Hockey’s top Insiders believe Lou Lamoriello may be trying to make some significant noise on the trade front before Monday’s deadline.
The latest edition of the TSN Hockey Bobcast, recorded and released Thursday, was a special trade deadline extravaganza featuring host Bob McKenzie with guests Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun.
At one point, the focus shifted toward the New York Islanders.
“Lou’s got to be all-in, or if not all-in real busy, doesn’t he?” mused McKenzie.
“Yeah,” agreed Dreger. “I think he’s going to go as hard as he can after Matt Duchene. I think they’ll be in those sweepstakes.”
“So here’s the thing,” said LeBrun. “I’ve got to know if you’re Lou Lamoriello that if you’re in on Matt Duchene that you can sign him. Because can you imagine if he rented Matt Duchene and then lost him July 1 a year after losing John Tavares.”
“No, I think the plan is to sign him,” noted Dreger.
“You’ve got Eberle, and Anders Lee, and Brock Nelson, they’re all on expiring contracts,” added McKenzie. “But you know what - here’s my theory on Lou. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. He’s 76 years old. He’s got a team that is playing as well as just about anybody in the Eastern Conference, against all odds, and they’ve got their big game against Toronto coming up.
“He lives to win Stanley Cups. He’s not going to sit on his hands and say, ‘Oh yeah, you know what - we’ll try to build here something.’ No, I think he’s going to try to be as busy as he can be.”
“But it makes no sense for Columbus to trade Panarin within their own division to the Islanders,” pointed out LeBrun. “I know everyone is linking Panarin to Lou, but I think that’s a July 1 thing perhaps.”
“Here’s my two cents on Columbus, my rapid fire on Columbus,” said McKenzie. “It’s possible they trade Panarin. I’d be really, really surprised. I think he’s worth more to them in the lineup than he is for what anybody would pay to get him.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Dreger.
Duchene is in the last season of his five-year, $30 million contract, and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Panarin is in the second season of a two-year, $12 million pact, and can also test UFA waters July 1.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly