With top NHL Trade Targets David Savard and Kyle Palmieri off the NHL Trade market, all eyes are focused on Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall and St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman but NHL GMs are also looking west to the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.
Will UMass-Amherst head coach and National Champion Greg Carvel wind up in Buffalo coaching the Sabres next season?
What will the NHL do in the Stanley Cup playoffs if another team ends up like the Vancouver Canucks?
That and more in the latest ‘Off The Record’
1. Trade Market Looks West
With just over 24 hours until the NHL Trade Deadline, contending eyes are looking west mand more specifically to the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. With so many teams looking for top 6 scoring depth and a top 4 defenseman, Kings forward Alex Iafallo and Ducks defenseman Josh Manson have become two of the most coveted players on the NHL Trade Market as names like Savard and Palmieri were dealt this past week.
The 27-year-old Iafallo, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, is an interesting NHL Trade candidate considering the rebuild and abundance of cap space ($8.8 million) that the rebuilding Kings have and that he has been a solid influence on the youth the Kings continue to filter in and nurture but the team and player remain far apart in what’s been minimal contract negotiations.
As for Manson, he has a year left on a four-year contract that carries a $4.1 million cap hit and is exactly the rugged, yet offensively capable rearguard a Stanley Cup contender like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals need and would love to bolster their blueline for the playoffs before the NHL Trade Deadline.
Yes, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf will be a name you hear before Monday’s deadline but per numerous NHL sources, as of Sunday morning, he had not been approached yet about waiving his no-movement clause.
Off The Record:
“There has been more and more interest on Iafallo and Manson in the last few days than anyone, I’d say,” an NHL source with direct knowledge of trade discussions on both players told OTR Saturday night. “I know the Bruins, Leafs, Caps, and even the Habs at various points this past week looked into both players. I think if I had to pick two teams that are leading the pack for both, I’d say it’s the Bruins and Leafs. As for Getzlaf, I still think there is a chance, and if it happens, I’d keep an eye on the Penguins and Vegas. Just a hunch there.”
2. Carvel Will Be In Demand
When yours truly was finding his way and beginning my journey as a puck scribe, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst was known for its basketball team. The hockey team averaged about 5-7 wins a season and losing by two goals or less to powerhouses like Boston College and Boston University were celebrated just as much as an actual win. Over 20 years later and the Minutemen hockey program are National Champions after beating St. Cloud State 5-0 in the 2021 National Championship game Saturday night. It was two straight trips to the Final for UMass as Head coach Greg Carvel has made Amherst a destination for top college recruits in just five seasons at the helm. Well, unfortunately for UMass Hockey, they may have to say goodbye to Carvel in the offseason as he is at the top of the list for multiple NHL teams to potentially become a head or assistant coach at the pro level.
Off The Record:
“If I’m Don Granato and I’m watching that game [Saturday], I’m thinking ‘there’s my replacement'” an NHL management source told OTR. “The Sabres are definitely keeping tabs on what Carvel does for sure. There will be other teams as well. He is well respected and on the fast track if he wants to be on it.”
3. ‘Multiple’ COVID Contingency Plans In Place
While the United States continues to roll out the COVID vaccines better than any other country in the world, Canada has dragged its feet, and COVID case surges in both countries have proven we aren’t out of the woods just yet. Of course the Vancouver Canucks became part of that surge in the last two weeks and have not played since March 24 due to a COVID outbreak that saw 25 members of their organization contract the virus. While the Canucks won’t be heading to the Stanley Cup playoffs, what about the teams that are headed for the dance? What happens if so many players on one team are infected that the team can’t take the ice for a playoff game?
Off The Record:
“As of now, there are multiple contingency plans in place but a bubble is not one of them,” a league source told OTR Saturday. “The league and the PA continue to work diligently towards a safe path that allows the Stanley Cup to be raised again.”