a blue print for you for the ask and likely return.
Other than that, there are so many unique situations this deadline. Timo Meier and the qualifying offer — he is going to be the next number one on the trade targets board. The qualifying offer changes everything.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are kind of in their own class. And then you have the defensemen and the totally different prices for them.
I don’t know if it is precedent setting in any other way except maybe impacting O’Reilly.
Seravalli on the teams most likely to make moves next:
I think the team to keep an eye on is the St. Louis Blues. They are losers of five straight. Even before that, their GM in Doug Armstrong was getting antsy. I was told they were close on a number of different fronts.
They have a number of different players in play. We talked about O’Reilly. There is also Tarasenko, Noel Acciari, Niko Mikkola, and Ivan Barbashev is another one that has received some pretty substantial interest.
They are in a spot where I think they’d like to shake it up and shuffle the deck — not for this season but for the future.
Seravalli on whether the known buyers such as the Canes, Bruins, and Leafs are going to look to spring into action after the Horvat trade or if they are going to remain patient and monitor the prices:
I think the preference is to remain patient. With 31 days to go and limited assets and cap space, you don’t want to be in a spot where you have a massive injury pop up between now and then, and you have no way to go out and fill the void either through assets or whatever it may be.
The preference for the teams that are comfortable and sitting in a great position is to sit back and wait. But if there is someone that they have circled and it is coming to a head, they have to act.
Hitchcock: Leafs have learned to check and it is a testament to their coaching staff (Spittin’ Chiclets)
On a recent episode of Spittin’ Chiclets, former long-time NHL coach Ken Hitchcock discussed the progress the Leafs have made as a checking, playoff-ready team.
The Leafs have at least two-thirds of their lineup that play right through you. That is what checking is. You have to play right through you.
All of a sudden, players where people said, “this guy is too soft, that guy is too soft, and you’ll never win with these guys,” they go right through you. That is a real accolade for that coaching staff to be able to pull it off with the same personnel. They did it.
Now they have something that they know is going to be a tough out in the playoffs.
Johnston: “I’d be surprised if the Leafs emerged as one of the main teams bidding for Timo Meier” (TSN1050)
On TSN’s First Up, Chris Johnston discussed the ramifications of the Bo Horvat trade between Vancouver and NYI and whether the Leafs are serious players in the Timo Meier sweepstakes.
Johnston on whether the Leafs are among the front-runners for Timo Meier:
I don’t know that they are the favourite, to be honest. The teams that really like him — Carolina, New Jersey — like him with the idea that they’re trading for them and finding a way to extend him. I don’t know that the Leafs are in that position.
If you are talking about a player they could strictly plug into their lineup, of course, there is a lot to like about Timo Meier. But I don’t know that he ticks all of the boxes because of the kind of salary that he is going to command. He has a $10 million qualifying offer for next year. Even if you were to sign him long-term and have him forgo that offer, he is probably getting something closer to $9 million a year.
I’d be surprised if the Leafs emerged as one of the main teams in the bidding there. But that is why we will sit back and wait and see. They are probably looking for either more cost-controlled players — if the players have term, they have much less owed on their cap — or maybe they go into the rental market as well with someone you can jam in for the rest of the season but aren’t looking at as a long-term acquisition.
Johnston on whether the Leafs were ever seriously interested in Horvat:
I am not sure the Leafs are in the business of trading a first-round pick for a rental player. I am not sure this made a lot of sense for Toronto.
The key part that comes out from the Islanders’ end of things is that they see him as someone they want to sign to an extension. They gave up three pieces with the idea of signing Horvat to an extension.
I don’t know if the Leafs would be in that position given the kind of season he is having. His next contract could be $8.5-9 million a year. With the players the Leafs have, there wouldn’t be room for that.
Johnston on whether the price for a Ryan O’Reilly or Patrick Kane will be at all similar to the Horvat package:
I think it is going to be less. The Kane situation is unique in that he has a full no-movement clause, too. I am not 100% certain he is going to move that or knows where he wants to go.
As for O’Reilly, you are talking about players that are older than Horvat and having much less productive seasons. O’Reilly, in his case, has not played for the last two weeks after suffering a broken foot.
I am not saying there won’t be a market for them, but I don’t know if their teams will be in a position to ask [for the same]. You are not selling the version of these players from five years ago. You are selling the current version. I don’t think we will see them match these returns.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tim Meier get a return that even exceeds the one for Horvat because he is an RFA and you are not buying him strictly as a rental. He is also having a great year.
This might be one of the high-water mark trades we see. I do believe it is a buyer’s market.
Friedman: No longer convinced Luke Schenn is headed to the Tampa Bay Lightning (SN590)
On The Jeff Marek Show, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman discussed the next move for Vancouver after the Horvat trade and where Timo Meier could end up.
Friedman on the next move for the Canucks:
Schenn is the obvious next one to me. I am not convinced it is going to be Tampa Bay. There was a time when I thought it was going to be Tampa. I don’t anymore.
The one thing about Schenn: If there is any one I wonder if they might keep after Tocchet got there, it is Schenn. I could see Tocchet really liking Schenn’s game. He brings something that Tocchet likes. I still think they are getting asked about him.
The other one I wonder about: Are we going to get enough runway to see Thatcher Demko before the deadline? Last Friday night, Patrick Allvin said it is tough to say for sure but they are basically hoping it is three weeks. This is week one. Let’s say he is back on the 16th and the deadline is the 3rd. Does that give us enough runway to see Demko?
There are three places to me that really make sense. One is Buffalo, one is Pittsburgh, and one is Los Angeles. Buffalo obviously wants to get in, but they are not trying to win the Cup this year. That is a little different. If you are LA or PIttsburgh, can you trade for a guy who you are not sure if he is going to be able to help you this season? Not with what you have to give up.
Columbus is another one that makes sense. They could do it because it is not about this year for them.
Friedman on the Timo Meier sweepstakes and other possible next moves with Horvat off the trade board:
I have been thinking New Jersey for Meier. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to get him, but I do think they are a team that can do it and would like to do it. That is one.
One guy I have wondered about for the Hurricanes: Pageau. If roles kind of get moved around here and New York feels they need to clear some room, I kind of wonder if he would be a guy on their radar.