In a bye-week edition of Leafs Links, we have the latest trade buzz involving defense and center options around the NHL with under six weeks to go until the trade deadline.
Pagnotta: Maple Leafs have inquired about RHD Sean Walker in Philadelphia (NHL Network)
Insider David Pagnotta joined On The Fly to discuss the latest on the trade markets for defensemen and centermen with 38 days to go until the March 8 trade deadline.
Pagnotta on the availability of right-handed Flyers defenseman Sean Walker (29 years old, pending UFA, $2.65 million cap hit) and the interested parties:
Walker’s situation shifted a little bit after the Jamie Drysdale acquisition in the whole Cutter Gauthier deal. After that move was made, it changed the direction Philly was going to go with Walker for the immediate future.
Walker is already generating interest. Tampa Bay is one of the teams that has expressed or at least has internal interest in this player. Edmonton and Toronto have spoken to the Flyers about Walker’s availability. The Devils are another team that is poking around to see what the price tag is going to be for Walker, who is a pending UFA with a solid cap hit at $2.6 million.
The price tag right now is a first-round pick. We will see, depending on who else is available, if a team is willing to meet that price. Cap hit plays a factor. They were supposed to have contract negotiations about an extension, but I am told that halted after the Drysdale acquisition.
The expectation now is that Sean Walker will be moved — even with Philadelphia in the middle of a playoff battle — ahead of the trade deadline.
Pagnotta on the availability of LHC Scott Laughton, LHC Morgan Frost, and RHD Rasmus Ristolainen in Philadelphia:
Teams are calling. They want to have an understanding of Philly’s game plan. Philly is not necessarily actively shopping, but those are three players that Philly is willing to listen on.
Scott Laughton has another couple of years on his deal at a solid ($3 million AAV) cap hit. He kind of fits that 3C mold. In the summer around the NHL Draft, Philly was looking for a first-round pick for Laughton. I believe that is going to be in and around the price tag now. I think it is more of a summertime move, but the interested teams know the price tag if they want to jump on it now. It is something that Danny Briere and the Flyers would be willing to explore.
If something is happening with Morgan Frost, you are looking at more of a hockey-type of trade with a talent-for-talent swap.
Teams continue to inquire about Ristolainen’s availability. He has upped his performance this season with Philadelphia, which has a lot of teams inquiring to see what the price tag might be for a player with term on his deal As the cap increases as the years move forward, the $5.1 million cap hit for three more seasons is looking pretty interesting.
Pagnotta on the markets for LHC/W Adam Henrique, LHC Sean Monahan, and RHC Elias Lindholm:
These are the three guys who teams that are looking to upgrade at the pivot position are looking at. Each guy comes with a different type of cap situation which is going to affect which teams actually move forward with them.
Sean Monahan is just under $2 million from a cap perspective and is going to generate a ton of interest.
Elias Lindholm is leading the charge. Calgary seems likely to retain on that $4.85 million salary, just like the Ducks with Adam Henrique’s $5.83 million cap hit — up to 50% on that deal.
Teams that are looking to upgrade at the center position: Colorado, Winnipeg, Vancouver, the Rangers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs from a third-line perspective. Carolina and Boston are in that mix as well.
Some of these guys are going to come with a first-round pick price tag attached to them. Monahan’s cap hit, specifically, increases his value because it prevents teams from having to pay up a little extra to retain on his deal or try to get a third party in the mix.
It is going to be an interesting three-headed monster at center as teams look to upgrade down the middle.
Friedman: The latest on Walker, Jakob Chychrun, Noah Hanifin & Chris Tanev (NHL Network)
On NHL Tonight, Elliotte Friedman provided his latest on Sean Walker, Jakob Chychrun, Noah Hanifin, and Chris Tanev.
Friedman on Sean Walker’s availability:
I think Walker is less likely to be signed — not because they don’t want him, but just because ever since Jamie Drysdale got there, I think you can kind of see where this could potentially go.
I have heard Edmonton. I have heard Tampa. I always wonder about Toronto with defensemen. They are looking for D. But I think Walker is going to be out there.
Friedman on whether Jakob Chychrun could be on the move again:
I think Chychrun will come down to their salary-cap situation. At some point in time, I think they are going to have a conversation with Chychrun. He has one year left. What does he want his next contract to look like? That, as much as anything else, will determine Chychrun’s future in Ottawa.
Friedman on the latest on Noah Hanifin’s situation in Calgary:
There was a time this year when I thought Noah Hanifin was going to re-sign, and then they lost a few games and he kind of changed his mind. They have started talking again. Over the All-Star break, I think Hanifin is going to have to make a decision: Does he see his future in Calgary or does he see his future elsewhere?
I think the Flames have kind of asked him, “You’ve got to tell us what you are thinking about here.”
Friedman on the latest on Chris Tanev:
I have heard there is a big market for him, not surprisingly. I reported on the weekend that Ottawa is a team that has an interest in him, too. They are looking for true pros, and he fits.
The biggest question: Does he want to go to a team right now that is not going to make the playoffs? Maybe in the summer, he might consider the Senators for next year, but I am not sure now.
I think there is a lot of interest in him.
Johnston: “I don’t think this is a year where we see the Leafs make five trades like last deadline” (TSN1050)
On First Up with Aaron Korolnek and Carlo Colaiacovo, Chris Johnston discussed Chychrun’s availability in Ottawa and handicapped Brad Treliving’s level of aggressiveness at the trade deadline.
Johnston on the availability and possible price tag on Chychrun in Ottawa:
My sense is that the Sens haven’t made up their minds that they’re trading him, but if you look at the left side of their blue line, you can see that there is a lot of money there already committed.
He is a player who is coming to the end of his deal with another year left beyond this one. He will need a new contract in the near future, so there is a decision pending. You can see the writing on the wall that Ottawa is going to have to move some things around on their blue line, and he could end up being the odd man out.
I don’t think they’ve established a price. I don’t think they are knee-deep in trade talks for him, but he is going to end up on the next Trade Bait board for a reason. He is a player they are going to have to look at moving.
If you look at the price they paid a year ago with Arizona, they gave up a lot. You are looking at a first-round pick plus if they ever get to a point where they are moving him. That might be part of the argument for moving him now: A lot of the players on the Trade Bait board are on expiring deals. There might be extra value to be gleaned by trading a younger defenseman who still has at least a year and a half of contract to go.
The conversation right now publicly is a little bit ahead of where it is privately. I don’t know if Ottawa has made the full determination that he is going out the door yet.
Johnston on Brad Treliving’s approach to the trade deadline:
We are all waiting for something to happen on the blue line. It is an obvious area Treliving will look to improve both now and as he is putting more of a stamp on the team. He hasn’t even been the GM for a year. In the offseason, it is the most obvious area for improvement.
There is a lot to be done in the Leafs‘ spot because there are so many players on expiring deals. There is big money tied up in the top players on the roster. Every year, the Leafs have to be out there filling out the spots around them.
I don’t know that it is going to be a crazy busy trade deadline period. Some of it is tied to health. It really helps that Samsonov has calmed things down in the crease. Joseph Woll is not back until somewhere near the end of February, but he is due to rejoin practice after the All-Star break.
There is some hope that a lot of the options are internal. It will be up much closer to March 8 for Brad Treliving and the Leafs‘ front office to see if there is another add that can happen.
I don’t think this is a year where we see them make five trades like last season. I could be wrong on that, but it just doesn’t seem like they have the draft capital or the cap space — depending on where they are at health-wise — as we get closer to March.
Shanahan: “If Marner ends up on a 1-on-1 against Rielly, they’re both going to do their best to have bragging rights” (NHL.com)
In conversation with NHL.com’s Nicholas Cotsonika, Leafs President Brendan Shanahan discussed this year’s All-Star event in Toronto and his past experiences with the event as an executive and player.
You probably go harder against your teammate than you go against the other guys, in a fun way. You’ll probably finish your check or steal a puck or backcheck on a teammate just for bragging rights in the dressing room more than you would on an opponent you don’t know as well. That should be fun if teammates do get split up.
I do think if for some reason Mitch Marner ends up on a 1-on-1 against Morgan Rielly, they are both going to do their best to have bragging rights not that day but for the rest of their time as teammates. It’s 24 years later, and I can’t remember a whole lot of plays from All-Star Games. But I remember Nick breaking up a 2-on-1, and I remember going back to the dressing room in Detroit and the Kris Drapers, the Kirk Maltbys, and Darren McCartys of the world laughing at us for even trying it on a stage like that.