Marc Bergevin makes blockbuster swap for Jonathan Drouin and may not be done, Bob McKenzie discusses the Leafs’ options with a contract extension for William Nylander in light of the Drouin deal (6 years, $5.5 million), Pierre McGruire doesn’t believe Drouin can play center, and more in the links.

Leafs/NHL Links

McKenzie: If I were the Leafs I’d lock in Nylander to long term deal (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie joined OverDrive to discuss the Habs trading for Drouin. why he thinks both Eberle and Galchenyuk could be traded, which defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in, and what Nylander’s next deal could look like.

On William Nylander’s next contract:

The pros and cons of doing a deal when you’ve got a year left is if he has a really good third-year – what they call a platform year, especially in concert with what he did this year – you’re screwed. He’s not doing a bridge deal and he’s not doing a lower-end [long-term] deal. He’s going to want way more than the Drouin deal.

If, by chance, he has a bad platform year, it’s a whole different ballgame. He still expects to be paid, but he can’t hit it out of the park and ends up taking something in and around Drouin or less.

If I were the Toronto Maple Leafs, I’d probably be looking to sign him to a 6×6-type of deal right away because there is no reason to believe he’s not going to build on what he did last season. [If they were to wait], that’s part of what Edmonton is dealing with what Draisatl right now. That’s a hell of a platform year for him. A year ago, if they went to Draisatl and said, “Hey, let’s do the 6×6,” he’d probably grabs it and everybody is happy. Now, McDavid and him have to get their deals done simultaneously.

On the hunt for a defenceman:

I think they’re open to anything and everything. They’ll inquire into significant stuff if it’s there. If they were to get a Brodin or a Vatanen, that’s a significant move. Those guys are top-four defencemen. They’re making $4 million or more, which is sort of the signature of a top-four defenceman in the NHL. That would be a notable transaction, where they to do that. I don’t have any specific knowledge that the Toronto Maple Leafs are in on a particular guy, but if they believe there is a defenceman who suits their purposes, they’d be all over it.

They’re dealing from two positions of strength: One, they’ve got a lot of guys. If they want to use players like Connor Brown, or elements like that, they have some guys that have a little bit of [value] in terms of the trade market that might be used in those situations.

The second thing they’ve got in their favour is they’re not absolutely required to do something. This is not life and death. If we don’t come out with another top-four defenceman, all it means is we’re coming back with Rielly and Zaitsev and Gardiner and maybe Dermott or one of those two Swedish kids they signed and seeing what else is kicking around out there. Whether it’s Brodin, Vatanen or Pysyk, or whatever relatively young defenceman that doesn’t have a huge cap number, I’m sure the Toronto Maple Leafs are checking out all the possibilities.

LeBrun: Doughty wants to go to a team that wins Stanley Cups (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey insider Pierre LeBrun joined Scott MacArthur to talk about Phil Housley hiring in Buffalo, possible landing spots for Dion Phaneuf, and Drew Doughty’s comments on Leafs Lunch and if Toronto could be a landing spot of his when he becomes a UFA in two years.

On Toronto as a more desirable destination around the league:

There is no question. It is happening in Edmonton. It is happening in Toronto. Same as it did with Washington, even though they’ve never won. Chicago and Pittsburgh in the last ten years. People want to be where it’s at. Remember the whole ordeal with Marian Hossa choosing between Pittsburgh and Detroit, and chose wrong, but he finally got himself to Chicago and has three Cup rings? There is no doubt that Toronto is starting to develop and that players are intrigued.

I will say this, for Drew Doughty: I’ve always wondered about his future and where he’ll end up because he is a London boy. I think he loves LA. That part of that clip was really generalized but I think he likes the obscurity of being a star in a market where no one really knows he’s a star, to some degree, anyway. At the same time, Drew Doughty is one of those guys – like a lot of players who succeed in this league – where winning trumps all. I would say to you that, given he has two years to gauge – really one year, because a year from now, just like John Tavares this summer, he needs to figure out his future one year out. If Rob Blake shows to him that the Kings are back on the right track, my guess is Doughty would want to stay their long term. But if the Kings sort of look like they’re in neutral, or whatever… and that doesn’t mean that he wants to go to Toronto.

If Doughty was truly, truly unfiltered – which he is most of the time – what he’s saying is he wants to be where he can win Cups, which I think they can still do in LA here under Rob Blake and John Stevens. But let’s see how next year goes.

On the cap ceiling for 2017-18:

It was still being debated among the players that were talking about it in the NHLPA ranks. I think around $75 million is probably my best guess, but that could still change. It is an interesting process because – instinctively, as a player – you should want the cap to be as high as possible. That sort of should always be your initial feeling. But, as the players have learned the hard way, if the cap is too high, they’ve got to give money back because it’s a 50-50 split of revenue with the owners. Players are mighty tired of forking over about 50% of their paycheques.

It’s really a horrible conversation to have among the player ranks. Players that have contracts really don’t want to put in the full 5% growth factor in the salary calculation, but if you’re this year’s crop of UFAs, you’re thinking, “woah, woah, woah, let’s not limit the ceiling here come July 1st.” I think, at the end of the day, probably the smartest thing do is find a compromise and, if the cap is around $75 million, that is a compromise because that would be probably around 2%. We’ll see if that is what the PA eventually does.

In the meantime, the NHL has been urging the PA that they hope to have a decision by tomorrow because they want the new cap in place before Vegas starts talking to free agents on Sunday. Normally, we get the cap around the draft a week from now, but this year, the NHL has tried to expedite because Vegas has this special free agent window. It would be nice for everyone involved, particularly the free agents, to know what the cap is before they talk to Vegas.

NHL Now: Elliotte Friedman (NHL Network)
NHL Network insider Elliotte Friedman discussed some of the latest news surrounding the NHL, including the Jonathan Drouin trade and the Phil Housley hire in Buffalo.

It was believed that Montreal had some interest in Drouin about a year ago when he went through his holdout with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and that he was a guy Montreal looked at. I think Philadelphia was a team that was pretty close to getting him, but Montreal was in the bid, and I think he’s a guy the Canadiens have had some interest in for a while.

Sergachev is an interesting case. I watched him a bit this year in Windsor, which was the team that won the Memorial Cup. He’s a really talented young guy, and the Montreal Canadiens would not include him in a trade for Matt Duchene at the deadline this year. He was a player Colorado asked for. But Drouin is a guy who is under team control for a bit longer, and I think it shows you how much the Canadiens are looking for offense.

I think it could also be the tip of the iceberg for the Montreal Canadiens, with more potentially to come.

McGuire: Age difference is the key to Drouin – Sergachev trade (TSN960)
Pierre McGuire discusses the Jonathan Drouin-for-Mikhail Sergachev swap.

There is a big age factor favouring Tampa Bay, just like Weber and Subban obviously favouring Nashville. This is one part of it you have to pay attention to with your long-term vision.

Secondly, Drouin is a nice piece. He’s a nice piece to any puzzle. But he’s got the key to any puzzle. He’s not the key. You’re locked and loaded for [$33 million] dollars. Buckle up. That’s who you are locked and loaded on, and he’s not a centerman.

I don’t know who is spinning this stuff about him being a centerman. He is a playmaking winger who can score goals. That’s what he is.

Can he facilitate offense? Yes. This is just, again, giving you all the facts as they are. He was not in the top six forwards in the Tampa Bay Lightning. There were players ahead of him. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn were ahead of him, and Brayden Point passed him this year.

I could see 25-30 goals without a problem, absolutely. It’s not a negative thing. These are just the facts. The truth is, though, he’s not a centerman. He’s a winger, and he’s a good winger.

Sergachev, on the other hand, had a terrible World Junior, a phenomenal second half of the year with his junior team, and a great Memorial Cup. I can tell you, in Tampa, they envision him being in the top four of their defense. That second round pick that’s supposed to get knocked out because of the 40 games? Don’t worry about the second round pick. He’ll play 40 or more games there, not a problem.

Statistically Speaking: Habs land rising star Drouin (
The opportunity to get Drouin out of Tampa Bay, a team facing expansion protection and salary cap issues, was ideal for the Habs to take advantage and GM Marc Bergevin certainly hasn’t been gun-shy when it comes to making big deals. From Tampa Bay’s perspective, GM Steve Yzerman was handcuffed because of the need to give new contracts to centre Tyler Johnson and winger Ondrej Palat (in addition to Drouin), so getting a top defence prospect is a decent, but not necessarily ideal, return under those circumstances.

Wyshynski: Marc Bergevin wins big in Jonathan Drouin trade (Puck Daddy)
Listen, worst case scenario for Bergevin is that this ends up being a glorious, mutually beneficial hockey trade for the Canadiens and Lightning. The best case scenario is that he’s acquired one of the most dynamic young scorers in hockey and he will absolutely terrorize his former team within their shared division for at least the next six years. “There’s risk involved in every trade,” said Yzerman, regarding that scenario. Indeed there is, and Bergevin deserves credit for taking it on this one.

Conor Timmins – 2017 NHL Draft Profile (MLHS)
Following what Greyhounds head coach Drew Bannister described as a highly productive summer of offseason training, Timmins broke out in a big way in his draft year. His production skyrocketed to 61 points in 67 games (fifth among OHL defencemen) and he finished as a plus-53 (tied for third among OHL defencemen) while elevating into the top matchup role consistently from November onward. More impressive still is the portion of his production that came at even strength: No defenceman in the entire CHL put up more even-strength points than Timmins’ 44 in 2016-17 (he also led the CHL in 5v5 primary assists with 21).

Drew Doughty on Babcock, Matthews and the Toronto market (MLHS)
“I think all of us Southern Ontario players secretly want to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. We all have that kind of soft spot. Honestly, I hated the Toronto Maple Leafs as a kid and always cheered against them. I was on my dad’s team and he was a Montreal Canadiens fan. But I watched every Maple Leafs game, so secretly I loved the Maple Leafs. I think that, yeah, we’d all like to play here, especially with the team and the way they’re getting better. But I think it always comes down to how hard it would be to live in a city being that big of a celebrity. I’m spoiled in LA, where I walk anywhere I want and not one person is going to recognize me. If, say, for some reason, I played for the Maple Leafs, I don’t think I could get used to that or not. I think that’s the problem with why guys don’t sign here.”

William Nylander & Calle Rosén to share World Championship prize money (PPP)
The IIHF pays out prize money to the top teams in the Men’s World Championships, and Sweden, the 2017 winner has received 10 million SEK according to a press report. That total sum, just over 1.5 million dollars, is mostly taken by the Swedish Federation and used to fund the growth and development of the game. Some of the money, however, is paid out to the players.

Phil Housley pumped for Sabres revival, working with Jack Eichel (Puck Daddy)
Jack Eichel was rumored to have played a role in Bylsma’s firing, but that was denied by his player and his reps. The fact remains: Any coach of the Buffalo Sabres needs to get Jack on board and motivated. He’s the franchise. He’s the star. Housley is up for the challenge. “The key here is getting to know him. I can only draw from past experiences. When you look at the guys we had in Nashville, P.K. Subban was a tremendous personality. I think I can use that experience trying to get to Jack,” said Housley. “He’s a terrific talent. I want to get the most out of him.”