The NHL Trade Deadline is one week from Monday, but the player movement continues to be strained thanks to salary cap issues and this unique season. However, Off the Record is still hearing some interesting NHL trade chatter and we could see a surprise statement trade.
One of those teams whose GM and coach feel the heat from a disappointing season is the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers fell off the table this season and have just a 10% chance to make the NHL playoffs. Off the Record has been told to watch the Flyers because if things don’t change downstairs, more significant changes upstairs may follow.
There are high drama and tension in Philly.
Will the terminally middling Calgary Flames blow it up or simply make patchwork trades for the “now”?
How stealth is Toronto Maple Leafs General manager Kyle Dubas? Is it possible to avoid the Toronto media’s prying eyes and hit the NHL trade market in secret–just like the Montreal Canadiens did with Eric Staal?
That and more in the latest ‘Off The Record.’
1. Flyers Trying Hard To ‘Statement Trade
It’s no secret that Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher is searching for defensemen to boost his struggling blue line but is that all he’s trying to accomplish on the NHL trade market? Multiple NHL sources (rival management and scouts) have confirmed to OTR that Fletcher would like to make a “statement trade” as much as he’d love a top-four defenseman. Fletcher would prefer to accomplish both with the same trade.
That does mean longtime dressing room leaders like Captain Claude Giroux or Alternate Captain Jakub Voracek aren’t untouchable on the NHL Trade market. Fletcher could also move a member of his younger core to send a message to the other youngsters they expected more out of this season.
Off The Record:
“Let’s put it this way, Chuck and Alain [Vigneault] are both feeling the heat right now, and this is more than just a need for more skill,” one management source said of Fletcher’s wish list before the NHL trade deadline. “There’s a feeling there that maybe bigger change needs to happen for that team. I’m sure they know if that change doesn’t come within the dressing room and work, the next big change will be them.”
2. How Stealth Is Kyle Dubas?
One would think that in possibly the craziest hockey market, it would be impossible to hit the NHL trade market without leaks before the transaction. Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin accomplished the feat when he went in stealth mode after telling the media not to expect trades from the Canadiens. Shortly after, Montreal acquired Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres.
Is Kyle Dubas about to pull off a similar feat in Toronto to improve the team’s goaltending situation with unheralded Jack Campbell and struggling or injured Frederick Andersen?
Off The Record:
“If you’re Kyle, how can you not try hard to get Chris Driedger (FLA) and then hopefully sign him to an extension,” one NHL scout asked OTR rhetorically. “I mean, he’s 26. (Driedger) has proven he can hang and has carried that team at times. Who knows what happens with Freddy [Andersen] going forward, eh? Bring in Driedger, and he and Campbell battle for the top spot.”
3. ‘Very Real Chance’Johnny Gaudreau Is Dealt
With the Calgary Flames essentially out of it, it appears some big changes could be coming in Calgary either at the NHL Trade Deadline or at the NHL Draft in July. Names like Sean Monahan continue to be bantered about on the NHL trade rumor circuit, and now the question seems to be not if they will blow it up in Calgary, but when.
Gaudreau is definitely a name to keep an eye on.
Off The Record:
“He’s already in Sutter’s doghouse, and that’s not an easy place to get out of,” an NHL source said of Gaudreau. “It just seems like the best move for the player and the team, and doesn’t Philly make too much sense? I think they’ve given that leadership core enough time to take the next step.”
Gaudreau is from Salem, New Jersey, which is Flyers territory. While no pictures have yet been made public of him wearing Flyers pajama pants, he grew up cheering for the orange and black.
It’s something to watch.