Trade deadline season is in full swing and TSN’s “Insider Trading” segment this evening with Darren Dreger and Piere LeBrun was chock full of hints as to what may happen over the next few weeks. The pair began with the most pressing story, which is in regards to the news earlier today that Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano is out “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. The situation reportedly could have been worse and Giordano may have needed surgery that would have kept him out long term, so in a way Calgary got lucky. However, with the Flames fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, this major absence is bound to shift their plans at the deadline. The team has been focused on acquiring a right-shot forward, even allegedly dangling impending UFA defenseman T.J. Brodie to get a deal done, but LeBrun notes that Brodie is now much more unlikely to move. Not only are Brodie and fellow free agent-to-be Travis Hamonic likely safe, but LeBrun adds that the team will consider adding on defense as well if Giordano’s availability remains in question. As for what the Flames may use as their primary trade bait now, Dreger reports that Sam Bennett could finally be on the move. The disappointing young forward is not necessarily on the block, but Dreger hears from many around the league who feel Bennett needs a fresh start and Calgary may oblige him if it helps to land them another top-six forward.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs may have unofficially launched the trade deadline frenzy on Wednesday when they acquired goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford from the Los Angeles Kings. Yet, even for a team currently on the outside of the playoff picture, Dreger reports that the Leafs are not done. He notes that the deal with L.A. did not address Toronto’s biggest need, which is a top-four defenseman. He says that the recent injury to Cody Ceci, expected to be out for at least a month, combined with the continued absence of Morgan Rielly will keep the Maple Leafs in the defense market if they want to contend for a postseason berth. Dreger mentions that the Kings’ willingness to retain salary should allow the Leafs to land a top-four defenseman if they can find the right deal, assuming one of Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot would be heading the other way.
- The Kings, of course, are also not done. They are having another fire sale this year and a number of valuable pieces may still move. Among them is veteran defenseman Alec Martinez. LeBrun believes that the Maple Leafs were not interested in Martinez, but other teams are. One such suitor is Toronto’s biggest competition for an Atlantic Division playoff bid, the Florida Panthers. According to LeBrun, the Panthers are “absolutely looking” at Martinez, who still has one year remaining on his contract. Another team looking to upgrade their blue line who have an eye on Martinez are the Winnipeg Jets. Whether Florida, Winnipeg, or another contender ends up landing the capable defenseman, the buyer will not be getting any sort of discount. LeBrun relays that the asking price is a second-round pick and either another good pick or a good prospect.
- In Vancouver, the season is going as well as anyone could have expected and the team is hoping to solidify their lineup before the postseason. While the team seems unlikely to spend immensely, they are hoping to plug some holes. One such gap has been created by the injury to Micheal Ferland. Ferland has been out for almost two months and the team is missing his physical play and goal scoring ability. Ferland signed with the Canucks this summer and was expected to play a major role, but has been unable to stay on the ice. As a result, LeBrun reports that the Canucks are revisiting a player that nearly chose over Ferland this off-season in Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds, who instead signed a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils, again finds himself as a rental candidate and Vancouver remains interested. LeBrun believes that the team will wait to see what the long-term outlook on Ferland is for the remainder of this season, but bad news could trigger a trade to bring in Simmonds.