Depending on how long Jake Muzzin could be out after his scary collision with Chris Wideman, what options do the Maple Leafs have before the trade deadline? TSN Hockey insiders weigh in on that front, discussing the Ducks’ early extension talks with Hampus Lindholm, whether or not there are suitors for Zdeno Chara and more.
What options are the Maple Leafs considering following the injury of defenseman Jake Muzzin?
Darren Dreger: Well, adding a defender, maybe also a striker, Gino. But you’re right, if Jake Muzzin is out long term and the Toronto Maple Leafs are able to place him in LTIR, that frees up over $5.6 million in cap space. Muzzin is now back in Toronto. It’s said to feel good, but anything head-to-toe you’ll need a bit more time to fully assess. So when you look at the defensemen targeted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, you’re looking at Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim, looking at John Klingberg with the Dallas Stars. We talked about Ben Chiarot. And what about Mark Giordano of the Seattle Kraken? Again, these are just pie-in-the-sky options at this point. And then you consider adding a striker up front. Toronto would like to add a top-six winger, something to round out that second line. But, they will first take their time with Jake Muzzin to decide whether or not he should be placed on LTIR, and then take a close look at the trading market.
Pierre LeBrun: And Dregs, with all due respect to the other defenders you mentioned after Hampus Lindholm, when you talk to other teams in the league they consider Hampus Lindholm to be the #1 rental defender on the market – s is well on the market. Now he has a UFA pending and one of the first What Pat Verbeek, the new general manager of Anaheim, has done according to our sources, is to contact the Lindholm camp led by agent Claude Lemieux and begin the process to see if there is enough ground to agreement to sign an extension before the trade deadline to remove Hampus Lindholm from the trade market. It would be heartbreaking for a lot of teams who would like to throw trumps in Anaheim for a guy who plays 23 minutes a night on this top pairing. We will see if this agreement is concluded or not.
If all goes according to plan, Zdeno Chara will set the NHL record for most games played by a defenseman this Thursday, but isn’t Pierre the only reason people are watching Big Z right now?
The brown : No, and that’s quite a feat. Teams started calling Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders fading out of the playoff race, they’ve never really been in the race all year, one of the real disappointments in the league, and they say to Lou Lamoriello, ‘Hey, keep us in mind if you decide to do something with Zdeno Chara. It’s an interesting situation. Chara doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but he’s a future Hall of Famer and the feeling around the league is that Lou Lamoriello is going to go to Chara at some point and see if he actually wants to move. And if he does, then there’s already interest in Zdeno Chara despite his age, 44, the fact that he’s slowed down a bit, but he’s still a major leader and a very physical presence that could certainly help a competitor on this third couple.
Brad Marchand’s six-game suspension is over, but is the case still open?
Chris Johnson: It could. It may still be in court, Gino. We’ll see what Brad Marchand decides, but so far he hasn’t decided whether or not he wants to move. transmit and have an appeal heard by a neutral arbitrator. Gary Bettman already confirmed the six-game suspension for this brush with Tristan Jarry a few weeks ago. Brad Marchand missed those games as you said, but he feels like he was targeted here, that there’s some kind of principle in why he might go forward, even if matches were reduced, that would be worth $75,000 per rematch in his pocket. He has until Friday to make a decision.
We talked about making deals at the NHL level, at the minor league level and, Dregs, some teams like the Canucks are also expanding their search into the European free agent market?
Drager: The Vancouver Canucks don’t really have a choice. They don’t have much from their power systems, organizationally speaking. So Patrik Allvin, Swedish-born general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, vowed he would continue to scour the European market as well as the college free agent market. Allvin is watching Russian striker Andrei Kuzmenko closely, the 26-year-old is top of the charts when you look at unrestricted free agent Russians and Europeans pending elsewhere, so I’ll say this, we’ll continue to talk about Kuzmenko. The Vancouver Canucks would definitely love to be in the mix, but there are probably about 30 other teams out there who want a shot at this guy too.